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ESL HOW-TO FRESH IDEAS actionable

33 bite-size teacher-tested tips & advice


print-friendly ideas and in- youll want to
how-to articles structions in start using our
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important ESL understand ately - they are
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ESL
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shee t s
EV ERY T H I N G YO U N E E D T O K N O W A B O U T
T EA C H I N G E N G L I S H g r a m m a r :

3 3 p R I N T -F R I E N D LY G U I D ES

HOW TO TEACH DEGREES


OF COMPARISON
It has probably been a while since your students
have thought about the vocabulary you plan to
use for this lesson, so its important.. . PAGE 10
GRAMMAR EDITION

CONTENTS
GRAMMAR EDITION vs Present Perfect to Teach Reported
Speech: Alternative
3-4 General: 5 New 19 Word Order: How to Approach
Fun Ways to Teach Teach Word Order.
Grammar to ESL Help Them Remember 31 Numbers: How to Teach
Students the Patterns Ordinal Numbers in 5
Easy Steps
5 Present Simple: How
to Teach the Present 20 Past Perfect: How to 32 Gerund vs. Infinitive:
Simple Tense Teach the Past Perfect Gerund vs. Infinitive:
Tense How to Explain the
6-7 Present Simple: How Difference
to Teach Present 21 Present Perfect: How
Simple to Complete to Teach Present 33 Pronouns: How to
Beginners Perfect. Activities and Teach Personal
Examples Pronouns
8 Past Simple: How to
Teach Past Simple: 22 Present Perfect: How to 34 Modal Verbs: How to
Regular/Irregular Teach Present Perfect. Teach Modal Verbs: 4
Verbs Alternative Approach Simple Steps

9 Past Simple: How to 23 Present Perfect: 35 Questions: How to


Teach the Past Simple Present Perfect Teach Question
Tense Verb to Be Mystery: How to Teach Structures
For and Since
10 Comparison: How to 36 Imperative: How to
Teach Degrees of 24 Future Simple: How Teach the Imperative
Comparison to Teach the Simple Form
Future Tense
11-12 Comparison: How to 37 Pronouns: How to
Teach Comparatives 25 Passive Voice: How to Teach Relative
and Superlatives Teach Passive Voice Pronouns
Constructions
13 Present Continuous: 38 Used To/Would: How to
How to Teach the 26 Passive Voice: How Teach Used To and
Present Continuous to Teach the Passive Would
Tense Voice While Being
Active! 39 General: How To Teach
14 Present Continuous: Boring Grammar
How to Teach 27 Future Continuous: Points: 7 Quick Proven
Present Continuous: How to Teach the Tips
Alternative Approach Future Continuous
Tense
15 Past Continuous: How
to Teach the Past 28 Present Perfect
Continuous Tense Continuous: How to
Teach the Present
Perfect Continuous
16 Future Perfect: How Tense
To Teach the Future
Perfect Tense 29 Reported Speech: How
to Teach Reported
17-18 Past Simple vs. Speech - Statements
Present Perfect: How
To Teach Past Simple 30 Reported Speech: How

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
5 New Fun Ways to Teach
Grammar to ESL Students
M ention the word grammar and students
will cringe. In fact, most teachers will
cringe, too.

Of course, teachers know correct grammar rules, but its


one thing to know them, and another thing to effectively
teach them, and transmit them so that students not only
understand the rules, but also apply them correctly.

In my experience, grammar shouldnt be taught by the


book. At least not in teaching English as a second lan-
guage. Thats not what students are there for. They dont
want to know all of these rules, theyre not interested in
them. They want to learn English. They want to speak,
read, and write in English. So, how do we as ESL teach-
ers teach them essential grammar and give them what we
need, rather than boring them to death with the rules.
Its actually quite simple: by teaching grammar in context.
And in fun ways.

Lets move on to some examples, and youll see what I


mean.

H ow to teach the ever-elusive past perfect


tense

Yes, its hard to find an ESL student who spontaneously


uses the past perfect tense. In fact, there are some native
English speakers who dont use it either (along with other
forms of correct English). But it must be taught, never
overlooked, or your students will be lacking something that
they need to take their English fluency to the next level.
So, how can we teach the past perfect tense so that it
may be fully grasped by our students? Here are the steps:

Go to OurTimeLines.com where you may generate your


personalized timeline and see when major historical
events took place throughout your life. For example, if
you were born in 1971, youll see that the Internet was
invented when you were 2.

Show students your timeline (or anyone elses) and set up


the past perfect like this: Sam, the Vietnam War ended
in 1975. I was born in 1971. You were born in 1995. So,
when you were born, the Vietnam War had ended 20
years earlier. When I was born it hadnt ended yet.

Give as many examples as you like, go over briefly how


the past perfect tense is formed (had plus past partici-
ple) and make sure they understand youre talking about
two events that took place in the past, but one before the
other - then, have students come up with examples of
their own using the timeline.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
Once they are comfortable using the past perfect in affirmative sentences, So, take the cringing out of
move on to examples with questions - then have them ask each other ques- grammar lessons, and put some fun
tions: Laura, when you started primary school, had terrorists attacked the into them. Youll see that your stu-
World Trade Center? dents learn much faster, too.

Save the timeline because it will come in handy to practice the past perfect
in passive voice. Naturally, timelines are great for many tenses, like the
simple past or the passive voice.

A ction!

Nothing shakes them up better than getting them out of their seats.
When you see your students daydreaming, not paying attention, or simply
bored, tell them to get up and form a circle. Now, this simple exercise works
great to teach numerous grammar points, but heres an example:

Say you want your students to practice the simple past of regular or irreg-
ular verbs. Grab a small ball or bean bag and say a verb out loud, toss
the ball to a student who will have to say its past form. He or she tosses
the ball back to you and you choose another student. Whenever a student
makes a mistake, he or she has to leave the circle. The last student left
standing gets a reward sticker or other prize. You can say a sentence in
affirmative, and they have to supply a question, or vice versa. this activity
can be adapted to any grammar point.

C elebrity Profiles

An awesome way to teach and practice any verb tense is through


biographies. Try this activity to contrast the simple past and present perfect
tenses. Find out which celebrities or sports stars your students admire.
Then find a short biography or write one yourself summarizing a celebri-
tys main achievements. Read the bio with your students and make sure
they understand the differences. Point out examples that clearly illustrate
this: He starred in his first hit film in 1985. But he has worked in 20 hit
films throughout his career.

C elebrity Photos

Another way in which you can use your students interest in certain
celebrities. Cut out celebrity pics from entertainment magazines (in fact, I
recommend stocking up on a big pile of photos to use in a variety of activ-
ities). Use these pictures to teach comparatives and superlatives: Katie
Holmes is taller than Tom Cruise., Shakira is more talented than Ricky
Martin., and it works great with comparative adverbs: Shakira dances
better than Ricky, too.

A or an?

This activity works great with beginners, including small children. Cut
up a list of several words that either take a or an and mix them up. For
very young learners, you may use pictures instead of words. Then divide
students into pairs of groups, and have them put the words in two piles,
depending on the article. Once they have their piles ready, ask them if they
can figure out the rule by themselves.

By far the best ways to teach any type of grammar is through the use of
either realia or real life settings and contexts. Why would a student be moti-
vated to learn the conditional tenses if he has no idea why hes learning
them, in other words, he doesnt understand when and where hell have
use for them? When teachers use real life settings and objects students
will know the grammar structures they learn will be useful for them.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Present Simple
Tense
When teaching the Present Simple John (to teacher): You live in T: Alex reads the New York Times.
the ultimate goal is to make sure your Queens, too. He doesnt read USA Today.
students understand that its used to T: Sally, you have a dog.
describe routines, habits, daily activities, Sally (to teacher): You have a Ask students to do the same by using
and general truths. Also important is the cat. the information previously shared by
contrast between the Present Simple their classmates.
and the Present Progressive. This series Split your students up into pairs and
of steps will guide you towards teaching
the Present Simple and covers function,
conjugation, and form.
have them give each other statements
in the second person singular. 8 Introduce Present Simple
Questions

How To Proceed 4 Introduce Present Simple


Third person singular
Make a statement about your-
self. Then ask a student a ques-
tion to introduce do. Say: I walk to

1 Introduce an action

Pick up a newspaper and pretend


Say: I read the New York Times. Sarah
reads USA Today. Make sure students
notice that youve added the s for the
school. John, do you walk to school?
Walk around the classroom asking stu-
dents questions and teaching them to
to read it. Ask your students what youre 3rd person singular. Give more exam- answer, Yes, I do or No, I dont. Do
doing. Theyll say, Youre reading a ples with other students, and introduce the same for all persons except 3rd
newspaper. the irregular verbs: John goes to work at person singular.
8. Sally has lunch at 1. Students provide
T: What newspaper am I read-
ing?
S: Youre reading The New York
more examples from the information
previously shared by their classmates. 9 Introduce Present Simple
Questions (third person
singular)
Times.
5 Do the same for the plural
persons Contrast students habits. Make a state-

2 Introduce Present Simple -


First person singular Ask who lives in Queens and ask them
to stand up. Then point to yourself and
ment about one, then ask about another
student. Say: John walks to school.
Does Sarah walk to school? Walk
Tell your students, I read The New those standing and say: We live in around the classroom asking questions
York Times every day. Make a list of Queens. Ask who lives in the Bronx and with does, and teach students to answer
the things you do every day as a routine: ask them to stand up. Address those Yes, he does No, he doesnt.
who are standing and say: You live in
I have breakfast at 7.
I go to work at 9.
I have lunch at 12.
the Bronx. Point to your group and say,
We live in Queens. Ask who lives in
Manhattan and point to that group and
10 E x pand and prac-
tice: Present Simple
Excercises.
I go home at 5. say: They live in Manhattan.
I watch TV before dinner. Practice all persons and forms. Ask

Make sure your students understand


that you do this on a daily or weekly
6 Introduce Present Simple
Negative
open-ended questions. Introduce more
verbs.

basis, these are habitual actions. Go Make a statement in the affirmative, then Where do you live?
around the class and have students make one in negative with dont. Say: Where does she work?
tell you what they do everyday or what How many languages do you
some of their habits are. They should I live in Queens, I dont live in the Bronx. speak?
give more examples in the first person
singular. Ask students to do the same present- Obviously, you dont have to follow all
ing first an affirmative, then a negative. of these steps in one single lesson: you

3 Introduce Present Simple


Second person singular
Practice all persons except the third
person singular.
can spread them over the course of a
week to make sure your students have
plenty of time to practice the Present
Say: I read the New York Times. Sarah,
you read USA Today. Go around the
class giving examples like, I go to work
7 Introduce Present Simple
Negative (third person
singular)
Simple exercises in all its forms.

at 9. You go to school. Face each of


your students and state a general truth: Make a statement about a student,
then make one in negative form using
T: John, you live in Queens. doesnt.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Present Simple to
Complete Beginners
At the outset new students are convinced that you need first names only. Its much answer correctly and move pairs around
that they cannot communicate in English more friendly. to incorporate group practice. Ask and
at all, but by the end of this lesson they report back their findings. Teacher asks
will hopefully be able to confidently intro- Now introduce family names. Write group members as a whole and then calls
duce themselves to anyone they meet in your name on the board Angelo. Then randomly on specific students e.g. What
a simple and yet meaningful way. present the full sentence My name is does Manuel do? Response Hes an
Michael Angelo. Advise your students engineer. Practice/drill articles a and
How To Proceed that this is the standard format in English, an.
as there are cultural differences e.g. in

1 Introduction

There is no warm up activity to intro-


Japan the surname precedes the given
name. Repeat the exercise with all the
students - Whats my name? Get full and
7 Describing where you live

Ask your students Where do I live?


duce any grammatical term or vocabulary. abbreviated answers. Repeat many times Use body language and drawings to show
Assume that your students have limited around the class. your homes location. The students prob-
linguistic knowledge, or none whatsoever. ably dont know, so you want them to ask
Write the substitution tables on the board.
Get it right from the start. Make sure they
have a model to practice and follow.
4 Practice Time

Whats his name? Whats her


and therefore elicit the question Where
do you live? Demonstrate on the board
the word order. The name of your street,
Maybe they know the structures already name? Get students up and doing a min- etc. -the smallest place first village/
but its good to reinforce the grammar and gling activity. Get them to report back to town/city. Get students to ask their part-
if they are real novices they will need to you the names they have learned. This is ners and then practice by doing a milling
follow your guidance. Keep it basic. You fun, practical and breaks the ice in a new activity. Get feedback. Students report
are teaching the verbs to be and to do group. Can they remember the people back where the other students live. She
only which will form the foundations of they have been introduced to? This is the lives in ___. Be alert because the prepo-
their learning. time to check. Practice for as long as you sition is often missed or dropped
feel necessary. Dont assume they have

2 Pre-teach Pronouns

Ensure they know pronouns or you


mastered this first step easily, as you will
often find later that the elementary work
is quickly forgotten.
8 Introduce hobbies

What do you do in your free time?


will be wasting a lot of valuable time. Use Elicit hobbies vocabulary from students
gestures, mime, pictures etc. to elicit or
re-iterate grammar outlines. 5 Review on the Board

Ensure you match your spoken prac-


and write on the whiteboard. Have pic-
tures/ flashcards etc. Use gestures and
mime. Have fun but focus on simplicity.
There is often confusion with the mascu- tice with written examples. Do concept
line/feminine form. Teach I am. You are checking for your question practice. Like/do/enjoy differences in nuance
(singular). He/She/It is. We are. You are. Whats his name? Show contractions will pass over their heads at this level.
They are (plurals). Show contractions on the board. His name is ___ or Hes Concentrate on the verb to be as before
Im etc. ___. Ask your group to chorally answer/ only at this stage and give models through
move around the class and ask students presentation. My hobby is tennis etc. Get

3 Eliciting Names randomly. students to ask their partners. Ensure


there is feedback time to the group and
You write your name on the white-
board. First name only. Ask your students 6 Explaining Jobs the teacher.

Whats my name? What is my name?


Repeat. You may get a whole host of
answers Michael/You are Michael/Youre
Ask the class What do I do? Whats
my job? As students answer, make sure
you write the answer on the board for
9 Consolidation of Material
Learned

Michael/Your name is Michael/Mr Michael/ future reference. You are an English Write the 4 questions on the whiteboard
Teacher Michael etc. Correct the errors Teacher. Get them to repeat and point and model answers.
and write clearly on the board My name out the an article if it has been omitted.
is Michael. I am Michael. Im Michael Ask all the students individually What do 1. Whats your name?
Teacher models Q & A. Ask all the stu- you do? You may not be able to elicit, 2. What do you do?
dents their names going randomly so you will have to introduce the relevant 3. Where do you live?
around the class. Make sure that there is vocabulary. It would be useful to have 4. What do you do in your free time?
plenty of movement and friendly gesturing pictures, or flashcards of popular jobs to
with an open hand. No pointing. Get your provide a point of reference especially Drill the students chorally and individ-
students motivated and animated. Stress for visual learners. Get your students to ually. Questions followed by answers/

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
alternate roles/ask randomly. Ensure spotting/correcting. Focus on fluency Hello. My name is ___.
that the students are quite clear on the rather than accuracy, unless mistakes Im a/an ___.
4 questions and there are no errors are too blatant. I live in ___.
in their answers. Practice and repeat My hobby is ___.
as necessary. Give feedback and Final error rectification and exam-
rectify errors using examples on the pling on the board before stu- Aim for fluency rather than accuracy,
whiteboard. dents must act independently. as this is a big step and a major accom-
plishment for absolute beginners.

