Monday, February 16, 2015

Drawing during grammar

Time line with a twist
Every once in a while, I am sure you draw a time line on the board to help your learners understand a tense. Why not jazz things up a bit and instead of drawing a time line, draw a picture time line? Also, why not get your learners to do the same? This post is about picture lines, posters and making grammar fun and creative.

The other day, I was teaching the future perfect simple and the future perfect continuous and used the example I always use. I also drew the pictures I always draw when I explain the difference between the future perfect simple and the future perfect continuous tense so here goes.

Uses depicted in this picture time line:

  • Future perfect simple: action that will be completed by a specific time in the future.
  • Future perfect continuous: action that will be going on up to particular time in the future. We emphasize duration.

Example of a picture time line. A flight from Athens to London

I draw this on the board and ask my students a couple of questions based on my lovely sketch.

Examples of questions you can ask about the picture time line:
Where is Jack flying from?
Students: Athens.
Where is Jack going?
Students: London.
By 2:30 will the action (the trip) have finished?
Students: No.
By 4:00 will the action have finished?
Students: Yes.

Why draw when making a time line?
  • Your students can visualise the grammar.
  • In this case they can also see the distinction between the two tenses.
  • It's fun cause if you are great at drawing, your students admire your drawing/sketching skills. If your drawings are terrible (like mine), your students crack up and there is a nice Happy atmosphere in the class.
  • They will probably remember the 'rule' cause of your drawing (mine do)!
Personalise the Future Perfect Tenses
So you have presented the difference with a drawing, why not make the production stage of these tenses fun and creative for your students? Give them a big sheet of paper and ask them to make a list of their future plans. Tell them they need to make little drawings and use the future perfect simple and the future perfect continuous when talking about their future plans.
You should also make your own My Plans for the Future Poster.

My future plans poster

Add a twist-back to the picture time line
Once your students have made their "My Future Plans" poster, check it, and then get them to make their own picture time lines as well. After they have made their own picture time lines, they can share them with the class. Maybe  even be the teacher and show the rest of the class their examples.

Let me know how this goes!!  Have fun drawing. Have fun with your grammar : )

Till next time.....

As of tomorrow (27/2/2015) I will no longer be posting any blog posts on Blogger. I am only going to be publishing via wordpress. All my posts have been moved to the new website. Please follow me there : D

Thanks for all the support so far

See you soon.....


  1. If you will have been teaching for 18 years, isn't it time you changed 'I have almost 16 years of teaching experience...' in your blurb? :) (It seems to have been up there for a very long time)

    1. Hi Chris!! You are right. I got to correct my blurb. One more thing on the to do list :P

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