The Nine -Guessing the Meaning by Context + Present Perfect Simple vs. Present Perfect Continuous

This activity was inspired by a brilliant Brazillian educator Claudio Azevedo. His movie segments have come in very handy in my grammar classes, on Mondays in particular. ;) I thanked Claudio in a comment and told him how much I appreciated his work and the idea behind using the segments in class, and he commented back by saying he'd be insterested in seeing the segment I designed while under the impression of his motivating and extremely effective activities. A promise is a promise. And here's what I got. (I've used the segment with my  New English File intermediate students only once)
      Level: Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate
      Age: High Teens, Adults
      Grammar Objective: Compare the use of the Present Perfect and the Present Perfect Continuous.
      Vocabulary Objective (primary): 1. Exercise the student's ability to guess the meaning of the unknown words by context. 2.Make (even force) students use the words:to call in on, to catch up, to propose, an attackto be ambivalent about, shrink
Before watching the segment, 
1. Ask the students if they've ever been to see a psychologist or have they ever participated in group therapy?
2. Ask the students if they know why people usually go to see a pschycologist
3. Hand out the cards with the following sentences written on them:
Why don’t you call in on Matt on your way back from work and see how he is?
Come over tomorrow and we can catch up.
He proposed to her in August.
She had a panic attack.
She seems to feel ambivalent about her new job.
What do the words in bold mean? Give SS 3 minutes to come up with their suggestions. This might be done in pairs or small groups.
   Let the SS give very simple definitions for the words. If they can't explain it, then distribute the card with the definitions on them: (these should be cut into strips) . The student reads the definition on his card and the others should guess the word or the sentence. If they fail, the card-holder says the word. Students then re-phrase the sentence using the definition of the word.
to call in on – (phrasal) to visit.
 to catch up -  (phrasal) If you catch up on friends who you have not seen for some time or on their lives, you talk to them and find out what has happened in their lives since you last talked together.
 to propose  (a proposal) - to ask someone to get married to you.
 an attack - a sudden short period of suffering from an illness, especially an illness that you have often e.g. an attack of asthma
 to be ambivalent about - feeling two different things about someone or something at the same time, for example that you like them and dislike them

4.  Show the students this trailer. Tell them it's the 4th show of The Nine TV Series. Ask them to say what it is about after watching this background segment.

5. Tell SS that they should tell what the woman has been talking about in the segment in general.
6. Watch the video again and try to retell the woman's story using the tenses in question. (see Objective 1). The students should give as many details as possible. For every grammatically correct answer the students get a point.
7. Dwell on what happened when Ed proposed to her.

8. Tell the students they're gonna see the proposal segment. Did they get it right?

1. Have you ever had a panic attack? When was it? How did you get over it?
2. Have you ever been held hostage? Do you know anyone who has?
3. Do you have a girl(boy)friend? How long have you been dating?
    Alternatively: How long have you been married? How long have you been living together?

    P.S. I'd be delighted to hear any kind of constructive criticism as far as this activity is concerned. I'm looking forward to what Claudio has to say about it. That would be a very good idea to supplement this activity with his creative grammar input. (I've already coined a term for it - Collaborative Segmentation? LOL.)


  1. Dear Alex,

    This is just a great post. It is highly creative and the segments are extremely attractive. I like the vocabulary questions too. You did a fantastic job and I have no suggestions, whatsoever. Congrats.

  2. Thank you, Claudio. This is indeed a pleasure to hear that. And you know what? I'm going to get on. And of course, I will continue giving feedback on the lessons you've created.