I Did / What Did You Do?

Robert Rockwell, Debra Reichert Hoge, and Bill Searcy

Robert Rockwell, Debra Reichert Hoge, and Bill Searcy show kid-friendly ways for the practice of oral language skills in:
Linking Language: Simple Language and Literacy Activites Throughout the Curriculum

Four and five-year-olds often need practice in responding to questions like,"What did you do today?"This activity gives the teacher another avenue to promote children’s expressive language, based on the adult model of asking and answering questions. The children get extra practice as they share their creations with the entire class.

What you will need:

  • Drawing Paper
  • Crayons or paints
  • Pencil

Words you can use:

  • tell
  • describe
  • draw
  • picture
  • time references

What to do:

  • Model the sentence structure by saying, "I took a walk in the park yesterday. What did you do?"
  • After the children answer ask them to draw a picture of what they did.
  • Children make a picture of what they did and use inventive spelling or dictate their description of the activity. Write the dictation on the drawing.
  • Give the children an opportunity to describe their drawings to the class.
  • Display pictures in the room or corridor of the center. Children enjoy seeing their work on display and the opportunity to share their creations with family members at pick-up or drop-off time.


  • Use other situations such as "I went shopping last weekend. What did you do?" or "I read a book before I went to bed last night. What did you do?
  • Incorporate other wh questions such as who, where, why, when according to developmental appropriateness.

Questions to assess language development

    • Can children formulate thoughts and express past tense?
    • Can children respond to the question "What did you do?" verbally?
    • Can children describe their drawing of "What did you do?"
    • Do children listen as the teacher models "I did __________.

Literacy Connections

  • Birthday Presents by Cynthia Rylant
    Proud parents tell their daughter what they did each year on her birthday.
  • Friends at School by Rochelle Bunnett
    Using photographs of a real classroom, children tell what they do during one day at school.
  • From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
    Various animals move their bodies in different ways and ask the children, "Can you do it?"
  • When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis
    A four-year-old tells about things she did when she was younger and what she does now that she’s four.
  • – After reading From Head to Toe, let children move like different animals. Then have children tell how they moved and write or dictate this on a large sheet of paper. For example, "Sara clapped like a sea!." "Martin stomped like an elephant." Read the chart together. Hang the chart in the reading corner for children to read on their own.
  • – Have small blank books available with a title such as "Morning, Noon, and Night." Have children illustrate things they did the day before. Write their words for them below their illustrations. Read their books to them, and have them read to their classmates.
  • – Make a class book with a title such as "What Did You Do on Your Birthday?" Each child can illustrate something she did on her birthday. The teacher can take dictation using the child’s words.
  • – Encourage children to write, draw, or dictate in a journal each day. Help them think of answers to questions such as "What did you do? Who did you play/work with? Where did you have the most fun?"

This activity (excerpt) is taken from:
Linking Language: Simple Language and Literacy Activites Throughout the Curriculum
by Robert Rockwell, Debra Reichert Hoge, and Bill Searcy
Page 28. ISBN: 0876592027
© 1999. Gryphon House, Inc.