Thinking about the imperfect

I’ve been thinking about the imperfect tense since I’ll have to teach it in level 2 soon.  It is a chapter about childhood.  I need a new twist on this theme.  Here are my rather limited ideas so far:

  • Have students compare what Celia Cruz did as a child growing up in Cuba with their own childhood.   This would be an extension of narrating Celia’s life in the preterite based on a children’s book that Barbara Cartford used in her award-winning unit about Celiz Cruz and Cuba.
  • Have students compare what they used to do when they were in elementary school and what they do differently now that they are in high school.
  • Students interview a parent or grandparent about their childhood and compare it to their own.  I believe one of my colleagues suggested this in a recent collaboration.
  • Provide comprehensible input using this video about technology in the 80’s versus technology now.  It has lots of examples of imperfect tense verbs in an authentic context.
  • My dear friend Lisa Lilley has a lost civilization activity where students receive “artifacts” and determine from them what the civilization was like and how it lived.  They write their findings using the imperfect tense.
  • This doesn’t have to do with the imperfect but I like to talk about childhood cultural references, like tooth fairy compared with ratoncito Perez.
  • Here is a cute children’s song called “Lunes antes de almorzar” that has the imperfect tense, days of the week, and chores.  I’ve also seen it here on youtube at
  • Sra. Spanglish has blogged about the imperfect tense also.  Check her blog at
  • Anything else anyone would like to share?  Feel free to comment!
This entry was posted in Lesson Planning, Verbs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Thinking about the imperfect

  1. Jeff says:

    Gracias por documentar tus pensamientos!

  2. Kevin says:

    The taco bell Super Bowl commercial on the elderly that escape the retirement home is coming up on your page as an ad and it brings up some fun ideas for the imperfect. (youtube code KvxZcULxfKw) Los envejecientes querian revivir los dias y noches de su juventud. Como eran los ancianos cuando eran jovenes? Los residentes del asilo eran _______tremendos, les gustaban hacer maldades, nadaban, bailban, se besaban, les gustaban los tatuajes, comin muchos tacos.

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