This TESOL lesson plan uses a newspaper article to discuss current events and teach the Present Progressive
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Level: Low Intermediate and above
– To review the use and structure of the Present Continuous / Progressive Tense through reading comprehension using authentic material.
– To review the different functions of the Present Continuous / Progressive Tense: describing an action happening at the moment of speaking vs. describing current ongoing events and processes.
– To review vocabulary connected to the ocean, the beach and sea-creatures.
– To provide practice of the structure and function of the Present Continuous / Progressive Tense
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Function: Describing Current and / or Ongoing Events.
Structure: Present continuos [‘be’ (is-am-are) + verb in Present Participle (-ing) form]
Lesson Objective: By the end of the lesson SS will be able to create a poster to raise awareness about one of the environmental issues discussed during the Presentation or Practice Stages, or any other they feel they’d like to raise awareness about.
Material: Authentic Material – Unedited article from the Global Post: Starfish from Canada to Mexico are dissolving into goo
– Students are familiar with the Present Simple and Past Simple tenses
– Students have learnt and used the Present Continuous / Progressive tense for actions happening right now / at the time of speaking.
– Students are familiar with some vocabulary related to Environmental Issues.
Anticipated problems and solutions:
– Students may confuse the uses of the present continuous. [Possible Solution: review the use and create a clear chart to compare the uses. Include this in the controlled practice stage to consolidate the learning. Re-teach if necessary.]
– Students may have difficulty pronouncing the ‘ing’ sound or the contracted forms of the auxiliary verb ‘be’ (‘I’m’, ‘he’s’, etc.). [Possible Solution: show articulation of the –ing and model sound. Get SS to repeat the sound in isolation first, then through words ending in -ing. Model pronunciation of the contractions.]
– Students may have difficulty with understanding the vocabulary in the definitions of the new words in the crossword puzzle activity. [Possible Solution: help them identify meaning through concept checking, examples and demonstration.]
Approach: The Communicative Approach is used in this lesson and the PPP (Presentation / Practice / Production) framework is followed. The lesson will be approximately 90 minutes long.
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Presentation Stage – TESOL Lesson Plan
Aim: review vocabulary related to sea creatures.
Strategy/technique: guess meaning; identify vocabulary
Skill: vocabulary, speaking
Aids: realia (real objects, toys) or pictures of seashell, starfish, squid, manatee, fish.
Interactive pattern: T-S
Time: 10 min
T places the objects in a bag and invites students to come forward to guess the different objects. Students put their hand in the bag, choose an object and with their eyes closed or covered must guess what the object is.
(Variation: if realia is not available, T prints pictures of the vocabulary words and covers them, only uncovering a piece at a time for students to guess what they are. Students will try to guess the different words by seeing pieces of pictures and predicting what the whole picture depicts.)
S possible answers: I think this is a squid. It is a squid. Is this a squid?
T asks students what they all have in common. S: they are all sea creatures.
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Aim: To introduce essential words used in the article.
Strategy/technique: identify meaning through a crossword puzzle: baffled, massive, fret, dissolve, rot, beach (v), go belly-up, goo, droves, and fad.
Skill: reading comprehension; spelling
Aids: handout with crossword puzzle and definitions
Interactive pattern: S-S
Time: 10 min.
T introduces S to the crossword puzzle activity.
Ss will discuss their answers in pairs. Student A will have the answers for the clues that Student B will have and vice-versa. Students must work together to complete the whole puzzle.
Student A: Work with your partner to match your words to their definitions.
Student B: Work with your partner to match your words to their definitions.
3- Presentation of the target language through the context of the article from Global Post.
Aim: Introduction to the context through reading comprehension.
Strategy/Technique: Answer gist question
Skill: skim reading; speaking
Interactive pattern: S and S-S
Time: 5 min.
T instructs Ss to skim read for the gist question on the board. Ss skim read and answer the one gist question presented to them before reading.
‘Do scientists know what is happening to starfish and why?’
After reading individually, SS work in pairs or small groups to discuss briefly the answer to the gist question.
Feedback: T checks Ss’ answer to the question.
4- Elicitation and systematization of the function of the Present Continuous/Progressive tense and its structure
Aim: SS discover the use and usage of the target language
Strategy/technique: concept questions
Skill: listening and speaking
Interactive pattern: T-S
Time: 10 min.
