Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, K-3

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, I’m Cleaning Now (L1U2L1), Ben is cleaning his room while Moby and the others are having fun outside. As Moby realizes that if he helps out, they’ll all be able to have a good time together, students are introduced to the present progressive tense. In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades K-8, students practice using the present progressive in hands-on activities.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Produce present progressive sentences in the affirmative.
  2. Perform and describe actions using the present progressive affirmative, in a kinesthetic activity.
  3. Describe and label images with sentences in the present progressive.



Working, playing, eating, drinking, cleaning, shining; picture, park


Lesson Procedure:

  1. Freeze. In the previous lesson, Run! Don’t Stop! (L1U1L5), students learned the imperative/command form of verbs. Now play the game “Freeze.” Whisper commands for a student volunteer to act out, or show pictures to pantomime, such as the Verb Tense Image Prompt. When you say “Freeze!” students must stop mid-action. Ask the class: What is he/she doing? Students answer in the present progressive.

    Ask the students to tell you the difference between "Clean the room!" and "He's cleaning the room now." Elicit the meaning and function of the present progressive.
  2. Describe the Pictures. Model the present progressive with the help of the Verb Tense Image Prompt: Elicit sentences from the students about the pictures. Their sentences should start with “he” or “they” and contain the present progressive.

    Distribute the flash cards with the following words: Ben/ Ed/ Ed and Nikki/ is/ are/ cleaning/ playing/ eating. Give the students a copy of the Verb Tense Image Prompt, and ask them to label the pictures with complete sentences. This may also be done on the interactive white board.

  3. Pictures. For homework, ask students to find or draw three pictures of people doing activities they can describe by using verbs they know. They should be prepared to talk about the actions in the next lesson. In pairs, students will take turns sharing and talking about the pictures they prepared. Ask students to change partners and repeat their sentences. Then ask who can describe another class member’s pictures.

    Alternatively, if cell phones are allowed in school, then ask the students to take pictures of their friends or family doing different activities, and proceed as above.

  4. At the Park. As a whole class or in pairs, ask students to describe the actions that are happening in the At the Park Action Image. Post a word bank on the board with additional vocabulary they may need to describe the actions. After sharing their ideas, ask students to write down as many sentences as they can.