Introducing the PRESENT PERFECT in an easy, fun, memorable way and then adding a more complex activity to recognize the structures in contrast to the SIMPLE PAST is always very successful in my classes ranging from teens to adults.
The class is divided equally into teams A and B.
The FIRST GAME is a question of LUCK: it consists in exploiting my favourite hobby, which is travelling, but it can be extended to other fields equally well. I have travelled extensively during my life and so the teams have to take turns in asking me these two questions, which I write on the board (before even introducing the grammatical explanation):
Students; Have you ever been to …………. ?
Teacher: Yes, I have. (win points*) / No, I haven’t.
(NO points* - other team’s turn)
Students; When did you go there?
Teacher: I went there in ……….. .
(I write the date and the team member has to read the year correctly to win 1 point)
(* 1 point – Europe / 2 points – outside Europe / 3 points – improbable tourist destination)
If a team repeats a question – NO points (it encourages listening to the other team).
As you can see, it’s a question of luck whether they win a point or not because they can’t know where I have been. If you haven’t travelled extensively you could use only cities or only activities or only food etc.. So the game can be adapted to your experience: e.g. Have you ever done bungee jumping? = 3 points / Have you ever played golf? = 2 points / Have you ever played tennis? = 1 point.
The repetitive nature of this activity fixes the structure in their minds before they ever need to know the grammar behind it.
In my classes I have difficulty stopping the activity after 30 minutes because they are so excited to discover where I’ve been…
The SECOND GAME is a question of CONCENTRATION and SPEED: it consists in each student having a column of sentences (see download) to consult.
The teacher has previously printed and cut out a series of sentences which students will alternately (team A then team B) pick out of a bag and read aloud to all the class. The first person in the whole class to find a logical consequence to the sentence from their list to consult wins a point for their team. In this case the whole class participates in looking for the answer. The teacher has both questions and answers to check but sometimes more than one answer may be possible.
This exciting game gets them thinking and although it’s slow at starting, once they have read them a few times it really picks up speed and makes them use their brains rather than the usual ‘easy, automatic’ answers one is often requested to do in books.
Hope you have fun with it!
A note regarding the downloads:
To my frustration I can’t seem to find the original documents in my computer so I have had to scan the copies I use at school. Should I manage to find them I will substitute them with the better originals. qui per effettuare modifiche.
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My name is Susan Brodar, born in London into a multilingual family and brought up bilingual English / Italian.