Perhaps one of the most challenging grammatical components in Spanish is correctly utilizing and integrating the (2) past tenses: the preterite and imperfect. These (2) past tenses are employed in different ways to express various ideas in the past. The tough question is, which one do I use when?
Well, the preterite is used to: narrate in the past and give just the facts of actions that have a distinct beginning and clear end…..WHAT??
The imperfect is utilized to describe or express feelings/opinions in the past and to emphasize ongoing or repeated action in the past….
SO….WHAT DOES THIS MEAN????
Pretty abstract, challenging stuff, huh? Instead of trying to memorize this nebulous concept, it makes more sense to put it in a more realistic, authentic context.
Who is your favorite move star? Athlete? Singer? We all have one and let’s be honest, we know all about our favorite stars. What better way to compare and contrast the (2) past tenses than by creating a a timeline of their life? Students identified (10) benchmarks in their favorite public figure’s life and “narrated” in the preterite on multi-colored squares. Then students identified (10) repeated actions or personality descriptions and articulated them in the imperfect on circles. By utilizing the squares and circles (created by our newly-acquired Cricut machine) on a timeline, we are creating a visual/graphic organizer which delineates, compares, and contrasts the past tenses.
After, we will be creating WANTED posters for our public figures, utilizing the imperfect to describe physical attributes.