Saturday, October 17, 2015

Speaking Practice for Past Progressive

A colleague of mine suggested this activity to practice the past continuous tense and it worked quite well. It’s basically a role play but the students took their roles very seriously.

Materials: None but students and a teacher.
Prep time: None
Time: 50 min. per game

Write the word “Alibi” on the board and explain what it means. Invent a crime, when it was committed and where. I picked a bank robbery at a real bank, close to the university where I teach.

Then I said that four university students were suspects of the bank robbery. Next, divide the class into groups, my class has 20 students, so I divided the class into 5 groups of four. Say something like “The four suspects are members of this class.” Ask one group to volunteer to be the suspects. Tell them their alibi, they couldn’t have committed the robbery because they were eating dinner in a restaurant far away from the crime scene. The students who aren’t suspects, the investigators, must try to find holes in their alibi. They do this by interviewing each of the suspects separately and then comparing the stories to see if they match. So, send the suspects out of the room to try to get their stories straight. While the suspects are talking about the details of their stories, the investigators in each group come up with a list of questions about the suspects’ alibi. They can ask things like, “What was the waitress wearing, how long did you stay, how did you get there?”After the students are finished preparing, invite the suspects back in, one suspect goes to each of the groups to be interviewed. Once each group has interviewed each suspect, compare with the class. If the suspects’ stories match, they are off the hook, if not, they are officially accused.

My students enjoyed this, you could make the crime less serious, kidnapping a neighbor’s dog or something.