Ideas for Teaching Participle Clauses

Having taught the differences between –ed and –ing , having + past participle and having been + past participle, when…, while…, before...,after..., on..., without..., instead of..., you might like to use some of these ideas to practice them.

Activity 1 (to practice a narrative):

Write different forms and phrases on pieces of paper (eg ‘Having + past participle or ‘seeing that...’ and fold them before putting them in a hat and getting students to pick three or four out.

To conduct the activity, the teacher starts off a story with something along the lines of “Having woken up in a strange room surrounded by unfamiliar objects and very unusual people, I decided to investigate where I was...”

The teacher then nominate a student to continue the story with a few sentences which must include one of the participle clauses written on their pieces of paper. After having done so, the student nominates another student to continue the story. This continues until they’ve all successfully used their clauses.

If further practice is required, the students can exchange their pieces of paper and start another story in a different setting, either of your choosing or of their own (provided they are imaginative enough).

Not only will this activity give them plenty of practice with participle clauses but it is also likely to give you plenty of opportunity to teach new vocabulary and error correct narrative tenses etc.

Activity 2 (to practice giving instructions/ describing a process):

As participle clauses are often used to describe a process, it's a good idea to get your students to practice this aspect also.

Tell students they are going to use these structures to describe one of the following:

    1. How to cook their favourite meal/prepare their favourite cocktail
    2. How to get from school to their apartment
    3. How to build a table/chair/house etc.
    4. How to repair a car/bicycle/computer
    5. Something else they know how to do.

The students then have a few minutes to think about how they are going to clearly express this to the class (using participle clauses, obviously). They then proceed to tell the class how to do one of the above things.

You will most likely need to go around the class helping with vocabulary, etc.

While listening to a students describe his/ her process, the rest of the class can either take notes or draw pictures to see if they can follow the process.

After each student has presented a process, they work in pairs to see if they can both retell the process in the same way.

Activity 3 (alibi):

Tell the class that a teacher was murdered last night and some of the students are the suspects. To run this activity, split the class into detectives and suspects. There should be two detectives for each pair of suspects.

Give the student 'detectives' ten or fifteen minutes to compose a list of questions that will help establish the suspects' whereabouts last night around the time of the murder. The detectives should be as far away from the suspects as possible so they don't overhear each other. Another room is ideal.

At the same time, the suspects have to come up with an identical, watertight story (alibi) about what they were doing that night.

Once the detectives and suspects have finished preparing questions and alibis, pair off one detective with one suspect and put each pair at opposite ends of the room.

Set a time limit (7-10) minutes during which the detectives can ask questions and take notes. They should use participle clauses as often as possible and the suspects should answer with one as often as possible. Example:

D: Having left the cinema, what did you do?

S: On leaving the cinema, we went for a hotdog.

When the time limit is up, the detectives go back to their side of the room and the suspects to theirs; the detectives then compare notes while the suspects compare what they told the police. If there are 3 differences or more in their stories, then the suspects are “guilty” if not, they're "innocent".

This activity takes a long time but is both fun and beneficial as they get a chance to use a wide range of vocabulary and grammar as well as question formation.

While the activity is running, the teacher should monitor and make a note of errors to clear up at the end.

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