Thankfully, a bunch of previously recorded lessons will allow me to continue publishing new videos in my Basic English playlist on YouTube. I’m up to Lesson 103 on the past progressive. In the video, I chose to use personal photos to prompt use of this verb form, but just about any photo with people can give learners something to talk about. Consider the featured photo on this post. What were all those people doing? Where was that? Students will likely be able to share a few different ideas.
But let’s back up. Basic English students first need to review the spelling rules for adding -ing to form the present participle. Consider using my Past Progressive_basic grammar_sorting task. Students can either work on a screen or on paper and sort 60 common verbs into three groups (page 1). Alternatively, they can cut out word cards and physically sort the verbs according to the spelling patterns (page 2). Check their work.
The next step is to prompt full sentences in a meaningful context. Using my handout, Past Progressive_basic grammar_statements, students will have enough support to describe five photos. This can be done as a class or in pairs. I’d encourage speaking, but you may also ask students to write sentences before they read the statements aloud to classmates. Additional photos can be added to this activity. (I recommend Pixabay.)
A final step would to be to have students share 1-2 personal photos with their classmates. Encourage an exchange that includes follow-up questions. Give a couple models:
Student A: This was at the beach. I was sitting with my friends.
Student B: You weren’t smiling. Were you tired?
Student A: No, the sun was shining. It was very bright.
Student A: This was last summer. I was playing soccer.
Student B: Where were you playing?
Student A: At a park near my home.
Student B: Who were you playing with?
Student A: I was playing with my friends.
Share one of your own photos and have students ask you questions. Review question word formation. Start with yes-no questions. Then move on to wh- questions. In my YouTube video, I asked learners to unscramble a couple of questions. This can also be done on the board:
[Where were you going?]
[What were you doing?]
[Why was she doing that?]
[Who were you talking to?]
Here’s another approach to practicing the past progressive. Target possible activities that led to an accident. See my post Accident Happen (with a PDF handout).
Featured photo retrieved from https://pixabay.com/photos/hyderabad-india-city-urban-people-2707439/.