Begin the class telling students you’ve had a bad couple of days. Tell them that your house has been burgled. Begin the main part of the story by saying:
- ‘When I arrived home I realized I’d been burgled. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The burglars:
- had broken down the door
- had left my papers and photos all over the floor
- had locked my dog in the cellar/shed had taken my... ( a special item)
- had smashed a window
- had stolen my laptop
- had eaten the cake I’d bought for my (friend/daughter/wife)’s birthday
- had urinated all over the floor
As you tell your story explain, or ask other class members to explain, any vocabulary students are not sure of.
Focus on language
- Once your students have a good mental picture of the crime scene write the first sentence up on the board:
When I arrived home I saw the burglars...
- Together as a class get students to remember the various events and write up the list on the board. Then spend some time thinking about the form and meaning.
- Do students know the name of this tense? (past perfect)
- How is it formed? (had + past participle)
- Why do we use this tense and not the simple past in this example? (The starting point for the story is when the teacher arrives home from work. The burglars’ actions all happen before this point in the past)
- How could we tell the same story using only the simple past? (The burglars broke down the door. They stole the laptop etc. The teacher arrived home.)
- Parents arrive home from holiday having left their teenage son in charge of the house. They soon realize he’s had a big party while they been away. Start: When they arrived home they saw...
- A man arrived home having left his new puppy on its own for the first time. Start: When he arrived home he saw...
- Someone arrived home to discover his/her partner has clearly found out about the affair he/she’d been having with his/her secretary. Start: When s/he arrived home s/he saw...
- A teacher came back into the class and realized she shouldn’t have left the students on their own for that long. Start: She walked back in and saw...
- The teacher needs to go to each group just to make sure they have the idea of what to do and then continue to help and monitor throughout the activity.
Once students have written seven or eight sentences, stop the activity and pass the papers from group to group. Each group should read the sentences and see if they can guess what the situation was from the sentences.