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ESL forum > Teaching material > A fun and visual way to teach the Present Perfect    

A fun and visual way to teach the Present Perfect


A fun and visual way to teach the Present Perfect
Hi all, So many people are afraid to teach the present perfect, so I thought I ´d share this idea [not my own unfortunately] I got it off the net years ago and for the life of me cannot find the source anymore ,as I would love to credit this person, but will share the idea here with you as I have successfully been using it for years. To teach the unfinished time aspect of the present perfect, draw a time line on the board. So, let’s assume we are in April 2012. Divide the line into 4 months. Write ‘now’ in the middle of April. Put two crosses into January, one cross into February, three crosses into March and one cross into April. Write 2012 above the time line and 2011 to the left of January. Write 30x below 2011. It’s best to start with the verb ‘take’ because it has a different past tense and past participle. On our time line, the crosses indicate the number of "photographs taken". The time line should look like this. 2011.................................................2012 ............Jan...................Feb................ Mar................. Apr (30x).../----x-----x------/------x-----------/-x---x----x-----/---x----now-----/ Present the time line by saying: "January is finished, February is finished, March is finished. April is not finished. 2011 is finished, but 2012 is not finished." Now mime holding a camera and say: "I took two photographs in January, I took one photograph in February, I took three photographs in March. I’ve taken one photograph this month. " Now point at the time line and count the crosses from January to ‘now’. Say: "I’ve taken – one, two, three, four, five six, seven – I’ve taken seven photographs this year." Then point at 2011 and say: "I took thirty photographs last year." Now ask questions while pointing at the time line. How many photographs did I take in January? How many did I take last year? How many did I take last month? How many have I taken this month? How many have I taken this year? And so on. Now repeat the presentation with ‘letters written’, ‘films seen’, ‘cups broken’. These verbs all have a different past tense and past participle. You can force questions and answers with: Ask me about photographs in February: "How many …. ?" And now ask me about films and this month. And now about last year. And now about this year. And so on. You can force negatives by asking: Did you take four photographs last month?Have you taken three photographs this month?And so on. At this stage you should insist that they reply with the numbers on the time line. Now force the third person by asking questions about ‘John’. How many photographs did John take in March? How many has he taken this month? And so on. The next stage is to draw another time line for ‘today’ and mark ‘now’ as 3pm. Mark 12 noon to show the end of the morning. Put three crosses into the morning and two crosses into the afternoon. Ask questions about ‘cups of coffee and ‘pieces of toast’. It’s better to use ‘drank-drunk & ate-eaten’ rather than ‘have-had’ because they illustrate the form more clearly. So you ask: How many pieces of toast did you eat this morning? How many cups of coffee have you drunk this afternoon? How many cups of coffee have you drunk today? How many pieces of toast did you eat yesterday? And so on. Information about ‘yesterday’ is not on the time line and so you can ask, "How many really?" At this point, refer to one of the time lines and insist that they give you answers according to what really happened. Suitable questions include: letters posted / e-mails sent /euros spent / kilometres driven / cigarettes smoked / bottles of wine drunk. You can ask the class Romeo about ‘hearts broken’, the bookworm about ‘books read’ and the compulsive mobile phone user about ‘phone calls made’ and ‘text messages sent’.

23 Feb 2012      


Some useful ideas here. Thanks for sharing.

23 Feb 2012     


Very interesting. Thx for sharing :)

23 Feb 2012     


Great tip....Thanks a lot!!!!

1 Mar 2012