Teaching the past continuous tense, you need to do two things. First, you have to teach the form. Second, you need to teach the usage of this tense. In my experience, if you teach both at the same time, students get sloppy with the form. Once, you start to correct them, they get confused because they are not sure whether the form or the usage was wrong. That is why I think that you need to devote several lessons to the form before you teach the usage.
In this post, I would like to offer you a set of activities to help your learners learn the form of the past continuous tense and then you can move to the usage. In this post, you will find an infographic, a rap song and a game to teach the form of the past continuous tense.
Past continuous – RAP SONG
Now, ask the students to listen and complete the lyrics.
Students can check their answers in the last section of the worksheet.
Then, ask the students to do the exercise two. Students read the lyrics again and answer the questions.
At the end of this part, I always ask my students to learn the lyrics by heart. In this way, they have to remember the form correctly.
Past continuous – infographic
The second part of the infographic demonstrates the rule.
Explain the infographic and ask your students to write as many sentences as they can using the second part of the infographic. In this way, they will practise the form. I usually give a time limit and it is a competition who will write most sentences.
Past continuous – Battle Ships
Once students understand the rules, hand out the following worksheet. Each student hides 3 ships in their grid. They try to hit their partner´s ships before their partner hits theirs.
Recently I have spent quite a lot of time designing various speaking activities for my students. In this post I would like to share two speaking activities which help students practise the usage of the past continuous tense and of the modal verbs MUST, MUSTN´T and DON´T HAVE TO. I hope both of the activities will be useful.
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Past continuous tense – game
[showmyads] Students put six activity cards into the plan. Each activity goes into one square and they must not show their plan to anyone.
Then the students try to guess when the people were doing the activities. They ask in the following way:
A:Was Jane playing football?
B: Yes, she was.
A: Was she playing football at six o´clock?
B: No, she wasn´t. It is my turn.
Each student asks questions till their partner answers NO. Then they swap roles. The aim of each student is to guess all the activities and times in their partner´s plan. If a student guesses an activity and time, their partner removes the activity from their plan. The one who has no activities in their plan lost.
In my experience, students love this activity and it is a great way to practise the questions in the past continuous tense.
Modal verbs – board game
Here are the correct answers:
The rules of the game are simple. Each student has a counter and they throw a die. They move ahead. If they produce the sentence they land on correctly, they stay where they landed, if they don´t they move back to the Start.
Explain that the students have to produce sentences with the verbs MUST, MUSTN´T and DON´T HAVE TO only.
Speaking activities – Your Opinion
Which activity do you like better:
Yesterday a friend sent me a song he’d written that uses only the past simple and past continuous tenses. He asked me how I liked it, and I had to admit it was great. A few hours later I encountered a short explanation of the same grammar by Australiaplus.com, and I realised that I wanted to share both with my friends on the Internet. This post is the result.
[showmyads] In this post there is the song by Chris Barickman, a video explanation, an explanation by Australiaplus.com, an infographic and an interactive quiz.
Past simple and continuous – song
The lyrics worksheet:
Past continuous tense lyrics
Past simple and continuous – explanation
And here is another short explanation of the same grammar by Australiaplus.com:
Past simple and continuous – infographic
Past simple and continuous – quiz
The following quiz is in HTML 5 so it will play on all mobile devices and desktop computers. Your task is to choose the correct tense – either the past simple or the past continuous. Enjoy the games if you pass the tests.
The past continuous tense is one of the most graphical tenses in English. By “graphical” I mean that it is easy to demonstrate the difference between the past simple and past continuous tense in a video or in a short dramatic sketch. Unfortunately, I could not find a video demonstrating the difference betweent the two past tenses, and that is why I created one myself.
In addition to this video I created an infographic and an online quiz to practise the past continuous tense.
Past continuous – infographic
First, concentrate on the form. Explain that the students have to use the verbs WAS or WERE and the verb ending with -ing. Then explain how the negative and questions are formed.
If your students cannot create the -ing form properly, refer to the following post on the present continuous tense, which shows how the -ing verbs are formed.
Once you get to the usage of the past continuous tense, play the video. Play it twice and the second time stop the video and highlight the differences in the scenes and the tenses.
Past continuous – online quiz
If you want to play the online quiz in full screen click the button below.
Or you can use the flash version here:
Past continuous – share
Past continuous tense – links
There is also a good discussion of the past continuous tense at the British Council site.
And the last link is to the BBC Learning English site.
I have read a lot of articles and explanations about the past continuous tense. Here I try to sum up everything that I have learnt to a visually appealing mind map and under the map you can find three games to practise the tense. Let’s start with the mind map:
Here are three games to practise the grammar point:
The first game is called Penalty Shootout. In this game you should choose the correct past tenseand then try to score a goal. Good luck. To play this game, click the download button and then open the file in Adobe Reader. (The game will not play in a browser).
The second game is called Hoopshoot. Once again, you have to choose the correct answer and then try to score. To play this game, click the download button and then open the file in Adobe Reader. (The game will not play in a browser).
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