Unit 11: When I Was


  • To teach ESL/EFL young learners how to talk about the past in the most basic form.
  • To teach the simple past tense with a particular focus on auxiliary verbs (to be, to have) and the modal verb, ‘can’.
  • This lesson is meant to explicitly introduce the concept of the simple past tense in English.
  • This kids English lesson also teaches learners a few adjectives for describing physical appearance.
  • To practice the comparative form of adjectives – ex. young/ younger

Main Lesson Materials & Study Steps

when-i-was video lesson

1st –This cartoon animated video features a short dialogue, followed by vocabulary and sentence breakdown. It is essential for introducing the words, phrases, grammar, spelling and sentences of the lesson in context. Watch repeatedly to master the content. The video plays on any device.

when-i-was game

2nd – Then the student plays this fun game after watching the video, to practice the contents of the lesson. The game reviews key vocabulary, grammar and sentences from the lessons. This game can be played on any device.

when-i-was test

3rd – Finally the learner takes this test of the unit. The score of this test is captured in the LMS and gives educators an idea of how well their learner is doing. The test opens on any device – mobile & PC.

Worksheets for the Unit

The worksheets below are useful for offline and classroom activities. These printable exercises directly correlate with the above lesson 'When I was'. Every worksheet comes with an answer sheet on the second page for educators.

Already a Member?

Not a member yet?

Lesson Story:

Freddie and Lisa are visiting their grandparents. Today they are going to be making cookies. They follow grandma’s instructions on how to make the cookies. Grandma and Grandpa are not as strong as when they were young, so they let Lisa pour the mixture. They tell Lisa and Freddie the things they could do when they were younger and the kids have fun looking at some photos of their grandparents when they were younger.



gray hair blond hair
black hair brown hair


dance run
swim pour mixture
crack eggs make cookies


strong stronger
old older
weak weaker
young younger

Key Sentences:

Present                       versus        Simple Past tense (verb to be)

·       I am ·       I was
·       He/She is ·       He/She was
·       We are ·       We were
  • I am too old now. I was very young back then.
  • I am weak now. I was strong back then.
  • We are too old now. We were very young back then.


Present                         versus        Simple Past tense (can)

·       I can ·       I could
·       He can ·       He could
·       We can ·       We could
  • I cannot run now. When I was younger, I could run very fast.
  • We cannot dance now. When we were younger, we could dance very well.

      Verb                                           Simple Past

is was
are were
can could
  • When I was your age, I could dance very well.

Dialogue Script

Lisa: Grandma and Grandpa, it’s so good to see you!

Lisa: What are we going to do this week, Grandpa?

Grandpa: I thought we would make cookies today.

Freddie: Awesome! I love cookies!

Freddie: Grandma, after we pour the mixture in, what do we do?

Grandma: You have to crack the egg and put the egg in the bowl.

Grandma: Now, when I was a girl, I could mix the cookie mixture. But as I’ve gotten older, my hands aren’t as strong.

Lisa: I can do it for you, Grandma.

Freddie: What else did you do when you were younger, Grandma?

Grandma: Well, I loved to swim. I was a very good swimmer.

Lisa: But you don’t swim now.

Grandma: No, I’ve gotten too old to swim. I also used to run. But I don’t do that anymore.

Lisa: What did you look like when you were young, Grandma?

Grandma: Well, now I have gray hair. But before I had gray hair, I had blonde hair.

Freddie: What color hair did Grandpa have?

Grandma: Grandpa had black hair. Grandpa liked to swim too.

Lisa: I didn’t know Grandpa could swim!

Grandma: He was much stronger when we were younger.

Grandma: This was the dance where Grandpa and I met. I was younger then.

Grandpa: When I was that age, I could dance all night.

Lisa: Did you and Grandma dance together?

Grandpa: We did. We don’t dance very much anymore.

Grandma: No, our knees don’t hold up like they used to.

Freddie: You have changed a lot since you were younger!

This lesson is part of the Level 5 English course.

Download Level 5 Course Manual