Laura Elena Biculescu Laura Elena Biculescu

Urban legends - Narrative tenses
Upper-Intermediate level


In this lesson students review, clarify an practice narrative tenses through guided discovery based on a text about urban legends. The lesson starts with a lead in about urban legends and develops the context through a listening on 3 famous urban legends. The TL is highlighted, clarified and students move on to controlled and semi-controlled practice.


Abc HO#1 - Gap fill(1)
Abc HO#2 - Complete the rules
Abc Photos
Abc HO#3 - Choose the correct form
Abc HO#4 - Gap fill(2)
Abc HO#5 Reading texts

Main Aims

  • To provide review, clarification and practice of narrative tenses in the context of urban legends.

Subsidiary Aims

  • Listening for specific information and creating a context for introducing narrative tenses. Reading for gist as a prompt for the follow up speaking activity.


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

Elicit the idea of legend/story from the students. Show the students 3 photos of three famous urban legends and have them guess what the legends are about. Tell them they will find out soon

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a listening activity.

The students listen to the story and they fill in the gaps with the missing words. Have the students compare answers in pairs. For FB, share the answer key. Ask the students if they think the stories are true.

Highlighting (2-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

Ask the students to work in pairs or small groups, depending on the class size and look at the words written in bold in the exercise. What parts of speech are they? Elicit verbs. Instruct them to look at the verb forms and identify the tenses.

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

Once the students have identified the tenses have them work in groups or pairs and complete the rules. Ask CCQs to make sure the meaning and form are clear, but do not focus too much if they seem to understand. If the students are having trouble understanding the conceptual difference between the tenses, draw timelines on the board and elicit the order of the actions.

Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

Distribute HO#3 and have the students working in pairs to circle the correct answer. Project the exercise on the board and elicit the correct answer from them.

Semi-Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check further and prepare students for free practice

This time the students are given another gap fill exercise, and they have to choose the correct tense for the verbs in the brackets. Have them switch pairs and work with a different partner. Make it clear that sometimes, more than one answer is possible. Do the feedback on the white board and have the students come to the board and put all their answers there. Ask them if they think is correct and if mistakes were made, elicit the correct answer and/or refer them back to the rules.

Freer Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with free practice of the target language

Group the students into different pairs and give each member of the pair a text. The students read the text as quick as possible and then take turns retelling their respective stories to their partner. Create a sense of competition and allow them enough time only to get the main ideas of the text.

Delayed error correction (3-5 minutes) • To correct any mistakes with the target language from the speaking activity

Put the errors you have collected on the board and ask for students' help in correcting them. If a sentence poses a difficulty to students, refer them to the rules and/or the timeline.

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