Part of our Social Studies curriculum dealt with helping children understand the concepts past, present and future in relationship to themselves. I thought that lots of children generally understand this concept, but I wanted them all to be comfortable with the terms and have lots of practice, and find a way to assess their understanding.
I started out by bringing in 3 things that represented my own past, present and future. I brought a teddy bear that I had when I was a little girl, a photograph from a recent vacation, and a baby rattle to talk about wanting more grandchildren! I told a very simple story, using the terms past, present and future and showing the items I brought. Then I sent home a note and asked each child to bring in an item that shows their past, present and future.
Each child brought in their items on their Special Helper day and showing them fit right into our morning routine for a few weeks. This was great practice, not only for the child sharing the items, but also the whole class used and heard the terms over and over, and associated them with things they could relate to.
There were always a few children who forgot, or did not bring in their items on their special day. I usually sent home a reminder, or helped the children find things around our classroom so (s)he could participate.
After the children had all these opportunities to talk about past, present and future I made up a simple cut and paste project for them to sort items in the categories past, present and future. If a child glued something in the wrong column I usually asked them about it, and they usually had a reason that they made that choice!
I also tried to use the terms past, present and future occasionally in classroom discussions, just to reinforce the concepts.