Past Continuous - ESL EFL Activities and Games
ESL EFL Writing and Speaking Activity - Elementary - 30 Minutes
Here is an entertaining miming game to help students practice the past continuous tense. The students begin by doing a quick TPR activity to review the language on the activity cards. The class stands up. When the teacher shouts out one of the activities on the cards, all the students do the mime or action. After that, the students are divided into four teams. The students then play a game to practice the past continuous tense. One student from the first team goes out of the classroom. Each student in the class is then given an activity card. Everyone starts miming or doing their action and the student outside comes in. The students continue for a few more seconds, then stop. The student who went outside then makes sentences about what everyone was doing when he/she came in. The student scores one point for each correct past continuous sentence. A student from the second team goes out and the process is repeated. For the final round, a student leaves the class as before. But this time, when the student comes back in, the teams must try to remember and write down what everyone was doing. Teams score one point for each true sentence. The scores are added to the previous rounds to find the ultimate winning team.
What were you doing?
ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Elementary - 15 Minutes
In this enjoyable chain game, students use the past continuous tense to make statements about what they were doing at 8 o’clock last night. The students sit in a circle. One student begins by telling the class what they were doing at that time. The next student then repeats what the previous student was doing using 'while', and adds what he or she was doing, e.g. While Tom was watching a movie, I was playing a game on my phone. Then, each student in turn repeats all of the previous student’s activities and adds their own activity. You can include additional game elements, e.g. if students can’t remember the activities or make a grammar mistake they are out of the game.
What were you doing.PDF Exclusive
Change of Plan
ESL EFL Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 25 Minutes
In this imaginative teaching activity, students practice creating sentences using the past continuous to talk about something that was happening at a specific time in the past, and the past simple to talk about a second action. The class is divided into groups of four and each group is given a set of activity cards and picture cards. The students spread out the two sets of cards face down on the desk, keeping the two sets separate. The students then take it in turns to turn over an activity card and a picture card. The student then makes a sentence with the past continuous and past simple using the two cards as prompts, e.g. I was riding my bicycle when a fly flew into my mouth. The other students in the group judge each sentence to make sure it’s grammatically correct. If the other students agree that a sentence is correct, the student who made the sentence keeps the two cards. If they think the sentence is wrong, they challenge the student. The two cards must then be turned back over. Students continue in this way until all the cards have been used. The student with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
Change of Plan.PDF Exclusive
ESL EFL Writing and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 40 Minutes
In this group activity, students practice making past continuous sentences from pictures. They also write a story about a dream using the past continuous tense along with words and expressions used in stories. The students begin by reviewing the past continuous tense. Each group of three or four students is given a set of picture cards. The students shuffle the cards and deal them out. The first student in each group starts by asking the second student what they were doing at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon. The second student picks up a card and responds according to the picture on the card by thinking of an activity associated with it. The second student then asks the third student the same question, and so on, until all the cards have been used. When the groups have finished, they write a story of a dream by completing text written on the board. They shuffle all their picture cards again and each student chooses three pictures. Each group must include these pictures in their dream, in any order they choose. The students then write the story of a dream using the past continuous tense. When all the groups have finished, the students read out their dreams to the class. After that, the class votes for the strangest or funniest one.
Dream World.PDF Exclusive
It was a cold dark night...
ESL EFL Reading, Writing and Listening Activity - Pre-intermediate - 45 Minutes
In this group activity, students put a ghost story in the correct order by saying and listening to sentences. Students then write the story down in a group dictation. The story focuses on the use of the past continuous with while and when. The class is divided into groups of 14 and each student is given a sentence card. The students read the sentence on their card and memorize it. Then they work with the people in their group and form a circle in the order of the story by saying their sentences aloud. Students have to repeat their sentence several times and listen to the other students’ sentences carefully in order to achieve the correct order. When the story is complete, they number their cards (1 to 14) accordingly. After that, each student dictates their sentence to the rest of the group, starting with the student who has the first line. The students then take it in turns to read out their sentences in order for the rest of the group to write down. When everybody has written down the story, the students check their story for any mistakes.
It was a cold dark night.PDF Exclusive