Linda Eibner Linda Eibner

Past modals of speculation
Intermediate level


In this lesson, students will be introduced to past modals used for speculating and try to use them to explain what happened before the scene in photos.


Abc mini-readings, controlled practice, pictures for freer practice

Main Aims

  • To provide exposure to and practice with writing and saying past modals of speculation

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide input for freer (writing and) speaking using modals of speculation


Lead in (2-3 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

T will show a series of 3 pics and ask what will happen next.

Exposure (3-5 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

T will ask S to scan 3 short texts and elicit what have in common. T will elicit brief retell of each.

Highlighting (3-5 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

T will ask What happened? What was wrong? Are we sure? What sentences tell you what someone thinks happened? for # 1, and the same for #2 and #3. T will elicit the sentences and write them on the board then ask: 1. Did they have something missing? How strongly did the doctor believe this? 2. Did he run away? How strongly did his wife believe this? 3. Did the snakes in the box bite the man? How strongly did the writer believe this? 4. Did the snakes in the box bite the man? How strongly did the writer believe this?

Clarification (5-8 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

T will try and elicit the strength of each conviction. T will say the forms so students can hear them and try saying them. T will indicate the form. T will distribute cards with these modals for Ss to put on a cline on the board for reference.

Controlled Practice (7-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Ss will flip paper and see 8 sentences. Ss will rewrite them using the TL. T will ask to work alone for 5 min. and then with partner. T will monitor. T will distribute AK. WC check as needed.

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

T will ask Ss to clear the tables and get a pencil. Each table will have a picture under which they will write at least one sentence speculating what came before. After 1 or 2 min, Ss will move to the next picture and add a sentence. and so on. If there were time, the pics would be up on the wall and new pairs could look and read them all.

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