Friday, October 10

Speed Racer: Would x Used to

It is often difficult for students to realize when to use "used to" or "would" in order to express past habits. This segment and activity will give students an opportunity to use this target grammar point in a contextualized manner.

Before watching the segment:

Play some relaxing music, dim all the lights, create a cozy atmosphere, and ask your students to take a fantasy trip into the past. Tell them to think about their childhood (or adolescence). Ask them to close their eyes and address them the following questions. Don't let them answer the questions now; all they have to do is travel in time.

What are your best childhood (teenage) memories?

What did your school look like?

What kind of student did you use to be?
Who used to be your best friend?

Where did you use to go on weekends?

What sports did you use to practice?

What were your favorite games?

What did you dislike about that period of your life?

Now divide the class into pairs, give each pair a copy of the questions you have just read, and let them share their ideas with their partners.

Now watch the video segment and fill in the blanks of the following sentences with "used to + verb" or "would + verb". If both are possible, use "would (not)". Pay attention whether you will write affirmative or negative statements, based on the information presented in the segment.
1) Speed ___________ (be) a restless child.

2) He _____________ (be) easily distracted during the classes.

3) He ____________ (concentrate) during the classes.

4) He _____________ (enjoy) being in the classroom.

5) He _____________ (count) the seconds for the break time.

6) He ____________ (think) about automobile racing all the time.

7) He _____________ (draw) racing cars.

8) His mother __________ (be) called by the school's director to talk about Speed's performance in class.

9) His mother ___________ (agree) with the director.

10) He _____________ (pretend) he was driving a car.

11) He _______________ (be) the first student to leave the classroom when the bell rang.

12) He __________ (leave) the school with his father.

13) His brother _______________ (coach) him how to drive a racing car.

14) He ____________ (drive) racing cars by himself when he was a kid.

Answer Key:

1. used to
2. used to
3. would
4. used to
5. would
6. used to
7. would
8. used to
9. wouldn't
10. would
11. used to
12. would
13. would
14. would


Used to: Before both stative and action verbs
Would: Before action verbs
Exception: There + to be: Only would

How to prepare your own grammar activity:

- Select a scene in which childhood memories are evident.

- Prepare a few questions for students to remember their childhood's special moments.

- Students share their ideas with a partner.

- Prepare an exercise sheet with the activities presented in the segment.

- Write sentences with both action and stative verbs so that students can select "used" to or "would " to complete the blanks.

- Some of the sentences must be true, others false; this way you will work with listening comprehension too.

- Have students to the exercise.