Stage 1: Present examples  

Mime an action, e.g. reading a book. Ask: ‘What am I doing?’ Elicit and repeat ‘reading a book’. Say: ‘I’m reading a book.’ Repeat with other mimes, e.g. writing on the board, closing the door, opening the window. 

Ask: ‘What was my question?’ (= What am I doing?) Write it on the board. Mime the actions again. Repeat the question. Write learners’ answers on the board: You’re reading a book. You’re closing the door.  

Ask: ‘What are you doing?’ Learners answer, e.g. listening to you/sitting on my chair. Write the question on the board. 

Ask, for example: ‘What is Notty doing?’ Elicit an answer, e.g. She’s/she is writing.  

Ask: ‘What is Norbert doing?’ Elicit an answer, e.g. He’s/he is talking to Gilbert.  

Write the questions on the board.  

Repeat with ‘we’, e.g. What are we doing? We’re learning English, and ‘they’; for example, point to a group of learners and ask: ‘What are they doing?’ Write the questions on the board. 

Ask learners to work in pairs, take it in turns to mime an action and say what they are doing. Demonstrate with a volunteer.  

Ask a learner to mime for the class, for example, cooking. Ask: ‘Is she swimming?’ Elicit: ‘No, she isn’t.’ Ask: ‘Is she drawing?’ Elicit: ‘No, she isn’t.’ Ask: ‘Is she cooking?’ Elicit: ‘Yes, she is.’  

Write the short answers on the board. 

To help learners you could: 

  • write some model answers on the board 
  • underline the verb forms on the board, e.g. What is he doing? No, she isn’t  
  • drill some questions and answers: point, say, learners repeat. 
  • Ask learners: ‘Am I speaking now? Am I standing? Are you working hard?’ (= Yes) 

Stage 2: Take feedback  

Ask learners to share their feedback on what they have noticed in the example sentences. Here are some key points which you might want to share with them or write on the board. 


We use the present continuous to describe what is happening now or at the time of speaking, e.g. I’m writing on the board. I’m reading a book. 

Other uses of present continuous include:  

  • describing an ongoing action that hasn’t finished, e.g. Are you still helping out in the shop at the weekends?  
  • describing a planned future event, e.g. I’m meeting my friend after school and we’re going to the market. 
  • with ‘always’ to emphasise a series of repeated actions, e.g. He’s always complaining. 

Verbs that are not used in continuous form 

These are verbs that describe states or feelings rather than actions. Examples include ‘see’, ‘hear’, ‘smell’, ‘like’, ‘love’, ‘hate’, ‘believe’, ‘understand’, ‘wish’, ‘have’/‘have got’.  


‘Be’ + ‘-ing’ verb, e.g. We are learning English. She’s cooking. 

The negative form: I’m not listening. He isn’t listening. 

The question form: Are you cooking? Is she cooking?   

Contractions and their pronunciation: ‘I’m’, ‘you’re’, ‘s/he’s’, ‘we’re’, ‘they’re’, ‘aren’t’, ‘isn’t’.  


With verbs ending in vowel + consonant, double the consonant e.g. ‘win’/‘winning’, ‘run’/‘running’. 

Stage 3: Use the grammar 

From my window 

Learners work in pairs to write as many sentences as they can about what is happening outside the classroom, e.g. the birds are singing, the trees are growing. 


Explain: ‘Someone comes to your house to see your mother. However, she doesn’t want to talk to this person. She asks you to make excuses, e.g. “Sorry, she’s visiting a friend”.’  

Learners work in teams to write as many excuses as they can (using present continuous) in, for example, five minutes. The team that writes the most is the winner.   


Learners work in pairs and take turns to draw a picture. Their partner guesses what they are drawing, e.g. The girls are playing football.  

Picture race 

Learners work in groups. Learners take turns to describe a picture in the textbook; the others race to find it.   

Spot the difference 

Learners work in pairs. They have the same picture but there are ten differences. They describe their pictures (without showing each other) to find them.  

If you can’t draw and photocopy pictures, ask learners to work in pairs to draw two pictures with five differences. Learners then swap their pictures with a different pair and do the activity. 


Consonant: A non-vowel sound. Consonants are pronounced by stopping the air from flowing easily through the mouth, e.g. ‘b’, ‘g’, ‘k’, ‘t’, ‘v’. 

Elicit: How a teacher gets information from learners, e.g. asking questions, prompting. 

Feedback: Information about how or how well a learner has done something.   

Vowel: A sound made when breath comes from the mouth without being blocked by teeth, tongue or lips (in English = ‘a’, ‘e’, ‘i’, ‘o’, ‘u’).