This is a series of grammar lesson plans. For an introduction to the series, please click here.
Name: Present Perfect
Time: 1 hour
Prep Time: Time to gather the materials
Materials: You and the students should bring some pictures of places you’ve been. Come prepared with some copies of a map of the city you teach in. The students that don’t bring any pictures can use the maps.
Primary Objective: Teach the use of present perfect for events that started and ended in the past (this lesson is not about for and since).
Other Benefits: Discuss past travel
First Exposure (15 minutes) Show the students several pictures from your past. Describe them with present perfect. (e.g. I’ve been to… I’ve eaten… I’ve danced at… I’ve visited…)
After you’ve said five facts, ask various students questions to prompt them to use the present perfect. (e.g. Where have I been? What have I eaten? Where have I danced? What have I visited?)
Now, say another five facts and ask another five questions. In total, try to use 30+ examples. At the end, ask random questions from everything you said.
Identify the Grammar (5 minutes) Ask the students these questions. Ask follow-up questions as needed to solicit the correct answers.
Which verb tense am I using? Present Perfect
When did these events happen? Sometime in the past, but we don’t know when exactly.
Does it matter when these events happened? No, it doesn’t matter. We’re just interested in the event, not when.
Controlled Use (15 minutes) Have the students complete this worksheet. Then review it.
Explanation (5 minutes) Now, explain to the students that present perfect is have/has + the third form of the verb (usually –ed, but sometimes different like eaten of eat-ate-eaten). We use it for situations that happened in the past, but we don’t know, or we don’t care when.
A: I’ve baked a cake!
A: Who cares!? Let’s eat.
A: Do you want to see The Matrix?
B: No, I have already watched it.
B: Hmm, I don’t remember when I watched it.
If we say “when” then we can’t use present perfect to talk about past events.
For example: “I have eaten dinner at 7p.m.” is wrong because we know when.
Free Use (20 minutes)
Finally, with the students’ help, write 5-10 present perfect questions on the board. They should discuss them in pairs, but give more than one-sentence answers. Tell them to just discuss the questions normally and see if they have a chance to use the present perfect. Switch partners for time. Here are some questions you might use.
Where have you traveled?
What have you done that you are really happy about?
Have you ever told a lie?
How have you changed as a person?
What are some good movies you have watched?
Extension: Students should look at each other’s pictures and ask questions in the present perfect. “Have you eaten at this restaurant?” “Have you swum in this lake?” etc.
Homework: Ask the students to write a short essay about their favorite place. They should use present perfect five times in their essay.