Perfect Lesson Plan (the Present Perfect)

Teaching Present Perfect Outside the Box

Why do we use “have” as an auxiliary verb in the Present Perfect? Is it just a matter of chance, or is there some logic behind it?

Let's look at the Present Perfect from the perspective of possession. Indeed, the verb “to have” means that someone or something owns a particular thing, quality, or feature. The auxiliary verb can also be interpreted as an indicator of possession. Nope, I am not mistaken. Getting to the bottom of this lesson plan, you will comprehend this concept and learn how it can help you teach Perfect Tenses to your students.

Important remark:
We have designed this lesson plan (so now we have it) for teaching the Present Perfect, but some of its parts can also be used for understanding and teaching all perfect tenses.

Lesson Plan for Teaching Present Perfect Tense
Name: [Teacher’s name]
Date: 08/09/20….
Lesson Focus: Focus on grammar
Level: A2 (Late basic)
Age group: Adults – General English
Number of students 15 adults
Length: 75 minutes
Lesson Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to speak about their real or imaginary vacation experience using the present perfect tense.
  1. Present Perfect Timeline Diagram (Supplement 1)
  2. Blank cards, paper, pens, color markers
  3. List of questions (8 copies, see the lesson plan text).
  4. Present Perfect printable worksheet (15 copies for home assignment) (Supplement 5)
  5. Video: Difference Between Present Perfect and Simple Past + Adverbs (Supplement 6)

Stage/Timing Stage Objective Teacher’s Actions Students’ Actions T/S Ratio and interaction Comments
Warm up/Review
8 minutes
Elapsed time 8 minutes
To reduce affective filter and increase students’ engagement. Review previously learned vocabulary. Recall use of have as a main verb.

Hand out 15 blank cards and ask a volunteer to say what he or she has. (Expect: I have a blank card). Invite students to draw some fruit or vegetable on their card and write a title for it. Time limit: 3 min.

Ask each student to show their work to the class and say what they have and what their neighbor has. Write example on the board:
I have a picture of…
Jane has a picture of…
Remind students: with he and she we use has.

Draw fruit or vegetable. Raise their pictures and say what they have. CW 20/80
10 minutes
Elapsed time 18 minutes
Review some previous knowledge to help students understand the idea of upcoming explanation.

Ask students to recall some uses of the verb to have and to give examples in a sentence. Allow students to think of their examples. If students hesitate or don’t have any ideas, write on the board in two colors:
Do you have an idea?
Try to get an answer such as: No, I don’t have any idea yet.

More examples, if needed:
I have a new iPhone.
What do we have for lunch today?
I have to go now.
Please have my car repaired.
She has a baby brother.
They have to make a choice.

Teacher: As you can see, the verb to have has not just one meaning. However, there is one more role of it in a sentence and this is an auxiliary verb. Auxiliary means helping and it will come in handy soon.

Pre-teach vocabulary (See supplement).

Try to recall uses of have and think of some examples.

Learn vocabulary.

CW 40/60
2 minutes
Elapsed time 20 minutes
Introduction of today’s class objective (The Present Perfect Tense) Teacher: Today we are going to speak about your vacation activities and habits using Present Perfect (PP). Then we’ll try to work out a rule for this tense.
CW 100/0
20 minutes
Elapsed time 40 minutes
Explain the grammar rule in the meaningful context.

Teacher: Before we can proceed to your vacation, let’s get back for a moment to your pictures. We’ll need the verb to draw. As you already know, this is an irregular verb. Who can tell me the three forms of it (present, past, and past participle)? Elicit: draw, drew, drawn. Ask a volunteer to write it on the board. Now think about your fruit and vegetables. Are they real or…? Try to define them using Past Participle of the draw.

Expect responses (prompt if needed):
It is a drawn apple
The banana is drawn.

Teacher: Can you say: I have a drawn apple? (Yes, I can.) Can we rephrase the sentence in some way? Try to elicit answer or help them: Yes, we can rephrase it, e.g.:
I have drawn an apple.
So, if you have something done, seen, or heard, you now have a result. It may be some object, feeling, or experience. As we have the result now, we call this tense Present Perfect, even though it describes a past action or event.

Draw the timeline on the board and explain what it means. (Materials: 3 and supplement). Now you know where the PP comes from. However, its use is much broader (examples written on the board before the presentation):

  • Past events repeated up to now (time of the start and the end is not specified): I have lived in the US for the last three years. (and maybe live now)
  • Actions that started in the past but continue to the present:
  • Hurry up! The film has already started (and it goes on).
  • Past actions and events with a result now: I have drawn a picture (and now I have it).
    I have finished the project (and now can have a rest).

Important: the time of action, described with the Present Perfect is not relevant. The focus is on what, not on when.

Here is another example of the affirmative sentence:
(+) Affirmative: The train has already arrived.
Can you turn it into negative and interrogative PP?
Elicit answers:
(–) Negative: The train has not arrived yet.
(?) Interrogative: Has the train arrived yet?

Now let’s look at the examples above and try to find some patterns. Prompt as needed:


Remind students about the short forms (contractions):
I have = I’ve
he has = he’s
she has = she’s
we have = we’ve
you have = you’ve
they have =they’ve

Listen and participate by offering suggestions. Answer questions, think of examples. Try to work out a grammar rule (with teacher’s support). CW 50/50

Write examples on the board before beginning the presentation.

If a teacher doesn’t speak students’ L1 or if the class is international, make sure to use simplified language for explanations, also employ mime, gestures, and expression.

Practice and Application
20 minutes
Elapsed time 60 minutes

Teacher: And now we are going to talk about your vacation activities and habits, at last!

Divide class into pairs and hand out a worksheet with questions about vacation to each group. Challenge them to interview each other using the following questions:
  1. Have you traveled a lot lately? (Yes, I’ve traveled a lot.)
  2. Have you ever traveled abroad?
  3. Have you been to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York?
  4. Have you ever rented a car?
  5. Have you flown a sport plane?
  6. What have you seen that made you think you wish you see it again?
  7. What is the best place you have ever been to?
  8. What country has impressed you the most?
  9. What has happened to you in Brasilia?
  10. Have you visited the Palace of the Parliament yet?
  11. What is the most exciting thing you have seen while traveling?
Mingle pairs or make small groups and ask students to tell each other (within a group) where they haven’t been yet but wish to go. E.g., I haven’t been to… I want to go there next summer.
Practice speaking and ask questions about their vacation using present perfect in full and contracted form. GW/PW 10/90 Mind the odd number of students, play the role of collocutor for one of them.
Monitoring and evaluation
8 minutes
Elapsed time 68 minutes
To make sure every student has understood the uses of Present Perfect for communication. Allow students to ask each other simple questions using PP, monitor their answers, make corrections if needed. No functions to test, only a topic. Ask students if they have any questions.
CW 50/50
5 minutes
Elapsed time 73 minutes
Watch and discuss short video to complement students’ knowledge. Watch and briefly discuss the VOA video (Supplement: 5). Draw students’ attention to the adverbs used with PP.
CW 50/50 Tell students that we watch this video for illustrative purposes.
Home assignment
2 minutes
Elapsed time 75 minutes

Hand out photocopies of home assignment and explain what they have to do. (Material: 5 and supplement).
CW 100/0

Lesson Plan Supplement

1. The Present Perfect Timeline Diagram

Present Perfect Cloud Timeline

2. Vocabulary

3. Irregular Verbs (Review)

4. Used Abbreviations

5. Present Perfect Home Assignment Worksheet

Present Perfect home assignment worksheet

6. VOA Video: Compare Present Perfect and Simple Past, Focus on the Adverbs