One of my students has chosen the English name ‘Cherry’, so this song goes down well (especially when I try, and fail, to hit those high notes).
Now, down to business
Past tense – what is the past tense for:
eat // drink // see // become // live // travel // ride // sleep
Moving on – complete the sentence:
Last night I _____ Chinese food
Yesterday he ______ hot, sweet tea
She ______ all night
Marco Polo _______ famous for his travel stories.
He ______ from I___ to C________
In Thailand, Mr Paul _____ a large grey intelligent elephant.
Also he _____ many beautiful colourful temples
Now, past continuous
Make sentences using continuous form. Remember – verb + ing
What are they doing ? They are telling stories
Use flashcards. Have students ask and answer the questions. Call two students, one from each team and have them stand on a mark. Awards points for pronunciation as well as correct answers. Drill class to make sure everyone is taking part.
Next hand out six flashcards, three to each team.
Ask them, “What were you doing when I drank coffee ?” They must answer in the present continuous e.g. I was setting up the tent.
Finally, have a student mime an activity. Only that student’s team may answer.
Moving on, today’s subject is a reading exercise about exploring a cave. As a lead-in, show this video about a famous cave in Viet Nam:
Warm Up: A kinetic run ‘n’ write exercise. I will say a simple sentence in the present tense; students have to write the past tense. Class can be split into two or three, depending on size, each with a different colour marker.
You act in a play / I ride an elephant / She win a competition / He read a big book / We learn English /
In English, we often talk about what we were doing at some time in the past.
Last night I was in a café drinking coffee.
We show past tense by
1 a word or words that show the past e.g. Last night, yesterday, this morning
2 the past tense form of the verb e.g. I am = I was / he is = he was
Then we use a continuous verb to say what someone was doing i.e. verb+ing (playing, reading, working)
Last night he was in his room playing guitar.
Yesterday she was at school writing in her book.
Last week they were at a party singing songs.
How did the children feel ? They felt …
Now we can use past simple and past continuous:
When I came to class, the student was sleeping.
When I called my sister, she was studying insects.
When I found my friends, they were looking at the stars.
Now … Your turn
When I found my friends, they were …
To make your English more interesting, we can change the word order:
When I found my friends, they were collecting leaves
They were collecting leaves when I found my friends
NOTICE: no comma in the second sentence
Change the word order:
When I found my friends, they were identifying trees
When I found my friends, they were picking strawberries
When I found my friends, they were finding animal tracks
17th September for 23rd September. AEF 3 pp. 50 – 51
Last week, we covered past tense – simple, continuous and perfect. However, that is a lot to take in, especially for students who are not so confident. Looking at charts and learning the jargon can be daunting and far too theoretical.
This problem has long been identified and addressed; grammar, as theory, reduced to a minimal. Grammar, used in writing and more importantly speaking, maximised.
Therefore, my policy in this block of lessons (four per block) is to reduce book work, simplify the theory and try to allocate at least half the lesson to student-talking time.
Last night’s lesson seemed to work well; the Socratic approach which makes the students collect information and then collate it into a presentation. This was followed by students reading to each other in small groups, with some useful expressions to use … and repeat and repeat and …yeah, you get the idea.
Let’s go to work !
But first, back to basics. Some students are not fluent in the three forms of basic verbs:
Grammar – verb practice
Here’s the 15 most common:
infinite \ present // past // past participle (verb 3)
Regular verbs, just add -‘ed’. However, as you see, in this list only one common verb, ‘want’, is regular.
NOTE: ‘to be’ is different: I am hungry You are hungry She is hungry.
Now, practice: In groups of three or four, they have to ask each other questions in order to feel more natural using the past tense. Lets’s start simply with the simple past:
What did you do today ?PAST SIMPLE
Each student takes turns describing their day. Always give ideas, as some students spent too much time thinking of what to say, whereas the purpose is to speak.
I will also board: buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework
To make it more interactive, the students can ask follow-up questions, such as, “What did you eat for lunch ?”, “What time did you start school ?”, “How did you get to work or school ?” etc. Groups can monitor each other to make sure past tense is being used properly.
