T prepares the board layout with 5 tenses, e.g.
PRESENT SIMPLE – 1st form
PRESENT CONTINUOUS – ing form
PAST SIMPLE – 2nd form
PRESENT PERFECT – 3rd form
FUTURE SIMPLE – infinitive
1. T elicits the form of each tense, e.g. past simple uses 2nd form; then the auxiliary verb and the time in each tense, e.g. in past simple the auxiliary verb is DID and the time is finished time in the past (yesterday, last…, …ago, etc.)
2. T asks for a sentence with a particular form, e.g. present continuous GO. SS have to write it down, or write it on the board. T improvises a short question and answer dialogue which involves various SS. T asks a SS to read their sentence:
and so on. T corrects SS and waits for them to say the sentence correctly.
3. SS write 5 sentences – one for each tense – using the verbs given, or different verbs. They could be about the lesson topic, e.g. Transport, or Food and Drink, etc. SS read their work aloud and T elicits corrections from peers.
4. SS work in pairs and do the Q & A activity which the teacher has modelled. One reads a sentence and the other asks questions with wh- question words and auxiliary verbs. Then they swap roles. T monitors, checks, and corrects.
5. T chooses pairs that the whole class listen to. SS should notice and point out errors if they occur.
6. Variation: T elicits verb forms for 4 important verbs, e.g. BE, DO, HAVE, and GO. One SS completes the grid on the board (or one SS per line), with help from the others, e.g.
…and so on.
- Be clear why you are drilling these 5 tenses: they represent most of English. For example, Past Simple is a very common tense in both spoken and written English, so it is worth drilling it often!
- You could do this activity with higher-level SS – just change the verb forms, e.g. for intermediate level:
o present perfect continuous
o past perfect
o first conditional
o second conditional
o third conditional
…and so on.
- T writes one of these grids on the board. SS practise word order with SVOPT by writing or improvising sentences then making Q & A dialogues:
(NB SVOPT (subject, verb, object, place, time) is a typical word order pattern in English. For more details see You Are The Course Book – Syllabus, p.76.)
Or, for higher level SS, simply write the following on the board and ask them to practise in pairs: