What did you do in the summer? & The easiest way to teach the past tense!

Kids think in terms of now. ย  For them the past or the future isn’t something they usually talk about.

Just have a think about the language kids use with each other, ย what tense is it in?

Hence most of the lessons in the Genki English curriculum are all conversation questions in the present tense i.e. ย the language kids actually use. ย  (All those school lunches with kids around the world asking me loads of questions really paid off in figuring this out ๐Ÿ™‚ )

However at some point of course we do have to learn to think about the future and the past.

The fact we can learn to do this is one of the things that separates us from other animals.

And language wise we have a super easy way of doing it.

All we do is take the present tense language that the kids already know by now, because you’ve covered it in the Genki Englishย lessons, ย and then change just ONE word!

Yep, just one word and they unlock a whole new tense!

The easiest example to do this with is the “Summer sports” lesson.

The first time we learn it we use “I like ….” with the sports. ย  Really easy.

Then we just change “like” to “went”

Just one word.

And now we can answer the question “What did you do in the summer?” ย with ย “I went swimming, running, sailing, etc. etc.”

This is by far the easiest way to teach the past tenses.

And we have these “secret upgrades” hidden in quite a few of the Genki English lessons now, ย for example ….


Incredible Lesson 50: ย The “What are you doing?” lesson transforms ย “I’m eating, reading etc.” change into “I WAS eating, reading” etc. ย  Just one word ๐Ÿ™‚ย 


Adventure Lesson 7: ย The first time is I, you, he, she pronouns with “I am, you are” etc. ย  and with one little change in the song you get ย “I was, you were” etc.


The “Oh My” Level Checklist song covers “Did I celebrate, get enough sleep, ask for help etc.”ย 


ย And ย for irregular past tense we have Miracle/Mega Lesson 86 with “Baby Dinosaur, what did you do?”ย 

All these lessons you can find in your Teacher’s Setย And/Or Student Set menus! ย ย 


That should get your past tense sorted out really easy. ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

And there is a similar thing with the future tenseย in the main curriculum and many others in the advanced level hip hop songs.

Of if you need a quick Genki review of all the grammar tenses yourself, ย check out the Genki Grammar Tenses, California Style book!ย 





Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!