La naturaleza - Grammar Lesson Plan [pdf] [doc]


El imperfecto - El árbol generoso

The Imperfect - The Giving Tree



Supplementary Materials

Vocabulario del árbol PowerPoint [pdf] [ppt]

Vocabulario del árbol handout [pdf] [doc]

Conjugation handout [pdf] [doc]

El Árbol Generoso handout [pdf] [doc]

Homework handout [pdf] [doc]

Teacher homework handout [pdf] [doc]


Teacher:           Señora Jansen

Title:                 El Árbol Generoso

Time:                50 minutes

Subject:            Spanish

Grade Level:     High School Spanish 1


First year Spanish students have already learned how to conjugate and use present tense verbs as well as the progressive tense.  Students have a basic vocabulary relating to family, classroom, and everyday life.   This unit will focus on the imperfect verb tense and literature settings relating to nature (La Naturaleza). 

The following unit will focus on the preterite and literature settings in urban areas (La Ciudad).


The goal of this lesson is to introduce students to the imperfect verb tense by reading a selection of the children’s story El Árbol Generoso (The Giving Tree).  Vocabulary will relate to La Naturaleza (nature).


At the end of this lesson, High School Spanish 1 students will be able to correctly conjugate ar & er/ir verbs in the imperfect, given specific sentence cues, pictures, a selection of verbs, and conjugation charts.

Illinois State Learning Standards


Comprehend illustrated stories, audio­visual programs or websites.


Identify main characters, settings and events from selected samples of children’s literature using audio and visual cues.


Copy/write words, phrases, and simple sentences
ACTFL Standards for Foreign Language Learning

Standard 1.2: Students understand and interpret written and spoken language on a variety of topics

Standard 5.2: Students show evidence of becoming life-long learners by using the language for personal enjoyment and enrichment.

Required Materials

1) El Árbol Generoso book 

2) Vocabulario del árbol PowerPoint 

3) Vocabulario del árbol handout

4) El Árbol Generoso handout                             

5) magnetized imperfect verbs               

6) conjugation handout                            

7) Poster board verb conjugations                     

8) Homework handout                  


Display El Árbol Generoso book.  Greet students.  Ask students if they can identify the book and if they know the name of the book in English.  ¿Cómo se llama el título del libro en ingles?

Tell students that we will be continuing to practice Naturaleza vocabulary.  Today, we will begin learning the imperfect verb tense (el imperfecto).  We’re going to read a short section of the book together as a class.

Explain that the imperfect is one of two main past tenses in Spanish.  It is mainly used to talk about things that happened in the past without specifying a beginning or ending.  It is usually translated in English as “I was _____ing” or “I used to _______” It is one of the easiest tenses.    Media #1 (5 min)

Major Activities

Tell students that there may be some unfamiliar vocabulary in the story.  Display the «Vocabulario del árbol» PowerPointand pass out the «Vocabulario del árbol» handouts.  Students are not required to learn this vocabulary; the Power Point and handouts are only there to help them comprehend the story.  Media #2, Media #3.  

Ask student to form a circle or semicircle with their desks.  Pass out El Árbol Generoso handout.  Explain that we will go in order reading each sentence in Spanish and trying to translate it in English.  Demonstrate the first page as an example. Media #4  
(ar&er/ir) on the board.   Media #5 (5-10 min)                                                   

After reading the story, call students’ attention to the lists of ar & er/ir verbs they created on the board.  Ask students what they notice about how the ar & er/ir forms differ.   Pass out the student conjugation handout and have students give input as the teacher fills out the poster board conjugation charts while students fill out their own.  Media #6, Media #7 (5 min)

Explain that there are only 3 irregular verbs in the imperfect: ser, ir, ver.  Draw three verb conjugation charts on the board and label them ser, ir, and ver.  Fill in the “yo” form of each chart: era, iba, veía.  Ask for three volunteers to attempt to complete the verb charts based on what they figured out for the ar & er/ir verbs. Check the charts for completion and ask students to copy the conjugations onto the back of their conjugation handout. (5 min)

Reiterate guidelines for the imperfect.  Read through the story again quickly to verify what the imperfect verbs mean.  Draw a wavy line on the board to emphasize that the imperfect does not demonstrate a specific action that occurred and a certain time.  Emphasize that imperfect actions do not have a clear beginning or ending.  Check for understanding, and assure students that we will continue to practice both forming the imperfect verbs and deciding when to use the imperfect tense. (5-10 min)

Divide the class into two teams.  Play Avalancha to practice conjugating the verbs in the imperfect. (10 min or less)

Closing Routines and Homework

Congratulate students on success with reading story and with figuring out how to form the imperfect.

Distribute homework handout.  Explain homework and demonstrate the first sentence.  Ask students to have it completed for the next class when we will continue to learn more about the imperfect.  Media # 8 (5 min)


The teacher will informally assess students while reading the story, creating the verb conjugations chart, and while playing Avalancha to determine if students are grasping the imperfect and what will need to be reinforced/repeated in future lessons.  The homework will also be used as formative assessment to determine if re-teaching or further instruction in some areas is necessary.

The teacher will evaluate the students’ homework for accurateness. 

Future Classes

The imperfect will be reinforced in future lessons through synoptic drills and games, a die conjugating game, writing exercises, and possibly acting out short stories.  The remainder of the book will be read during the preterite unit.


El Árbol Generoso by Shel Silverstein