10 Li v e P ractice
Feedback
and

11 Brief I ndi v id u a l
P resentation and
Randomly ask students any of
the 4 questions. Assign home-
Students must introduce themselves to Closure work practice and advise that
everyone in the class. Set the scenario the next lesson will begin with
with mime etc. Imagine you are at a The students introduce them- the self-introductions covered.
party and meeting for the first time. You selves to the class using the 4 sen- Stand at the door and ask stu-
must talk to all your class members. tences learned and practiced. dents 1 of the 4 questions, as
Teacher walks around monitoring and they exit to give them a sense of
giving assistance when required. Error real achievement.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Past Simple:
Regular/Irregular Verbs
Were often told we should put the
past behind us, not dwell in the past,
etc. However, ESL students must do
3 Introduce the Past Simple of
irregular verbs 6 Introduce the Past Simple
Interrogative forms

just that: to learn the Simple Past Give an example in Present Simple: Model questions with did:
tense. As they learn that regular verbs I have lunch at 12 every day. Lead in
simply need an ed suffix, they jump to Past Simple: Yesterday I had lunch T: Did you come to school yester-
for joy. This is not so hard!, they think. at 12. Write this on the board. Give day?
Then we hit them with the endless lists more examples with irregular verbs S: Yes./No.
of irregular verbs to study, and their and write each verb in its past form T: Ask me!
enthusiasm deflates like a balloon on the board. S: Did you come to school yes-
before your very eyes. Dont add to terday?
the confusion. T: Yesterday I spoke to a friend.
We went to the movies. We saw Continue with more questions from
Follow these steps to teach Eclipse. My friend ate popcorn. I students. Model questions with what
the Past Simple and keep your drank soda. time, where, when, why, etc.Write
students right on track: examples on the board. First, they ask
Make sure students understand you, then they ask classmates, then
that the past form is the same for all they ask a classmate about another
How To Proceed persons. Give as many examples with classmate (What did Bobby do last
irregular verbs as needed. night?), and so on. Make sure they ask

1 Introduce the Past Simple of


regular verbs
4 Practice the Past Simple of
irregular verbs
questions in both singular and plural.
If they are unsure as to how to ask a
question, model it for them first.
Give an example in Present Simple:
I talk to my sister everyday. Lead in
to Past Simple: Yesterday, I talked
to her. Write this on the board. Give
Go around the class and make state-
ments in Present Simple, which stu-
dents must change to Past Simple:
7 Introduce the Past Simple -
Short answers

more examples with regular verbs and Ask Yes/No questions and teach stu-
write each verb in its past form on the T: I usually drink orange juice dents to give short answers:
board. for breakfast. S: Yesterday you
drank orange juice. T: Did you come to school yester-
T: I visited her. We watched TV. day?
She cooked lunch. We listened to
music. 5 Introduce the Past Simple
Negative forms
S: Yes, I did./No, I didnt.

Students ask classmates Yes/No


Make sure students understand Say, Yesterday I talked to John. I questions, and classmates reply with
that the past form is the same for all didnt talk to Sarah. Give more exam- short answers.
persons. Give as many examples with ples alternating between affirmative
regular verbs as needed. and negative statements:
8 Provide extended practice

2 Practice Past Simple of


regular verbs
Sarah had lunch at 12. She didnt
have lunch at one. You went to
the gym yesterday. You didnt go
Tell students that the best way
to learn which verbs are regular and
irregular, and remember the past form
Go around the class and make state- to the movies. of irregular verbs is through lots of
ments in Present Simple, which stu- practice and not necessarily memo-
dents must change to Past Simple: And so on with all persons, singular rization. Ask them to write about their
and plural. Write the negative form last vacation for homework. Have them
T: I sometimes walk in the park. on the board. Then have students do give a presentation on what people
S: You walked in the park yester- the same, always alternating between did 100 years ago. But no matter what
day. affirmative and negative statements. you choose to do, just make sure your
students practice the Past Simple in
Nows a good time to practice the dif- context, and not by memorizing lists of
ferent pronunciations of the ed past verbs. Its the best way to learn!
form.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Past Simple
Tense Verb to Be
To be or not to be? is the question pon- Get all of those who were at home T: Were you at school last night?
dered by the melancholy Hamlet. On the together and say, We were at home. S: Yes, I was./No, I wasnt.
other hand, an ESL teacher might ask: Do the same for you (pl.) and they: If time allows, ask them to provide
how do I teach the Simple Past of the John and Tom, you were at the gym. more complete answers.
verb to be, without needlessly confus- Bobby and his cousin were at a friends T: Were you at school last night?
ing my students? Its all rather simple. house. They were there till 6 pm. Give S: Yes, I was./No, I wasnt. I was at
as many examples as needed to make home.
Follow the step by step process out- sure students grasp the conjugation.
lined below, and dont move on to next
step until youre sure your students have
mastered the one youre currently on. 5 Introduce the Past Simple
of the verb to be Negative
8 Provide lots of extended
practice

forms Try giving your students a few work-


How To Proceed sheets to review what theyve learned.
Say, Yesterday at this time, I was at On BusyTeacher.org you will find plenty

1 Introduce the Past Simple of


the verb to be - First person
singular
home. I wasnt at school. Give more
examples alternating between affir-
mative and negative statements:
of various exercises that ask students to
complete affirmative and negative sen-
tences, as well as write questions.
Sarah, you were at home. You
Begin by asking your students, Where werent at the gym. John was at the For practical purposes, the examples
am I? They should answer, Youre gym. He wasnt at school. And so on above all cover location (at home/at
in class/at school. Introduce the Past with all persons, singular and plural. school). But you may also practice the
Simple of the verb to be like this: simple past of the verb to be with feel-
Then have students do the same, ings (I was happy/sad), the weather
T: Yesterday at this time, I was at always alternating between affirmative (Yesterday was sunny/hot/windy), or
home. and negative statements. opinions (The movie was good/bad/
great), just to name a few options.
Go around the class, and have students
take turns saying where they were the
previous day in the first person singular.
6 Introduce the Past Simple of
the verb to be Interrogative
forms

2 Introduce the Past Simple of


the verb to be - Third person
singular
Model questions like this:

T: Where were you at 10 oclock


last night?
Go around the class and say where S: I was at home.
each student was, giving examples T: Ask me!
in the third person singular: Sarah S: Where were you at 10 oclock
was at home. John was at the gym. last night?
Bobby was at a friends house. Etc...
Continue with more questions from stu-
Students continue by saying where dents. Encourage them to ask what time,
some of their family members were: My where, when, why, etc. First, they ask
mom was at home. My dad was at work. you (second person singular, then they
My sister was at the park. ask classmates, then they ask a class-
mate about another classmate (Where

3 Introduce the Past Simple


of the verb to be - Second
person singular
was Sheila last night?), and so on.

Make sure they ask questions in all


persons, both singular and plural. If they
Go around the class and now make are unsure as to how to ask a question,
statements in the second person sin- model it for them first.
gular, addressing each student: Sarah,
you were at home. John, you were at the
gym. Each student points to one class-
mate and says where he or she was.
7 Introduce the Past Simple
of the verb to be Short
answers

4 Do the same for the plural


persons
Ask yes or no questions and teach stu-
dents to give short answers:
How to Teach
Degrees of Comparison
Teaching degrees of comparison er ending of each comparative form highest number in that category would
will take several lessons. Your and explain the comparative structure. make a sentence and keep the cards,
students should have a good Your students already have most of it and the winner would be the student
grasp of comparison related figured out at this point so after some with the most cards at the end of the
vocabulary such as tall, short, big, pronunciation practice or drilling, let game. You could also change the
small, fast, slow, etc and initially, them give it a try. game entirely or use one card game in
your lessons should revolve the first superlative class and change
around only about ten or twelve
of these. If students perform
well using the set of words you
3 P ractice / P rod u ction
- Comparative
it for the second class if students are
really enjoying them.

have chosen, you can add more


vocabulary later.
Worksheets can help your students
practice but a more enjoyable way to
practice degrees of comparison is to
6 Production Combine!

After doing some short practice


play a card game. Students should activities of both comparative and
How to Proceed play in groups of three to five. You superlative forms that have already
can make decks of between thirty and been covered, introduce one or two

1 Warm up Review

It has probably been a while since


fifty cards where each card has an
animal, for instance, and statistics for
that animal such as height, speed, etc.
vocabulary words that use more and
most to create their comparative and
superlative forms. Make sure all the
your students have thought about the There are many games you can play vocabulary words as well as their com-
vocabulary you plan to use for this with a deck such as this one. Have stu- parative and superlative forms are
lesson so it is important to review their dents shuffle and deal all the cards. written on the board before conducting
meaning and pronunciation. You can Explain that the student whose turn it a combination exercise. A board game
do this by conducting a warm up activ- is should choose a category such as of boxes leading from start to finish
ity such as crisscross or by asking for height, he and the student sitting to his would be ideal for groups of three or
volunteers to give you the definitions of left should each play a card, and the four. A turn would consist of a student
words, spell words on the board, or use student whose animal is taller should rolling a die, moving her piece, and cre-
words in a sentence. At the end of this say The ~ is taller than the ~. or more ating a sentence based on the image in
activity there should be two columns of simply My animal is taller than yours. the square she landed on. This game
words on the board. With the sample That student now gets to keep both should use both the comparative and
vocabulary above, the columns would cards and the student with the most superlative forms of each vocabulary
look like this. cards at the end of the game, is the word. The first student to reach the last
winner. square wins.
tall short
big small
fast slow 4 Introduce Superlative

Usually the following class would


7 Review

The card game and board game


The two columns should have enough focus on superlative forms. They can require your students to do a lot of
space between them for you to write be introduced in much the same way speaking so they have practiced exten-
their comparative and superlative you introduced the comparative struc- sively by the time they have finished.
forms. ture. Emphasize the est ending and A short quiz will check your students
conduct some choral repetition as pro- understanding of the degrees of com-

2 Introduce Comparative

Introduce comparative struc-


nunciation practice. Continue to use
the same set of vocabulary.
parison and determine if further review
is necessary.

tures to your students without explain-


ing them first. Play a short true or
false trivia game saying sentences like
5 Practice Superlative

Practice activities such as work-


Degrees of comparison are often
easy to introduce and fun for stu-
dents to practice. Since students
Russia is bigger than England. Use sheets or card games would be appro- already understand the meaning
hand gestures to suggest the meaning priate for the superlative form too. of the vocabulary they are using
of each new word and try to have a Worksheets could include fill in the in these lessons, it is much easier
student translate the sentence before blank, matching, and write your own for them to grasp than other struc-
asking whether it is true or false. Use sentences sections. The card game tures where new vocabulary is
the comparative form of each vocabu- above could be adapted to prac- introduced. Including comparative
lary word in a trivia question and write tice superlative. Students could all or superlative forms in later activi-
it down next to the word as you go. put down a card after the category ties will help keep them fresh in
At the end of the game, underline the is announced, the student with the your students minds.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Comparatives
and Superlatives
Comparisons are odious says the Make sure students understand that
old proverb, but in an ESL class they one. Its also wider than the the superlative is formed by making
are also very necessary. And as brown one. the last consonant double and adding
there is not set rule for all adjectives, -est. Students say which months are
we must make sure students learn Make sure students understand that the hottest, the wettest, the coolest,
everything they need to know about the comparative is formed by add- the warmest, etc. in your city and
comparatives and superlatives. ing an r. Students compare the other others.
pieces of furniture.

How To Proceed Point to three different sofas and


introduce the superlative: 4 introduce the compar-
ATIvE AND SuPERlATIvE

1 introduce the compar-


ATIvE AND SuPERlATIvE
forms for one sYllable ad-
T: The red sofa is nicer than the
brown one, but the blue one is the
FORMS FOR TWO SyllAblE
ADJECTIvES ENDING IN y
Discuss feelings to introduce the
nicest of the three.
JECTIvES comparative:
Make sure students understand that
Show your students an illustration
the superlative is formed by adding T: I am happy when I visit a
of people of different heights, or ask
-st. friend, but Im happier when its
three students to stand up. Intro-
Students say which pieces of furni- her birthday.
duce the comparative of one syllable
ture they think are the nicest, or the
adjectives:
widest. Make sure students understand that
the comparative is formed by replac-
T: Juan is tall, but Mario is taller
than Juan. Juan is shorter than
Mario.
3 introduce the compar-
ATIvE AND SuPERlATIvE
forms for one sYllable ad-
ing the y with an i and adding er.

Students compare their feelings in a


variety of situations. Encourage them
Make sure students understand that Jectives endinG in conso- to use everything theyve learned so
for these adjectives the comparative nant-vowel-consonant far about comparisons.
is formed by adding -er. Students
compare their heights. Show your students picture or photos Introduce the superlative:
of different seasons and weather
Point to the three students who are conditions. Introduce the compara- T: I am happy when Im on vaca-
standing and introduce the superla- tive: tion, but Im the happiest when
tive: travel to a new place.
T: The weather in May can be hot,
T: Mario is taller than Juan, but but the weather in June is hot- Make sure students understand that
Sam is taller than Mario. Sam is ter than in May. October is a wet the superlative is formed by replacing
the tallest of the three. month, but November is wetter the y with an i and adding est.
than October. Students say when they are the hap-
Make sure students understand that piest, the sorriest, the saddest, etc.
the superlative is formed by adding Make sure students understand that
est. Students say who is the tallest
and who is the shortest in the class.
the comparative is formed by making
the last consonant double and adding
-er.
5 introduce the compar-
ATIvE AND SuPERlATIvE
FORMS FOR TWO OR MORE
2 introduce the compar-
ATIvE AND SuPERlATIvE
forms for one sYllable ad-
Students compare the weather in
different cities and countries with the
aid of a weather chart. Encourage
SyllAblE ADJECTIvES
Show students pictures of popular
them to use other one syllable adjec-
JECTIvES ENDING IN E tives.
vacation destinations and famous cit-
ies. Introduce the comparative:
Show your students pictures of differ-
Point to the weather charts and intro-
ent types of furniture. Introduce the
duce the superlative: T: Berlin is a beautiful city, but
comparative:
Paris is more beautiful than Ber-
T: November is the wettest month lin.
T: This brown sofa is nice. But the of the year. July is the hottest.
red one is nicer than the brown
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
Introduce the superlative:

T: Paris is a very beautiful city, but in my opinion Rome is the most beautiful city in the world.

Make sure students understand that the superlative is formed by using the most plus the adjective. Students say
which they believe are the most beautiful, the most expensive, and the most interesting cities in the world.

6 ntroduce the comparative and superlative forms of irregular adjectives

Continue with the comparison of cities and countries:

T: The traffic in London is bad, but the traffic in Rome is worse. The traffic in London is better than the traffic
in Rome.

Make sure students understand that good and bad are irregular adjectives and their comparatives are better and
worse. Students make more comparisons.

Introduce the superlative:

T: They say the traffic in Rome is the worst in the world. But its the best place to visit in Italy.

Make sure students understand that the best and the worst are the superlative forms of good and bad. Students
say which they believe are the best sights to visit around the world, and which have the worst problems.

Remember that if students are unsure about the comparative or superlative form of some adjec-
tives, the best way to help them overcome this doubt is by offering lots and lots of practice.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Present
Continuous Tense
When teaching the present continuous
tense, one thing usually comes to mind.
This tense is taught for the first time
doing. And heres a great one for pair
work. Eventually, get them to practice
the contracted forms (Im, hes, were).
5 Extended practice and
other uses of the Present
Continuous
to students who are complete begin-
ners, and who have had exposure to
a small quantity of verbs and vocabu-
lary, so the examples you may give,
2 Introduce the Present
Continuous Negative forms
Be sure to provide plenty of exercises
for extra practice, above all, because
beginners need to not only practice this
or the practice itself, is rather limited. Pick up a book and say: I am reading tense, but also acquire more vocab-
They have, however, already learned a book. Im not reading a newspa- ulary and verbs to do so effectively.
the verb to be, which should be of tre- per. Give more examples alternat- At BusyTeacher.org there are dozens
mendous help in teaching this tense. ing between affirmative and negative of Present Continuous worksheets to
statements: Sarah, youre looking at choose from. You may also choose
me. Youre not looking at Juan. Juan to introduce other uses of the present
How To Proceed is listening to me. Hes not listening to continuous, as in future arrange-
Sarah. And so on with all persons, sin- ments. And if theyve already learned

1 Introduce the Present


Continuous with an action
gular and plural. Then have students do
the same, always alternating between
affirmative and negative statements.
the Present Simple, nows a good
time to contrast both present tenses.

