"A verb is like a bar of chocolate". This is my lesson title when I introduce the past tense in French or German.
Pupils need to understand about "breaking up" the verbs they will need (avoir and etre in French or haben and sein in German). A great way to demonstrate this is with a chocolate bars. I label one bar avoir and another etre. I then tear off the wrapping and break off the first piece. I say: "j'ai" and the second piece "tu as".
Pupils are all ears and by the end of the lesson we are able to form sentences: "Ich bin in die Stadt gegangen", "j'ai mange des frites"
Sara Sullivan is head of languages at Woodlands School, Basildon