Future perfect activities require no time-traveling–I promise! The future perfect verb tense can be a challenging concept for English language learners to wrap their heads around. But don’t worry – with the right tools and a little bit of practice, they’ll be able to master this verb tense in no time! Keep reading for three fun and engaging future perfect activities that will help you teach your adult ESL students to understand and use the future perfect like a pro. (And if you need to lay the groundwork, you’ll find a link to a grammar guide resource!)
Quick Future Perfect Intro:
The future perfect is used to describe an action that will be completed at a specific point in the future – just think of it as a time machine for your verbs!
It’s formed by using the auxiliary verb “will” followed “have” and the past participle of the main verb. For example: “I will have finished my homework by the time my teacher arrives.” In this sentence, the action of finishing the homework will be completed at the time the teacher arrives.
The future perfect is a handy verb tense to have in your back pocket, especially when you want to express that an action will be completed before a certain point in the future. It’s often used with time expressions such as “by the time,” “before,” and “by the end of.”
Future Perfect Activities: From Incomplete to Complete–Finish the Story
Ready for some fun and engaging future perfect activities? Let’s start with the Finish the Story game!
Before starting the game, review the structure of the future perfect tense and give students some examples to refer to. This will help ensure that they have a solid understanding of how to use the tense before they start writing their own sentences. Then, start by writing the first sentence of a story on the board, using the future perfect tense. For example:
- By the time I graduate from college, I will have visited every continent.
- By the time the sun rises tomorrow, I will have run a marathon.
- By the time I retire, I will have saved enough money to travel to all the countries on my bucket list.
- By the time I celebrate my 50th birthday, I will have visited every continent and tried every type of cuisine.
Have students take turns adding to the story by writing their own sentences, also using the future perfect. Encourage them to be creative and have fun with it and to think about how their choices might affect the direction of the story. For example, if one student writes that the protagonist will have traveled to every continent by the time they graduate college, another student might write about how they will have started a successful business by the same time.
Consider setting a time limit for each student’s turn, such as one or two minutes. This helps to keep the game moving and encourages students to think quickly and stay engaged.
As students take turns adding to the story, encourage them to read their sentences aloud to the class. This helps to reinforce their understanding of the future perfect tense and allows their classmates to hear how it is used in context.
As the story progresses, encourage students to make connections between their own sentences and those written by their classmates. This helps to develop collaboration and teamwork and helps students to see how their own ideas contribute to the overall story.
Debating the Future: The “Would You Rather?” Activity for Understanding the Future Perfect Verb Tense
Future perfect activities make grammar lessons fun! Need another to give them more practice? The “Would You Rather?” debate activity is the perfect solution!
To start, write several Would you rather questions on the board, using the future perfect tense. For example: “Would you rather have traveled to every country in the world or have climbed the highest peak on every continent by the time you turn 30?”
Then, divide your students into small groups and have them discuss and debate their answers. Encourage them to use the future perfect to express their thoughts and preferences, and to support their arguments with reasons and examples. This activity not only helps students practice using the future perfect, but it also promotes critical thinking and communication skills, as they must consider and articulate their own positions and listen to and respond to the viewpoints of their classmates.
To keep the future perfect activities interesting and engaging, mix up the types of questions you ask. You could ask questions about career goals, personal interests, or even fictional scenarios. For example:
- Would you rather have completed a Ph.D. in your field of study or have started your own successful business by the time you turn 40?
- Would you rather have visited every theme park in the world or have played in a professional sports league by the time you turn 25?
- Would you rather have learned to play every instrument in a symphony or have written and published a best-selling novel by the time you turn 30?
- Would you rather have learned to speak every language in the world or have won a Nobel Prize in your field of study by the time you turn 50?
- Would you rather have learned to dance every style or have performed in a professional dance company by the time you turn 30?
- Would you rather have saved enough money to buy a house or have traveled to every country in the world by the time you turn 35?
- Would you rather have learned to fly a plane or have become a certified scuba diver by the time you turn 25?
The possibilities are endless, and the “Would You Rather?” debate activity is sure to be a hit with your students!
Writing Our Way to the Future: An Interactive Activity for Practicing the Future Perfect Verb Tense
Love the speaking practice they get in the previously mentioned future perfect activities but need something for writing? The “Future Plans” writing activity is a great way for students to practice using the future perfect tense and to think about their future goals and dreams. To begin the activity, brainstorm a list of activities that students might do in the future, such as “travel to Japan,” “learn a new language,” or “start a business.” These activities can be tailored to the interests and goals of your students and can be as realistic or imaginative as you like.
