Lesson:Past perfect party

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Past perfect party is a controlled practice activity which activates the past perfect and past perfect continuous as well as the past simple and past continuous. It is a humourous activity, uses minimal materials and is suitable for all age groups.


  • Students need a pen(cil) and paper, and the teacher will need a large whiteboard and boardmarkers.


  1. The class chat about parties to warm into things.
  2. The teacher asks the class if they remember the class party last weeekend - they`ll say they don`t. The teacher says s/he does remember the party very clearly, but that s/he passed by at 3 am and only stayed for 5 minutes because it was so raucous.
  3. The teacher then draws him/herself standing by a doorway on the board.
  4. The teacher then asks the class what one student was doing when s/he came in at 3 am. "What was Mario doing when I arrived?"
  5. The class should think of something creative such as "When the teacher camed in at 3 am, Mario was lying unconscious on the pool table"
  6. Now pairs should draw their own sketch of the scene and write past continuous sentences next to each class member describing their actions e.g. "Melissa was throwing up", "Ivan was singing karaoke", "Naoko was hitting the jukebox" etc.
  7. The teacher monitors and checks the use of the past continuous in the notes.
  8. Once finished, the teacher then goes back to the original sketch on the board and asks the students why Mario was lying unconscious. The teacher should elicit several ideas and then highlight ones that use the perfect aspect e.g. "Because someone had knocked him out" / "Because he had been dancing for hours", "Because he had fainted from excitement" etc.
  9. The teacher instructs pairs to form reasons for the scenes in their own sketches, either written or spoken depending on the ability of the class.
  10. The teacher monitors and elicits corrections and perhaps conducts delayed error correction with the class.
  11. Finally the whole class chooses the best ideas, which are sketched onto the board, and a few different reasons are elicited from other students to extend the range of sentences produced.