In my latest YouTube series, my goal is to help intermediate and advanced students rid themselves of confusion over verb tenses. By reviewing the uses and examining the differences, hopefully learners will feel more confident in their choices of verb tenses when speaking or writing. Practice, of course, is key. Watching an instructional video alone cannot lead to miracles.
One activity that I posted three years ago can offer a context for practice with verb tenses. My Prequel-Sequel Activity encourages use of multiple tenses, but students can primarily stay in the simple present, especially if they write a plot summary for a sequel. One variation is to have students themselves write plot summaries for movies they’ve seen, exchange texts, and write a plot summary for a sequel to the movie they just read about. Both texts can be short (4-6 lines), and both texts can mostly be written in the simple present.
If students respond well to this kind of creative writing and are ready to contrast the simple present with the present progressive, consider the Film Plots and Teasers_handout. This group activity can serve as follow-up to Lesson 3.