The present continuous tense, also referred to as the present progressive tense, can be taught to high school students to maximize their understanding of its proper grammatical use.
Students should first understand the form of the present continuous tense. It is the linking verb am/is/are used in conjunction with the present participle (the "-ing" form of the verb). For example: "I am sitting on this bench." Have students come up with their own examples to ensure their understanding of the form.
The present continuous tense has four major uses. Students may benefit from a timeline depicting past, present and future showing the uses of present continuous tense graphically. They can also learn the difference between simple present tense and continuous present tense by playing a miming game in which the answers are correct only if given in present continuous tense -- for example, "You are watching a movie." Another game entails students describing another person's actions in present continuous tense. For example, if the student says, "She is probably driving home from work now," other students might guess, "Your mom." Worksheets that depict the difference between simple and present continuous tenses are helpful too. One might require students to convert simple present verb sentences: "I watch baseball" to present continuous verb sentences: "I am watching baseball now."
Diane Kampf has more than 20 years of teaching experience ranging from middle school to college freshmen. She holds a Master of Arts degree in creative writing and English literature and a New York State Secondary Teacher Certificate. She has written educational materials for Learning Express, LLC, Kaplan and Pearson.