Circle Chain

Purpose: Students practice speaking and listening and the past continuous by making statements about what they were doing at a certain time.  They build a chain by repeating what everyone else in the group has said before them, and then adding their own statement.  Any number of players can participate.

Prep: none

Materials: none


I do it: (T=teacher/tutor)

  1. T reviews the past continuous form, using verbs students already know related to daily activities.  Provide numerous examples and elicit examples from students.

We do it:

  1. T states what he/she was doing the day before at 8:00 in the morning.
  2. T continues by telling what other family members or friends were doing at that time, using while, to start building the chain (see examples below).
  3. T elicits sentences from students about what they were doing at 8:00 am the day before.

You do it: 

  1. Have students sit in a circle.
  2. Give students a minute to remember what they were doing yesterday evening at 8:00.
  3. After giving instructions, appoint one student to begin.
  4. The next player repeats what the previous student was doing, using while, and adding what he or she was doing.
  5. Each player repeats all the previous players’ activities before adding his/her own.

Example of a typical pattern:

A: I was watching television at 8:00 last night.

B: While (A’s name) was watching television, I was reading the newspaper.

C: While (A’s name) was watching TV and (B’s name) was reading the newspaper, I was eating supper.

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