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Activity for Progressive Tense Review: He is looking for Emma Fields
This week’s Teacher’s Corner uses a video game and a jigsaw activity for students to review the present, past, and future progressive.

High-Beginner to Advanced

Language Focus
Writing, listening, grammar (primary focus); speaking (secondary focus)

Students will increase their listening, speaking and writing skills through a comprehensive review of the progressive tense. Students will also practice note-taking skills to complete a jigsaw activity.



  1. Read through all the materials carefully.
  2. This activity uses the Trace Effects video game. If you are unfamiliar with the game, it may be helpful to access the game and accompanying Teacher’s Manual.
  3. This activity uses Trace Effects Chapter 1. It is recommended that you play the chapter prior to introducing it in class.
  4. Copy and cut out the Trace Effects Chapter 1 Comic Jigsaw pieces (Appendix 1). Make sure there are enough copies for your students in pairs/small groups.
  5. This activity is a review of the past, present, and future progressive tenses covered each week of this month’s Teacher’s Corner. The infographics used in the previous weeks’ materials are recommended if students need a review of the progressive tense.


    Part 1 - Trace Effects Intro Video

  1. Begin the activity by playing the Trace Effects Chapter 1 Intro video. Repeat the video if students need more listening practice.
  2. After watching the video have students write a timeline of Trace’s activities in the video using the progressive tense. For example: “Trace was touring the university when he activated the time machine.” “Eddie was eating lunch when Trace appeared.”
  3. Have the students work in pairs and write down as many sentences as they can about the video.
  4. Review the sentences as a group by having the students read their sentences out loud.

  5. Part 2 - Trace Effects Chapter 1

  6. Now that students have watched the introduction video have them begin playing Chapter 1 of Trace Effects. Give the students three minutes to play the game.
  7. After three minutes, call STOP and have the students stop their game play.
  8. Tell the students to write down what Trace is doing at that moment. For example: “Trace is talking to Eddie in the Science Building.” Have them number this as sentence #1.
  9. Give the students three more minutes of play time. After the time is up, call STOP.
  10. Again, have the students write down what Trace is currently doing and number this sentence #2. Next, have the students return to sentence #1 and change the verb to the past progressive tense. Ask the students, “What will Trace be doing next?” and have them make predictions as to what Trace will be doing in the near future. For example: “Trace will be looking for Kit.”
  11. Give the students three more minutes of game time. Once time is over, have them stop and repeat the sentence writing process.
      a. Depending on class time and student level, reduce the play time to two minutes or increase it to five minutes.
  12. Continue the process of writing a present progressive sentence, changing the previous sentence to past progressive, and then writing a future progressive prediction until the students have completed the chapter.
    1. a. If your classroom does not have computers for students, play the game as a class on the teacher’s computer stopping the game play when you desire.
  13. Have the students form pairs or small groups and review their sentences. Depending on how the students played the game their sentences may vary. Have them compare their sentences and discuss what they did that was the same and what was different.
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