Present Simple vs. Present Continuous ESL Activities

Find someone who...

ESL Present Simple vs. Present Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 35 minutes

This insightful 'Find someone who' activity helps to illustrate to elementary students how the present simple and present continuous tense are different and how to ask and answer questions using each tense. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working together, the students prepare the present simple and present continuous yes/no questions together with possible follow-up questions for the items on the worksheet. The questions are then reviewed together as a class. Students then go around the class and ask each other the present simple and present continuous yes/no questions from the worksheet. When a student finds someone who answers 'Yes, I do' or 'Yes, I am' to a question, the student writes down their name and asks a 'Wh' follow-up question to gain more information, noting down the answer in the last column. When everyone has finished, students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out by making present simple and present continuous statements.
 

Which tense?

ESL Present Simple vs. Present Continuous Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Elementary - 30 minutes

This fun teaching activity helps elementary students practice forming and answering questions in the present simple and present continuous tense. The students are divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Working alone or in pairs, the students complete the questions on the worksheet in the present simple or present continuous using the verbs in brackets. When the students have finished, the questions are checked with each group. After that, the students pair up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to ask and answer the questions with their partner, paying close attention to the tense of each question. Afterwards, the students share what they found out about their partner with the class.
 

Greetings from Italy!

ESL Present Simple vs. Present Continuous Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 35 minutes

In this engaging teaching activity, students write and then ask present simple and present continuous questions in order to complete missing information in an email. The students are divided into two groups (A and B) and each student is given a corresponding worksheet. Working together, the students read the email on their worksheet and write the present simple and present continuous questions they need to ask in order to complete the missing information. When the students have finished, the questions are checked with each group. Next, the students pair up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to ask and answer the questions they have prepared. The students write the answers in the spaces in the email. When the students have finished, they check their answers by comparing worksheets.
 

Present Simple and Continuous Question Time

ESL Present Simple vs. Present Continuous Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Pre-intermediate - 30 minutes

In this present simple vs. present continuous activity, students write questions on various topics using both tenses. The students then ask and answer the questions with a partner. The students are divided into pairs and each pair is given a set of topic cards. Working together, the students look at the prompts on each card and write one question in the present simple and one in the present continuous. When the students have finished, the questions are checked with the class. The students then take it in turns to ask and answer the questions with their partner. Afterwards, the students share what they found out about their partner with the class and any interesting findings are discussed further.
 

An Interview with Elon Musk

ESL Present Simple vs. Present Continuous Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate - 20 minutes

In this intriguing role-play activity, students take part in a business interview to practice asking and answering questions in the present simple and present continuous. The students are divided into pairs. One student is given a journalist worksheet and the other is given an Elon Musk worksheet. The journalist's task is to interview Elon Musk to find out about his work routine, current projects, plans and goals, and make notes on his answers. The student who is Elon Musk uses the information on the worksheet to answer the journalist's questions. The students prepare what they are going to say, paying close attention to which parts of the interview will be in the present simple and which parts will be in the present continuous. The students then role play the interview in their pairs. When the pairs have finished, they report back to the class on their interviews. As an extension, the pairs write a short news article in the present simple and present continuous based on the interview.
 

Create a Company

ESL Present Simple vs. Present Continuous Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate - 45 minutes

In this Business English activity, students create a company by completing and answering questions in the present simple and present continuous. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. The students begin by completing the questions on the worksheet in the present simple or present continuous. When the students have finished, the answers are checked with the class. Next, the students are divided into small groups. The students then create a company by inventing answers to the questions on the worksheet. In their groups, the students discuss each question in turn and write an answer in sentence form using the present simple or present continuous. When the groups have finished, they take it in turns to present their company using the information they created. After each presentation, feedback is given and questions are invited from the class.
 
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