Annette Frost Annette Frost

Re-imagining the Past: Third Conditional
B1 level


In this lesson students will learn the third conditional by imagining alternative realities to past situations. The lesson will have a grammar focus, with a semi-controlled practice, followed by a sub aim of speaking. The lesson will conclude with a speaking practice followed by feedback and error-correction.


Main Aims

  • To provide clarification and practice of the third conditional in the context of of re-imagining past events.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide fluency speaking practice in a conversation about giving advice on the past events, and what their outcomes might have been.


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

Put up picture of Hurricane Katrina. What is this? (hurricane katrina) Did this happen in real life? (yes) What happened? (flooding, death, destruction)... Can we change it? (no) Do we sometimes think about what would've happened if Katrina hadn't happened? (yes) When we imagine a past event and its outcomes that are different from the actual past event and its outcomes, we call it the Third Conditional.

Exposure (6-9 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Look at this HO. The top half is something that really happened last week. What were the events, what were the outcomes? The bottom half is something imagined ... What if last week had been different...? I want you to work in pairs and take 2 minutes to come up with (and write down) some examples of the event and the result in the top half, and the imagined event and imagined result in the bottom half. ICQ: When did the story in the top half take place? (last week) ICQ: Is the bottom half real? (no) ICQ: Is the bottom half an imagined scenario? (yes) How many minutes do you have to write down your version of what happened? (2) (5 min lead in/2 min instructions. It should now be 12:22 pm). Put the four pictures on the board on separate sides (Real)/(Unreal). Ask what people came up with. Solicit until you have the past tense for the real, and if anyone says past perfect/would have, right those examples down as well once you have put those pictures up.

Highlighting and Clarification (10-12 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language; To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

[Start at 12:30pm] Hold up HO with example sentence from reading. This sentence is from the text you just read with Jacob. The sentence is in the third conditional. Does this mean it is real? (no) Does this mean it is unreal (yes). Next to it are 3 choices. Underline the answer of what did happen in real life which inspired this imagined scenario. You have 1 minute. How many questions are there to answer on this handout? (one) Handout the HO, give 1-2 minutes. What's the answer? Write the correct answer on the board: b) I didn't tell him. It became a big issue. "If I had told him before, it wouldn't have become such a big issue." Which one really happened (point to both sentences). (the not telling him sentence) Which one is the unreal/imagined sentence? (the "If" sentence). What tense is the reality in? (the simple past tense) What tense is the imagined scenario in? - Elicit the answer from the students if possible. If not, write it down. (If, The past perfect, would have...) Which comes first in time, the 'if' clause or the would have clause? (the 'if' clause). What does the past perfect tell us? (that this event preceded something else in the past). Which clause is the result of the other? (would have is the result of "if"). Show the alternate forms on the board: positive/negative/question mark. Does anyone know a way to write this where the sentence doesn't begin with "if"? Show inversion of clauses (remove comma). CCQ: Can the imagined scenario/outcome be something that actually happened? (no) CCQ: Must the third conditional only be things that did not and cannot happen? (yes)

Semi-controlled Practice (8-11 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

[Start at 12:42pm] Re-Group: Apple, Banana, Cherry, Grape, Orange. Get in your new groups. First we will work alone. Then we are peer checking in our groups. Instructions: Hold up HO of sentences. Read these real events/results written in the past simple and write an imagined third conditional condition/result for each one. ICQ: Are you writing in the third conditional or in the past simple? (third conditional) ICQ: Are the actual events/outcomes already written down on the HO? (yes) ICQ: Are you writing actual events/outcomes? (no, imagined/unreal conditions and results which did not/can not happen) ICQ: Are you working alone or in a group at first? (alone) ICQ: Who are you going to check your work with? (small group) Monitor to listen for mistakes and jot them down. (He goes out in the rain, he is wet) (because I didn't have a car, I couldn't drive at university). Feedback: Checks answers with your peers, followed by answer key. Error-correction with a few examples from the monitoring on the board.

Freer Practice (6-9 minutes) • To provide students with freer practice of the target language

[Start at 12:53pm] Count off pairs: A, B, A, B etc. Person A is going to tell about an event in her life and what ensued this past week. Person B is going to be the friend not great at giving advice who speaks only in the 3rd conditional and subsequently his advice can never really happen because its ONLY imaginary. Demo: Take a strong student (They're B, I'm A): Last week I drank coffee at night. I didn't sleep. What imagined scenario can person B tell me to give me advice? (If you had drank herbal tea at night, you would have slept). First group has 1 minute to be person A (while other is person B) and then switch. Second group now has 1 minute to be person A (while previous A's are now B's). Monitor for errors, and write one or two on the board. After speaking activity, give positive feedback and work through two error-corrections heard in the group.

Web site designed by: Nikue