The present continuous tense is used


to describe actions that are taking
place at the time of speaking. So, the
easiest way to introduce this tense is
3 Introduce the Present
Continuous Interrogative
forms
Virgil once said, Endure the
present, and watch for better
things and this definitely applies
to carry out actions. to beginner ESL students.
First, model yes or no questions, then, Although they may be impatient
Take a pen or pencil and start writing questions with what, where, which, etc: to learn more, and feel frustrated
on the board. Say: I am writing. by their lack of vocabulary, they
- T: Are you listening to me? must take things one step at a
Sit down and pick up a book. Say: I - S: Yes! time, and soon enough theyll
am reading. - T: Ask me! be speaking English more
- S: Are you listening to me? confidently. It is your job to guide
Start walking around the classroom. them on this path.
Say: I am walking.
- T: What are you doing?
And so on with as many verbs as youd - S: Im looking at you.
like, but use verbs they already know, - T: Ask Juan!
or introduce new verbs, but only a few - S: What are you doing?
at a time.

Go on with other persons. Remember Continue with more questions from stu-
they already know the simple present dents. Encourage them to ask different
of the verb to be. Keep walking around types of questions in different singular
the classroom and ask a student to join and plural persons. If they are unsure
you. Say: Juan is walking. I am walking. as to how to ask a question, model it
We are walking. Show students that the for them first.
present continuous is formed with the
present of the verb to be + the present
participle of the main verb (verb in
ing form).
4 Introduce the Present
Continuous Short answers

Ask yes or no questions and teach stu-


Show as many actions as necessary, dents to give short answers:
and use illustrations, photos, even
videos. Have students tell you what T: Are you reading a book?
each person or group of people are S: Yes, I am./No, Im not.
doing. Try these present continuous Ask students to ask each other yes or
cards for a fun game. Heres a work- no questions in present continuous,
sheet where students have to write and have them practice replying with
what the people in the photos are short answers.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Present Continu-
ous: Alternative Approach
The present continuous tense is one
that students will learn after learn-
ing the first three simple tenses that
is simple present, past and future.
3 practice present con-
TINuOuS
dents might then guess the location
as in a car, on a bus, in a train, or on
a plane.
Give students some basic practice
When teaching additional tenses it
is important to highlight what time
period is referred to and also in what
exercises so they can get used to
changing present simple verbs into
the present continuous tense. This
6 review present contin-
uOuS
situations students would used each can be done in the form of a fill in the Any activity you have done for this
tense. blank worksheet but this would also topic can be used as a review activity
be an appropriate topic to use battle- at the end of the lesson. You may
How To Proceed ship for speaking practice. Students
can use the battleship grid to change
also want to get students moving if
they have been sitting down for the

1
I, You, play soccer, speak English, entire class period, especially after
WARM uP etc. into the sentences I am play- a writing exercise, so you can have
ing soccer. and You are speaking students form a circle. Students
Have students practice using
English. If students have played this should take turns making present
the simple present tense as they
game before, it might take approxi- continuous sentences and then
volunteer to answer questions or play
mately thirty minutes to explain and calling on students to make the next
fruit basket to encourage students to
play twice. sentence. You can continue this
make sentences of their own. When
activity until everyone has made a
you have finished draw an image
on the board illustrating the simple
present tense as a reference point
and ensure that students understand
4 PRACTICE MORE
Phone conversations would be
sentence or until the bell rings. If you
want to ensure that everyone makes
at least one sentence, you can have
students start sitting down after their
a real life situation where the pres-
when to use the present tense.
ent continuous tense is used quite turns. This is not recommended for

2
often so in order to give students large classes because then lots of
INTRODuCE PRESENT practice with this tense as well as students will be sitting down with
CONTINuOuS basic phone conversation, make a nothing to do towards the end of the
short model dialogue for students activity.
Give students some example sen- to practice in pairs. This could be
tences using the present continuous very simple where Student A asks
tense. By using pairs of sentences in Student B for someone and Student
pResent continuous is a moRe
your examples, you can show when B replies Im sorry. Hes not here
complex tense that students
to use the present simple tense and right now. Hes playing baseball with
may initially have difficulty
when to use the present continu- Ben. It could also be more complex.
undeRstanding when to use
ous tense. A good example might Adjust the conversation to suit your
but the moRe pRactice they
be I play baseball every day. and I students ability level and encourage
have using it, the betteR off
am playing baseball with Ben (right them to create part of the conversa-
they will be.
now). See if students understand tion, preferably the present continu-
the difference in meaning between ous part of the conversation, on their
the two and ask for translations. It is own. Have students volunteer to
important to illustrate on the board present their dialogues to the class at
the difference between this tense the end of the activity.
and other tenses your students have

5
learned. The best way to do this is by
drawing a simple chart. On the board PRODuCE
under your image illustrating the Ask students to imagine a
present tense, draw a similar image situation and then write three to five
to illustrate the present continuous present continuous tense sentences
tense. You can also discuss the fact to describe it without saying the loca-
that the present tense is used when tion. Students can then work in pairs
talking about daily routines while the or groups to guess the locations of
present continuous tense is used different scenarios. An example may
when talking about specific non-rou- be I am sitting. I am listening to my
tine actions and future plans. music. I am looking out the window. I
am moving. It is very simple but stu-

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Past
Continuous Tense
How to Teach the Future Perfect
Tense
Have you ever wondered what will
have happened by a specific moment S: I will learn to drive. I will get S: No.
in the future? For example, by the my drivers license. I will drive to T: Ask a classmate!
year 2020, what kinds of technologi- Disney World. S: Carlo, will you have graduated
cal devices will have been invented? T: When you drive to Disney from college by the time youre
Will teachers have stopped giving world, you will have known how to 22?
face-to-face classes entirely? The drive for only a few weeks.
future perfect tense is rather hard for Model a few more questions, then,
ESL students. Usually upper-inter- Ask students to provide more exam- have students come up with ques-
mediate to advanced students are ples. It can be anything they foresee tions on their own.
taught this tense, which is not even happening in the near future: By the
used by native speakers most of the
time. How can you teach this difficult
tense in a way that is painless for
time, we finish this course, I will have
turned 18. When I graduate from high
school, I will have decided where to
5 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
PERFECT TENSE SHORT
ANSWERS
both you and your students? go to college. You may also tell them
they can make predictions for the Have students ask you questions and
future - they may get as bold as they
How To Proceed wish:
introduce short answers:
S: Will you have retired from

1 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE


PERFECT WITH A TIMElINE
By the time Im 40, I will have
become CEO of an important
company.
teaching in 2020?
T: Yes, I will/No, I wont.

Several of the more complex tenses, Students now take turns asking each
are best understood when we place Ask your students to make predic- other questions and replying with
events within a timeline. And this is tions about life in 2015. short answers.
precisely the case with the future
perfect. We use this tense to say an
action will be finished at a certain
time in the future. So, draw a timeline
3 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
perfect tense neGa-
TIvE FORMS
6 provide plentY of op-
portunities for eX-
TENDED PRACTICE
on the board, one that starts with
today and extends towards the near Give examples of negative state- If students are not given chances
future. Below write several examples ments, based on the information your to extensively practice the future
of things that will happen soon, but students have shared: perfect tense, chances are they wont
before the Christmas holidays. feel confident enough to use it. Try
Juan, by the time you finish this some of the exercises and activities
- Juan will finish a project. course, you wont have turned 20 found in our Future Perfect section.
- He will take some exams. - you will have turned 18. Here youll also find worksheets that
- He will plan a ski trip to Aspen. Sarah, when you graduate from contrast the different future tenses to
high school, you wont have boost their confidence.
Mark these events in your timeline decided where to apply for a job
in the right order. Say, By the end - you will have decided where to If possible, try to find real examples
of this year, John will have finished go to college. of how this tense is used. Some good
his project. He will have taken some
sources are newspaper articles, blog
exams. He will have planned a ski Ask students to provide more ex- posts, and advertisements that deal
trip to Aspen. Make sure students amples by predicting the future: By with the future effects of our present
understand these actions will be the time I finish college, I wont have mistakes. For example, you may find
finished by a specific time (the end gotten married. articles that discuss the effects of
of the year). Illustrate how the future

4
global warming, and mention that by
perfect tense is formed: will + have + INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE the year 2020, all of the snow on the
past participle (for all persons)
perfect tense inter- peak of Mount Kilimanjaro will have

2 PRACTICE THE FuTuRE ROGATIvE FORMS melted.


You will not only help them practice
PERFECT TENSE Ask students questions about what the future perfect, you will also teach
they expect in their future: them the importance of caring for the
Ask your students to give you more environment. Another valuable les-
examples of things theyve planned T: Will you have graduated from son, indeed.
for the rest of the school year: college by the time youre 22?

T HE PAST CONTINuOuS IS
ANOTHER TENSE THAT IS
commonlY tauGht to beGin-
say what he or she was doing: Juan
was having breakfast at 10 am. Then,
they make comparisons: I was study-
4 INTRODuCE THE PA S T
CONTINuOuS SHORT ANSWERS

NERS, uSuAlly AFTER THEyvE ing. He was playing video games. Or Ask yes or no questions and model the
lEARNED THE PAST SIMPlE. find similarities: We were all sleeping correct way to give short answers:
at midnight.
- T: Were you watching TV yester-
Although it has its nuances, we usually Heres a great worksheet to give stu- day at 10pm?
use it talk about actions that were in dents so they can practice the past - S: Yes, I was./No, I wasnt.
progress at a specific time in the past. continuous.
We also use it in conjunction with the
past simple when talking about inter-
ruptions (I was doing my homework
when the phone rang). As students
2 INTRODuCE THE PA S T
CONTINuOuS NEGATIvE FORMS
Ask students to ask each other yes or
no questions in past continuous, and
have them practice replying with short
should already be familiar with the Use the same daily schedule of activ- answers.
present continuous, and the past of the ities and make negative statements:
verb to be, this tense usually doesnt
pose great difficulties, and students are
able to naturally incorporate it into their
I wasnt watching TV at 3pm - I
was working.
5 eXtended practice and con-
TRAST WITH PAST SIMPlE

speech. Juan wasnt having breakfast at It is essential at this point, for them to
7am - he was sleeping. not only practice with as many exer-
How To Proceed cises as necessary, for example,
Use your students schedules as well. those found at BusyTeacher.orgs Past

1 INTRODuCE
CONTINuOuS
THE PA S T Then, ask them to do the same, first
with theirs, and then with a class-
mates, but always alternating between
Continuous worksheets section, but
also to learn the difference between
the past simple and the past continu-
Tell students what you usually do late negative and affirmative statements. ous. There are numerous worksheets
at night, and lead in to the past contin- that deal with this contrast specifically.
uous: I always go to bed at 11pm. So,
last night at 11:30 I was sleeping. Write
your typical schedule on the board with
3 INTRODuCE THE PA S T
CONTINuOuS INTERROGATIvE
FORMS
RemembeR that anotheR gReat
way to pRactice this tense in
your usual everyday activities: the classRoom is thRough
First, model yes or no questions, then, a vaRiety of ResouRces,
7:30 am breakfast questions with what, where, which, etc: liKe images, photos, caR-
9 to 12 classes toons, songs, and videos.
12 lunch - T: Were you watching TV at mid-
1pm to 5pm classes night last night? if you pRactice any tense with
6pm gym - S: No! mateRials that students can
8pm dinner - T: Ask me! Relate to, oR aRe inteRested
11pm bedtime - S: Were you watching TV at in, youll maKe leaRning new
midnight last night? tenses so much moRe fun foR
Now, give them examples of what you them!
were doing exactly at a certain time
yesterday: At noon, I was having lunch. - T: What were you doing at 7am
At 1pm, I was giving a class. Ask stu- this morning?
dents to tell you what you were doing, - S: I was sleeping.
and have them answer in second - T: Ask Juan!
person singular: You were sleeping at - S: What were you doing, Juan,
midnight. at 7am?

Students jot down their own daily Continue with more questions from stu-
schedules, or what they did yesterday, dents. Encourage them to ask different
and then take turns first saying what types of questions in different singular
they were doing at certain time: I was and plural persons. If they are unsure
having breakfast at 7am. Then, they as to how to ask a question, model it
switch schedules with a classmate and for them first.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Future Perfect
Tense
Have you ever wondered what will
have happened by a specific moment S: I will learn to drive. I will get S: No.
in the future? For example, by the my drivers license. I will drive to T: Ask a classmate!
year 2020, what kinds of technologi- Disney World. S: Carlo, will you have graduated
cal devices will have been invented? T: When you drive to Disney from college by the time youre
Will teachers have stopped giving world, you will have known how to 22?
face-to-face classes entirely? The drive for only a few weeks.
future perfect tense is rather hard for Model a few more questions, then,
ESL students. Usually upper-inter- Ask students to provide more exam- have students come up with ques-
mediate to advanced students are ples. It can be anything they foresee tions on their own.
taught this tense, which is not even happening in the near future: By the
used by native speakers most of the
time. How can you teach this difficult
tense in a way that is painless for
time, we finish this course, I will have
turned 18. When I graduate from high
school, I will have decided where to
5 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
PERFECT TENSE SHORT
ANSWERS
both you and your students? go to college. You may also tell them
they can make predictions for the Have students ask you questions and
future - they may get as bold as they
How To Proceed wish:
introduce short answers:
S: Will you have retired from

1 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE


PERFECT WITH A TIMElINE
By the time Im 40, I will have
become CEO of an important
company.
teaching in 2020?
T: Yes, I will/No, I wont.

Several of the more complex tenses, Students now take turns asking each
are best understood when we place Ask your students to make predic- other questions and replying with
events within a timeline. And this is tions about life in 2015. short answers.
precisely the case with the future
perfect. We use this tense to say an
action will be finished at a certain
time in the future. So, draw a timeline
3 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
perfect tense neGa-
TIvE FORMS
6 provide plentY of op-
portunities for eX-
TENDED PRACTICE
on the board, one that starts with
today and extends towards the near Give examples of negative state- If students are not given chances
future. Below write several examples ments, based on the information your to extensively practice the future
of things that will happen soon, but students have shared: perfect tense, chances are they wont
before the Christmas holidays. feel confident enough to use it. Try
Juan, by the time you finish this some of the exercises and activities
- Juan will finish a project. course, you wont have turned 20 found in our Future Perfect section.
- He will take some exams. - you will have turned 18. Here youll also find worksheets that
- He will plan a ski trip to Aspen. Sarah, when you graduate from contrast the different future tenses to
high school, you wont have boost their confidence.
Mark these events in your timeline decided where to apply for a job
in the right order. Say, By the end - you will have decided where to If possible, try to find real examples
of this year, John will have finished go to college. of how this tense is used. Some good
his project. He will have taken some
sources are newspaper articles, blog
exams. He will have planned a ski Ask students to provide more ex- posts, and advertisements that deal
trip to Aspen. Make sure students amples by predicting the future: By with the future effects of our present
understand these actions will be the time I finish college, I wont have mistakes. For example, you may find
finished by a specific time (the end gotten married. articles that discuss the effects of
of the year). Illustrate how the future
global warming, and mention that by

4
perfect tense is formed: will + have + INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE the year 2020, all of the snow on the
past participle (for all persons)
perfect tense inter- peak of Mount Kilimanjaro will have

2 PRACTICE THE FuTuRE ROGATIvE FORMS melted.


You will not only help them practice
PERFECT TENSE Ask students questions about what the future perfect, you will also teach
they expect in their future: them the importance of caring for the
Ask your students to give you more environment. Another valuable les-
examples of things theyve planned T: Will you have graduated from son, indeed.
for the rest of the school year: college by the time youre 22?
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How To Teach Past Simple VS
Present Perfect
When using the Present Perfect you
should call the students attention
to the consequences generated by
an action, rather than just the action
2 Questions and com-
MON MISTAkES
try to think in the tense itself.

pResent peRfect use:


Ask students Which countries have
itself. The tense is always formed Limit the teaching uses at the Lower
you been to? Write the countries
by conjugating the auxiliary verb to Intermediate Level:
on the board. Then ask When they
have and then appending the verbs went to determine a definite time
past participle form. a) experience not when you did
scale. Once these sentences have
something, but if you did it.
been elicited you can distinguish the
How To Proceed 2 tenses by has been and went.
b) change or new information
e.g. buy a car.
Use timelines and concept ques-
- simple past
tions to ensure they grasp the
I bought a new bike (just reporting c) Continuing situation a state
structures. Ensure lots of personal-
what I did in the past). (not an action).
ization and practice.
- pResent peRfect British speakers use this tense more
Check for common mistakes: e.g. I
I have/Ive bought a new bike (ex- frequently: i.e. Have you had lunch?
have watched TV last night, or I live
pressing that I have a new bike now). rather than Did you have lunch?
here for 5 years.

