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!

Question Warmer

With my Pre-Intermediate students we are having now Grammar Section, where they can focus on answering questions. No doubt, it deals with using question words, or wh- words.

Today I’ve been lucky to create a warmer with interactive activity and a communicative task following it.

I elicited 5 question words, as we were having 5 people in the group. I wrote them on post-it notes and gave to students. I asked them to make up a question using their question words and it took them just a minute to complete this task. After that each student was supposed to come up to the board, stick a note onto it, write a question with it and read it aloud to partners.  After all questions were written on the board, students were having a communicative task with each other: they took turns to ask and answer those questions.


My students have already had such tasks when they were supposed to come up to the board and write something on it, or ask their partner a question standing in front of it, and they loved it, for sure.

It was a nice lesson with a nice warmer. I wish I always had such an inspiration to create new activities and use them as well. How do you usually come up with new ideas for warmers? Where do you find them and how? Do you find my idea useful?

Thanks for reading.

Virtual Dice in the classroom

After Teachers’ Training for EPAM English instructors back in September 2014 I became aware of how to use dice and games with dice in the classroom. That was one of the most attractive ways of drilling vocabulary or grammar, or just use it for a lesson starter or for a warmer (along with a board game). Just because of people who showed how it had worked for them, I started using it in my classroom, both for Business and for General English. I guess, there’s no use in explaining how to make use of rolling dice. Moreover, I know that some teachers use it every single day. It turned out that I am no longer an exception to this fact.


Yesterday with two Elementary students we were learning ‘Free Time and ways of spending it’. I elicited possible ideas, and after that we were having an enormous list of things to do. How to make students drill and how to encourage them to use as many phrases as possible? My favourite dice was at hand, as usual. Moreover, I found a nice site with virtual dice, including a possibility to roll up to 6 dices. The task was to roll the dice just by pushing the button, count numbers and use this or that phrase from the list.

Students were happy to play a game, it made our lesson funny and interesting.

Isn’t that a thing we, teachers, all are striving for?

And yes, a link to Virtual Dice, just in case you need it.

Thanks for stopping by!