In the My Day Backwards ESL activity, students try to list the events of each other’s days in reverse order.
Assign each student a partner (or play student and teacher).
- Student A tries to list what their partner (Student B) did in a day, in reverse order. They start from the most recent activity and go backwards, using the target language to indicate the sequence of events. In an evening class they could use the current day, otherwise they can use the day before.
- If any activity is not in the correct order, Student B interjects and corrects them. It is then their turn to try and guess the events of Student A’s day.
- This pattern repeats back and forth, with the student guessing switching each time an activity is said out of order. However, the students are not allowed to repeat activities mentioned in previous rounds.
- The aim is to say the longest chain of correctly ordered activities. The student who does this is the winner.
Tip: If students finish quickly, get them to change partners.
The My Day Backwards ESL activity is particularly designed for practising the past perfect simple with intermediate students. Students say each preceding activity in that form, for example You came to class. Before that, you had eaten lunch. Before that, you had studied…
For another similar activity to practise the past perfect simple, try Order The Events or Timeline.
However, with high beginner students you could also just practise the past simple by listing the activities in that form. For example, You came to class. Before that, you ate lunch etc. With this level it’s also a useful way to review daily routines vocabulary.
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