This activity is very simple but it forces students to use the past simple in a creative fashion.
For each group of two to four students, you will need a sheet of verbs in the infinitive form. For example here is a deck with 50 of the most used verbs. You can create your own decks of more interesting or relevant verbs.
Cut up decks of however many verbs you’re going to use and give each group an identical pile. Their first task is to sort the verbs into regular and irregular piles when they’ve done this review the past tense forms of the irregular verbs.
An optional second step is to get students to sort the remaining regular verbs into three more categories, verbs that sound like they end in ‘t‘, ‘d‘ or ‘id‘.
Once students have gone through their verb sets and have a grasp of the past tense of most of the verbs then they should spread out all the verbs randomly, face up on the table.
Model this activity first with one of the groups. Provide the first line of the story, for example, Yesterday was my birthday or last Saturday I had an adventure, etc. Make sure to remove the verb be or have from the verbs on the table. The next student removes another verb and makes a sentence which continues the story.
After students have been making stories for 15 – 20 minutes, or when they have got through all their verbs, ask the students to recap the highlights of their stories to the class.
If some groups get through all their verbs before the other groups then have some extra verb cards on hand to throw into the mix.
It’s a good idea to keep some extra verb cards at hand, so if one or more groups finishes before the others, you can feed them some more verbs to keep the story going.
Printables for past tense stories