Imparfait and passé composé through fairy tale texts

  • Activity:
    • Teaches the two past tenses through use of fairy tales
  • Goals:
** Provide the students with tangible examples of contexts to help them distinguish between the two past tenses
  • Organization:
** Students work together as a class and in pairs to determine which tenses verbs are in and why
  • Time:
** 20-25 minutes
  • Materials Needed:
** Prepared fairy tale (by the teacher)
    • Overhead printout
  • Preparation:
** 1. Choose an appropriate fairy tale in the target language (preferably one the students are familiar with in their native language).
    • 2. Modify the text such that it does not include structures or tenses that might be too confusing for the students (such as the passé simple in French).
    • 3. Include strategically placed graphics in your modified text that will aid the students’ comprehension.
    • 4. Make one transparency to use in class.
  • Procedure:
    • 1. Using the overhead, have students read the first paragraph of the story.
    • 2. Next, have them identify the verbs and their tenses in the paragraph they just read.
    • 3. Finally, have the students determine why imparfait or passé composé is used in each instance based on the rules they know.
    • 4. Continue through the following paragraphs and ask them why one tense might be used more in this or that paragraph.
  • Follow-up Activity (optional):
    • Let the students write their own fairy tales in groups by passing around a sheet of paper and making one-sentence contributions per turn. Read these to the class.

Created by: Wendy Rickenbacker

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