3
Since usually used with the Perfect

1 CONTRAST PAST SIMPlE ExPlAIN THE RulE Tenses only (point in past time).
vS PRESENT PERFECT
For can be used with all tenses
Students have probably had a gentle past simple foRm: (period of time).
introduction to the Present Perfect a) past form only.
before, but you are now trying to
extend uses/meaning of the tense.
Do not expect mastery by the end
b) auxiliary did + base form. 4 eXplain further dif-
FERENCES bETWEEN THE
TENSES
of the lesson it takes a long time The past form for all regular verbs
to be assimilated. A theme of Fame ends in -ed/ or -d: e.g. worked/loved. Dont get bogged down in grammar.
is useful as it naturally lends itself to Check spellings and practice for Be selective.
talking about peoples experiences/ short verbs with only one syllable, as
opportunities for role plays/interview- the consonant is doubled i.e stopped,
ing etc. It would be particularly useful planned. Verbs ending in a conso- - The Present Perfect is used
to contrast 2 famous people/biogra- nant + y, change to -ied e.g. carried/ when the time period has NOT
phies, where 1 member is living and studied. The past form for irregular finished - i.e. I have seen 3 mov-
the other is dead, so that students verbs needs to be learned by heart. ies this week (this week has not
can clearly grasp the difference vis-- finished yet). The Simple Past is
vis time in the sentence structures. past simple use: used when the time period HAS
An action/situation an event in the finished - i.e. I saw 3 movies last
Check students know the Past past, which can be short or long: i.e. week (last week is finished).
Simple and past participle forms of millisecond, millions of years. The
common irregular verbs. event is in the past it is completed/ - The Present Perfect is often
finished. We say or understand the used when giving recent news:
If your class is going to experience time and/or place of the event. When i.e. Martin has crashed his car
too much difficulty in comprehen- we tell a story we usually use the again.
sion then spend some time on the simple past for action and the past
Grammar Reference Section in your continuous to set the scene. - The Simple Past is used when
textbook and definitely assign for giving older information: i.e. Mar-
homework after the presentation in pResent peRfect foRm: tin crashed his car last year.
class. This tense gives speakers of some
languages a degree of difficulty, be- - The Present Perfect is used
cause the concept/idea does not ex- when the time is not specific: i.e. I
ist in their L1 it is expressed with a have seen that movie already (we
present tense. Tell students not to try dont know when).
and translate into their own language

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
with for and since, when the actions have not finished yet: i.e. I have lived in London for 5 years (I still live
there).

- The Simple Past is used with for when the actions have already finished: i.e. I lived in London for 5 years (I
dont live there now).

- Simple Past Completed actions, a series of completed actions, duration in the past, habits in the past (past
facts or generalizations could be left to a later lesson).

- Present Perfect Experiences, Changes over time (accomplishments of humanity and uncompleted actions
you are expecting could also be introduced later in the study course).

- The Simple Past is used for action that happened in the past and is OVER/DONE/FINISHED

stress this point. It is used with time words: e.g. yesterday, last Saturday, last week, three months ago, with
specific dates in 1990. If a time expression is used then its Past Simple.

- The Present Perfect started in the past, but IT IS STILL TRUE TODAY or MIGHT HAPPEN AGAIN. It con-
nects the past and the present, and we use since, so far, just, already, yet etc. If you are speaking about a
specific time you cannot use this tense.

Ever and Never distinction may cause problems for students so it is worth spend-
ing extra time drilling, exercises and mingling activities to aid assimilation.

Practice For and Since at length. Assign homework. Students have to find different buildings, shops, restaurants, etc that
have a sign indicating when they opened i.e. since 1989. Ask family members/friends/fellow students questions how long
questions.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Word Order: Help
Them Remember the Patterns
the structure. variety of worksheets such as those
Correct word order is often the explained above.

3
difference between beginner and PRACTICE WORD ORDER

5
intermediate students. When PRODuCTION
moving on to more complex struc- Students must also have the
tures, students may find word opportunity to practice word order on There are many activities which
order confusing and struggle to their own or in pairs. Worksheets can you can use to help your students
remember all the various pat- provide your students the necessary practice word order when producing
terns. There are many ways you practice. Activities such as Maze are sentences on their own as opposed
can help them. fun. Break sentences into grids like to working from material you have
the ones below. The idea is to con- given them. In small classes an exer-
How To Proceed nect the words in the correct order cise such as Story Time can be used.
with a line. Only words that share a The idea of this exercise is to build

1 WHEN INTRODuCING NEW


STRuCTuRES
side may be connected. For simple
sentences six boxes is enough but
for more complex sentences add an-
a story one sentence at a time: each
student adds a sentence to what his
classmates have already said. This
It is best to teach word order when other row or two and see what your can be a lot of fun and since students
introducing new structures. For students can do. To make the exer- have no limitations, they can really
example, when teaching the simple cise easier, capitalize the first word draw on all their combined knowl-
past tense of make, it is important and add a period to the last word of edge of English. Often, Story Time
to emphasize Mary made a cake. each sentence. is based around a theme so you can
as opposed to Mary a made cake. choose to start a love story on Valen-
The second sentence of course is tines Day or a scary story on Hal-
incorrect. Breaking structures into loween. Fruit Basket is a great way
sections will help your students im- to get the class moving and is good
mensely. For this example, teach for larger classes too. To play Fruit
them Subject + Verb + Object or Basket, arrange chairs in a circle so
SVO to help them remember. How that there is one less chair than the
the board is organized will also aid number of students participating. The
your students. For this lesson, be person in the middle of the circle has
sure to use three columns where Fill in the blank exercises are good to make a sentence, for instance I
column one has subjects, column practice. To make them easier, list like apples. if you are teaching the
two has made, and column three has the words or phrases students need structure I like ~ and all the students
a list of objects. If students are hav- to put in the blanks. Songs can be a who like apples have to stand up and
ing difficulty arranging phrases during useful teaching and learning tool in find a different chair. This exercise
a particular lesson, for example a ESL. If you find a song that rein- works well with lessons on telling
lesson about giving directions, then a forces the structure you are teaching, time too: the model sentence would
lesson specifically designed to teach create some worksheets to go along be I get up at 7:30. or something
word order when giving directions with it and perhaps that will help your similar. If sentences are getting too
may be necessary. In such a case, students remember word order bet- specific and certain students havent
try to focus the first lesson or two on ter. changed places in a while, sentences
the pronunciation and meaning of such as I like ice cream. or I go
new words with the following lessons
on sentence structure, word order,
and dialogue.
4 WHEN REvIEWING
Word order lessons can also
to school at 8:30. will get the whole
class switching seats.

be useful before tests because it is

2 DRIllING WORD ORDER


After introducing new material,
possible to combine many different
grammatical points in a word order
review lesson. While it is tempting to
by focusing on woRd oRdeR in
youR eveRyday lessons, youR
students will have moRe pRac-
tice with and undeRstanding
move onto drilling it. Have students give students worksheets with both
repeat each section of the new struc- correct and incorrect sentences, it is of woRd oRdeR which will
ture after you. Mary made a cake. best not to expose them to intention- leave them feeling moRe con-
is really simple but say it in three ally incorrect material but to simply fident in theiR english speaK-
parts anyway to start off with. If using reinforce proper sentence structures. ing abilities.
columns on the board, assign part Any activity where students write
of the class to each column so that or say complete sentences can be
each group contributes one part of used to review word order as can a
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Past Perfect
Tense
My dad got home late from a meet- use of already. them prompts:
ing last night. By the time he came
home, we had already had dinner.
The two hads in the same sentence - When you were born, the Inter- T: The Internet was invented in
is not only confusing for ESL stu- net had already been invented. 1973.
dents, its also difficult to pronounce. - When I finished high school, S: Had it been invented when you
The past perfect tense is formed by the Berlin wall had already been were born?
the past of the auxiliary verb have demolished.
plus the past participle of the main
verb. This may not sound too compli-
cated, but its still difficult for students
- When I started teaching, George
Bush Sr. had already finished his
term as President of the US.
5 INTRODuCE THE PAST
PERFECT TENSE SHORT
ANSWERS
to grasp exactly why and when this
tense is used.h Ask students to provide more ex- Have students ask you questions and
amples, comparing historical or past introduce short answers:
Lets explain it to them step by step. events. Give them this worksheet,
where they read about something
that happened, and they have to S: Had cell phones been invented
How To Proceed guess what happened before. when you were born?
T: No, they hadnt.

1 INTRODuCE THE PAST


PERFECT WITH A TIMElINE 3 INTRODuCE THE PAST
perfect tense neGa-
TIvE FORMS
S: Had penicillin been discovered
when you were born?
T: Yes, it had.
The best way to grasp the past per-
fect is to understand that were deal- Continue using the timeline or Students continue taking turns asking
ing with two events that took place comparing past events, but this time each other questions and replying
in the past, but one before the other, make negative statements. Nows a with short answers.
not simultaneously. Draw a timeline good time to introduce the use of yet.
on the board. Mark lines for different
hours and tell students this is what
happened yesterday. Write down - When my grandmother was
6 CONTRAST PAST SIMPlE
AND PAST PERFECT
a series of events that took place born, penicillin hadnt been dis- Make sure that students understand
yesterday and mark them in their cor- covered yet. which clause has the verb in simple
responding place in the timeline: - When I was born, the Internet past and which has the verb in past
hadnt been invented yet. perfect. Usually the clause that starts
- When I finished high school, I with when or by the time has a verb
I left the school at 6pm. hadnt started teaching yet. in simple past. This is the perfect
My husband started preparing worksheet to practice this contrast.
dinner at 6 and finished at 7. Ask students to provide more ex- Heres another Past Perfect activity
I got home at 7:15 amples. for further practice.

Say, When I got home, my husband


had finished preparing dinner. Show
your students how the past perfect
4 INTRODuCE THE PAST
perfect tense inter-
ROGATIvE FORMS
once youR students have
gRasped this tense, give them
tense is formed, and make sure they plenty of oppoRtunities to use
understand one past event took Use the same timelines to ask your it on a daily basis. the pRoblem
place before another past event. students questions: with the past peRfect is that
students tend to foRget it: they

2 practice the past per-


FECT TENSE - Had the Internet been created
when you were born?
dont use it, and so it simply
slips away. they must undeR-
stand that using complex
To show your students more ex- - Had you started learning English tenses taKes theiR english to
amples, go to OurTimeLines.com, when you finished high school? a whole otheR level.
where you can generate your own - When did you get your first job?
timeline of major historical events. Had you learned to drive a car
Give examples using any historical yet?
events your students can relate to. Encourage students to ask each
Nows a good time to introduce the other questions. If necessary, give
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Present Perfect:
Activities and Examples
Most ESL teachers come to this
hard realization. Most students who
have learned English as a second
language, effectively use only three
tenses: Last month, I visited my
grandmother twice. This month, I
have only visited her once. But this
month is not finished so I may visit
5 INTRODuCE THE PRESENT
perfect interroGa-
TIvE FORMS
tenses: present, past, and future. And her again before the month is over.
Model questions with have or has:
they will most likely make themselves Provide examples in all persons, and
understood, but only by resorting then ask students to do the same
to these three. The Present Perfect with other regular verbs. Contrast the T: Have you seen Twilight?
is one of those tenses that is soon Simple Past and Present Perfect as S: Yes./No.
forgotten, easily replaced by past much as necessary. T: Ask me!
simple. But students dont realize just S: Have you seen Twilight?
how important it is that they master
it. To ensure your students will not let
the present perfect slip into oblivion,
3 INTRODuCE THE PRESENT
PERFECT IRREGulAR
vERbS
Continue with more questions from
students. Model questions with where
and what, but make sure students
it must be taught right. This article
provides several clear steps that will understand that if they ask questions
Proceed with the irregulars. Divide with when, where and why, they need
help you teach the Present Perfect the board into three columns and
tense. to use the Simple Past because they
write some irregular verbs in the first are referring to a specific moment in
column, their Smple Past form in the past. Write examples, make sure
How To Proceed the second column, and finally the
irregular past participle in the third.
they ask questions in all persons,
both singular and plural. If they are

1
Give them examples as you go over
introduce the pres- each verb:
unsure as to how to ask a question,
ENT PERFECT REGulAR model it for them first.
vERbS
Give examples in Past Simple: Yes-
terday, I had a busy day. I received
Ive had two cups of coffee today.
Ive spoken to John this week.
Ive read all four of the Twilight
6 introduce the pres-
ent perfect short an-
SWERS
lots of emails. Lead in to Present books
Perfect: I have received only a few Ask Yes/No questions and teach
today. Show students how the Pres- Make sure students have a list they students to give short answers:
ent Perfect is formed: have/has plus can use for reference. With the help
the past participle. Tell them that the of the list, they provide more exam- T: Have you seen my pen?
past participle of regular verbs ends ples with other irregular verbs. S: Yes, I have./No, I havent.
in ed, just as in Simple Past.

2 CONTRAST FINISHED AND


uNFINISHED TIME
4 introduce the pres-
ENT PERFECT NEGATIvE
FORMS
Students ask classmates yes or no
questions, and classmates reply with
short answers.

