‘I am teaching’ the present progressive tense!

Grammar lessons can be daunting. Keeping track of all those different bits of grammar whilst still making a lesson enjoyable is a challenge, but it can be done. Read on for tips to make your present progressive tense lessons successful and enjoyable .

Step One: Know your stuff!
If you’re introducing a grammar topic, make sure you know what it is!

Present progressive
subject + am/is/are + present participle (ing form)
I am smiling.
He is writing.
They are learning.

We use present progressive tense to talk about things happening now or things which are planned to happen in the future.
The students are learning in the classroom.
We are moving to New York next year.

Step Two: Bring your topic to life.
Grammar has a reputation for being boring but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, you as the teacher set the tone for the lesson. Introduce your topic with a lot of enthusiasm and big smiles.
Examples are key. Offer your own and ask your students to create some. Use props or pictures to help your students understand.

Example:

Type: What are the children doing?
For a less confident student, you can support their
answer: eg. Type ‘They are….’ on the whiteboard and underline the ‘ing’ form of the verb in the question.
They are playing.
There is lots of opportunity to extend for an able student. Ask them to add an adverb or a preposition to their answer to add more detail to their response.
Eg: They are playing happily in the water.

Step Three: Add some fun.
To fully understand a topic you must practice it a lot. Lots of repetitions of grammar points and examples can lead to a bored and fed up student- especially if you are teaching juniors. Why not inject some fun into your lesson by using games to reinforce grammar points? Here are some ideas to bring the present progressive tense to life:
• Pictionary: Add a page to the slide show on the whiteboard, or use your
own physical whiteboard to draw a quick sketch and have the students
guess what the character is doing.

• Charades: Act out an action and have the students guess what you are
doing. Reinforce answering in full sentences, ‘You are running’, ‘You are writing’.
Younger students might enjoy a competitive element but if you have students of different ability levels or who are not as confident, you can ask them to take turns answering.

• Avoid complaints of ‘insufficient opportunity to talk’ by starting discussions using the present progressive tense. Write preference questions on the write board like, ‘do you prefer eating chocolate or eating pizza?’ or ‘do you prefer writing English or speaking English?’ Remember to expand their answers by asking ‘why’ if they don’t justify their response.

• ‘What are you doing?’ game: Give the students a scenario and ask them what they are doing? eg: You’re in school. What are you doing? (Response- I am learning. I am studying. I am writing in my book etc).

• What are you hearing? : Engage the students’ other senses and ask them to describe sounds. Give an example first like, ‘What am I hearing? (TPR:listening) Hmmm, a dog is barking.’ This could be a good opportunity to make use of the sounds in the Classroom. Play the tiger roaring, or the applause. Remember to encourage your students to answer in full sentences using the ‘ing’ form of the verb.

So when you are faced with delivering a lesson about the present progressive tense remember: know your stuff, bring your topic to life and, most importantly, have fun! You and your students are sure to have an enjoyable and successful lesson.
Happy teaching!

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Silke
Consultant
Silke

Great tips, thank you!!!

However, I believe the examples you give in Point 3, under “avoid complaints”, are gerunds and not present continuous examples.

“Do you prefer eating chocolate or eating pizza?” or “do you prefer writing English or speaking English?”

I think we have to be careful not to confuse kids with this in later lessons when they eventually learn gerunds. I would prefer to ask simple questions that would elicit the present continuous, such as “what do you like?” or “what are you doing right now?”. 😁

Rodolfo Roman
Consultant
Rodolfo Roman

Hello. Great tips!!
Should parallelism be used in the first example?
Do you prefer eating chocolate or pizza? The same verb is being applied with both, chocolate and pizza.

Daniela Gallego
Consultant
Daniela Gallego

Absolutely, I noticed the same thing. Some present progressive questions could be: Why are you learning English? Are you reading any books? What books are you reading? Are you watching any series? Which ones?

Sharmaine Calimlim
Consultant
Sharmaine Calimlim

Thank you for the helpful tips! I would definitely use these tips next time. It’s fun!

Phil Zurita
Consultant
Phil Zurita

This post was very informative. With these new tips and insights, I am ready to make my grammar-focused lessons enjoyable as well as meaningful for my students.
I am especially excited to add some interactive games like Pictionary and Charades to my lessons. You learn something new every day!

Diana Dimayuga
Consultant
Diana Dimayuga

Wow! Amazing! Thank you! I’m gonna be honest, grammar is not fun for our students but yes we can always use these wonderful tips to make grammar lessons enjoyable! Totally using them next time!

Bogdan Miricki
Consultant
Bogdan Miricki

Thanks. Very helpful tips. Grammar can be confusing for students.

maricel
Consultant
maricel

Thank you.
Very helpful.

Ivana K
Consultant
Ivana K

Thanks for the helpful tips! I will definitely use these tips next time. It’s great fun!

Felecia
Consultant
Felecia

Great tips! Thank you for sharing.

nicoleedwardsbailey@gmail.com
Consultant
nicoleedwardsbailey@gmail.com

Thanks so much for sharing. I’very gotten a few ideas that I can incorporate in my lessons. All the best to you.

Claudia Suescun
Consultant
Claudia Suescun

Thank you for the tips! 🤓

Jodie White
Consultant
Jodie White

Thank you! Some good tips for teaching the present continuous tense. Good grammar is so important. ❤️

Elvis Tejada
Consultant
Elvis Tejada

I will definately use these tips. very informative. great

Greta Trevino
Consultant
Greta Trevino

Thank you for the reminders, I found them very helpful. It’s essential to keep grammar focused lessons interesting and clear.