What? Where? When?

Purpose:  To help lower level learners review and practice the use of the question words: what, where, when.  Initially, teach question words one at a time and do lots of practice before combining them. 

Prep time: 30 minutes

Materials:  pictures from text, calendar, magazine or the Internet of a person doing daily activities, or digital photos of tutor doing various activities; clock with movable hands; sets of markers; 3 large cards with one question word on each card: What?  Where?  When?

Prep:  Think of three simple sentences, such as: I eat breakfast in the kitchen at 7:00 am; I walk to work at 8:00 am; I take the bus to school at 6:30 pm.  Find a visual or take a photo that illustrates each of the three activities; if an actual clock isn’t available, draw a clock showing the time on a piece of paper.  Do this for each of the 3-4 sentences.  Miming and props could take the place of some pictures.

Procedure:

  1. Begin by doing oral work.  Tell the students about your day and illustrate it with the pictures.  Then ask them questions.  What do I do at 8:00?  Show the picture of eating breakfast or mime the action and ask for a short answer, e.g. eat breakfast.  Where do I eat breakfast?  Show a picture of a kitchen.  The desired answer is “at home” or “in the kitchen”.  When do I eat breakfast?  Show the clock.  Students can simply say the time.
  2. Repeat this process with each of the 3-4 sentences.
  3. Repeat with all sentences if students need more practice.
  4. Write the sentences on the board and read them together.  Ask students to change the information to fit their lives.  Each person tells the class about him or herself.

Variations:

  • Have students write the sentences and then share them with a partner.  Have them underline the information that says “what” with a red pen, the part that says “where” with a blue pen, and the part that says “when” with a green pen.
  • Working in partners, ask students to think of words that start with “w”, including the question words.  The pair with the longest list wins!
  • Create a dialog or chant to practice the questions.    What do you study?

I study English.

Where do you study?

At the school.

When do you study?

Every day!

  • Show a picture of a fictional new student who asks questions about the school and then use visuals to prompt the answers. Or have a fictional new employee ask questions about his/her new job using wh-questions.
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