Present Perfect Continuous ESL Activities and Games

What have they been doing?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 20 minutes

In this engaging teaching activity, students use picture cards to ask and answer questions in the present perfect continuous tense. The students are divided into pairs. Each pair is given a set of picture cards, which they shuffle and place face down in a pile on the desk. Students then take it in turns to pick up a picture card, show it to their partner and ask what the person or people in the picture have been doing, i.e. 'What has he/she been doing?' or 'What have they been doing? Their partner then answers the question by making a sentence in the present perfect continuous, e.g. 'He has been reading a book.' The students continue taking it in turns to ask and answer questions in the present perfect continuous until all the picture cards have been used. When the students have finished, they write the sentences on the board and the answers are checked.
 

What have I been doing?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Game - Miming and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this entertaining present perfect continuous game, students take it in turns to do a mime and other students guess what the person has been doing. The students are separated into two teams (A and B). A student from Team A comes to the front of the class and is handed a mime card. The student asks the class, “What have I been doing?” The student then has two minutes to mime the sentence on the card to his or her team. During these two minutes, the members of Team A can ask the student questions about what he or she has been doing to which the student can nod yes or no. If Team A guesses the sentence in the allotted time, they score 2 points. If they don’t guess the sentence or time runs out, it’s Team B's turn to answer. If Team B guesses correctly, they score 1 point. Then a student from Team B comes to the front of the class and the game continues in the same way. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. This game can also be done as a speaking activity with students describing what they have been doing to their team without using the words on the card.
 

What have you been doing recently?

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this fun present perfect continuous activity, students conduct a survey on recent activities and actions to practice the tense. This activity also helps to teach students about time expressions used with the present perfect continuous. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by going through the items on the worksheet and preparing present perfect continuous questions for the survey. When the students have finished, they move around the classroom asking and answering questions about their recent activities and actions, e.g. 'Have you been working hard recently?' When a classmate answers 'Yes, I have' to a question, the other student writes down their name and asks a follow-up question or two. The students then move on to speak to someone else. When everyone has finished, students give feedback by sharing and discussing any interesting findings with the class.
 

Present Perfect Continuous Board Game

ESL Present Perfect Continuous Board Game - Reading, Listening and Speaking - Upper-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this amusing true or false board game, students practice talking about various topics using the present perfect continuous tense. The students are divided into groups of three or four. Each group is given a copy of the game board, a set of true and false cards, a dice and counters. The students shuffle the true and false cards and place them face down in a pile next to the game board. The players then take it in turns to roll the dice and move their counter along the board. When a player lands on a square, they pick up a true or false card from the pile and look at it without showing anyone. The player then talks about the topic on the square using the present perfect continuous tense, giving either true or false information as indicated on the card. When the player has finished talking, the other students guess whether the player's answer is true or false. The player then reveals the answer. The students who guessed correctly each score one point. Then, the next player rolls the dice and so on. When a player reaches the finish, the game ends and the points are added up. The student with the most points wins the game. This game can also be played without the true or false element. In this version, when a player lands on a square, they talk about the topic on the square for one minute without stopping using the present perfect continuous. If a player can't think of anything to say, makes a grammar mistake or stops talking before the time is up, they move back to their previous square or miss a turn. The first student to reach the finish wins the game.
 
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