As a language teacher I can tell you that games are the best tools to make your students excited and learn better. Particularly, grammar games are helpful in making learners understand and absorb grammar points. It is also a point for teachers to note that they can always include one of the four main skills as part of the grammar games so that students will be able to either write or speak confidently using the part of the grammar that is being taught.
Traditional grammar exercises and task sheets may help students to probably fill in the gap with the same form of the tenses repeatedly and students could complete most of these exercises effortlessly as they just follow the pattern of the grammar in the task without actually understanding the usage. Many of us had done this before, but we know that most of the times they do not work especially when students are unable to apply the grammar points learnt in another or freer settings even after completing pages of grammar exercises.
This was the reason I tried using games. Games allow my students to explore the hows and whys of constructing sentences using the tenses learnt before moving on to drill based exercises so they would be well - aware of what they had learnt. Besides, they will be able to use them to develop their speaking and writing skills.
The lesson I had with my students were based on the Full Blast textbook, unit 5a, page 69. The language awareness lesson in this unit focuses on the usage of Past Perfect Simple and Past Perfect Continuous. The exercises were limited, so I decided to get some worksheets from the internet and designed a game to help the students to understand the tenses.
Firstly, I got the verbs and the forms of tenses printed out in coloured papers as shown below. The verbs were selected from the texts from previous units and I chose verbs that students were familiar with so that it would be easier from them. I also made sure that there were a good combination of regular and irregulars verbs.
Then, I cut them into small pieces and put them in two separate boxes.
In class, I began my lesson by comparing the Past Perfect Simple and Past Perfect Continuous by showing a set of examples. Students were asked identify the different forms of tenses and to make sense of the sentences as well as explain the meanings. Students' points were taken and written on the whiteboard.
After getting feedback from students, I explained and demonstrated the use of Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous using a video aid from YouTube :
Students were then put in small groups (preferably 4 in a group) and each group was given a marker pen and mini whiteboard. I also displayed the cards containing tenses on the teachers' table and all the verb cards were kept in a small box as shown below. The cards containing tenses had a mixture of Past Perfect Continuous and Past Perfect. Both sets of cards were placed in front of the classroom on the teacher's table.
Before the game began, I explained how it was played. Each group were asked to assign a runner and a writer among the group mates.
The runners in the group would be assigned to pick one pink and one yellow card and return to their respective groups.
In groups, they were to construct a sentence using the verb and the form of tenses taken by their runner. For example, If they had gotten 'Past Perfect Tense' and the verb 'LEAVE', they were to construct a sentence having the verb 'LEAVE' used in the Past Perfect form.
Students were asked to discuss with group mates before deciding the sentences as each group would be given a score of 3 for every correct sentence and a deduction of 2 for a wrong one. Once they had completed a sentence, the runner would walk over to the teacher's table to return the cards and pick a new set.
Students were given 10 minutes to complete the task and they were to construct as many sentences as they could to ensure a higher score. The pictures below were taken when students were actively constructing sentences.
I used a 10-minute musical timer to keep to the time limit. Once they had completed the task. The representatives were called one by one to present their sentences to the class and I identified, explained and corrected the sentences.The pictures below were taken when I was correcting and explaining the sentences to the class.
Well, when students constructed their own sentences, I could really see how much they had understood the lesson. As homework, I gave them some work sheets downloaded from esl.com and pinterest to help them to understand the tenses better. I also prepared an online test for them via quizizz to be done over the weekend as a blended learning initiative. If you are interested in the materials used for this lesson you may download them here.