Teaching the Cycle of the Past – Texts and Exercises

I discussed the Cycle of the Past in my last post: rationale, unit structure, lesson plan, etc.

The following are texts and exercises to be used when teaching or reviewing the unit.

Reading Passage

Ben, David's uncle, called from New York last week. He said  he was planning a visit to Israel and would probably arrive in April and spend the Passover holidays with the family. Ben mentioned that he would take advantage of the opportunity to look around and see if he could find a suitable job in Israel. His brother was very happy to hear that and he assured him that he would do his best to help him. He hoped Ben would easily find a fine job and suitable housing. After the telephone conversation David's father made numerous calls to his closest friends. All of them said they would get in touch as soon as they heard of any suitable position. David's mother began to plan the dinner she would make for Ben. They were all very excited and they only began to relax when they realized that Ben would be coming in April and April was still four months away…

The students may be asked to underline verbs in the Past Simple, Past Progressive and Future Past using different colors, Then they may discuss the reasons why the different tenses have been used. They can then be encouraged to continue the story and describe Ben's arrival, the meeting with the family, etc.

Oral and Writing Activities:

People often talk about "The good old days." What do people mean when they say that? Ask your students to write a short paragraph about what life looked like (home, school, transportation, etc) 50 years ago. Students should be encouraged to use the Tenses they have studied in the Cycle of the Past: Past Simple, Past Progressive and Future Past.

Have a class debate: Was life better, easier in the past, has modern technology improved our life?

Some more Writing Activities:

The following paragraphs can serve as the beginning of a story. Ask students to add a few sentences to make up a short story.

1. While I was watching T.V. last night, there was suddenly a loud knock on the door. I was all alone in the house and I didn't know whether to open the door. Finally I …

2. As I was taking the bus to school, I noticed a very unusual package underneath an empty seat next to me. I looked at it carefully trying to decide what to do, when suddenly I realized…


As soon as your students have studied the Perfect Tenses, you may wish to use the following map that my students have found most useful for reviewing the Tenses.

מפת העבר.pdf

And that's all for today. 

For further explanations, please see:

דקדוק אנגלי לדוברי עברית, עמ' 27 – 41

For more exercises, please see:

The New Language Guidebook and Workbook, p 27 – 32, 66 – 70

For more texts and Activities, please see:

The Lively World of English, p 186 – 189, 280 – 336

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