EFL / ESL Teaching Tip: “What are you doing?”

This is Autumn, sharing a fun game that you can use with your students to practice the form of the present continuous.


Autumn: Hi! I’m Autumn and today I’d like to share with you a fun improvisation game that I often use with my students to kind of build repetitive practice and form proper habits specifically with the present continuous for what’s happening right now. The game is called, “What are you doing?” It not only gives the students a lot of chances to repeat, “What are you doing? I’m doing this. I’m doing that” which allows them to memorize the form so that they collocate each of the parts of the form together and don’t forget any of them like, “I going here” or “I’m go here.” It gives them a lot of practice with the full form—question and answer.

Basically you have your students stand up in a circle and one student is in the middle of the circle and they’re miming an action. For example, maybe they’re reading a book like this. Another student will come in to the center of the circle and ask them, “What are you doing?” Now that student has to think of something in the moment that they are not doing. It can be crazy. It can be normal. So, maybe they say, “I’m making breakfast.” Then the new student has to start making breakfast. And then another student will come in to the center of the circle and say, “What are you doing?” And then that student will say something they are not doing like playing basketball. And then that student will start playing basketball and so on and so forth. And it’s really fun especially when your students get really creative about what actions they are miming. Something like playing basketball then can become playing basketball on the moon or, you know, just have them have fun with it. The main thing is to repeat that form meaningfully and have a lot of fun with it and just repeat it and repeat it and repeat it many many many many times. So, I hope you were able to have fun with this game and give your students a lot of meaningful repetition with the present continuous.


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