Here’s an English lesson plan that I find quite fun. It’s teaching people what the past participle is through the question ‘Have you ever…?’. This can be good practice even for more advanced students, and afterwards there’s a fun game.
For those of you don’t know the past participle is a special form of a verb. Usually it is exactly the same as the past tense, but there are many common exceptions. The past participle of a verb appears in sentences like ‘I have eaten sushi’, ‘I have gone to America’, and ‘I have drunk sake’. So we have some examples:
There are lists aplenty on the internet of irregular verbs (here’s a list of irregular verbs from a quick Google search). Probably lots of the ones you think of straight away are irregular anyway, but it’s handy to dish out a A4 list of irregular verbs. Then your students can look at this while they go along.
Now you can practice the question with students:
Have you ever …?
Make sure they answer the question in full (e.g. ‘Yes, I have eaten sushi’/'No I haven’t eaten sushi’) so they practice the past participle properly. After asking them questions for a bit make them ask questions too.
Now that you’re getting somewhere, if your students are good enough you can have some fun and play this simple game. Get somebody to say 3 ‘I have …’ statements. Two of them should be true, and one of them false. Then the other students have to ask questions and guess which one is the false statement.
e.g. ‘I have been to America’ – ‘When did you go?’, ‘What Airport did you go to?’, ‘Who went with you?’
Note that this game can suck up time so you might want to limit the questions in some way, such as each student can ask only 1 question for each statement.
If your students are good enough you can push this further. Explain how you can drop ‘ever’ from the question for more mundane questions such as ‘Have you turned off the light?’. ‘Ever’ emphasises that this question is about your entire life.
Then if you want it to go even further you can make them form the past perfect tense. This is used in sentences like ‘He had written…’ and again uses the past participle. There are a few uses for this, but if you try to explain them all you’ll probably just end up confusing your students. It’s best to stick to one concrete example, and I think the best is simply describing events in order:
‘After I had finished my dinner, I read a book’
‘After he made the cake, he phoned me’
So there you go, another fun lesson, and maybe your pupils will have got something out of it too!