A grammar lesson is certainly less scary, less aggravating, more meaningful, and more memorable if you inject some laughter into it. Basic level students often struggle with confidence, so gradually increasing their output rather than putting them on the spot to deliver big contributions at the start of a lesson would also help.
That was my thought process when I taught my basic level students how to construct and use future time clauses. (See Lesson 95 in my Basic English playlist on YouTube.) We enjoyed using our imagination in a Dream Vacation Game. You can watch how the activity unfolded in the video, but here’s the basic rundown:
Objective: Plan a trip using future time clauses.
Format: Initiate the game with simple models using after, before, and when. Use a new conjunction only after the previous one(s) are clearly understood. Gradually start inviting student contributions, from sentence completions to full sentence generation.
Model: Tomorrow we’re going on a trip. We’re flying to Paris. After we visit France, we’ll fly to Africa. After we visit different countries in Africa, we’re going to fly to Japan. After we spend time in Japan, where are we going to go? After we visit Japan,…
Suggestion: You can add as soon as to the list and also practice inverting the adverb clause of time and the main clause. At the end, have students recall the complete itinerary, using the appropriate adverb clauses of time.
If you’d like to shift the balance more to writing, you can use a Sentence Swap:
Objective: Complete complex sentences by supplying either an adverb clause of time or the main clause using a future verb form.
Format: See the handout Future Time Clauses_Sentence Swap.
1. Read out a sentence starter, have students write it down, and then ask them to complete it with their own ideas.
2. After each sentence is written, students must swap papers with someone.
3. Give students a moment to read what’s been written and then read the next sentence starter for them to complete.
Suggestion: Completed texts can be read aloud to the class or in pairs.
If your students are ready for short conversations, try a Question Grab Bag:
Objective: Provide short answers to questions using future time clauses.
Format: In small groups or pairs, students will take turns reading questions aloud and answering them. See the handout Future Time Clauses_Question Grab Bag. Each question invites a prediction. Prepare the question cards in advance. Cut them up and place them in a bag or simply place them facedown in a pile.
Suggestion: A favorite question can be used for homework. Have students record an answer and submit it for evaluation.
Featured photo by bottlein. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/photos/airplane-flight-chandigarh-clouds-1670266/.