NEXT: Past Continuous. Subject was doing something in the past ….
Example: Last night I was listening to T-ara:
However, we usually use past continuous to say we were doing something WHEN something new happened.
EXAMPLE: I was listening to T-ara when someone knocked on my door.
The structure is Subject + was or were + verbing, followed by past simple
Try this: dream // alarm clock ring
He was dreaming when the alarm clock rang.
Now – practice: Make a sentence from these pairs of photos:
Finally, the past perfect. Two things happened in the past, one before the other.
The students ‘met’ Dr Kafka last week.
Dr Franz Kafka had lived all his life in Prague until he moved to Berlin in the 1920s.
Subject + has or had + verb 3 then use past simple.
John Lennon – in The Beatles / goes solo in 1970
Dali – paint over 1 500 paintings / dies 1989
Bringing it closer to home, Bac Ho (Uncle Ho Chi Minh) – work London / meet these young Germans.
Finally, for presentation, the students can be arranged in four groups (draw playing cards so students work with new partners). I will give them ten minutes to work together and make a short presentation, with all members speaking, about the above four historical figures. Those who draw Ho Chi Minh should have an advantage, so I will be expecting more from them.
Presentations should include:
Date and place of birth.
Why there are famous
Give examples of their most famous works or activities
Where they lived
When and how they died.
ALSO – why we should remember them.
Then, I will turn to the books and hand-outs, before returning to some speaking practice before the end.
From watching the Vietnamese beer review, we learnt more expressions:
Let’s dive in = let’s go, let’s start !
more than likely = everyday expression meaning very possible
whatsoever – used to strengthen a sentence (“The beer has no taste whatsoever.”)
head = the white foam on top of a beer
aroma – the smell, usually for wine or coffee
Quick warm up game: use those words in a sentence. Try to use extended sentences including clauses.
For example: As it’s the rainy season, it will more than likely rain tomorrow.
Now for a relative pronoun and supporting clause:
The young blonde entrepreneur, who was convinced his idea was genius, left the meeting empty-handed.
Students can work together to come up with three sentences including one with a supporting clause.
Quick grammar review – there were some concerns about using past simple and present continuous n the same sentence:
Were you wearing the new tie when you met the manager ?
Here, everything is in the past tense (were / met) BUT we use the continuous ‘wearing’ because we were doing something at that time. Furthermore, we only use one past tense verb (here ‘were’ serves as the first past tense verb).
Did you go (swim) this morning ?
We ate pancakes and John was (talk) all the time
I saw a film and my girlfriend went (shop)
When did you start (learn) Mandarin ?
Then we covered some personality adjectives in an activity but time was against us, and we’ll carry on at the start of this lesson. I have five friends and the students have to guess their personality and occupation. Naturally, they don’t know them, so they have to use phrases such as:
In my opinion / for me / I feel that / he appears to be / I get the impression that he … / he looks like …
Personality adjectives: Positive – mature / reliable / dependable / confident / life and soul (of the party) / generous
Negative – over -confident (hubris) / aloof / arrogant / mean (nasty or not generous) / awkward / bossy.
Occupations: estate agent
consultant (here the lady, who is of Asian origin, is a recruitment consultant).
Speaking practice. The handout is dialogue used in a coffee shop, which means I get to use one of my favourite clips, from ‘Twin Peaks’ :
Here’s a great chance to use words such as ‘aroma’, atmosphere’, ‘crowded’, ‘comfortable’, ‘free wifi’, and then types of coffee
And them onto today’s set lesson. If time allows, we can use some left-over activities from last week, namely the desert survivial:
Two teams, both have a number of items to help them survive in the desert after a plane crash. From the list of 18, they have to choose just 5. They must learn and practice negotiation language such as:
I see your point
I respectfully disagree
That’s an interesting choice, however …
You’re argument is not without value, having said that …
Activity – small talk. A list of general topics and the students have to try to keep the conversation going as long as possible. As with all speaking exercises, give examples or models first:
What do you do ? // I’m a student . // Really ? Where do you study ? What do you study ? How do you find you class ? What do you like best about your university ? What are the biggest challenges ?