Simple future grammar activities are a sure win in any simple tense lesson.
Sometimes teachers, especially those new to adult ESL, mistakenly believe that because a verb tense is “simple,” students will easily and quickly learn it. That’s not always the case.
What makes the simple future a challenge?
Using the simple future tense is not so simple for ESL students. First off, we have two versions of simple future. We can use either when predicting the future, but will is for a decision made at the moment of speaking, a willingness to do something, whereas be going to is meant to express a plan made prior to speaking. Then you add in that the simple present can express the future, and the present progressive can also have a future meaning. “Simple” no longer seems an adequate adjective, does it?
But let’s say you’ve already taught the tense, and perhaps they’ve completed a few worksheets. Now it’s time to liven things up with some fun activities to practice using the simple future tense!
Simple Future Grammar Activities
We’ll Be Your Guides
Including group work makes the speaking component of simple future grammar activities more fun.
For this activity, provided that you have at least two students per country represented in your class, group students according to their home countries.
Instruct them to pretend that the entire class is going to take a trip to their country and that they will be the tour guides.
Have them decide where to take their classmates and predict what their classmates’ reactions to those places will be. For example:
First, we will take to you to “The Edge of the World.” You will be amazed at the view. Then we will go to the Al Qarrah caves. You will enjoy the cool temperature.
Once they have had time to create their plans, have them read their plans to the class or do an informal presentation that might include sharing some photos of the sites and sights!
What do your students believe is in their partners’ futures? A fun part of most simple future grammar activities is the element of making guesses about the future. With this one, students will do just that. To use this with a beginner class, create a list of possible, unlikely, and a few offbeat scenarios. Give this list to your students and tell them to give a reason why they believe or don’t believe each scenario will be a part of their partner’s future. For example:
My partner will get married in five years.
- Student: I don’t believe my partner will get married in five years because he’s already married.
- Student: I believe my partner will get married in five years because she is already in love with someone.
OPTION: For more advanced students, task them with creating the possible, unlikely, and a few offbeat scenarios. Then pair them up to share what they came up with. Next, assign them a different partner to make their predictions about. And finally, have them join that partner to share their predictions and see if their partner also believes the scenarios are likely.
Once students have finished with their predictions and reasons, they share their responses with their partners to see if their partners share their beliefs.
Option: Create a list of possible scenarios for yourself. Include some that you expect will happen that might surprise your students!
Guessing, or predicting, is such a natural part of most simple future grammar activities. You’ll love how easy it is to set this one up!
Create a table with your favorite word processing program and in each box, write a planned activity such as, “You’re going to throw a birthday party.” or “You’re going to watch a horror movie.” Print and cut out the cards.
To play, have students take turns coming to the front of the room, drawing a card, reading it silently, and then announcing the FIRST thing they will do in order to prepare for this planned activity. For example:
If none of the rest of the students can correctly guess the planned activity, the student states the next planned preparation and so on. Remind students to use be going to in their statements and their guesses.
I love this game because you can tailor it to any goals and plans that you already know your students have. It does, however, require some quick thinking on their feet, so avoid using this with low-level beginners unless you’ve already practiced this together in another form (such as pair writing).
Tag! You’ll be it, won’t you?
Tag questions are an absolutely delightful discovery for most adult ESL students. They love the simplicity of turning a statement into a tag question. So, adding tag questions into your bag of simple future grammar activities is a must!
For this, you can use any worksheet that provides the statement part with a blank left for the question tag. Divide the class into teams, and have one student from each team stand. Read out the statement, and the first student to correctly complete the statement with a question tag wins the point.
Option: Turn this into a hot seat game! Either give all the students a long list of statements or have them first create their own. Students take turns sitting in the hot seat and adding question tags to the statements that the rest of the class peppers them with. Give them all an equal amount of time in the hot seat, and whoever can correctly tag the most statements wins!
- card: You’re going to throw a birthday party.
- Student: I’m going to contact all of her friends.
Check out these ready-to-use simple future resources!
Enjoy using these simple future grammar activities with your adult ESL students! And guess what? These and MORE are a part of my resource, Simple Future Grammar Guide & Worksheets. Take a look that that and other ready-to-use simple future resources I’ve made.