This is Meghan, a teacher here at Rennert NYC English School, sharing a fun activity to help your students practice past progressive.
Meghan: Hi! My name is Meghan and I’m a teacher at Rennert and I want to talk to you about a really fun activity to teach past progressive. I use this to show the difference between past progressive for two activities when one is interrupted by the other and also to describe two activities that are happening at the same time. So, I write one example of each situation. So, for example, ‘I was walking down the street when I tripped’ and ‘I was talking on the phone while making dinner’. So, I write one example of each situation. And then I have the students stand up and face the wall. And I take one student out of the room and I give him or her one example of past progressive. So, I tell the student, “I was talking on the phone while making dinner.” And then I mime it. So, for example…(mimes actions) and I do this one or two times and the student can only do the actions. He or she can’t say the action. Then they go back into the classroom and they tap the next student on the shoulder and that student turns around and the student can only act out the two actions. So, again…(mimes actions). And then the next student does the same action. This is very similar to telephone, but instead of whispering it they’re actually showing the action. So each student shows or demonstrates the actions to the next student. The very last student has to write or say what they think it is. So, they have to guess: was it two actions happening at the same time (I was talking on the phone while making dinner) or was it one action interrupted? For example, I was talking on the phone when I dropped something. So it’s great—it’s a really fun activity because most people misinterpret the actions and that leads—is open for a lot of really funny misinterpretations and it’s a great way for them to really understand the situation for when they use past progressive and understand do they use when or while to describe two actions at the same time or one action that was interrupted by another. And it’s really really funny and a great way for them to practice past progressive.