Teaching Newcomers (ELL) about Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

Every day I teach and review yesterday, today and tomorrow with my Newcomers. I begin by writing three sentences on the board.

    • Yesterday was ____________.
    • Today is ______________.
    • Tomorrow will be _____________.

I begin by asking, "What day is today?"  I may add some prompts like, "Is today Monday? Tuesday?" When the students know the correct day or the week, I write it in the blank. Sometimes I ask my Newcomers to write the day on the board.

Next I ask, "What day was yesterday?" This usually requires some body language to clarify yesterday as the day before today.  (Sometimes I point behind me for 'yesterday' and to my feet for 'today' and in front of me for 'tomorrow'.) Often I point to a calendar moving my finger backward from the current day to yesterday to improve understanding. Sometimes I say the days of the week to help my Newcomers. I write the correct day in the blank when students figure it out. 

Lastly, I ask. "What day will tomorrow be?" Again, I may point to the calendar and move my finger forward to the next day. When my students say the correct day I write the answer in the blank.

In addition to teaching the days I work on verb tenses: is (present), was (past),  and will be (future). We may practice saying present tense sentences such as, "Today I am going shopping." Likewise, if we are studying the past tense, we may practice oral past tense sentences like, "Yesterday I called my friend." Additionally, we work on future tense statements when we are studying the future tense.

Finally, my students often write these three sentences. This helps them to develop their handwriting, sentence skills and days of the week.

    • Yesterday was Wednesday.
    • Today is Thursday.
    • Tomorrow will be Friday.

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