Grammar Lesson Plan: Present Perfect Tense

This TESOL lesson plan integrates a grammar lesson with speaking and writing skills.

Present perfect TESOL lesson planLevel: Low intermediate
Aims: To present the present perfect tense (have + past participle) with the function of talking about past actions that relate to the present time; to present some time expressions used with the present perfect ( since, for, always, so far); to provide controlled and semi-controlled spoken and written practice of the present perfect tense.

Free TESOL Training: How to Write a Grammar Lesson Plan

Free TESOL Training: How to Teach Grammar with Songs

Time: Approx. 60 minutes
Assumptions: Students are familiar with the present simple tense and the past simple tense as well as the most common regular and irregular verb forms in the past (go-went; be- was/were; stay- stayed); students are familiar with different types of sentences (affirmative, interrogative and negative) in the tenses mentioned above.
Aids: handouts, cards and board.

An accredited TESOL certification course by OnTESOL will teach you how to prepare a lesson plan using the Communicative Approach. Get certified today!

Save $1000! The Online TESOL Diploma is More Comprehensive than a 4-week CELTA

Read: How to Use the Communicative Approach

Read: How to Use Task-based Learning


Step 1: Warm up
Aim: review the use of the simple past tense (actions that finished in a definite time in the past as in I went to Cuba in 1999. I had a great time there.)
Time: 10 minutes; interactive pattern: S-S

Pair the students up and get them to talk to their partners about three things they did yesterday, on the weekend, last month, or at Christmas (the teacher chooses the most convenient time for this activity depending on the time of the year for this class. If it is a time close to a particular festival or celebration, they can refer to that.) Each pair records the action verbs discussed and shares their findings with the class. As a class they have to decide who had the most interesting, fun, or boring time.

Review the use of the simple past and the function of talking about actions that finished at a specific time in the past. Ask the students to identify if the verbs they used in the activity were regular or irregular past verbs.

Step 2: Introduction to the target language
Aim: Present the present perfect tense and some of the adverbs used with this tense through a text.
Time: 5 minutes; interactive pattern: T-S; S; S-S
Aids: Handout with text to read

Introduce the text and tell the students that they have to read it and find the answers to the questions below (at this point, do not mention the new tense or the adverbs that they will be discussing later).

1- Where is Amira living now?
2- Does she like it?

Now read and find out:

Hi! My name is Amira. I am from Venezuela, but I live in Dallas. I have lived in Dallas for five years. I like it here very much because I can improve my English. I have always loved the English language. I have learned English since I was in high school. Living in the States has been very interesting! I have met so many nice people. They are from all over the world. It has been a great experience so far.

Get students’ answers. (Amira is living in Dallas. She likes it very much)

Grammar course for CELTA graduates who need more training. Only $250!

Step 3: Elicitation
Aim: to elicit the function of the present perfect from the students using concept questions.
Time: 2-3 minutes; interactive patterns: T-S
Guide the students toward the new tense and its function through the following concept questions:

T: Go back to the text. We know that Amira is living in the States now. But, did she live in another country before?
S: Yes. In Venezuela.
T: Correct. She is from Venezuela. When did she move to Dallas? Do you know?
S: (They may come up with 5 years ago, as they are familiar with the simple past tense and the adverbs in the past time. If not, make sure you guide them toward that answer.)
T: Very good. She has lived in Dallas for 5 years. That means that she moved to Dallas 5 years ago. (Make sure the verb is emphasized as well as the period; a time line can be drawn on the board to show when Amira was in Venezuela, and for how long she has been in Dallas. Time lines are good to show time periods visually). Is she still living in Dallas?
S: Yes.
T: How many years?
S: Five years.
T: Did she learn English when she was in Venezuela?
S: Yes. In high school.
T: Is she still learning English in Dallas?
S: Yes.
T: Did she like learning English in the past? Does she like English now?
S: Yes.
T: Great. So, in this text, Amira tells us about some of the things she started in the past and she is still doing in the present, and to express that she uses a new tense. We call this tense the present perfect. (Write the name on the board). Let’s see how we use this tense. Do we use the present perfect for actions that finished in the past? Listen: Amira has lived in Dallas for 5 years. Does it mean she is living in Dallas now?
S: Yes.
T: Correct. So, we use it to talk about actions that started in the past and still continue in the present. (Write the function on the board. Use the time line to show the connection of the past action in the present time.)