T asks students a series of concept questions to lead them to discovery the function of the Present Progressive and later the necessary structure as well.
T: What is the headline of the article?
S: Starfish from Canada to Mexico are dissolving into goo.
T: Great. When is this happening? In the past, present or future?
S: In the present
T: Well done. Do you think that it is happening right now this very second? (T can insert here the date and time when the question is being asked).
S: (SS will probably be unsure. Some might even answer yes since they will have already studied this function prior to this lesson.)
T: Hmmm. Let’s look at one more example. How about “Starfish are rotting alive and scientists are baffled?” Do you think this is a short process or a long one?
S: A long one.
T: That’s right. There are many starfish in the world and this article seems to be talking about a lot of them, and that would take a long time for all of them to rot, right?
T: So, this is happening in the present, it’s a long process and it’s not necessarily happening right as we’re speaking or reading this article. Will it be happening tomorrow? How about next week?
S: Probably yes.
T: That’s correct. It is long process that is not finished or complete yet. (Teacher writes this on the board.) We could say it is describing a current action. Let’s look at how we can form this sentence. How many verbs do you see in the headline?
T: Which ones are they?
S: ‘are’ and ‘dissolving’
T: Good job. Are any of those more important than the other?
S: (not sure)
T: Let’s check. [Teacher covers the word ‘dissolving’ and asks:] Does the sentence make sense now? (Starfish from Mexico to Canada are into goo)
T: How about now? [Teacher now covers ‘are’] (Starfish from Mexico to Canada dissolving into goo)
T: So does the word ‘are’ influence the meaning of the sentence much?
T: Good. What do we call those verbs that don’t add much to the meaning of the sentence, but we need them to make a grammatically correct sentence?
S: Helping verbs. / Auxiliary verbs.
T: That’s right, and what tense is ‘are’ in?
S: Simple Present
T: Correct, and which is the main or most important verb?
T: Good! Is that how we’d find that verb in the dictionary?
T: That’s right. What’s different about ‘dissolving’?
S: It has ‘ing’ at the end.
T: Great. What’s that form of the verb called?
S: Present Participle.
T: Good job. What tense is this?
S: Present Continuous / Progressive.
T: Well done. So now we know that the Present Continuous / Progressive is also used to talk about current events or processes; not just things happening at the moment of speaking. Have a look at the text again and find other examples of the Present Continuous/Progressive Tense.
SS skim through the text again and find more examples.
At the end of this section the board will look like this:
Talking about current events and processes
Present Continuous/Progressive Tense
[ ‘be’ (is-am-are) + verb in Present Participle (-ing) form]
Starfish are dissolving into goo.
Whales are beaching themselves all the time.
Practice Stage – TESOL Lesson Plan
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Aim: to practice forming sentences in the Present Continuous/Progressive Tense
Strategy/Technique: Meaningful drill
Aids: Cards with prompts
Interactive pattern: S- S-S
Time: 5 min.
Teacher prepares cards with Words on them and explains to students they must form sentences using the Present Continuous / Progressive Tense. Students will work in pairs. The teacher will time the drill and ask pairs to pass on their card to the next pair after 1 minute.
Student will look at the cards and work in pairs to form the sentences before it’s time to get the new card.
1- Climate / change / constantly. (Climate is changing constantly.)
2- More and more animals / become endangered. (More and more animals are becoming endangered.)
3- Farmers / struggle / to produce enough crops. (Farmers are struggling to produce enough crops.)
4- Amounts of trees / decrease / daily. (Amounts of trees are decreasing daily.)
5- Air pollution / increase / in an alarming way. (Air pollution is increasing in an alarming way.)
Production Stage – TESOL Lesson Plan
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Aim: to use and produce the target language in an authentic context.
Strategy/technique: creating a poster
Skills: integrated skills
Interactive pattern: SSS
Aids: sample posters.
Time: 30 mins.
Teacher will encourage the students to work individually or in small groups depending on the students and their ability level observed throughout the lesson.
Teacher provides instructions and shows the students one or two sample posters.
Teacher will also remind the students to use the target structure at least 3 times in their poster.
Students will work individually or in small groups to create a poster to raise awareness about one of the environmental issues discussed during the Presentation or Practice Stages, or any other they feel they’d like to raise awareness about.
[Posters must have at least 2 images and the target structure used at least 3 times.]
Students will hand in their posters to be assessed, and then they will be displayed around the classroom.
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