Monday, September 1

The Pursuit of Happyness: Simple Past x Past Continuous

This movie has a great message and the story is touching. My opinion is that the film is too down in the mouth, but the last 5 minutes are uplifting. Not my cup of tea, but most people really enjoyed it. The scene, though, is perfect for practicing the contrast between the simple past and the past continuous tenses.

Watch the movie segment and fill in the blanks with the simple past or the past continuous form of the verbs in parentheses.

1) Chris _________________ (cook) burgers for breakfast when his landlord ________________ (knock) on his door.

2) The police ______________ (arrest) Chris when he ________________ (paint) the house.

3) Chris _______________ (pay) some parking tickets when the officer __________ (tell) him he was supposed to spend the night in jail.

4) When Chris __________ (call) his ex-wife, she _____________ (work) hard.

5) When he _______________ (enter) the elevator, he _____________ (try) to button up his jacket.

1) He __________________ (wait) in the waiting room when the secretary _________ (call) out his name.

2) When he ___________________ (walk) through the office, businesspeople _______________ (talk) on the phone, _______________ (speak) very loudly, and _______________ (work) a lot.

3) The Board _____________ (wait) for Chris when the secretary ___________ (announce) him.

Answer Key:

1. was cooking / knocked
2. arrested / was painting
3. was paying /told
4. called / was working
5. entered/ was trying
6. was waiting / called
7. walked / were talking - speaking - working
8. was waiting / announced

How to prepare your own video activity:

Grammar Goal: Simple Past x Past Continuous

• Select a scene in which the characters’ actions are interrupted during the segment.
• Prepare an exercise in which the students have to identify when to use the target structures.
• Make sure the students know when to use both verb tenses before they actually do the exercise.