Present Perfect vs Past Simple. An activity.

Hello everyone!

It´s a pleasure to be back, and I´m about to be bombing you with new blog-posts. Here comes one more. And it’s going to be practical with description of an activity for finding out (and analyzing) the difference between Present Perfect and Past Simple.

My Intermediate students are currently studying topic “Leisure Time’, which obviously goes hand in hand with hobbies and interests. Moreover, from the grammar point of you, the coursebook suggests doing some exercise to find the difference between the above mentioned tenses. I did not find them engaging, so I accidentally came across a nice activity in the net (here), changed it a bit, then gave it to my students.

Here comes the outline.
First up, I wrote “Our Favourites” on the board after a short warmer (discussing interests and hobbies). Then I elicited a couple of things people consider their favourite ones (food, music, movies, countries / cities, holidays, sports, etc). In doing so I put ‘Food’ as a first favourite thing into the first column of the chart (which was about to consist of 3 columns). Then I elicited verbs which are likely to be used to help to talk about favourite food. Have, try, eat, enjoy – my students came up with quite a few, and we added buy and taste. I put all of them into the second column. Having elicited verbs, I asked to think about two forms of irregular verbs ‘eat – ate – eaten’. I wrote them down here, in the second column. The next step was to ask a question and put it into the third column.

Have you ever eaten really spicy food?

I wasn’t lucky the first time, the student answered ‘No’. I asked another student, he answered ‘Yes’ and then I asked

What did you eat? – I ate sushi. – When did you eat it? – Two days ago.

I tried out a couple of questions from ‘Food’ with different students (everyone had a chance to answer; if the answer was no, then I moved on the another student) and then we moved on to ‘Country’.

Have you ever visited Italy? – Yes, I have.
When did you go there? – I went there last summer.

Next I asked a couple of questions from ‘Country’. I put all my questions into the chart.
Later on I asked to analyze why Present Perfect was used the first time and why Past Simple with the second question. They were analyzing it in pairs and then we were discussing with the whole group.

The follow-up task was to come up with two more categories (Favourites), among which were Sports, Movie, Holiday. And the students were supposed to make up their own questions in Present Perfect with a follow-up one with Past Simple.

Here comes the snapshot of my whiteboard.

My overall impression is as follows. Everyone was involved; we were having a lot of fun. It’s a nice idea to come up with something new apart from a boring coursebook.

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a wonderful day!

Passives for getting updates

Hi everyone! This blog has been quite for a while, it´s high time I continued blogging about my teaching practice. I was off for my vacation and it was really amazing to spend a fortnight in the forest with no Internet, no social networks, no ridiculous messages from strangers… I´m absolutely delighted to be here with my fellow-teachers.

My idea of a blog-post today is to tell you about the idea I’ve recently come up with. I was looking for warmers or lessons starters with a grammar flavor and I hit the mark, I managed to come across some teachers who constantly use Grammar warmers to make their classes more engaging, on the one hand, and useful, on the other hand. I should admit, I don’t spend a lot of time with my Upper-Intermediate students getting them to revise Grammar. So how could I do it? Provide them with Grammar warmer.

The first idea I came up with was using Passives to get updates.
I was off for two weeks, and it was quite awkward to come back after a long time of silence from the office, and I wanted to get updates about the current situation. So I asked my students to make up sentences with:

It is said that…
It is discussed… It is believed that…

In giving this short exercise to my students, I’m killing two birds with one stone. Firstly, I’m becoming more aware of the current situation in the office. For instance, today I had a chance to know, our office is gonna participate in Summer Party and we all are invited! That means, we´ll be lucky enough to be entertained in a country-based hotel with lots of fun! Yikes! Secondly, while using these particular structures, students are becoming more aware of the Passive Voice, and what´s more is that the task is personalized.

Tomorrow I´m gonna try a bunch of new Grammar warmers, namely, ask students about their typical working week and this particular week (making use of Present Simple and Present Continuous correspondingly).

I’m happy to be back. Thanks for stopping by!