Lesson plan

Present Perfect Tense

Have your students heard about participles and tenses? This fun lesson teaches students about conjugating verbs and forming sentences.
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Students will be able to use the present perfect tense in written and spoken language.

(10 minutes)
  • Ask your students to share some of the things they or their family members do every week.
  • Have them talk about the actions using complete sentences. For example, a student may share: I go to school. Dad does the dishes.
  • Write some of the sentences on the board (verbatim, even if they contain mistakes).
  • Have volunteers read the examples and correct any mistakes they notice. To help them, you can ask a guiding question such as: Does anything sound weird when you read it out loud?
  • Explain the different participles that a verb can have. If a verb describes an activity that's currently taking place (e.g. jumping), then it's a present participle. It if describes an action that's already happened, it's a past participle (e.g. jumped).
  • Let them know that you can tell whether a verb is regular or irregular based on its past participle. If a verb's past participle ends in -ed (e.g. laughed), then it's a regular verb. If it doesn't end in -ed (e.g. ran), then it's an irregular verb.
(5 minutes)
  • Let students know that past participles can be used in sentences describing actions that have or haven't been taken.
  • Introduce the present perfect tense, which contains a subject, a form of "have," and a past participle.
  • Ask them how long they've done certain activities on the board in order to guide them towards producing present perfect sentences. For example, you could ask How long have you studied for exams? in order to receive the response I have studied for exams for a week.
  • Explain that a verb in the present perfect tense describes an action that began in the past and is still happening now.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student two flashcards with irregular verbs on them.
  • Hold up one of the remaining cards, and ask for volunteers to use it in a present perfect tense sentence.
  • Correct any mistakes they make.
  • Repeat this exercise with one more card.
  • Ask students to make their own sentences with their two cards.
  • Have them share their sentences with other classmates and correct any mistakes they notice.
(15 minutes)
  • Place students into groups of three.
  • Ask them to use their irregular verbs to create sentences in present perfect tense. Let them know that these sentences will need to be compiled into a short story.
  • Once they've finished, have each group come up to the front of the room and tell their story.
  • Enrichment: Challenge advanced students to create more complex stories with their sentences. For example, you can ask certain groups to make sure that their story has at least two characters.
  • *Support Students having trouble with irregular verbs can be given some examples to look over. Allow them to go up to the board and copy down some example sentences.
(15 minutes)
  • Pay close attention to their sentence structures, and make mental notes of students who may be struggling.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask volunteers to explain the process of forming perfect present tense sentences.
  • Play "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2. Ask students to raise their hands every time they hear a present perfect phrase.

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