7 Activities for Teaching the Simple Present for the ESL Classroom
ESL teachers often encounter difficulties when teaching grammar patterns to students abroad. The following 7 activities for teaching the simple present for the ESL classroom will help your students pick up the tense in an easy and efficient way.
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1. Daily Routine
This is a very good activity for when you start discussing the simple present and how it’s used for routines and regularities. You can place the students into groups or pairs and have them discuss their daily routines. What do they do in the morning? In the afternoon? In the evening? You can then also have them write up a schedule of their daily routines and share their findings with the class later on in a class discussion.
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2. Cultural Norms
This activity is great for introducing adverbs frequently used with the simple present. Have your students share things that people do in their country/culture “usually”, “normally”, “typically”, etc. For example, “In my country, people usually eat rice for breakfast.” The next step is then to encourage your students to make negative statements including adverbs like “never”, “rarely”, “infrequently”, etc.
3. Classmate Interviews
This activity is useful for new classes where the students aren’t too familiar with one another. Set up your students in pairs and have them ask each other about their families, hobbies and interests using the question “Do you like…?” and “What do you like to do in your spare time?” After a certain amount of time, have each student introduce their partner to the whole class. Here, they practice using the simple past in the third person singular saying things like “Bobby likes to play football in his spare time.”
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4. ESP (Extraordinary Sensory Perceptions)
Sensory observations are always expressed using the simple present. Therefore, have your students observe their surroundings (at school or at home) and have them take notes. Hereby it’s important for them to use and describe all five senses: sight, hearing, feel, touch and taste.
5. Where am I?
Similar to the previous activity, students are encouraged to use all five senses to describe a place they would like to be in. They make five statements or more describing that place to the rest of the class. The other students must then guess the place. This is also a great opportunity to review the uses of “at”, “on” and “in” when describing places.
Also read: 5 Reasons Why Teaching English Abroad Enhances Your Career Prospects
6. Present Simple BINGO Mingle
For this type of BINGO game to work, brainstorm a list of “get to know you” questions with your students and write them on the board, for example: “Do you like to listen to music?”, “Do you drive a car?”, “Do you play the violin?” Next, give each student a 5x5 grid whereby the center square is blank. The students then fill in the questions from the board into the remaining squares on the sheet. When done, the students mingle around the classroom and ask each classmate one of the questions. If someone answers “yes”, they write down his or her name into that square. The first person with 5 names in a row wins.
7. Weekend Party
This is a great activity to play before the weekend. Ask your students what they usually do on the weekend. Have them share their routines with the class. If you like, you can even have them write up a paragraph about their ideal weekend and then read it aloud to the rest of the class.
Also read: Top 5 Icebreakers for New TEFL Teachers
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These 7 activities for teaching the simple present for the ESL classroom are ideal to help your students understand the structure and usage of the simple present tense.
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