The Present Continuous Tense: A Free ESL Lesson Plan

When studying English as a second language, students must learn to describe immediate, ongoing or frequently occurring events, actions and/or conditions. This is why it is so important that students study the present continuous tense. Of course, students cannot normally do this on their own. So this is where teachers come in. But of course, you already know that; that’s why you are here! Well, we at Off2Class are here to help you. Keep scrolling to learn how to teach this lesson plan and to find the free download. 

When to use this lesson plan on the present continuous tense

This lesson plan on the present continuous tense should be used to teach elementary-level students a basic understanding of how to use verbs in the present simple form. This lesson will require students to speak, read, listen and spell in English but not at a particularly advanced level. In any case, it is suitable for group or individual classes. It is a very fun lesson that can be used for concept checking and test review. 

You can download the lesson plan here:

What students will learn in this lesson

Throughout this lesson on the present continuous tense, students will essentially learn how to use the present continuous in its positive form. Please note that this lesson does not cover negative or question forms. Students will also learn how to adjust consonants in verbs when describing things in the present continuous tense (for example, swim becomes swimming). Students should have a strong understanding that the present continuous tense is not used to describe events taking place in the present. For example, students should know that a person would say, “I eat bread every day,” instead of, “I am eating bread every day”. 

To practice students will work to describe images, match sentences and pictures, answer questions, fill in the blanks and create sentences in the present continuous tense. By the end of the lesson, they should have a good understanding of how to describe immediate and continuous actions as well as actions that could occur. 

How to teach this lesson on the present continuous tense

Though this lesson might seem overwhelming to teach, the truth is, our lesson makes it easy to do exactly that. To start the lesson, you should initiate a conversation with the student(s) and have them/his/her describe the pictures. This will allow you to gauge your student(s) understanding of the present continuous tense. As you continue teaching this lesson, be sure to introduce new concepts with an explanation, and then provide your student(s) with examples to support. This will guide them in completing further tasks.

There are portions of the lesson that include grammar charts, these are helpful guides for students but they do not have to be memorized in one session. Rather students should focus on applying these concepts in real time. Though it is recommended that students screenshot or save these charts because they include verb conjugations and spelling changes that occur in the present continuous tense. In any case, throughout the lesson, you should refer back to these charts; students should be able to utilize them as needed, especially when completing activities. 

The most important thing to do as a teacher is to guide, correct and encourage your students. This requires patience, persistence and passion on your part. So, be sure to take your time with this lesson. Since this lesson is 30 slides, it can even be divided into two lessons. It’s up to you to use your discretion as a teacher. 

But wait, there’s more…

Did you know Off2Class offers a free account for teachers? When you make a free account (which requires no payment information) you will gain access to useful teacher notes that accompany this and 149 other free lessons. Don’t feel like making an account? Check out some of our most coveted free lessons for download here. We are constantly updating our site to offer the most up-to-date and effective resources to teachers and we encourage you to take advantage of them. Also, let us know how we are doing in the comments below. We love to hear from teachers like you!

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