Handout in PDF format for students to practice writing sentences in the Preterit tense. They choose one box from each column to write their sentences and then they can mix and match to write additional sentences. Great exercise for them to become familiar with sentence structure.
Once I'm confident that they have the hang on sentence structure and I checked their sentences, I then request they string them all together to write a short composition. The title for the composition is basic "¿Qué hiciste tú, tu familia y amigos la semana pasada?" Since they're Novice-Mid I allow them to work with a partner. Like they say, two heads are better than one. This way they have double the amount of sentences to select ones that tie in nicely with the writing prompt.
After writing their compositions with their parter, they read them aloud to the class. This gives them an opportunity to practice pronunciation in the target language and also is a listening activity for the other students.
I have a digital recorder and I like to record them reading aloud their sentences in the beginning of the year, then mid year and again at the end of the year. It's a great way to access improvement in their speaking. If you don't have a digital recorder, you can use Google voice.
For grading students composition I use a rubric found online. Since two students worked together on the composition, it less grading since they're fewer compositions and both students get the same grade. If you have 24 students then you will only be grading 12 compositions. I also like to save them to show parents on Back to School night or conferences. Parents are always impressed that their child is writing compositions in a second language:
7.2.12.C.3 Use language creatively in writing for a variety of purposes.
7.4.12.A.5 Demonstrate comprehension of conversations and written information on a variety of topics.
7.4.12.C.3 Use language creatively to respond in writing to a variety of oral or visual prompts.
7.2.12.A.2 Demonstrate comprehension of spoken and written language as expressed by speakers of the target language in formal and informal settings through appropriate responses.
Please feel free to check out PPT for the Preterit: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Preterit-Tense-of-Regular-Irregular-Stem-Changing-verbs-873722
Please feel free to view Preterit Bundle