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Homework idea to practise the imperfect tense

This is a simple one. Maybe you have already done it.

Give your class at least a week to do this for a good, chunky and hopefully enjoyable double homework. Tell them they are going to interview a grand-parent or parent. Provide them with a list of questions in French. They will have to ask these questions, take notes, then write up the answers in French. It should produce some real-life use of the imperfect tense as well as enable children to talk to their parents or grand-parents about the old days. the write up can take the form of a dialogue/interview with questions, or it could just be a summary e.g. for a mock news feature.

An amusing alternative would be to ask them if a teacher will give them 15 minutes to be interviewed. Others could guess the teacher. I actually prefer the parent/grand-parent version in this case since it seems a good conversation to have in a family anyway, therefore more authentic.

How about these questions?

A quelle école allais-tu quand tu avais 10 ans?
Qu'est-ce que tu aimais manger quand tu étais petit?
Où habitais-tu?
Quelles émissions de télé ou de radio préférais-tu?
Qui étaient tes meilleurs amis?
De quoi avais-tu peur quand tu étais petit?
Allais-tu régulièrement en vacances? Où?
Avais-tu des animaux familiers?
Qu'est-ce que tu aimais faire à l'école primaire?
Quelles matières aiamais-tu à l'école secondaire?
Avais-tu des ambitions quand tu étais jeune?
Que faisaient tes parents comme travail?
Tu t'entendais bien avec tes parents?
Quels passe-temps avais-tu?
Quelle musique aimais-tu quand tu étais adolescent?

As always, you can assist students, where needed, by providing starts to some answers: il allait... il aimait...


  1. Nice! I get my students to talk about their primary school and make a presentation for the rest of the class. I also teach them the Imperfect song to the tune of Abba's 'Money, money money' - but that's just for Spanish!
    Thank you for your idea and questions.

  2. Sorry for the belated reply. Yes, the primary school idea works fine. My Spanish is almost non-existent, but Abba sounds good. I like those verb songs.


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