Step 4: Checking comprehension
Aims: Students find the verb phrases and time references by themselves. (Collaborative learning)
Time: 5 minutes; interactive patterns: S-S

I want you to look at the text again and see if you can find all the action verbs that show that Amira is still living in Dallas, learning English and having fun. Underline the verbs and the time reference. Do this with your partner.

Feedback: Take up their answers and write them down on the board. Guide them if they have not found all of the verbs or time references. Categorize their answers under the following headings:

Action Time reference

have lived for five years
have (always) loved always
have learned since I was in high school.
has been
have met
has been so far.

Focus on the action verbs and the time references. Explain the use of the present perfect tense making reference to the time line to help the students grasp the concept. Draw the students’ attention to the adverbs used with this tense: for +a period of time, since + a point of time in the past until present, always and, so far. Draw their attention to the structure of the tense: the auxiliary have + verb in the past participle form. Have them identify which verbs are regular and if they are the same as in the simple past tense (loved, lived, learned) and which ones are irregular and if they are similar or not to the simple past tense (meet- met (past) – met (past participle); be – was/were (past)- been (past participle)
Elicit the interrogative and negative forms and give examples.


Lesson plans with TESOL Diploma

Step 5: Mechanical practice
Aim: identify the verbs in the past participle through a matching activity.
Time: 5 minutes; interactive patterns S-S
Aids: cards with simple past verbs and cards with past participle verbs.

Provide the students with colour-coded cards (red cards for simple past verbs and blue cards for past participles). Students in pairs have to match the cards. They may have to guess some of the past participles forms, especially those of the irregular verbs. (went- gone). Once the cards are matched, student A has to say the simple past out loud while student B says the corresponding past participle form.
Examples of verb cards:


ate eaten
was been
went gone
lived lived
open opened
get up got/gotten up
had had
drove driven
stayed stayed
made made
loved loved
danced danced
invited invited
met met
bought bought

Step 6: Mechanical practice
Aim: practicing fluency with a substitutional drill.
Time: 5 minutes; interactive patterns T-S
Aids: cards with past participle verbs.

Choose one of the cards, and make a sentence. Example: I have lived in Dallas for five years.
Have students repeat: I have lived in Dallas for five years.
Then, change the time reference, for example: for two years. Students have to substitute the new phrase: I have lived in Dallas for two years. Then, change the verb. Example: have danced salsa. Students have to substitute the new verb: I have danced salsa for two years Give students different prompts (verbs, or time references) alternatively.

Step 7: Mechanical practice
Aim: practicing different types of sentences with a transformational drill.
Time: 5 minutes; interactive patterns T-S
Aids: cards with past participle verbs.

T: Amira has met nice people. (Question)
S: Has she met nice people?
T: (Negative)
S: She hasn’t met nice people.
And so on with more examples.

Step 8: Communicative practice
Aim: practicing asking and answering questions using the present perfect tense and adverbs.
Time: 10 minutes; interactive patterns S-S
Aids: Paper and pen

Students ask one another questions to find out about what their classmates started in the past and are still doing in the present.
S1: Have you lived in this town for a long time?
S2: Yes. I have lived here for ten years.
S1: Have you made many friends here?
S2: Not really. I have not made many friends.


Aim: The students write a paragraph in a less-controlled way using the present perfect tense with the function they have learned in this lesson.
Time: 20 minutes; interactive pattern: individual work; group work.

Students are encouraged to write a paragraph using the present perfect to describe actions that they have started in the past and they are still doing in the present. It could be about their present hobbies, jobs, studies, etc.
Then, students will pick the activity they prefer the most and share it with the class. The other students give feedback explaining if they have also done the same or not, how often they do it, when they started it, etc. They may use the simple past as well as the simple present if necessary.

Teach English Worldwide! Take an accredited TESOL course online

Related Articles:

Teaching Grammar Using the Communicative Approach

Teaching Grammar: Elicitation Through Concept Questions

Video: Teaching Grammar Communicatively

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.