One of the best ways to ensure


that students understand when the
Present Perfect is used is to con-
Say, I saw my grandmother last
week. I havent seen her this week.
Give more examples alternating be-
7 PROvIDE ExTENDED
PRACTICE

trast finished and unfinished time. tween an affirmative in Simple Past Tell your students that the best way
Ask students: Is yesterday finished? and a negative statement in Present to remember the past participle of
(They should say its finished.) Ask Perfect: I went to Rome last year, but irregular verbs is through practice, in
them: Is today finished? (They should I havent been there this year. Now, both written and oral exercises. Natu-
say it isnt.) On the board, draw two give each of your students just the rally, students should be taught all of
columns. On the left column write ex- affirmative statement in Simple Past the other uses of the Present Perfect,
amples of phrases with finished time: and ask them to supply an example with already, just, ever, never, for,
yesterday, last week, last month, last in Present Perfect negative: since, etc. For practical purposes, in
year, 1990, etc...On the right column, this guide we cover what should be
write those that go with unfinished the best way to introduce the Pres-
time: today, this week, this month,
T: I was at the bank earlier today. ent Perfect for the first time, i.e, the
this year, etc. Make sure they notice
S: I havent been to the bank this distinction between finished and
the differences, then, give examples
week. unfinished time. Once they grasp this
(only with regular verbs) with both distinction, they should be ready to
grasp everything else.
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Present Perfect:
Alternative Approach
The Present Perfect tense is often Next have students get into groups
taught and practiced over the period of about five and choose a student to where students must choose an
of several months due to its com- change his answer for each question. answer from a. do you live b. are
plexity and the range of situations One student can change all of his you living c. have you lived d. did you
in which it is used. This can make answers or students can decide that live.
classes monotonous for students and different group members change an-
challenging for you to plan as you
have to think of new practice activi-
ties to use.
swers for different questions. When
students have finished there should
be one lie for each question in each
5 REvIEW
An activity such as Jeopardy
group. Then the game can begin. Ask which takes up an entire lesson
the students in the first group to read period would be good for reviewing
How To Proceed their answers to the first question the Present Perfect tense because
and students who answered Yes, it will give students a break from

1 INTRODuCE SIMPlE
STRuCTuRES
I have. should have a short story
relating to the experience that can
be told in their native language. Give
worksheets and studying grammati-
cal structures. When teaching a topic
such as this for an extended period
First, introduce the very simple Yes, students in the other groups about of time, it may also be a good idea to
I have. No, I havent. structures. Drill a minute to decide who they think is set aside one lesson a week for an-
these structures with students and lying. Then ask the student who lied other activity such as writing letters to
ask questions such as Have you to raise his or her hand and record pen pals or keeping an English diary.
played soccer? to elicit the target points for correct guesses. Move on These types of activities also allow
structure from students. When you to the next group and use the sec- you to combine a number of topics so
first used these types of questions ond question so that students get to that your students do not lose sight
it is not imperative that students un- hear different types of stories. When of the fact that this particular tense
derstand exactly what the sentence you get back to the first group, just is just one small part of the English
means but they should be able to be sure not to use the first question language.
answer correctly. By asking students again.
questions such as Have you visited
~? using a very obscure or far away
place such as the moon, they should
3 introduce more com-
PlEx STRuCTuRES
6 ADDITIONAl REvIEW
As a general review activity
start to get a fairly good idea of what you can divide students into groups
the question means. Check by ask- and play Hangman with sentences
Introduce students to more complex
ing for a translation at the end of the or words from their textbook. It is
sentence structures using the Pres-
activity. perhaps not appropriate to play the
ent Perfect tense and discuss when
original game in your classroom so
they would be used. Practice these

2 PRACTICE you can just adapt it so that no one


extensively as a class through drilling
actually hangs. One adaptation is to
and comprehension checks.
To practice these structures, simply have a very large fish where

4
use an interview game where stu- when students guess incorrectly, a
dents have a worksheet with ques-
practice with worK- little fish gets closer and closer to
tions that they have to go around SHEETS being eaten. This is not very accurate
the room asking and answering. as you can either draw the game out
These practice activities will be more or end it whenever you choose.
The goal is to have students write
challenging for students than the
down other students answers and
ones they completed above. Have
get signatures for each question. studying the same mateRial
them complete some exercises prac-
You can also design a board game class afteR class can become
ticing just the present perfect tense
where each student must answer the tedious foR students but this
but as they progress, challenge them
question he lands on during his turn. is one topic that ReQuiRes
with more difficult exercises that com-
Another game, which takes an entire lots of pRactice to masteR.
bine previously studied material. One
class period on its own, is called many esl students stRuggle
way to do this is to have sentences
Liar. Students should first be given a on exeRcises liKe the multi-
such as
worksheet with four to five questions ple choice activity suggested
such as Have you ever seen a fa- above because those aRe some
mous person? and write down their - Yuki: You live in Furukawa? of the most common mistaKes
answers. Try to choose questions How long _____________ there? esl leaRneRs maKe.
so that some students will honestly - Kino: Oh, Ive lived here about
write Yes, I have. as their answer. five years.
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
Present Perfect Mystery: How to
Teach For and Since
when leaRning the pResent
peRfect tense, students often
stRuggle with using the woRds
diagrams on the board to explain that
the word for is used when referencing
a period of time such as three years
while since is used when referencing
5 REvIEW
As a review activity you can
start a present perfect sentence
foR and since appRopRiately. a specific point in the past such as and ask students to finish them by
fourth grade. This may be hard for supplying a phrase starting with for
To assist them with this aspect of the students to grasp initially so practice or since. With small classes, start
English language, dedicate some activities are vastly important. this activity with all students stand-
time and perhaps even an entire les- ing up so that every student needs

3
son to practicing the use of these two
PRACTICE to complete a sentence before sitting
words. The more familiar students down. For larger classes, you can
are with using these words, the better Start out by completing some start with all students standing up but
they will do at using them correctly. sentences on the board as a class. allow each student who completes a
Ask for volunteers or call on students sentence to choose either his row or
How To Proceed to decide which word is appropriate column to sit down so that the activity
for each sentence and when ap- is kept short.

1 WARM uP
As you have probably been
propriate have students translate
sentences as well. Next, have stu-
dents work individually to complete deteRmining which of these
studying present perfect for several a worksheet. The first section might two woRds to use in sentences
lessons, try not to make it the focus have students choose which word is a common eRRoR made by
of the warm up activity. This will give best completes a sentence while the non-native english speaKeRs,
students a bit of a break as well as a second section could ask students to even those who aRe advanced
review of other topics. A short game match for and since with appropriate students. pRoviding plenty of
or activity which engages students time phrases such as three years pRactice activities thRough-
and requires them to move around and fourth grade. Check the an- out the couRse will be the best
the classroom would be an excellent swers aloud as a class to ensure that method of teaching students
idea. You can conduct an activity students understand when to use the coRRect use of these two
such as Chinese Whispers to start each of these words. If students are woRds.
off. This will give students some struggling be sure to provide them
basic pronunciation practice and en- with further practice before moving
courage them to work more efficiently on to the next section or perhaps ask
in groups. Alternatively, you could another student to explain the use of
play a game such as Fruit Basket each word to the class. Sometimes
where students have to make a sen- simply giving another explanation
tence about their weekend or another can help students understand a new
similar topic which would again give idea.
students speaking practice and allow

4
them to share a little bit about them-
PRODuCE
selves.
Using the same worksheet,

2 INTRODuCE FOR AND


SINCE
have a section which asks students
to write a few sentences of their own
using these two words. Perhaps dur-
Perhaps in past classes you have ing the writing section students could
only introduced and practiced a basic be asked to write pairs of sentences
present perfect sentence structure where the first one uses for and the
such as I have played baseball. second one uses since to say essen-
In your introduction for this lesson tially the same thing such as the pair
introduce the longer structure using of sentences used in the baseball ex-
examples such as I have played ample above. If this is too challeng-
baseball for three years. and I have ing for students conduct an activity
played baseball since fourth grade. that is more suitable to their level.
Have students volunteer to give a
translation of your example sentenc-
es and ensure that they understand
the difference between the two. Use

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Simple Future
Tense
Who knows what the future will
bring? However, it does look prom-
ising, particularly for our ESL stu-
INTERROGATIvE FORM
Model questions with will:
6 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
SIMPlE WITH GOING TO
NEGATIvE FORM
dents, because once they master the T: Will you help me with this?
S: Yes/Sure! The future with going to in negative
major verb tenses, theyll be better
T: Will you go to tonights con- form is used to express things we
equipped to communicate in Eng-
cert? have decided not to do. Give exam-
lish. And while on the subject of the
S: Yes/No. ples by alternating between negative
future - teaching the Future Simple
and affirmative forms: I am not going
tense (will-future) is not as simple
Ask students to ask each other ques- to give you homework for tonight. Im
as it sounds. It actually involves
tions with will that are either requests going to give you some exercises for
teaching the future with will and the
for help or assistance, or about the the weekend. Ask students to do the
future with going to, plus teaching
future in general. Model all types same: Bon Jovi is not going to come
students to understand when they
of questions first, with what, where, to town next month. They are going
should use each. Lets go over the
when, etc. to be here in December.
procedure of teaching the Simple

7
Future Tense step by step:

How To Proceed
4 introduce the fu-
TuRE SIMPlE WITH WIll
SHORT ANSWERS
INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
SIMPlE WITH GOING TO
INTERROGATIvE FORM

1 Have students ask you questions Model questions with going to: Are
INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE you going to buy tickets for the con-
SIMPlE TENSE WITH WIll about future events and reply with af-
firmative and negative short answers: cert tonight? Is President Obama go-
Ask a student, Who is the President ing to cancel his trip? Are you going
S: Will you give us homework for to study for the test? Have students
of the United States?
the weekend? ask questions in different persons.
S: Barack Obama is the Presi- T: Yes, I will/No, I wont.
dent.
T: Thats right. He will be Presi-
dent until the end of 2012.
Ask students to ask each other Yes/
No questions with will, and have
8 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
SIMPlE WITH GOING TO
SHORT ANSWERS
them practice replying in short an-
Tell students we use will to talk about swers. Have students ask you questions
the future in general. Make sure they about future events with going to and
understand the conjugation is the
same for all verbs. Go over other
uses of will and give examples.
5 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
SIMPlE WITH GOING TO
reply with affirmative and negative
short answers:
S: Are you going to give us a dif-
Unlike the future with will, where an
For instant decisions: Youre hun- ficult final test?
instant decision is made, once youve
gry? I will make you a sandwich. T: Yes, I am/No, Im not.
made a decision, and it constitutes
For promises or voluntary actions:
a plan, you use the future with going
I will call you tomorrow. Ask students to ask each other Yes/
to to express it. Tell your students: I
No questions with going to, and

2 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE


SIMPlE TENSE WITH WIll
NEGATIvE FORM
have special plans for the weekend.
Im going to visit my grandmother.
Explain to students that the conjuga-
have them practice replying in short
answers.

Just as will is used to express volun-


tary actions, or things you are willing
tion for the future with going to is the
same as for the present continuous.
Provide plenty of examples in differ-
9 CONTRAST bOTH FORMS
OF FuTuRE SIMPlE
to do, its negative form wont is used ent persons: You are going to have Make sure students understand that
to express something you are not a special class next week. A student either form can be used for the future
willing to do, or even refuse to do: Im from London is going to speak to the in general, but in some cases only
tired of trying to talk to Sarah. I wont class. We are going to listen to his one is correct. When making a deci-
call her again. experience studying in the UK. Ask sion at the moment of speaking, we
students to give examples of things use will: Where is John? Hes late. Ill
Ask students to give you examples of they are going to do next weekend give him a call. But once the decision
things they refuse to do. ( make sure they understand they has been made, we use going to:
must be things they have already

3 INTRODuCE THE SIMPlE S: Where are you going?


planned to do).
FuTuRE SIMPlE WITH WIll T: Im going to call John to see
why hes taking so long.
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach
Passive Voice Constructions
At the beginning of most English do the same thing. This will give the The passive voice is used to empha-
courses, students focus on learning class as a whole some practice and size the object or when the person
active voice structures. It is usually also test comprehension individually. or thing doing the action is unknown.
the easiest way for them to phrase You can ask for students to tell you Passive voice is often seen in news-
sentences but as students progress the subject and verb of sentences papers, for instance Eight stores
in their studies, they will encounter and also ask for translations as part have been robbed in the past three
passive voice sentences. of this exercise. weeks. politics, and science.

Since this is an entirely new struc-


ture, spend plenty of time on the
introduction and conduct several
4 PRACTICE PASSIvE vOICE
MORE
6 PRODuCE
comprehension checks along the Use a worksheet to give students Ask students to write three to
way. further practice. In one exercise have five of their own passive voice sen-
students circle the correct form of the tences. Have volunteers read sen-
tences aloud and give translations for
How To Proceed verb to complete both passive and
active sentences. To do this they will further speaking practice and com-
prehension checks.

1
have to understand the sentences
WARM uP well so use simple sentences and vo-
cabulary they are very familiar with. At the end of class, collect these
Asking questions such as What sentences to correct any mistakes
sport do you play? and writing both and return to students another day.
In another activity have students fill
the response and the students name This will give you a good idea of how
in the blank with the correct form
on the board with give you some well your students understand and
of the verb. You can also include
material to work with during your use this structure as well as how to
Scrambled where students have to
introduction of passive voice. It will proceed with your lessons.
rearrange words to form a grammati-
also give your students some quality
cally correct sentence.

7
speaking practice.
REvIEW

2
Lastly, students can do a writing
INTRODuCE exercise. The easiest way to do this Ask your students to summarize
is to write very short, simple, active what they learned in class. If they
Using the example above, show can explain passive voice to you,
voice sentences for students to re-
students the difference between then they are probably doing quite
write using passive voice. A sentence
Andy plays basketball. and Basket- well understanding it themselves.
such as He built the house in 1951.
ball is played by Andy. Explain how
should become The house was built
in one sentence the subject is Andy If students struggle, lead them to say
in 1951 by him. There are many
who is actively doing something. at least a few major points regard-
activities you can include to give
In the second sentence the focus is ing passive voice and make a note
students further practice.
shifted to basketball which is now to review everything further in a later
the subject but is not actively doing lesson.
Mixing active and passive voice
anything. In passive voice, the verb
sentences into every section of the
is done to the subject as opposed to
worksheet will challenge students
the subject doing the verb.
and help to determine whether or most english students will
not they understand the difference not have much need foR the
This whole concept will be complete-
between the two. passive voice stRuctuRe at
ly different from what your students this time but it will come up
eveRy so often in Readings so
5
have studied so far so it is important
to reinforce this concept as much as DISCuSS PASSIvE vOICE it is best to coveR the mate-
possible during your introduction and
Now that your students have Rial thoRoughly and maKe an
practice stages.
had some practice using the passive effoRt to include it in otheR
exeRcises.

