Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, I Had Overslept! (L3U3L4), Ben’s day has gone from bad to worse! It all began when he overslept. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students identify, and practice using, the past simple and past perfect.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explain the order of events on a timeline.
  2. Describe the order of events from the movie using the past perfect and past simple.
  3. Illustrate and caption two events using the past perfect and past simple.
  4. Combine two sentences into one complex sentence using the past perfect and conjunctions.
  5. Explain situations with reasons and regrets using the past perfect.


For Activity 2, make copies of the What Happened First? handout for each student in the class.
For Activity 3, make copies of the I Had Overslept handout for each student in the class.

For Activity 4, Explain It, create sets of “situation cards” for each small group with one situation written on each card, as follows (or you can create different situations):

I got an A+ on the test.
I went to school with two different shoes on.
I fell asleep in class.
I stomped angrily out of the restaurant.
I slept until noon.
I burned the cookies.
I won the race.

For Activity 5, Regrets, create a list of problems or issues. Here are some and you can add more:

I missed the school bus.
I slipped on a banana peel.
I have a cavity.
I failed the test.
I lost the race.
I overslept.
I forgot my mom’s birthday.
I fell asleep in class.
I spilled a glass of milk.
I burned the toast.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Timeline of Yesterday. To introduce the past perfect, and to be able to visualize the idea of one event happening before another, draw a timeline on the board marked with the hours of the day. Then write phrases at different places on the timeline, or place sentence strips, about things that you did. Encourage students to form sentences about what you did, using the past perfect and the past simple. For example: You had gone to the store before you went home.
  2. What Happened First? Watch the Grammar section of the movie I Had Overslept (L3U3L4), and check that students know which events happened first. Distribute the What Happened First? sequence activity to each student. When they are done, have partners collaborate on drawings to illustrate the use of the past perfect. Instruct them to draw two events, one happening before the other. To check the activity, students can pass their drawings around the room, as in a chain, so that all partners have a chance to discuss captions for all the drawings.
  3. I Had Overslept. After watching the movie, have students complete the I Had Overslept handout, using the past simple and past perfect. Instruct them to combine the pairs of sentences, and decide which events happened first, based on the movie.
  4. Explain It! Provide each small group with a set of situation cards (see Preparation). Demonstrate by asking a student to take a card and read it aloud, e.g. I got an A+ on the test. Ask students to think of an explanation for the situation using the past perfect tense, e.g. I got an A+ on the test because I had studied for weeks. Students take turns reading a situation card aloud to the rest of the group. The rest of the students in the group come up with their own different explanations for the situations using the past perfect.
  5. Regrets. Tell students you will read aloud a problem, such as “I was late for school.” After they hear it, they are to write a regret using the words “I wish…” OR “If only…” plus the past perfect. For example, “I wish I had woken up earlier” or “If only I had remembered to set my alarm.” Once you’ve gone through all the problems, invite students to share their regrets with a small group or with the whole class.


Read the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst to the class. Project the pages, if you are able to, or pause with each page, for students to make past perfect sentences about the events that happened to Alexander.

Watch another BrainPOP ELL movie with the class or in pairs, and have students describe the events in sentences using the past simple and past perfect. Movies that will work well are: The Thief Walked In (L1U6L1), I Didn’t Sleep (L1U6L3), Suddenly It Started (L2U4L1), Mobylocks (L2U6L5).


BrainPOP ELL Movies
Have They Forgotten (L3U3L1)
Mount Everest(L3U3L2)
April Fools’ Day (L3U3L3)
History of Trains (L3U3L5)

BrainPOP Movies