Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In the BrainPOP ELL movie, Have They Forgotten? (L3U3L1), it’s Ben’s birthday, but Moby has forgotten… At least that’s what Ben thinks! In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students identify why the present perfect is used, sort examples according to concepts of past time, and write captions for images using the present perfect tense.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Identify reasons why the present perfect tense is used.
  2. Sort examples and non-examples of the present perfect tense.
  3. Discuss and write captions for images using the present perfect for recent past time.
  4. Ask questions and complete modeled sentence starters.


Present perfect signal words: how long, for, since, yet, still, already, just, lately, recently, before, ever, never


For Activity 2, Yes or No, prepare sentence strips for the Concept Attainment activity.

Examples of Present Perfect (the "YES" column): I have eaten dinner already. / We have just seen Maria. / I have read that book before. / She has already arrived.

Non-examples of Present Perfect (the "NO" column): I ate dinner at 7:00. / We saw Maria yesterday. / I read that book last year. / She arrived an hour ago. / They lived in New York in 2005.

For Activity 3, What Has Just Happened?, make copies of the What Has Just Happened? image for each pair of students.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. What's the Difference? After watching the Grammar section of the movie Have They Forgotten? (L3U3L1), write the following sentence pairs on the board. They are examples of reasons for using the present perfect, as explained in the Grammar section: to indicate an indefinite time in the past, or an ongoing time in the past. Read the sentences aloud and then ask students to identify which reason the sentences illustrate. Use the discussion prompts, if needed.

    1. I lived in Paris for three years. I’ve lived in Paris for three years.
    (Discussion prompt: In which sentence does he still live in Paris?)

    2. I saw that movie yesterday. I’ve seen that movie.
    (Discussion prompt: Which sentence tells us a definite time?)
  2. Yes or No? Introduce the concept of indefinite past time with a Concept Attainment activity, so that the students make their own conclusions about using the present perfect. The suggested examples can be made into sentence strips for the board, pocket chart, or interactive white board (see Preparation).
  3. What Has Just Happened? Explain that we also use the present perfect to talk about recent past time. As students watch the movie Have They Forgotten? (L3U3L1), pause at several points and invite them to explain what has just happened, or what has happened up to that point. Follow up this activity by having students practice applying the present perfect. Distribute copies of the image What Has Just Happened? to pairs of students, and encourage them to discuss what has just happened in each of the six images. Then have them decide together on captions for each image. When they have finished, partners ask and answer questions related to the pictures using the model, “Have you ever __________?”
  4. Two Truths and a Lie. Have each student write three statements about interesting things they’ve done in their lives. Two of the statements should be true, and one a lie. For example: I’ve been to China, I’ve eaten ants, I’ve climbed a mountain. Students present their three statements to the class, who can ask additional questions to get more information and determine which statement is the lie. This activity can also be done in small groups.

Extension Activities

Start a  Word Wall for Present Perfect Signal Words that students add to throughout the unit as they encounter more words.

There are many songs with examples of the present perfect tense. Create a listening activity, such as a cloze or gap-fill, with a song that uses the present perfect. Some examples of songs are:

Queen: We Are the Champions
Credence Clearwater Revival or Rod Stewart: Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
Rod Stewart: Have I Told You Lately that I Love You?
U2: Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Carpenters: A Song For You
James Taylor: Fire and Rain
Peter, Paul, & Mary or Pete Seeger: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
ABBA: The Winner Takes It All
Eva Cassidy: You’ve Changed
Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes: I’ve Had the Time of My Life
Brandy: Have You Ever?

Vocabulary Extension Activities

Word Analogies. Do a Word Analogy activity with the new words from this lesson, Have They Forgotten? (L3U3L1).  Partners complete the suggested sentences, discussing the relationships among the words. After you have gone over the five sentences and the different relationships, the partners collaborate on three additional sentences, using any words they wish. They may click on the Word Lists button in any BrainPOP ELL lesson for a list of all the words they have learned.

Word Analogies:

Clean is to dirty as ____________ is to old.

Get is to give as _____________ is to send.

Memory is to memorize as ___________ is to remind.

Letters are to words as ________________ are to cake.

Hope is to wish as ___________________ is to destroy.

Word Families. This lesson introduces word families with the words remember and remind, which are also easily confused words. Show the words with their word families in the Vocabulary section of the movie Have They Forgotten? (L3U3L1).  Then, the Practice feature of this lesson provides further reinforcement. In the second half of the activity, students complete sentences with the following words: remember /memory / memorize / remind / reminder.


BrainPOP ELL Movies

Mount Everest

April Fools' Day

I Had Overslept

History of Trains