3
voice on sentences they will most
PRACTICE PASSIvE vOICE likely not encounter in their English
studies, talk about when passive
As a class have students
voice would commonly be used.
change responses given in the warm
up from active to passive voice. If
they are doing well, call on students
individually or ask for volunteers to

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Passive Voice
While Being Active!
It may seem like a contradiction, but understand that subject is active, the
theres nothing passive about learn- one responsible for carrying out the Teacher drops some papers
ing the passive voice. Students need action. on the floor. S: Pens werent
to be as active as ever and fully Point to the second sentence and dropped on the floor. Papers were
engaged in their learning. But it is the ask if the subject is doing the ac- dropped. Teacher closes a door.
teacher who must engage them. How tion. They should it isnt. Make sure S: A window wasnt closed. A door
was closed.
do you get students actively engaged they understand that the subject is
in learning something as tedious as passive, the one who is being acted

7
the passive voice? With action, of upon. Compare what happens to the
course! By showing them that there verbs. Ask students what tense they PRACTICE QuESTIONS IN
is plenty of action involved, but that see in the first example. They should PASSIvE vOICE
the focus is not on the actor, the one recognize the past simple. Show
Carry out actions and have students
who is carrying out the action, but students what happens in the sec-
ask questions:
rather whoever or whatever is acted ond sentence: the auxiliary verb to
upon. Here is one of the best ways to be is used in the past tense (was)
Teacher opens a window. S: Was
teach the passive voice: with the past participle, in this case
the dictionary opened? What was
dropped. (just) opened?
How To Proceed
4 GIvE AN ExAMPlE WITH

8
1
WERE PlACE THE PASSIvE vOICE
CARRy OuT AN ACTION!
This time drop several pens at the
in a real life conteXt -
Stand in front of your class.
same time. Ask students to tell you DISCuSSION
Drop a pen on the floor. Ask your
what has just happened. Tell them to
students to tell you what has just Ask students to brainstorm the types
start the sentence with The pens
happened and ask them to begin the of things that the government does
See if students figure out they should
sentence with your name. Someone for the population. The government
use were instead of was this time.
should be able to say: Ms. Rodri- repairs streets, cleans monuments,

5
guez dropped a pen on the floor. builds schools and hospitals, etc...
Write this sentence on the board. Ask PRACTICE WITH MORE Make sure students see that some-
students to identify the subject and PASSIvE vOICE ExAMPlES times when we talk about actions,
the verb in this sentence: they should were not interested in the actor,
say the subject is Ms. Rodriguez Carry out more actions and encour- either because we know who it is (in
and that the verb is dropped. age students to describe what has this discussion we are clearly talking
happened in the passive voice: about the government), or because

2 repeat the action - in-


TRODuCE THE PASSIvE
vOICE
Teacher puts some books under a
chair. S: Books were put under a
chair. Teacher closes a book. S: A
wed like to emphasize the results, in
other words what was accomplished.
Discuss what things were done in the
last year by the local government.
book was closed.
Drop your pen on the floor one more Encourage students to use the pas-
Teacher writes some words on the
time. Tell your students that youll tell sive voice.
board. S: Some words were writ-
them what has just happened, but ten on the board.
this time your sentence will begin S: Streets were repaired. A new hos-
with, The pen Go to the board and Give enough examples to make stu- pital was opened. The park benches
write, The pen was dropped on the dents comfortable with the use of the were painted. Trees were planted.
floor. Ask your students to identify past simple in the passive voice. Etc.
the subject: they should say it is the

6
For all practical purposes, this article
pen. Ask them to identify the verb: PRACTICE PASSIvE vOICE focuses on the past simple in passive
they should say it is was dropped.
with neGative state- voice.
MENTS
3
Introduce the passive voice in other
compare the two sen- tenses: actions work very well with
TENCES Continue carrying out actions around the present perfect, too (Some
the classroom, but this time chal- books have just been put away)
Point to the first sentence and ask lenge students to make negative and dont forget modals!
if the subject is doing the action. statements followed by affirmative
They should say it is. Make sure they statements:

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Future
Continuous Tense
You dont need a fortune teller to firmative and negative short answers:
tell you your future. Its right there in morrow.
black and white in your appointment S3: I will be visiting my grand-
book! The Future Continuous tense mother for her birthday tomorrow S: Will you be going somewhere
is used when talking about fixed evening. for the holidays?
appointments and/or events that T: Yes, I will/No, I wont.
weve scheduled in the future, and
also events that will be in progress
at a specific time in the future. This
2 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
CONTINuOuS NEGATIvE
FORM
Students now take turns asking each
other questions and replying with
may not be hard for ESL students to short answers.
grasp, but some may ask: why not Use the information supplied by
use the present continuous with fu-
ture meaning? Its a good idea to tell
your students that the future continu-
students about things they will be
doing the next day, and make nega-
tive statements, alternating between
5 PROvIDE ExTENDED
PRACTICE AND CONTRAST
WITH OTHER FuTuRE TENSES
ous also sounds more polite, and its affirmative and negative.
recommended especially in business If you wish to give your students
contexts. more opportunities for practice,
T: Juan will be having dinner with BusyTeacher.org offers several work-
his family at 8pm. He wont be
How To Proceed playing football.
sheets in our Future Continuous Sec-
tion that should do wonderfully. What
will your students be doing in 45

1 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE


CONTINuOuS
Ask students to provide more sen-
tences in the negative form by using
their own examples or the illustra-
years? In the Teenagers of Tomorrow
worksheet, your students will explore
just that. Nows also a great time to
To introduce this tense use illustra- tions used in class. review and contrast all of the future
tions or pictures where there are lots tenses learned so far, and there are
people carrying out different actions:
the best places are those where
there are fixed schedules, like an
3 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
continuous inter-
ROGATIvE FORM
also fabulous worksheets for this,
like Whose Life Is It? and Tomorrows
World.
airport, train station, or movie theater.
Ask students questions about what Another great activity you can do with
For example, show the illustration of they will be doing some time in the your class is a time capsule, although
a busy train station and ask: near future: it doesnt necessarily have to be
as fancy as a capsule to be buried
outside. Simply ask students to write
T: Is Mr. Thompson boarding his T: What will you be doing for the down all of the things they imagine
train right now? Christmas holidays? they will be doing in ten years time.
S: No, hes waiting at the plat- S: I will be visiting my family in Some will be finishing their studies,
form. Mexico. others will be changing diapers and
T: Thats right! He will be boarding T: Ask a classmate! raising children. Some may even
his train at 7pm/in 10 minutes. S: Sarah, what will you be doing be enjoying their retirement. Once
for the Christmas holidays? theyve written down their predic-
Go on with more examples: Hell be tions, they put them into an envelope
taking the train to New York City. Hell Ask students to ask more questions. and seal it with this specific note
be leaving from Track 2. Hell be ar- Encourage them to use what time, across the front: DO NOT OPEN
riving at 9pm. Show students another when, where, who, etc. Make sure UNTIL 2020! They should keep these
illustration and have them supply they notice that questions in future envelopes safely hidden at the bot-
examples with the future continu- continuous sound more polite than tom of a drawer or inside a book.
ous. Finally, ask students to give you questions in simple future. Imagine their faces when they open
examples based on what they will them 10 years from now!
be doing the next day at a particular
time, either events theyve scheduled
or actions that will be in progress.
4 INTRODuCE THE FuTuRE
CONTINuOuS SHORT
ANSWERS
S1: I will be having dinner with my Have students ask you questions
family at 8pm. about future events and reply with af-
S2: I will be studying all day to-
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Present
Perfect Continuous Tense
If your students are currently living
in a city that is not their hometown, Continue with more substitutions. For ing for almost a year.
would they say theyve lived there or extended practice try this fun work-
theyve been living there for a while?
Either tense will do if they wish to
convey that they didnt always live
sheet where students have to guess
what a classmate has been doing.
More advanced learners or adults
5 INTRODuCE THE PRESENT
PERFECT CONTINuOuS
SHORT ANSWERS
there, but theyre living there now. may be given a Present Perfect Con-
Which is why ESL students are often tinuous Game to play, where they Ask yes or no questions and teach
unclear as to when it is best to use have to tell classmates what they students to give short answers:
the present perfect continuous tense. have been doing based on a specific
The present perfect continuous is the job card.
best choice when the action is still T: Have you been studying for
continuing, and you wish to empha-
size its duration and not the result. 3 INTRODuCE THE PRESENT
PERFECT CONTINuOuS
INTERROGATIvE FORMS
next weeks test?
S: Yes, I have./No, I havent.

Students ask classmates yes or no


How To Proceed Ask students which sports they cur- questions, and classmates reply with
rently play. short answers. Make sure they place

1 INTRODuCE THE PRESENT


PERFECT CONTINuOuS
S: I play tennis.
emphasis on actions that are continu-
ing.

Ask students if they play any musical


instruments and when they started
playing them. Use the information
Model questions with how long,
where, etc...
T: How long have you been play-
6 ExPAND ON All OF THE
SITuATIONS IN WHICH
yOuD uSE THIS TENSE
supplied by them to introduce the ing tennis?
present perfect continuous: S: Ive been playing for about a Above all, make sure students are
year. clear on which types of contexts or
Use affirmative statements as situations require the use of the pres-
T: Juan has been playing the prompts for student questions: ent perfect continuous tense. Provide
guitar for 5 years. Mario has T: I swim twice a week. examples:
been playing the piano for a few S: How long have you been swim-
months. ming twice a week?
S2: Where have you been swim- To describe activities, routines, or
Make sure students see the empha- ming? habits which were recently begun:
sis on the continuity of the action. I have been taking French class-
Juan and Mario are still actively play- Students make affirmative state- es this semester.
ing these instruments. Show students ments of things they are currently do-
how the present perfect continuous is ing as prompts for their classmates To describe recent events or tem-
formed: Have/has + been + present questions. porary situations: I havent been
participle sleeping well.

2 PRACTICE THE PRESENT


PERFECT CONTINuOuS
4 INTRODuCE THE PRESENT
PERFECT CONTINuOuS
NEGATIvE FORMS
To talk about the temporary result
of a recently finished activity: Ive
been cleaning the house for the
Ask students to give more examples Make an affirmative statement fol- party, thats why Im so tired.
through substitution. lowed by a negative one: I have been To talk about an action that start-
swimming twice a week. I havent ed in the past but actively contin-
been dancing twice a week. Use the ues: Ive been studying English
T: Carlos Tevez started playing information supplied by students to for years.
football when he was a child. make incorrect statements, which
Prompt students to say: they have to correct: it is highly Recommended that
S: He has been playing football you contRast this tense with
since he was a child. otheR tenses liKe the simple
T: Oscar started listening to opera T: Juan has been playing tennis past, and the pResent peRfect
when he was in Italy. for several years. simple, of couRse.
S: He has been listening to opera S: I havent been playing tennis
since he was in Italy. for several years. Ive been play-
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Reported Speech
- Statements
Also known as Indirect Speech,
Reported Speech is essential in
everyday spoken English to basically
report on what another person has
2 TEACH WHAT HAPPENS
WHEN DIRECT SPEECH IS
IN PRESENT CONTINuOuS
T: Juan said he had gone shop-
ping for groceries.
S: I said I had gone shopping for
Christmas gifts.
said.

4
Ask students what they are doing for
Whether we are relaying a message, TEACH WHAT HAPPENS
the holidays.
or simply repeating what someone WITH THE OTHER TENSES
said, there are countless situations in S1: Im going to Mexico. ONE by ONE
which we may use reported speech, S2: Im spending the holidays at
so ESL students must be taught and my grandmothers. In the same manner illustrated above
encouraged to master it. Still, we for the simple present, present
mustnt forget that it must be learned Show them how to report: Juan said continuous, and simple past, teach
in context, so students understand he was going to Mexico. Write the students how to report each of these
both how and when to use it. For sentence in direct speech on the tenses:
practical purposes, this article will board, and the reporting sentence
cover only the cases in which the re- right next to it. Make sure students Past continuous changes to
porting verb is in the past (said, told, understand that the verb in pres- past perfect continuous
etc.) which leads us to take the verb ent continuous was changed to past Present perfect changes to past
in the reported clause one step back continuous. Report on what several perfect
into the past. Past perfect remains past per-
students said about their plans for
fect
the holidays. Then, ask students Past perfect continuous remains
How To Proceed to continue reporting on what their
classmates said.
the same
Will changes to would

1
Finally, report on what they said, but Can changes to could
TEACH WHAT HAPPENS make mistakes: ask students to cor- Have to changes to had to
WHEN DIRECT SPEECH IS rect you.
IN PRESENT It is recommended that you present a
T: Juan said he was staying in context, or specific situation, for each
Ask students what they usually do on Ontario. tense before doing the reporting. For
weekends. S: I said I was going to Mexico. example, for can, ask students to
give examples of things they can do.
S1: I play football with friends.
S2: I visit my grandmother.
S3: I go to the movies.
3 TEACH WHAT HAPPENS
WHEN DIRECT SPEECH IS
IN PAST
For the present perfect, ask students
to imagine theyre all working togeth-
er in an office, and ask them to say
what things theyve already done and
Show them how to report: Juan said which they havent done yet.
Ask students what they did last
he played football with friends. Sepa-
weekend.

5
rate the board into two sides: write
the sentence in direct speech (use
PRACTICE All TENSES IN
S1: I saw Harry Potter and the REPORTED SPEECH
quotation marks) on one side and Deathly Hallows.
sentence in reported speech on the S2: I went shopping for Christmas Ask students questions, making sure
other side. Make sure students un- gifts. you do so in different tenses. Once
derstand that the verb in simple pres-
the student has answered you, ask
ent was changed to simple past, and Show them how to report: Juan said
another to report on what he or she
the reason is that the reporting verb he had gone Christmas shopping.
said.
is in past. Report on what several Write the sentence in direct speech
students said about their usual week- on the board, and the reporting T: Sarah, what do you want for
end activities. Then, ask students to sentence right next to it. Make sure Christmas?
continue reporting. Finally, report on students understand that the verb in S1: I want an iPhone.
what they said, but make mistakes: simple past was changed to past per- T: Juan, what did she say?
ask students to correct you. fect. Report on what your students S2: She said she wanted an
said about their weekend. Then, ask iPhone.
T: Juan said he played volleyball students to continue reporting on
with friends. what their classmates said.
S: I said I played football with Finally, report on what they said, but
friends. make mistakes: ask students to cor-
rect you.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Reported Speech:
Alternative Approach
RepoRted speech is used to talK
about things otheR people
have said. instead of intRoduc-
Write the sentence: He said he was
very tired. on the board next to Bens
original sentence I am very tired.
5 REvIEW
What students present depends
on the amount of time you would like
ing this topic using a Range of to spend on this activity. Students
diffeRent tenses, sticK with a Use a few more sentences from the could either use the reported speech
veRy simple stRuctuRe foR warm up as examples and encour- structure to talk about the response
this fiRst lesson. he said he age students to make reported to one interview question or summa-
liKed socceR. wheRe both speech sentences. Now play a short rize their findings. This activity allows
veRbs aRe past tense, would game such as Crisscross with the you to ensure that students are using
be ideal. a lesson on RepoRted remaining examples to give students the structure correctly. If students
speech is the peRfect oppoR- some practice. have difficulty with something, you
tunity to Review diffeRent can review and practice that in the

3
stRuctuRes and vocabulaRy. PRACTICE warm up for the next lesson.

In their groups, students should Being able to talk about things they
How To Proceed trade sentences with group members have heard allows students to share
and rewrite the sentences using the more information. It is one thing to

1 WARM uP
Use the warm up activity to get
reported speech structure. Be sure to
allow time for the majority of stu-
dents to present their sentences to
say what you think and totally differ-
ent to talk about what other people
have said.
some simple sentences on the board. the class so that students can have
You can elicit certain sentence struc- lots of examples and some speaking This will definitely be practiced
tures if students need more practice practice. If students have questions, further when you talk about giv-
with something in particular. You can this is an excellent time to address ing advice because often someone
do this by asking students to make them and review anything they are will prompt advice giving by saying
groups and giving each group a dif- struggling with. something like I want to/think ~ but
ferent question to answer. my parents said ~.
Next use short video or audio clips
This way you will get three to six for an exercise where students listen Covering this topic thoroughly now
sentences for each structure and can to material and complete a worksheet will give students the confidence to
cover a range of topics. After giving testing comprehension and practic- create this section of dialogue in giv-
students some time to discuss their ing reported speech. You could also ing advice dialogues and role plays
questions and write individual an- use a written dialogue for this type of later on.
swers, have volunteers read sentenc- activity but it will be more challenging
es aloud. Write some sentences and if students have to listen to the mate-
the names of the student volunteers rial even if that means reading the
on the board. Be sure to use at least dialogue aloud to the class. Check
one sentence from each group. the answers as a class after several
repetitions. If there is time, you can

2 INTRODuCE REPORTED
SPEECH
also play the material once more af-
ter the answers have been checked.

You may choose to have students


stay in their groups or return to their
desks for the introduction. You can
try to elicit the target structure by
4 PRODuCE
Reported speech is a great op-
portunity for students to do interviews
asking a question such as What did with classmates, teachers or family
Ben say? Try to use a sentence that members so this activity may be best
is written on the board. Most likely as a homework assignment.
students will search for the name If students have never had the oppor-
Ben and then read the sentence tunity to conduct interviews before, it
exactly as you have written it but you would be good to provide them with
can then say Youre right! He said he several questions to ask. It may also
was very tired. Good job! You have be helpful to provide the translations
now introduced the target structure. of these questions for the interview-
ees.
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Ordinal Numbers
in 5 Easy Steps
Once students have learned cardinal
numbers, you will have to introduce
ordinal numbers as well. This les-
son should not directly follow the
give students practice using the first
ten ordinal numbers. Introduce the
word last as well since this is a posi-
tion related vocabulary word. Once
5 CHAllENGE
If your students are doing
well, you can talk about the pattern
one on cardinal numbers because students understand the meaning of of forming ordinal numbers. Make
students need a lot of practice with these words, you can use number sure that students know that except
those before being introduced to this flashcards and choral repetition for for eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth,
topic however they are both beginner pronunciation practice. numbers ending with one, two, or
lessons and as such will most likely three are irregular and should be said
fall within the same school year. If
students have had enough practice
with cardinal numbers, this lesson
3 PRACTICE
Using the same number cards
first, second, and third respectively.
You should also look at all multiples
of ten from twentieth through nineti-
should be fun and easy. You can use as in the warm up activity, students eth because these are pronounced
some of the same teaching materials can play games to practice these slightly differently from other ordinal
and games too! new words. Memory would be great numbers. As with cardinal numbers
for pronunciation practice as long as students may confuse words such as
every student says the correct ordinal thirteenth and thirtieth so these may
How To Proceed number aloud when he turns over a require a round of Bingo of their own
card. If students cannot be encour- for extra practice.

