Teaching the past continuous tense, you need to do two things. First, you have to teach the form. Second, you need to teach the usage of this tense. In my experience, if you teach both at the same time, students get sloppy with the form. Once, you start to correct them, they get confused because they are not sure whether the form or the usage was wrong. That is why I think that you need to devote several lessons to the form before you teach the usage.
In this post, I would like to offer you a set of activities to help your learners learn the form of the past continuous tense and then you can move to the usage. In this post, you will find an infographic, a rap song and a game to teach the form of the past continuous tense.
Past continuous – RAP SONG
Together with I_will_rap we created the following rap song. First, print the following worksheet, hand it out. Ask the students to fold it in such a way that they cannot see the last section.
Now, ask the students to listen and complete the lyrics.
Students can check their answers in the last section of the worksheet.
Then, ask the students to do the exercise two. Students read the lyrics again and answer the questions.
At the end of this part, I always ask my students to learn the lyrics by heart. In this way, they have to remember the form correctly.
Past continuous – infographic
Display or hand out the following infographic to your students. The infographic consists of two parts. The first part gives the general rule how to form this tense. At the beginning there is the subject. If the subject is just 1 person or thing, it is followed by WAS or WASN’T. If the subject are 2 or more people or things, they are followed by WERE or WEREN’T. WAS and WERE are then followed by VERB with the suffix -ING.
The second part of the infographic demonstrates the rule.
Explain the infographic and ask your students to write as many sentences as they can using the second part of the infographic. In this way, they will practise the form. I usually give a time limit and it is a competition who will write most sentences.
Past continuous – Battle Ships
I use the following game either to introduce the form or to practise the form. First, I play against the class. I display the following Powerpoint presentation and students have to guess where the treasure is hidden. They give the coordinates by say the sentences in the past continuous tense. Reward the winner with a sweet and play the game again.
Once students understand the rules, hand out the following worksheet. Each student hides 3 ships in their grid. They try to hit their partner´s ships before their partner hits theirs.