After learning the conjugations for the preterite and imperfect tenses, students will need to focus on how the two work together. Arguably the most straightforward situation in which preterite and imperfect tenses work together is with interrupting actions. Especially with visually or conceptually obvious interruptions, the student can clearly see how the interrupted action uses the imperfect tense, whereas the interrupting action uses the preterite tense.
Have students brainstorm scenarios that lend themselves to clear interruption. In this activity, students will use a T Chart to create interrupted scenes. Depending on each student or the class, the number of required examples can be increased or decreased. Once students are comfortable with obvious examples of interruption, challenge them to create more subtle interruptions that would also employ both preterite and imperfect tenses.
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Create a T Chart showing interrupted and interrupting actions to practice the imperfect and preterite tenses.