Latasha Wilson Latasha Wilson

Past Continuous Tense
Pre-Intermediate level


In this lesson students will learn and practiced the past continuous tense in the context of working at schools. They should also be able to use it in their speaking, so we will practice that.


Main Aims

  • To provide clarification, review and practice of the past continuous tense in the context of everyday life stories.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide speaking practice in conversation in the context of daily life using past continuous tense.


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

What time is it right now? What time was it 30 minutes ago? It WAS 6:00. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? At 6:00 I was coming to class/on the subway/walking to school. What were you doing 2 hours ago? Where were you, what were you doing? I was working/at home/at work/in traffic/etc. What was happening around you? People were working/commuting/driving/walking. When did you start learning English? In grade school/high school/university/last year. What do you remember about your first English lessons? When I was first learning English.... Let students answer and use their own language.

Test #1 (8-10 minutes) • To gauge students' prior knowledge of the target language

Does anyone like telling stories? We tell stories a lot, actually. Two nights ago--Wednesday-- at 6:00 in the evening, where were you and what were you doing? The power went out in this building. The building security guards are searching the cause. Was it you who cut the power? Think about what you were doing before and after this time. Talk about this for a few minutes with your partner. Try to remember as many details as possible. After a few minutes students will share. CQCs Will you talk about what you did today? no Which day will you talk about? Wednesday Was it you who cut the power on Wednesday? no How do we know? (explain to partner) I will take notes on their language-- as they say it-- on the board and help them add some past continuous when necessary.

Teach (10-12 minutes) • To clarify areas of the target language where students had difficulty in the first test stage

Today we are focusing on past continuous tense. Can anyone tell me when we would use this? Why can't we just use simple past tense all the time? Usually, when we are telling a story, we use both past continuous and simple past tense together. Today I was walking into the building and my phone rang. When was I walking into the building? What was the single event? Which event was progressive, or continuous? Which part of the sentence is past continuous and which part is simple past? (Have a volunteer underline if possible, or do it myself.) Then draw timeline: was walking """""""""""""" ____PAST____________phone rang_____________ was/were + verb + ing Handout textbook page 21 (Merve will have handed these out in the previous lesson). Look at grammar box on p. 21. Do Grammar section 1 together as a class. Now look at questions based on pictures on p. 20 (distributed in the earlier lesson). Have them work on these in pairs. Check as a class.

Test #2 (8-10 minutes) • Check students' use of the target language again and compare with the first test

We are going to practice further by completing these activities (workbook p. 11). First do part 1 with a partner. Circle the correct verb forms in the sentences. Are you going to work alone? No, with a partner. Are you going to draw a line through the correct answer? No, circle it. Hand out workbook papers. Check these answers as a class. Now complete the sentences in part 2 and make them into questions. Remember: I, you, he, she, it -- was We, they -- were Check them as a class, and have volunteers answer them.

Free practice (10-12 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Now you are going to tell us a story. It does not have to be an amazing story, just something that happened to you, when you met someone, or learned to do something. Where were you? What else was happening then? Be sure to use both past continuous and simple past. I will give you five minutes to think about this and make some notes. Examples: I was studying at university when I met my wife. I was living in Antalya when I learned to swim. I was attending grade school when I first learned English/began learning English. Now pair them so they can share with a partner. In the end, allow some volunteers to share with the class. Be sure to monitor during this time and help when needed. Ensure students are using both tenses.

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