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A zero prep task to practise the perfect tense

I found this dead simple lesson idea in an article about grammar teaching by ELT writer Scott Thornbury. You could do this with an intermediate (GCSE) class or even a very good Y8 or Y9 class.

Put the class into pairs and give them 5-10 minutes to ask each other in the TL what they did last weekend. You could first model the exchange with a more able student. Then give them a further 5-10 minutes to write down what their partner did. Make sure the class knows in advance that they will gave to write down what they heard. (By the way you could use the trick of giving the class a very specific time limit of, say, 8 minutes - Doug Lemov and others claim this more specific time adds a sense if urgency and I agree.)

Collect the work in, but don't mark it. Then the next time you see the class display on the board a set of about 15 sentences you came across in their written work, some correct, some containing verb errors. Ask all the pupils to note down which ones they think are right, and which ones wrong. They can correct errors.

Then use these example sentences to have a discussion in English about each sentence. Explain and revise any key rules the pupils need to know.

Finally, hand back the work the students originally produced and tell them to check through what they wrote.

If you did a task like this it would make sense to do so once the students had already been taught the rules and had chance to do structured practice. It could also be a precursor activity to a written assessment on the perfect tense.

Reference: http://nebula.wsimg.com/a2ccde72a41331056b3163e89e410e0d?AccessKeyId=186A535D1BA4FC995A73&disposition=0&alloworigin=1

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