Making future arrangements with the present continuous
One of the classic activities for practising the present continuous for future arrangements is to have students schedule appointments with each other.
This version of the activity gives students the opportunity to communicate one on one with each of their classmates.
Give each student a copy of the blank weekly appointment planner and tell them that their task is to arrange a fun activity with each member of the class.
Now is a good time to brainstorm some of the language they might need and put it on the board. Have pairs of students model the activity openly and make any corrections and additions you feel necessary. You might come up with some phrases like these:
What are you doing on Tuesday morning?
Would you like to go fishing on Friday?
No, I hate fishing!
Sorry, I’m busy then, I’m playing badminton with Jennifer. How about Tuesday at twelve?
I’m afraid I can’t do Tuesday afternoon; I’m having lunch with Maria.
How is 10.00 for you?
Students should now circulate and try to arrange a suitable activity with each member of the class. Make sure that they write the appointment in the relevant time slots on the planner. The activity will get harder as their schedules begin to fill up.
When everyone has finished. Have the students take it in turns to report some of the highlights of their coming week.
If you have a small class, you might want to use this simple planner which has fewer time slots.
As a follow-up activity you could have students write a report about what happened on one of their ‘dates’.
Going To + Verb
Fortune Telling Runes
As well as for talking about future plans, we also use the going to future form to make predictions based on current evidence, for example, it’s going to fall over, he’s going to win, she’s going to have a baby, etc.
In this activity, students practise predicting future event using going to + verb based on the evidence they see in some mystic runes.
If you don’t fancy cutting up lots of pieces of paper, you can play this game with your smartphone or tablet, see the fortune telling web-app.
Print and cut up some fortune-telling runes (clipart icons do the trick). You will need at least thirty symbols per pair of students, so there’s a bit of scissor work involved.
Conjure up the image of a fortune-teller waving their hands over a crystal ball and tell students they are soon going to read their partner’s fortune.
Try to elicit examples of events which a fortune teller might predict, for example:
I see a handsome stranger in your future
You are going to meet an old friend
You are going to spend some time in a foreign country
You are going to have a lot of children
Your son is going to be a lawyer
You are going to be very successful
Write these ideas on the board and review the use of the going to future form to talk about predicting the future based on present (visible) evidence.
Make sure you model the next stage with a student!
Put students into pairs and give each pair a container full of cut-up runes. Students take it in turns to select runes from the cup, one or two at a time, and then use these runes to make meaningful predictions about their partner’s future.
At the end of the activity go around the class and find out what destiny has in store for each of them
Future with Will
Use these prompts to practise making spontaneous decisions and offers. Give each student or pair of students a copy of the prompt sheet and have them brainstorm possible responses using will. Make sure you focus on the pronunciation of I’ll. Now get the students in pairs to read prompts from the sheet and respond (but without using their notes).
The World in 2035
This simple to set up activity, which you can use to practise will for predictions, gives students free rein to speculate on any changes they think which might be coming down the pipe.
Give each student a copy of this making predictions worksheet and elicit a few ideas about one of the topics. Write down a couple of examples on the board explaining that will and also going to are usually used to make predictions about the future. Put students in pairs and allow ten to fifteen minutes for them to discuss the topics and write down a few ideas in each box. Stress that full sentences are not necessary.
Go through the topics one at a time, listening to each student’s ideas, putting nice examples on the board, correcting grammar and feeding in vocabulary when necessary.
Mixed Future Forms
Using an upcoming holiday as an example, we might talk about pre-arranged plans such as the flight, the duration of the stay and accommodation using the present continuous. For example,
We’re flying with Lufthansa
We’re staying in a hotel in the old quarter
We’re coming back on the 14th
However, for plans which are not so fixed, such as visiting a well-known site or taking part in certain activities, we would probably choose to use going to + verb to talk about. For example,
We’re going to see the sites and enjoy the nightlife
I’m going to do some shopping
I’m going to lie on the beach and read some books
You could ask students to talk about upcoming (real or imaginary) holiday plans using these two future forms, or you could set groups of students the task of arranging a class holiday and then presenting the plan using these two future forms. Students could then vote on which holiday they would most like to go on.
Give pairs or small groups of students a copy of this worksheet and two dice. Each student takes it in turns to roll two dice to select the grammar form and then again to choose a destination. Then they must try to make a sentence about a suitable intention for that particular trip. For example:
I might eat a bagel in New York
I’m not likely to need suncream in Stockholm