1 WARM uP
Use the warm up activity to
aged to actually say the words aloud,
you may as well move on to another
activity. oRdinal numbeRs should
get students thinking about cardinal not pResent too much of
numbers especially if it has been a You can use BusyTeachers ordinal a challenge foR students.
long time since you last practiced numbers worksheets to test compre-
them. You can do this by using decks hension by asking students ques- Try to give students lots of fun prac-
of number cards to play games like tions based on images or videos of tice activities in this lesson. There are
Memory or Go Fish in small groups races or lines. Students can also be not many occasions where ordinal
or by playing a game such as Bingo prompted to write sentences about numbers will come up in ESL classes
as a class. To review more vocabu- themselves such as I am the first except when talking about directions,
lary, you can make up a story as a child in my family. for example Turn left at the third
class instead. You can start by saying corner. and other instructions - First

4
I went to the store and bought one preheat the oven. where students will
PRODuCE
cat. for instance, have the next stu- get lots of extra practice.
dent repeat your sentence and then To give students more speaking
add and two ~. and continue on practice, you can provide them with a
until everyone has contributed. If you model dialogue or an interview activ-
have a very large class, you may just ity. The model dialogue might focus
want students to say a number and on an image on the board where stu-
an item instead of repeating every- dents take turns asking the position
thing each time but this will give them of various things and responding to
less number practice. questions. An interview activity could
include questions such as Whats

2 INTRODuCE ORDINAl
NuMbERS
the first thing you do in the morn-
ing? or Whats the first thing you do
after school? Your students range of
Since ordinal numbers have nothing vocabulary will help determine what
to do with amount but rather with po- questions are appropriate.
sition, do not start off by using num-
bers but instead use images of other
vocabulary words to simulate a race Try to include a variety of previously
on the board. You can talk with your studied material as well as different
students about the positions of each ordinal numbers even though first is
item by saying for example The dog probably the most commonly used.
is first and the cat is second. Begin
with just a few words or images on
the board and work your way up to

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
Gerund vs. Innitive:
How to Explain the Dierence
students often have a diffi-
cult time Knowing when to use
geRunds and infinitives.
on the various uses of gerunds and
infinitives and give students some
practice using them in sentences.
Certainly looking at how the two are
4 MEANING
Once your students have had
some practice using both gerunds
similar is the easiest method of intro- and infinitives in separate lessons,
Even at the intermediate level, this ducing the topic. combine them. You can give the
is typically not covered extensively class pairs of sentences where one

2
and lesson plans instead focus on
GERuNDS sentence uses a gerund and the
very specific structures such as I like other uses the infinitive. Then as a
playing ~. or I like to play ~. Gerunds can also be used class or in groups discuss the slight
in prepositional phrases like in the to substantial differences in meaning
For the majority of students this sentence They talked about swim- the sentences have. This is a chal-
simple approach is enough and ming yesterday but decided it was lenging activity and should only be
much less confusing than trying to too cold. Additionally there are done with advanced students.
understand when one is more ap- certain words that should be followed
propriate than the other because in by gerunds such as avoid, enjoy,
many situations, although there is a and dislike and there is no great way with any lucK youR textbooK
slight difference in meaning, gerunds to remember which words except will not addRess geRunds
and infinitives are used interchange- through considerable amounts of and infinitives diRectly but
ably. A lesson teaching gerunds practice using them. will still give students
might focus on I like playing/eating/ lots of pRactice using them.
reading ~. and the question What A mistake learners often make is
do you like doing? When students saying a sentence similar to I go to This method generally works best it
create sentences that are incorrect, swim everyday. when the correct is more similar to how native speak-
for instance I like playing ski. you sentence is I go swimming every- ers learn English. It is hard to explain
can address the fact that ski does not day. or even I go to the gym to why I go to swim everyday. is incor-
follow the same rules as sports such swim everyday. When certain words, rect while I go to work everyday. is
as soccer, baseball, and basketball. such as swim, follow the verb go, correct. Native speakers never ques-
An introductory infinitive lesson could they must be gerunds. This applies tion that because they are introduced
use the same approach in order to to many activities such as swimming, to words, phrases, and sentence
give students some easy infinitive scuba diving, skiing. structures gradually by listening to
practice without overwhelming them people around them.

3
with various structures and uses. INFINITIvES
With more advanced students or if the best way foR students to
the difference between gerunds and There are also some words leaRn english is not to mem-
infinitives is covered in your textbook, such as demand, hope, and pretend, oRiZe Rules and exceptions to
you will have to address them in that must be followed by an infini- Rules but to heaR sentences
more detail. tive. As with gerunds, it takes a lot modeled coRRectly and pRac-
of practice to recognize which words tice them.
How To Proceed this applies to and there is no rule to
help.

1 Gerunds and infini-


TIvES Additionally, when the main verb of
the sentence is a form of be followed
Gerunds and infinitives are nouns by an adjective, an infinitive often
formed from verbs. Gerunds are follows. One example is They were
formed by adding ing to the end of anxious to leave. There are other
a verb. Some examples are eating, structures that use infinitives as well.
playing, and listening. Infinitives use Trying to address all of them in a sin-
to before the verb so the examples gle class period will simply confuse
above would be to eat, to play, and students. It would be better to select
to listen. Both can be used as the what key points you want to cover or
subject or object of a sentence. The spread these lessons out over the
negative version of both gerunds and course of the year so that students
infinitives is made simply by adding do not become bored studying just
not. With this information alone, you one aspect of the English language.
can create lesson plans that focus
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Personal
Pronouns
she, you can give them another op- the material, be sure to include some
peRsonal pRonouns can be portunity to provide the correct pro- new activities as well. Fill in the blank
used to Replace nouns acting noun and then talk about why he is and multiple choice exercises are
as subjects, objects, oR pos- the correct replacement in this case. both simple ways to check compre-
sessive maRKeRs in sentences. hension.

For each of these uses, there is a


different set of pronouns so students
should be introduced to them sepa-
3 PRACTICE PERSONAl
PRONOuNS Students could be asked to talk
about something they own for writing
Continue to conduct practice activi- and speaking practice using posses-
rately. These are just some of the ties as a class until you think your sive pronouns. The prompt for the
pronouns that students will encounter students have a good understanding activity could be This ~ is mine. and
during their English studies however of these new words. You can have you could require that students bring
personal pronouns are also some of students form teams of about four the item to class and write a certain
the most commonly used. for an activity where when you say a number of sentences about it.

How To Proceed sentence, the first team to write the


correct pronoun on the board gets
6 REvIEW

1
a point. If you say The dog likes
WARM uP walks. students should write it on the Once students have covered
board. It is a good idea to do activi- these three types of personal pro-
Begin by talking about people nouns, you should do some activities
ties like this so that as issues come
so that students can provide some which combine all three. Whether
up, you can address them rather than
sample sentences to work with in the you choose to use worksheets or
having to go back to clarify certain
next section. You can ask questions games to do this is up to you and
things after a lot of individual practice
as simple as Whats your name? depends on how well your class
has been done.
to start off with. Write sentences usually responds to certain types of
you would like to use on the board. exercises.
For speaking practice you can play
You can have students volunteer to
Fruit Basket or simply have students
answer questions, play a short game, A review class which combines
do a short writing activity and then
or call on students for this section. everything they have learned about
ask them to read aloud what they
Since the introduction may take pronouns may be a challenge but it
wrote.
some time and requires students to can also help you discover what stu-

4
really focus, try to conduct an activity dents are struggling with and where
that gets them out of their chairs and INTRODuCE: ObJECTIvE/
their confusion lies. If necessary you
moving around. POSSESSIvE can address these things in a later
lesson.

2
You can introduce the objective
INTRODuCE: SubJECTIvE pronouns me, you, him, her, it, us,
you, and them as well as the posses-
Introduce subjective pronouns youR students will study otheR
sive pronouns mine, yours, his, hers,
I, you, he, she, it, we, you, and they. types of pRonouns duRing
its, ours, yours, and theirs in much
It is common to make two columns theiR english couRse but peR-
the same way you introduced the
with three rows each so that the sonal pRonouns aRe espe-
subjective pronouns above. Students
singular pronouns are on the left and cially impoRtant because they
should have an easier time under-
the plural pronouns are on the right. aRe used Quite fReQuently.
standing their meaning and memoriz-
He, she, and it are generally listed to- students will have the oppoR-
ing them after having practiced using
gether. Maintaining this format when tunity to pRactice using peR-
subjective pronouns. Introduce and
introducing other sets of pronouns sonal pRonouns often so
practice these pronouns in separate
will help students remember them. theRe is no need to maKe a
classes until students have a firm
Once these are on the board do special effoRt to include them
grasp on the material.
some choral repetition for pronuncia- in futuRe lessons.
tion practice and write some sentenc-
es on the board.

Be sure to have a sentence for each


5 PRACTICE
Similar practice exercises to the
pronoun and ask students to tell one you used for subjective pro-
you which word or words should be nouns can also be used for objective
replaced. If students say that David and possessive pronouns. To keep
should be replaced with the word students engaged and focused on

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Modal Verbs:
4 Simple Steps
English language learners are often pronunciation practice to simply write cover all the different uses of modal
confused by modal verbs because the modals and their rules off to the verbs so feel free to choose what is
they are used differently than other side of the board for reference. most important and then cover those
verbs and in a wide variety of situa- items thoroughly before moving on to
tions such as asking for permission
and giving advice. 2 AbIlITy / INAbIlITy AND
possibilitY / impossi-
the next topic.

There are a couple methods you can


use to teach students modal verbs.
bIlITy
Modals are often used to talk about
4 COMbINATION
If you cover many different uses
One is to introduce only a few words abilities and possibilities or lack of of modal verbs in your class, be sure
at a time and complete several prac- them. Some of the words you want to have a lesson which combines
tice activities before attempting to to focus on in this section are can, them again. It makes sense to start
introduce additional vocabulary. An- could, may, and might. Talk to your with all the words you plan to cover
other way you can teach modal verbs students about things they can do in the first class and finish the same
is to structure your lessons around and practice using can in the target way. Since students have been
their uses. You could leave all the structure because this will be the focusing on just one use at a time,
modal verbs written on the board for easiest word to start off with (see our this lesson will bring to their attention
the whole chapter but use only the CAN worksheets). Next you should the range of uses these words have
ones appropriate for giving advice in talk about might because it is also and really challenge them. Fill in the
one lesson and asking for permission commonly used when talking about blank and multiple choice worksheets
in another for instance. present possibilities such as We may be appropriate and of course
cant play music in class because you can conduct role plays based on
Lets look at the second method in the other classes might be taking the different uses of modal verbs too.
more detail. tests. which nicely combines the two
words in one sentence. Building upon modal veRbs have many uses.
How To Proceed that, talk about how could and may
are used to discuss future abilities
teacheRs should Review the
uses of modals caRefully

1
and possibilities and also how could befoRe intRoducing them and
INTRODuCE All MODAlS can be used to talk about the past thinK about what students
Start by introducing all the mod- in a sentence such as When I was would most benefit fRom
al verbs you wish to talk about. This a child, I could climb trees. So as studying so that plenty of
may include can, could, may, might, you can see just this one section on time can be dedicated to those
must, will, would, shall, should, and modals can take awhile. It is best to items. leaving out some modals
ought to but, depending on the level introduce structures gradually and oR some uses of modals is not
of your class, you can narrow it down to plan lots of practice activities for the end of the woRld and
to those you feel are most important. each. may just give youR students a
Obviously there are no images that betteR chance of undeRstand-
can help students understand the
meanings of these words so you can
do pronunciation practice simply by
3 OTHER uSES
You can center another lesson
ing what is coveRed.

pointing to the words on the board. In on asking for permission or mak-


your introduction you can cover some ing an offer or request. Can, could,
rules that apply to all modal verbs. may, shall, will, and would can all
Unlike most verbs, no -s is needed be used so you might want to break
to form the third person singular. For this up into pairs by introducing can
example He should ~. is correct, and could, will and would, and finally
while He work. is incorrect. Adding may and shall. In other lessons you
not forms the negative structure. Ad- can cover using modals to make
ditionally they always require an- suggestions and give advice, to talk
other verb because they cannot act about obligations and prohibitions,
as the main verb in a sentence and and lastly cover using ought to and
they only have present tense forms should to say what the correct action
so unlike the word swim, there is would be for instance She ought
no past tense form for modals. This to see a doctor. or We should be
may seem like a long and confusing quiet while the teacher is talking. For
introduction but it is best after the some classes it is not necessary to

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Question
Structures
Teachers often give students plenty sense that students would be more questions. This will make them more
of time to practice answering ques- concerned with what they should aware of often overlooked words in
tions without dedicating sufficient say in response. On quizzes, exams, questions. For Hows the weather?
practice time to asking them. For and in real life however, students are students may be tempted to say
example, Crisscross is a very simple going to need to be able to ask as something similar to What weather?
warm up activity where students well as answer questions so include as the target question because many
answer questions such as Hows some activities that draw attention to questions in beginning and inter-
the weather? but after nearly a year a questions word order. You can do mediate English lessons start with
of doing this activity, students may this by adding a section of answers what and because they recognize
struggle to come up with the correct where students have to write the the word weather as the word that
question for the answer Its sunny! question for each answer. links it to the answer. When creat-
ing blanks in the questions, leave in
Students can become accustomed If this is too challenging you can words such as weather and focus
to hearing key words in questions, have students match questions with more on who, what, where, when,
in this case weather, and answering answers or, better yet, fill in blanks why, and how as well as words such
correctly without paying any attention within the question. These exercises as your in questions like Whats
to the questions structure. will help students practice question your favorite sport? When conduct-
structures more extensively. ing review games, you can include a
Here are some ideas to help students section where students have to give
focus on this more.

How To Proceed
3 PRODuCTION STAGE
During production exercises,
the question for the answer provided.
This may be the most challenging
section of the game so awarding
questions are usually provided so extra points for correct answers may
that students have some guidelines be appropriate.

1 INTRODuCE QuESTIONS
AND ANSWERS TOGETHER
or organization for their activities.
Model dialogues and role-plays can
be adapted to give students more
While many classes concentrate on
having students answer questions,
During the introduction of new mate- practice forming questions. You real life does not work this way.
rials, you can ask the target question can also play Fruit Basket by ask-
when trying to elicit vocabulary. This ing the student in the middle to say
way, students will hear it while they a question and having everyone students aRe going to have
are focusing on the structure of the who would answer Yes change to be able to both asK and
answer and after practicing the target seats. Example questions might be answeR Questions when given
answer you can go back and do Do you like blue? Have you eaten the oppoRtunity to speaK
some pronunciation practice with the sushi? Are you a student? This can english outside the classRoom
question too. Question and answer be used for many different question so teacheRs need to devote
structures are normally introduced structures and levels. You could play plenty of time to Question
together because for example Hows Fruit Basket as a review activity at Related activities. once youR
the weather? and Its ~. are a pair the end of the first lesson using the lesson plans staRt including
and learning one without the other is answer structure and as a warm up moRe of these, students will
not very beneficial. in the next lesson using the question have betteR success Remem-
structure. Students may struggle at beRing and using Questions.

