Teaching the present tense

I’ve had to do this with my German and Spanish groups recently.  Here is a selection of activities I have tried.  The main idea behind this blog is things that you can use easily without having to upload a powerpoint or extra resources.

Generally I will introduce the present tense from the whiteboard with colour coding for endings.  I have used powerpoints but students stare at powerpoints about 4 hours a day so sometimes the change is nice.

1) MM Paired Speaking (it’s called MM after the lady I learnt it from)

Students divide page into 3 columns with about 14 lines needed in their books.

  • In the first column students write either time phrases or days of week
  • In the second column they write activities (or could draw pictures to force more spontaneous language)
  • They leave the third column blank.  Eg:      Am Montag  |  spiele ich Fussball  |
  • Students then take it in turns to read out what they have written and their partner has to write down the sentences.

I find it practises speaking, listening and word order at the same time.  The year 10s seemed to enjoy it.  You can produce your own with clipart etc but that costs time and photocopying.  Get the students to do it for you in the lesson or prepare it as a homework.

2) http://www.languagesonline.org.uk  I cannot recommend this website enough.  It is excellent.

3) Cheat

Students get given 10 cards each and write sentences in the present tense on 8.  On the remaining two they write Schwindler.  They then get into groups of 4, shuffle the cards and play “cheat” (the card game)

  • Read out phrase on card and put into middle facedown
  • If they have a Schwindler card they have to make up a phrase similar to the ones they have been putting down.
  • If they are accused of being a cheat and the accuser is right, the cheater must pick up the cards.
  • If they are accused of being a cheat and were innocent, the accuser must pick up the cards.
  • Winner is the first to get rid of all their cards.

4) Translations / gap fills / correct the mistakes

All three of these are useful in fixing rules in learners heads and getting them to think through why they are putting particular endings on words.  They make great starters, mini-plenaries and plenary activities.  You can also differentiate them by having two sets of activities with different difficulty levels.

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One thought on “Teaching the present tense

  1. Pingback: Teaching numbers, dates, days of the week & the basics | Everyday MFL

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