In-tense Fun

I have a number of students working on verb tenses this year.  The past tense, regular and irregular, seems to be the biggest issue.  (I guess lots of us have issues with the past though…)

My room is outside the main school building and I pick students up from their classroom which is great for keeping me moving around, but can turn into a lot of lost time if we don’t use that “travel” time productively.  It’s a particularly good time to work on verb tenses since movement really helps drive home the concept in a way many need before they can begin to generalize to pictured scenarios.

At the beginning of the long hallway, we will come up with three movements we plan to do.  You can do this spontaneously or you could have some picture cards ready.  Let’s say we picked, “march, walk, move our arms.”  (For this student, who is working on regular verbs, we say “move our arms” for another it might be “swing our arms.”)  Now, we do it.  We march, walk and move our arms while walking about 15 feet each and we announce what we’re doing, ex. “We are/I am marching.”

Once we are in the speech room, I lay out the cards or draw pics on post-it notes.  (Note:  I’m not an artist and the kids really don’t care.  The more simplistic the drawing the funnier they think it is and it sticks with them, so don’t be bashful!)  Now we recap.

“Let’s see.  First we, (point to the picture)….”


“Great!”  I’ll write that below the drawing or cover the original picture with the past tense one on top.  “Next, we….”


You get the idea.  This has also been a great way for me to work on before and after concepts since we have the prompts out and they’ve just performed the actions.

Easy, non-disruptive hallway actions are:  walking, moving arms, tip toeing, walking backwards, duck walking, snapping, marching, skipping, hopping and jumping.  If you have more flexibility, you can try:  jogging, clapping, crab walking, kicking, or dancing.

If you need irregular verbs try:  “swimming” (walking but using arms in a swimming motion), swinging (arms), leaping, singing, spinning, “driving”, running, shaking (hands), falling and, if you pass a water fountain, drinking.

Once they have a good grasp on this, we can move to pictured scenes.  Recently I’ve been using the “Tense Builder” app by Mobile Education Store.  It’s awesome!  Come back for the review and giveaway on Tuesday!

I use LessonPix to make my picture prompt cards above.  It’s the easiest and most economical way to quickly pull together materials and I’m not affiliated with them in any way!  If you are looking for action cards that you can use for following directions, check out 1, 2, 3 Action! my language and listening game that gets you moving a little or a lot!


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Joan O'Brien

    Such a simple and great idea. I do lots of ‘do what I do’ actions as we walk in the hall – but primarily for quiet watching and listening practice. I’ve also used our ‘travel time’ to practice sequencing days of the week/ months of the year, and naming opposite or synonym word pairs as we go up or down the stairs (“Not old, but __.” “I’m tired, I’m also ____.” – one step for each word)….. but I never thought of verb tenses – thanks for adding it to my movement repertoire!

    1. admin

      Joan, Your Freudian slip made me smile. Surely you’re not old or tired! Thanks so much for adding your ideas–awesome! I plan to incorporate them into my day soon. Kim

  2. Cindy

    Love this idea. I have to pick up all my students so there is a lot of hall time. I do some therapy during this time but now I will add your fun idea too!

    1. admin

      Thanks, Cindy! Kim

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.