2 practice them toGeth-


ER, TOO
first but the more familiar they are
with asking questions the easier it will
be for them to learn new ones.
Practice activities should also include
both structures. For speaking prac-
tice this is easy because interview
activities and model dialogues will
4 FOCuS ON QuESTION
WORDS
certainly include both. Written exer- Make questions part of general
cises usually make students focus on review material and activities be-
answering the questions and not on fore exams or quizzes by dedicat-
the questions themselves. For struc- ing a section to them. If you have a
tures where students have to com- study guide for students, make sure
pose their own responses such as that students write their answers to
Whats your favorite sport? it makes questions as well as complete the

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach the Imperative
Form
In your classes, you have probably are listed for them to choose from. instead. Have students write recipes
used the imperative form when giving Check the answers as a class and for their favorite dishes using the
directions to your students so they review why certain choices were cor- imperative form. They can practice
will be familiar with at least one of its rect by asking questions about the reading the instructions as well but
uses. This lesson will make students images or sentences. it may be necessary to make cor-
more aware of the imperative form rections before asking students to
and give them the opportunity to
practice using it. 4 DISCuSS
Students have already been
read their recipes aloud. In order to
challenge students, you may have
to specify how many sentences are
given many examples and completed required to complete this activity.
How To Proceed a worksheet so they should have a Giving students an example on the
good idea of when to use the impera- board, will help them immensely.

1 WARM uP
It has probably been a long time
tive. At this point, talk about being
polite while still giving orders and
lead by example using please when
Encourage students to ask you ques-
tions as you move around the class
monitoring their progress.
since your students played Simon giving instructions to your students.

7
Says so give them a review of body
parts while practicing the imperative
Discuss situations where use of the REvIEW
imperative form would be appropri-
form by playing this game. Rather ate. Shouting for someone to Stop! Ask for volunteers to give
than have only one person give if he is about to cross the street when you imperative sentences. Once
instructions, have students stand in a car is coming would be fine. On a student has volunteered, he can
a circle and take turns being Simon. the other hand, if someone is sim- sit down while the rest of the class
This way when you give your intro- ply making lots of noise or distract- thinks of sentences. Continue this ac-
duction, students will have already ing you, shouting Stop! would be tivity until all the students are seated
had some practice using the impera- considered impolite. Tell students or the bell rings and do not accept
tive structure. that directions in the form of a recipe duplicate sentences.
or an instructional manual would also

2 INTRODuCE commonly use the imperative form.


the impeRative foRm is some-

5
Introduce the imperative form
PRACTICE thing students will have a lot
using both positive and negative ex- of pRactice with especially
amples. Please, stand up. would be Prepare passages which in- when studying diRections.
a positive form that students should clude several imperative sentences ensuRing that students undeR-
be familiar with from class while and write the individual sentences stand this stRuctuRe now will
the negative Dont text in class is on strips of paper. These can be maKe futuRe classes much
hopefully not needed very often. Elicit conversations, sets of instructions, easieR foR both you and them.
other imperative sentences from your or recipes. A conversation could start
students and write down further ex- off like this Be quiet! I think I hear
amples of your own. Explain that this something. Come here. I heard it
structure is used when giving direc- again! Listen carefully. Have stu-
tions and orders and give students dents work in groups. Each group
some speaking practice by having should be given the strips of paper
them read the sentences you have to complete one passage and work
written on the board aloud. together to place sentences in the
correct order. Since each group has

3 PRACTICE
Have students match images
a different passage, it may be fun
to have students share them with
the class when the activity has been
with sentences. The images should completed.
depict either scenarios or actions

6
where use of an imperative sentence
would be appropriate. A good exam-
PRODuCE
ple would be to match the universal Directions lessons will give
no smoking sign with the sentence students lots of practice using the
Dont smoke. You can also have imperative. At this time, instead of
students complete a fill in the blank practicing giving directions, focus
exercise where the missing words on cooking vocabulary and recipes
E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach Relative
Pronouns
Intermediate learners will often spend reflects possession. If your students noun sentences until all the names
several lessons on topics such as have difficulty, focus the first lesson they have written down have been
relative pronouns. Some teachers only on that and who. guessed. Using another teacher as
prefer to introduce only one or two an example, give students some
relative pronouns at a time and then
combine all of them in a final relative
pronoun lesson. The outline below
4 practice relative pro-
NOuNS
easy model sentences such as She
is a woman who teaches History. She
is the teacher that drives a red car.
follows another method where all five For the first practice activity, have Another activity students may enjoy
are introduced at the same time but a worksheet where students circle is a board game. Have students
this approach will also take several the correct relative pronoun for each work in groups of three to four taking
lessons to complete. sentence. There should only be two turns rolling the dice and moving.
options per sentence and only one For every space on the board have
a picture so that each student must
How To Proceed correct answer. The activity should
not take long to complete but use the make a relative pronoun sentence on
his turn. Both of these activities re-

1
time correcting answers as speak-
WARM uP ing practice for your students. Ask quire your students to understand the
for volunteers to provide the correct material quite well so be sure to do
Plan a warm up activity based sufficient practice exercises before
answer and ask for translations of the
on the materials you want to use later moving on to this stage of the lesson.
sentences to ensure that students
on in class. Asking questions about Especially in large classes, it will be
understand them.
hobbies, pets, and family members is impossible to correct every mistake

5
useful because you can use the re- in activities such as these.
sponses from students as examples practice relative pro-
NOuNS MORE
7
during later stages of the lesson. If
you ask What do you like to do?
REvIEW
and Meg says, I like to play tennis. On the same worksheet, you can
include a pair activity. You will need As a review or warm up activ-
write her answer on the board. ity, play fruit basket. Have students
eight sentences with relative pro-
stand in a circle surrounded by a

2
nouns where Student A has the
INTRODuCE AND DRIll first half of four sentences and the ring of chairs where there is one less
vOCAbulARy second half of four sentences while chair than students. The student in
student B has the opposite halves. the middle has to make a relative
There are five relative pronouns in pronoun sentence and every student
Student A goes first by reading the
the English language. They are that, it applies to must then scramble to
first half sentence while Student
which, who, whom, and whose. Write change chairs leaving a new stu-
B searches his endings to find the
these words on the board, model the dent in the middle to create the next
one that matches and dictates it
pronunciation for your students, and sentence. If certain students have
to Student A. When Student A has
drill. Unlike most vocabulary words, not moved in a long time, mix things
completed all his sentences, students
there are no pictures or definitions up with a sentence such as I am a
should switch roles. It will be easier
that will help your students under- student who studies English.
for students to complete sentences
stand their meaning so the best thing
if there is no ambiguity as to which
you can do is explain how to use
endings go with which beginnings.
these words. Relative pRonouns can be con-
You can ensure that this is the case
fusing foR students to gRasp

3
by using sentences such as I love
INTRODuCE STRuCTuRE as they aRe paRt of a moRe
going to zoos that have pandas.
complex sentence stRuctuRe.
In this example the words zoo and
Using the responses from the students will see Relative
panda should help students place
warm up, show students how to pRonouns moRe and moRe as
them together.
use these new vocabulary words. they pRogRess thRough theiR
english studies so please ded-

6
Our sample response could easily
become Meg is a girl who likes to PRODuCE icate plenty of time to this
play tennis. or Meg is a student that topic.
For a production exercise, have
likes to play tennis. It is important to
students write the names of five
demonstrate that that can be used to
people on their worksheet (celebri-
refer to both people and things while
ties, for example). Have students
who and whom refer only to people,
work in pairs and take turns describ-
which refers only to things, and
ing their people using relative pro-
whose is the only one of the five that

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How to Teach
Used To and Would
Students can use used to or would using the target structure and decide students understand these structures
to talk about actions in the past that if the each sentence applies to them well before moving on to the next
they no longer do. Since behaviors or not. For young students one such activity. In order to get your class
change over time, this is an excellent statement could be I used to be re- moving and enthusiastic, you can do
structure to use when reflecting on ally messy, but now I am more orga- a team activity or play Fruit Basket
the past. This also gives students the nized. while for adult students, state- for more practice.
opportunity to explain how they have ments such as I used to enjoy going
changed as they have gotten older.

How To Proceed
to clubs, but now I prefer to do other
activities. might be more appropri-
ate. You can then take a poll and
6 REvIEW
Finish the lesson by asking stu-
collect your findings on the board. It dents to tell you what they learned in
may be interesting to see how many the lesson. Prompt them to mention

1 WARM uP
Get students thinking about the
students used to do certain activities
or behave in certain ways. Next have
students think of some other used
specific points and give examples.
You can also use this time to clarify
anything students do not understand.
past by asking questions such as to sentences that apply to them.
What sport did you play when you You can have students volunteer to
were a child? and What did/didnt read sentences aloud to the class or in a lateR lesson be suRe to
you like when you were a child? work in groups to discuss the differ- intRoduce the Question that
You could also simply have stu- ent sentences. After you teach this goes along with these stRuc-
dents volunteer something that they lesson once, you can use sentences tuRes and discuss how in the
remember from their childhood. Write that your students created as the ten Question did you use to ~?
some sentences on the board as well statements for the first practice activ- the -d ending is left off and
as the names of the students who ity in later lessons so that they are use is coRRect. you may also
provided them to refer to later. better tailored to your students. consideR intRoducing used
to and would in sepaRate

2 INTRODuCE uSED TO
Introduce the structure used to 4 INTRODuCE WOulD
Once students have become
lessons if you have time. this
may maKe the topic easieR foR
students to undeRstand.
by talking about one of the sentences familiar with using used to on their
on the board or using an example own, introduce would and explain
of your own. You can say When I how it is used in similar sentences.
was a child I lived in New York City. When I was young, I would play soc-
and then show students the target cer after school. is a good example
structure by writing I used to live in because you can also say When
New York City. on the board. Have I was young, I used to play soccer
students repeat the sentence after after school. Not every sentence
you. Be sure to highlight the impor- that uses used to can use would
tance of the phrase used to by so be sure to give some examples
underlining it. Help students realize and explain the difference between
that it is important, for this structure, the two. Would cannot be used in
that you no longer live in NYC. Now a negative sentence without altering
ask students to look at the sentences its meaning and while you can say
on the board. As a class rewrite I used to dance. you cannot say I
these sentences using the target would dance. and mean the same
structure and for each one check that thing either.
the statement is no longer true. For

5
instance, if Lisa said that she liked
cake as a child and still likes cake
PRACTICE uSED TO &
then you cannot use that sentence. WOulD
Ensure that students understand this
Do a practice activity where students
key point.
change used to sentences into

3
sentences using would and then in
PRACTICE uSED TO groups, pairs or individually complete
a fill in the blank exercise. Check all
For the first practice exercise
the answers as a class to ensure that
have students read ten statements

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G
How To Teach Boring Grammar
Points: 7 Quick Proven Tips
Most ESL teachers at some point rect, and see how long it takes the ing tenses by throwing a pen. By
have come across a certain grammar students to recognise the error. Being actively going through the motions,
point that they struggle to find activi- unexpected means that they must saying the sentences and explain the
ties to liven up the class or add some always be thinking, and they are not points while doing it, you can keep
life into it. Most of us generally loathe going to find themselves anticipating your students attention on you while
some topics more than others, andd the answers. teaching them the grammar point.
would rather find ourselves watching For topic specific tasks, another great

3
an episode of Days Of Our Lives or, TEll A STORy way for students to learn vocabu-
even worse, a drama series of our lo- lary is to create a presentation. One
cal country, rather than teaching that If you are explaining a grammar example is a class Fashion Show to
horrible topic again. The bad news is, point, why not keep your students talk about clothes and accessories or
when we think like this, it can nega- amused and educated with a story. a role-play to practice vocabulary and
tively affect the vibe of class without This is a good way to keep their at- phrases related to food and dining.
ourselves even realising it. When we tention while explaining some of the

6
find a topic boring, we can generally more dull aspects of grammar. Great uSE THE NEWS
pass this vibe onto students. This for children and lower-level adults, a
is something that all teachers must well-known story such as The Hare English language newspapers
look out for, as when a student loses and the Tortoise are the best choices. are fantastic for students to learn
focus, it is very difficult to gain their Using a short story that the students about English as they generally use
attention. The best approach is to know provides the students with a simple words and provide an exam-
keep the energy levels of your class picture and connect the grammar ple of whats happening around the
high and vibrant. There are a number with an event in the story. world that the students may already
of tips and tricks that can be adapted know in their native language. This

4
for all lessons, grammar points and allows them to easily connect the
topics that will keep your students fo- taKe the tabloid ap-
times and even some of the more
cused and in the right frame of mind PROACH difficult vocabulary in the newspaper
for learning. article, while the timing implications
One nifty little way to liven up any
of a the events of the news article
How To Proceed lesson is to use the lives of celebri-
ties to explain a grammar point. To do
can be used to describe tense.
Newspapers are a good introductory

1
this, find out about a local celebrity
show off Your best as- in the country, find out who theyve
activity for any class, as they provide
a real-life vocabulary source that
SET been dating, associated with, previ-
can then progress into a discussion,
ously dated, been married to, been
No, were not referring to your chis- before getting into the grammatical
embroiled in some form of scandal,
elled face, voluptuous curves, and deep-end. See How to Teach Cur-
and create a time line while explain-
especially not your bank account. rent Events to ESL Students.
ing the tense. Example: Tom Cruise
We are talking about your personal- was married to Nicole Kidman (Past
ity. When youre teaching a grammar
point that you know is boring and the
students will switch off over, lighten
up, smile and become an Edu-tain-
tense Finished Action, Theyre
divorced. Tom Cruise married Katie
Holmes after he had divorced Nicole
7 PlAy A GAME
Have you ever been in class
and noticed that the following ex-
Kidman (Past tense, finished action /
er. As an Edu-tainer, your task is to Past Perfect the first action to hap- ercise in the book was a typical fill
keep them interested and attentive. pen in the past). in the gaps or something that you
Be funny, amusing and light hearted knew would send the students far
while at the same time teaching No matter what the topic, taking a away into a dreamlike trance? Well,
the dry-as-hell topic. You can throw popularist approach by using celeb- this is the point where you can tell
in jokes, be a little bit irrelevant at rities in a class is always bound to the students to stop everything, put
times, just turn on the charm and entertain while adding a sense of their pens down, close books and
keep them from falling asleep on the realism to your lesson. stand up. Students love competi-
desk. tion with each other, and any activity

5
where two teams can be created and
bE PRACTICAl
2
scoring is involved is a sure-winner
bE A lITTlE uNExPECTED with any tasks. Instead of having the
We are big advocates of teach- students complete the activity in the
One little gem we like to use ing English that students will find
in the classroom when teaching a book, in silence and on their own,
beneficial and useful in their jobs or they can learn and have fun at the
boring topic, is to keep them thinking. their lives. One way we like to do this
Instead of feeding them the answers same time by working together as a
is to try to use practical examples group. Practically any grammar point
or elicit the answer out of them, We wherever possible. It is incredibly
like to keep them on their toes. One can be spuced up with a little help
simple and can even be improvised of fun activities that will keep you and
such method is to give the students on the spot. An example is explain-
an answer to a question that is incor- your students from falling asleep.

E S L C H E AT S H E E T S ( G R A M M A R E D I T I O N ) . P U B L I S H E D B Y B U S Y T E A C H E R . O R G