Interactive Practice For Present Continuous For Arrangements

Ways of practising the future meaning of Present Continuous For Arrangements through students speaking and writing to each other.

1. Email/Telephone Arrangements Game

Students “send emails” on slips of paper via the teacher to each other to make new arrangements for the next seven days, after writing out their schedules for that period with their own real arrangements. The person with the most new arrangements (e.g. “Juan and I are playing tennis this afternoon”) in twenty minutes or so is the winner. A similar game can be played with students phoning each other. This is most fun if they have to shout across the room at each other and have to find at least two other people for each new arrangement.

2. Find The Gap

A similar game to the one above can be played by speaking in pairs. Students write out their own schedules for the next seven days or are given different Student A and Student B one-week diary pages that are already quite full. They have to find times when they are both free for a few things that are fairly long such as a football match or an AGM.

3. Diary Differences

Students can also do other things with Student A and Student B one-week or one-month diary pages while using the same language. If you give them schedules that are only slightly different they can try to find those differences with questions like “What are you doing at 5pm on Sunday?” and answers like “I’m going to my parents’ place for dinner” “Me too!”/“Really? I’m going to my friend’s house for dinner”.

4. Diary Battleships

Finding things in the other person’s schedule can also be turned into more of a game, e.g. one similar to the popular children’s game Battleships in which they try to locate and sink the other person’s submarines etc without being able to see the partner’s worksheet. Students are given a list of things they should find on the schedule their partner has been given such as “Three free evenings” and “A breakfast meeting”. They take turns asking each other questions like “What are you doing on Monday before you go to work?” and the person who finds everything first is the winner. As with the original Battleships game it is best to set up the game so that students get clues of where certain things might be, e.g. can guess that their partner is spending the day on the beach on Friday if they learn that they are flying somewhere on Thursday evening or can work out that their partner has a regular schedule for some things such as tennis once every two days.

5. Guess The Person From The Schedule

One student explains their imagination of someone’s schedule for the next few days and weeks until their partner guesses who they are thinking of. Giving or brainstorming a list of jobs or famous people can help set this activity up.

6. Sorry, I’m Just So popular!

One student should turn down all invitations to do something together by saying they are too busy. They should use a different excuse each time, i.e. they can’t just say “I’m meeting my girlfriend” each time. The game continues until one of the two people runs out of ideas. This can also be used as a bluff game with the person who is refusing using a mix of real and made up excuses and the other person guessing which are which when they have finished.

7. My Exciting Life

Students try to outdo each other boasting about their exciting schedules with sentences like “I’m going to George Clooney’s house for a party tonight” and “I’m cutting the ribbon on the new Tate Modern Turbine Hall exhibition tomorrow”. Students can also play the opposite game of trying to make their future arrangements sound like more of a pain with sentences like “I’m taking seven tests in the next two days” and “I’m moving house tomorrow morning and so have to pack everything tonight”.

Written by Alex Case for February 2012
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic.

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