Next, have students choose one or two activities from the list and write a paragraph about their future plans, using the future perfect tense to describe what they will have done by a specific point in the future. For example:
- By the time I turn 25, I will have traveled to Japan and experienced the culture, food, and sights firsthand. I will have learned some basic phrases in Japanese and made new friends along the way.
- By the time I retire, I will have learned to speak Spanish fluently and will have visited every country in South America. I will have made many new friends and have a deep understanding and appreciation of the diverse cultures and traditions of the region.
- By the time I turn 30, I will have started my own business and will have built a successful company that provides a valuable service or product to my customers. I will have learned from my mistakes and will have developed strong leadership and business skills.
To make this and other future perfect activities more engaging and meaningful, consider the following suggestions:
- Encourage students to share their paragraphs with the class or in small groups. This gives them the opportunity to talk about their plans and goals and to get feedback and support from their peers.
- Provide a list of transitional phrases and vocabulary words that students can use to connect their ideas and make their writing more coherent.
- Encourage students to use descriptive language and provide details about what they hope to do and how they hope to achieve their goals.
- Encourage students to think about the challenges and obstacles they may face in achieving their goals and to consider how they might overcome them.
- Incorporate elements of goal setting or action planning into the activity, such as having students create a timeline of the steps they need to take to achieve their goals or writing a list of action items they need to complete.
- Encourage students to be creative and to think outside the box. Encourage them to consider their passions and interests and to dream big about what they hope to achieve in the future.
Overall, the “Future Plans” writing activity is a fun and engaging way for students to practice using the future perfect tense while also thinking about their goals and dreams for the future. By encouraging your students to be creative and reflective and by incorporating elements of goal setting and action planning, you can help students to understand and master the future perfect tense in a meaningful and empowering way.
Modifying and Differentiating the Future Perfect Activities for Different Levels and Abilities
Want all your students to be able to participate and learn effectively? Of course you do, and you know what that means: time to adapt those future perfect activities for different levels and abilities. But, no worries; here are some suggestions for modifying the “Finish the Story” and “Would You Rather?” activities for different levels and abilities:
For beginner learners:
- Finish the Story game: Provide sentence starters or prompts to help students get started. You could also provide a list of vocabulary words or phrases that students can use in their sentences.
- Would You Rather? debate: Provide a list of possible responses for each question. You don’t even have to make those possible responses complete sentences. Use sentence stems or leave out the future perfect verb. Another possibility is allowing students to work in pairs or small groups to come up with their own responses.
- Future Plans writing exercise: Give them a list of activities and transitional phrases, and use basic vocabulary and simple sentence structures.
For intermediate learners:
- Finish the Story game: Set a longer time limit for each student’s turn, such as three or four minutes, to give students more time to think and write. You could also consider providing more challenging prompts or sentence starters to encourage students to think more creatively and challenge themselves.
- Would You Rather? debate: Encourage students to use more complex language and to provide more detailed and well-reasoned arguments for their positions. You could also consider providing more challenging or abstract questions to encourage students to think more critically and creatively.
- Future Plans writing exercise: Encourage more creativity and description, and incorporate elements of goal setting and action planning.
For advanced learners:
- Finish the Story game: Set a shorter time limit for each student’s turn, such as one or two minutes, to challenge students to think quickly and write concisely. You could also consider providing more open-ended prompts or sentence starters that allow students to take the story in any direction they choose.
- Would You Rather? debate: Encourage students to use advanced vocabulary and complex grammatical structures and to provide well-reasoned, detailed arguments for their positions. You could also consider providing more abstract or controversial questions to challenge students to think deeply and critically about their values and beliefs.
- Future Plans writing exercise: Encourage critical thinking and reflection, and incorporate complex elements of goal setting and action planning.
To differentiate these future perfect activities for learners with diverse needs and interests, consider the following suggestions:
- For students who struggle with writing, consider providing a list of vocabulary words or phrases that they can use in their sentences for the “Finish the Story” game. You could also consider providing sentence starters or prompts to help them get started.
- For students who struggle with speaking or communication, consider providing a list of possible responses for the “Would You Rather?” debate or allow them to work in pairs or small groups to come up with their own responses.
Overall, by adapting these future perfect activities for different levels and abilities and differentiating them for learners with diverse needs and interests, you can ensure that all students are able to participate and learn effectively.
The future perfect can be a challenging verb tense for English learners, but with the right activities and approach, your students can have fun while practicing and improving their language skills. These are just a few future perfect activities, but there are many more ways that you can incorporate the future perfect into your lesson plans and activities. By using a variety of approaches and encouraging creativity and collaboration, you can help your students understand and master the future perfect tense.
These three engaging future perfect activities provide valuable opportunities for students to flex their language muscles and get a firm grasp on the future perfect verb tense. Give these three future perfect activities a try and watch the dust disappear from your grammar lesson!