After teaching present simple to my elementary students, we wrote a test and I collected the most common mistakes my students made. I analysed the mistakes and prepared games and exercises to help my students learn from their mistakes.
In this post there is an infographic with all the mistakes, their corrections and explanations. Then there is a worksheet with 4 exercises, two games and an online quiz to practise the most difficult aspects of the present simple tense.
Common mistakes – present simple – infographic
In the mind map there are all the wrong sentences, their corrections and in blue ink there is an explanation why the sentence was wrong.
Common mistakes – present simple – worksheet
Only after this activity I display the infographic and explain the mistakes.
Then it is time to hand out the following worksheet:
In the worksheet there are four exercises. The first one is slightly unusual. First the students have to decide where the verbs go and then they have to put the words into the correct order. The rest of the exercises are all standard exercises.
Common mistakes – present simple – games
The first game is called Penalty Shootout. In this game you should choose the correct form and then try to score a goal. Good luck.
As the game is in Flash, it will only play on desktop computers.
The following quiz can help your students practise the past simple tense at home. The quiz consists of two parts. In the first part, students should put the words into the correct order. In the second part, students have to put the verbs into the correct form. Students will be rewarded with a game after each part of the quiz they pass. The quiz is in HTML5, so it will play on all desktops and mobile devices.
Mistakes that students make should serve as an opportunity to learn. But more often than not students just look at or listen to your correction and pass the opportunity. And that is a pity. As I do not want my students to miss this precious opportunity any more I have come up with a lesson plan which does not allow the students just to pass the common mistakes they make in English, but gives them a fair chance to learn from them.
[showmyads] In this post you will find an infographic, a game and a worksheet with the most common mistakes my students made in their essays.
Common mistakes in English – beginning
Common mistakes in English – infographic
Then display the following infographic and explain the mistakes and the corrections.
You can hand out the infographic if you think your students might profit from it. Once you have explained everything (as we always do), it is time to give your students a chance to use the knowledge. Now they have to do the exercise 2 and complete the sentences with the words from the infographic.
At the end check their answers – be open to more than one correct answer.
Common mistakes in English – game
The mistakes students make are ideal for learning. They are much more complicated than any mistakes in textbooks and it is more motivating to correct your own mistakes. Moreover, students often make mistakes in areas not covered by textbooks or covered on a place which is remote from the time when the student makes the mistake. That is why I collect my students’ mistakes and try to deal with them.
[showmyads] This collection of mistakes comes from my students´ essays about their last holidays. I hope that they will help you or your students avoid these mistakes in the future.
Common mistakes – mind map
Common mistakes – games
[showmyadsa] The second games is a simple quiz. Answer the questions correctly and then play the game called Word boggle. All the answers are based on the mistakes from the mind maps above.
Common mistakes – Classroom ideas
Once most of the class have finished, I elicit the correct version of each sentence. It is a nice and really useful activity.
You can find some interesting activities connected to holidays at British Council pages.
If you prefer a game-like activities, there are several at British Council pages again.
Common mistakes – Share
Students make a lot of mistakes in present perfect tense. I have tried to collect the most typical ones and I have put them into a mind map and tried to explain the rules there. Moreover, I have added two games to give the students a chance to practice the grammar one more time.
To be able to form the present perfect tense correctly, it is necessary to know the past participles. Students can learn the past participles in the following posts:
Common mistakes – Mind map
In the first bubble there is the wrong sentence, then there is the correct sentence and at the end of each branch there is the explanation.
For teaching purposes it might be a good idea to leave the end of the branch empty and ask the students to come up with their own explanation. You can find the mind map here:
Common mistakes – Games
- bad knowledge of the past participles
- Not using has
- wrong subject in the answers.
If you feel that you have problems with the past participles I recommend the following video:
If you need more practise of past participles and irregular verbs go to Irregular verbs straightforward and Irregular verbs straightforward#2.
To deal with problems 2 and 3 I have prepared two games. The first one is an HTML5 quiz and your task is to answer the tasks correctly. At the end there is a game as a reward for your effort.
[showmyadsa] The second game is more game like, but it is in Flash and it will work only on your desktop. It is called On Target and your task is to answer the questions and then shoot the bad ducks.
By now you should know the grammar well.
Common mistakes – Share
This post is about common mistakes in English. There are two pieces of interesting research into learning and teaching English. One of them says that students learn more if someone else is corrected by the teacher than if they are corrected. The other found out that students learn and remember more vocabulary if the words are not connected in any way (they do not create so called lexical set).
Combining these two findings it seems logical that students could learn and remember a lot if they were presented with a haphazard collection of someone else’s corrected mistakes. So, during an exam I collected several mistakes which I will present in a mind map and correct them and explain. I hope that students will learn a lot from these.
The post contains a mind map and two games to give the students a chance to learn from the mistakes other students made.
Common mistakes – mind map
Here are six mistakes my students made during an exam. The mistakes are in the bubbles closest to the center. In the second bubble there is the correct version of the given sentence and there is an explanation at the end of each branch.
If you think you will never make these mistakes, you can try the following games:
Common mistakes – games
The first game is an HTML5 quiz. Try to choose only the correct sentences and if you pass the test you can play the game called Tower Defence. Both of these can be played on your mobile phone or iPad.
If you want to display the quiz in a new window click on the button below:
The second game will play only on your desktop as it is in Flash. It is called Hoopshoot and your task is to choose a correct sentence and then score a basket. Good luck.