To Be – Present Continuous

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Daily Grammar Sentences
Instructions:  Give the student the sentences in the second column (Sentences to be Corrected).  Students write corrected sentences and turn them in to the teacher to be checked.

School People
Sentences to be Corrected
Corrected Sentences
The principal working. 
Are he helping the children? 
He be not sleeping! 
The principal is working.
Is he helping the children?
He is not sleeping.
The music teacher are not singing? 
He playing a guitar. 
We am no listening. 
Is the music teacher not singing?
He is playing the guitar.
We are not listening.
The custodian am cleaning the school. 
She not is eating. 
Is she wash the tables? 
The custodian is cleaning the school.
She is not eating.
Is she washing the table.
What secretary doing? 
She am writing a letter. 
I not is talking. 
What is the secretary doing?
She is writing a letter.
I am not talking.
What is P.E. teacher do? 
He showing a game. 
The girl no is watch.
What is the P.E. teacher doing?
He is showing a game.
The girl is not watching.
Assessment can be made on three levels in Daily Grammar Sentences:
        1. Did the student recognize the mistake?
        2. Can they fix it?
        3. Can they produce a sentence using that grammar point in free speech?


What are they doing?
Type of Activity:  Independent
Materials Needed:  Cassette tape and recorder, vocabulary cards of school workers, vocabulary cards of common verbs
Directions for student:
Imagine what people around school are doing now.  Make a tape with three sentences for each person.  For example:  The Principal:  He is talking to some students.  He is sitting in a meeting.  He is planning a school event.

Assessment:   Teacher observation, based on the quality of sentences produced.

The Fire Alarm Rings…
Type of Activity:  Independent
Materials Needed:  Paper folded into a book, markers, crayons, pencil
Directions for student:
Pretend that all of a sudden, the fire alarm rings and everyone must stop what they are doing.  Write and illustrate a book telling what people in the class are doing.  It can be silly!  Then, on the last page, the fire alarm rings and everyone leaves the room.  Read it to the class!  Then put it in the classroom library.

Assessment:   Through written work and teacher observation, based on the quality of sentences produced

Grammar Explanation

Present Continuous is used in English to show that you are in the middle of doing something at this precise moment – the action has already started and it has not finished yet.  Form it with the verb to be followed by another verb in its ing form.  Be careful with verbs that “drop the silent e” or “double a letter” before adding the ing ending!
The system of auxiliary verbs is often one of the most difficult areas for learners to perfect, especially if their native language does not involve conjugations for different cases (e.g. many Asian languages).
Often it is helpful to show the students a chart of the conjugations:

singular plural
first person I am we are
second person you are you are
third person he is
she is
it is
they are

Key points to understand are the different pronouns and the different forms of the verb to be.  Often this is very difficult to do without referring to the learner's native language.  If the learner has difficulty understanding, ideally, the teacher should find another native speaker of that language (preferably another student) to explain it.

Present  continuostense is practiced with familiar verbs.  Note that there is a difference between transitive and intransitive verbs.  Often there is no difference in the difficulty comprehending these two types of sentences, as long as the learner knows the words being used.  However, when working on production, it is sometimes easier to start with intransitive verbs (the sentences are simply shorter).:

I am swimming .
He is reading .
She is eating lunch.
We are studying math .
Somewhat more complicated is the verbs that take arguments with argument marking prepositions :
They are listening to a CD.
She is talking to her friend.

Negation is straightforward, but be careful about contractions:

He isn't reading.
We aren't watching TV.
But not
I amn't walking.
Yes/No questions
These are formed by putting the auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence.
Am I standing?
Is he sleeping?
Of course the same effect can be achieved by giving the sentence a rising intonation:
He is sleeping?
Question words are placed at the beginning, before the auxiliary.  Note that, as in a yes/no question, the auxiliary is before the rest of the sentence.  The word doing must be added at the end.
What is she doing?  She is the listening to the radio.