Teaching Present Perfect and Simple Past in a Fun and Engaging Way

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Teaching Ideas

Understanding the differences between the present perfect and simple past tenses can be challenging for many students. As teachers, we constantly look for new ways to make grammar lessons fun rather than boring. With a bit of creativity and technology, you can design activities that help students grasp these tenses while keeping them engaged.

Here are some ideas for teaching present perfect and simple past in an interactive way:

Get Students Collaborating with Padlet

Padlet is an online collaboration board where students can post ideas, questions, and responses. To practice the two tenses, have students work in pairs or groups. One student describes a recent experience using the present perfect (I have traveled to three countries this year). Their partner then rephrases it in the simple past (She traveled to three countries last year).

The pairs can post their sentences on a Padlet board for everyone to see. This gets them working together and gives you samples of their understanding.

Make a Present Perfect vs Simple Past Quiz with Kahoot

Kahoot makes it easy to create fun quiz games. You can make a Kahoot quiz with multiple choice questions that test students' ability to identify sentences in the present perfect and simple past.

Add funny memes, gifs, or videos to keep it entertaining. The game format turns a grammar review into a lively competition!

Tell Stories with Time Expressions

Practicing the tenses through storytelling is very effective. Provide time expressions like "yesterday," "last week," "this morning" and ask students to create a story using those cues.

They can share stories in small groups or with the class. The time words will remind them which tense to use. You'll get to see them apply the tenses creatively.

Act Out Stories with Simple Past and Present Perfect

Roleplaying exercises push students to use the language in context. Have students act out everyday situations where one person shares what they "have done" that day and the other describes what "happened" yesterday.

Encourage silly scenarios and props! This active approach makes the grammar come alive.

Sing Along with Present Perfect and Simple Past Songs

Looking for a lively way to review the tenses? Find a popular song that uses both the present perfect and simple past, like "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran. Display the lyrics and have students sing it together, analyzing the lines.

You can also take a simple song and rewrite the lyrics to include present perfect and simple past sentences. Singing out loud helps cement the grammar.

Check Progress with Edpuzzle

With Edpuzzle, you can add audio notes, quizzes and assessments to video lessons. Find a video on present perfect vs simple past and customize it by embedding practice activities.

This allows students to learn at their own pace. The analytics provide you with data on student understanding too.

Make a Jeopardy Game Online

JeopardyLabs lets you build a Jeopardy game in minutes. Make clues with answers in present perfect and simple past (Q: Who has scored 10 goals this season? A: Messi has scored 10 goals this season).

Divide students into teams and let the grammar games begin! This platform brings Jeopardy to the classroom easily.

Learning grammar doesn’t have to be a snooze fest. With tools like Padlet, Kahoot, Edpuzzle and more, you can create interactive lessons, games and activities to liven up present perfect and simple past. Your students will have a blast mastering these tenses!

If you need help designing customized grammar lessons and finding content that resonates with your students, check out to-teach. Their AI platform provides teachers with exercises, worksheets, and lesson plans adapted to make grammar topics fun and engaging for students.

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