Azadeh Gholami Azadeh Gholami

Pre-intermediate level


In this lesson, Ss learn about past continuous through guided discovery based on a reading text about a historic moment in the past. Ss will also have a speaking task for their freer practice about finding the murderer.


Abc Handouts (English File)
Abc Dead body outline
Abc photo
Abc handout

Main Aims

  • • To provide clarification, review and practice of past continuous in the context of a historic moment in the past and a murder case.

Subsidiary Aims

  • • To provide Ss with practice in reading for gist, in order to get exposed to the grammar. • To provide Ss fluency and accuracy speaking practice in talking about actions in progress in the past.


Warmer/Lead-in (3-5 minutes) • To get Ss interested in the topic.

Draw a dead body outline. Ss come to class. Look closely at Ss as if you are searching to find out who is the murderer. Tell them someone died last night. Show the picture of A Moment in History, page 14. Ask: what do you think happened? Is it related to this body outline? Ss talk about their guesses in pairs.

Exposure (5-7 minutes) • To expose Ss to the TL in context through a reading.

Ss read the text on their own to check if their guesses were right. Remind them the time limit and that they cannot look up words in their dictionaries. Ss are divided into groups to share what they got from the story. Display the answer. (people were looking at a TV screen in Chicago to see if Barack Obama won the elections on 4 November 2008)

Highlighting (3-5 minutes) • To encourage Ss to notice the TL.

Display the text. (grammar ex 2a) Tell Ss to look at the highlighted words and choose a or b. Ss read the extract and discuss it with their partners. Elicit the answer. (b)

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To focus Ss on MFP of the TL.

Say which one is correct, based on the extract. 1. Timeline 2. Timeline Ss discuss it. Elicit number 2. Ask concept questions. Is were looking in the past or present? (past) Does it show a longer action or a short action? (longer action) Which one takes longer time? Taking a photo or looking at TV? (looking at TV) Elicit and write the form on the board. Tell Ss it’s ok to use ‘when’ before past simple clause or before past continuous clause. Model sentence stress and weak words and mark them above the sentence. Drill. Give Ss the handouts for their later guidance.

Controlled Practice (6-8 minutes) • To check Ss's understanding of meaning and form.

Tell Ss to fill the gaps. Do the first example with Ss. Ss fill the gaps individually. Ss compare their sentences in groups. Stick the answer keys on the walls. Ss stand up and check their answers.

Freer Practice (8-10 minutes) • To further consolidate the TL and allow for some production.

Tell Ss that you still remember somebody was murdered here last night. Look closely at them and point to them and say: Maybe it was you. What were you doing at 10 o'clock last night? Elicit 'detective'. Elicit some more questions. 'Who were you talking to? Where were you?' Ss pick some pieces randomly. (on some pieces it's written, detective and on some others, it's written suspicious person.) Arrange the chairs. Detectives ask the others, what were you doing at 10 o'clock last night? If time, the others get to be detectives too. Monitor and write good language and errors.

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