Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Calendar Teaches Tenses

The Favorite Tutor of the Week award (and all bragging rights thereunto pertaining) goes to Mindi Potter, who submitted the tip below. Mindi uses a calendar with clip art as a visual aid when working on tenses. Mindi writes,

Hi Brian,

I used a blank calendar image I copied from a kids' web site (I cropped out the words at the bottom). Then I found clip art in Microsoft Word, put them in text boxes, reduced their size, and positioned them on the calendar. I noted some date and time phrases to help make specific statements.

We use the calendar to work on past, present and future tense. I'll pick a day, then I ask my learner to tell me about what might be happening before, after, or on that day. The images are just to prompt ideas for a sentence. She must consider the verb for the action and conjugate it correctly, so it leads to many good discussions of tense and vocabulary. It can be the focus of a lesson, or it is sometimes a nice diversion to fill the time.

I hope this is helpful.

You can print the simple grid that you find when you click here, and cut out little pictures from magazines and other sources. Another thought, inspired by tutor Eva Bellinger, is to buy (or borrow fromyour kids) a variety of stickers to put on the calendar. I modified Mindi's calendar a bit, for instance putting Soccer practice on every Friday. You can use that to teach how simple present tense works for things that happen frequently, always, rarely or never, e.g. “I always play soccer on Fridays. I usually go to church on Sunday.” Or “He never studies on Wednesday.” Above you will see a blank calendar with Mindi's helpful helpful text boxes with expressions of time. Clip art, well, that's just kind of everywhere. Good luck!

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