Which tense is used for daily routines?

Answer: the present simple tense.

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When talking about everyday, habitual activities we use the present simple tense. This shows that these are things we do on a regular basis.

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The present simple tense for daily routines is formed as follows:

  • Use the present simple form of the verb, e.g. 'I eat breakfast at 7 o' clock.'
  • Use 's' or 'es' for 3rd person singular form (he, she, it), e.g. 'He plays video games after school', 'She watches T.V. in the evening'
  • For negatives, use the present simple form of the verb 'do' as follows: do/does + not + infinitive without to, e.g. 'I don'tdo homework on Saturdays', 'She doesn'tdrink tea in the morning'
  • For questions, use the present simple form of the verb 'do' as follows: do/does + subject + infinitive without to, e.g. 'Doyouplay rugby on Tuesdays?', 'DoesMariaeat lunch at school?'

This lesson will be drawing on aspects studied in a couple of previous lessons, so make sure it is taught after the telling the time lesson and the morning routines lesson.

Lesson Procedure:

Warm Up and Maintenance:

See our 'Warm Up & Wrap Up' page.

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New Learning and Practice:

1. Introduce 4 times of the day: morning, afternoon, evening and night
Quickly introduce the 4 words by drawing a picture on the board:

  • Draw a simple house with a tree next to it and a horizon.
  • Then draw a sun just rising over the horizon. Teach/Elicit 'morning' and chorus 3 times.
  • Next, erase the sun and draw the sun high up in the sky and teach/elicit/chorus 'afternoon'.
  • Then draw the sun low in the sky on the other side of the house for 'evening'
  • And finally a moon and stars for 'night'

Next erase the moon and starts and invite a student up to the board. Say, 'Draw afternoon'. Help if necessary and have the student draw the sun high in the sky. Erase the sun and invite other students to draw the other times of the day.

2. Play 'Times of the day boxes' game
You will need to prepare 5 cardboard boxes and print the flashcards for morning, afternoon, evening, night, wake up, get up, eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat dinner, go to school, start school, go home, arrive home, watch TV, do homework, go to bed. You can also add some other flashcards for daily routines, such as brush teeth, play video games, etc. The more flashcards, the better.

On 4 of the boxes, stick one of the morning, afternoon, evening and night flashcards on the outside of each and place in different corners of your classroom. In the remaining box put lots of small objects, e.g. balls, bean bags, blocks, etc. and place in the middle of the classroom.

Model the activity: hold up one of the flashcards (e.g. 'get up') - say the word 'get up'. Then pick up an object from the object box and point to the 4 boxes around the room. Ask 'Which one?' and then go and drop the object into the morning box. Say 'morning' as you drop the object into the box.
Now let's start the game. Hold up a flashcard (any from the daily routines set) and shout out the verb (e.g. eat dinner). Get everyone to come up together, pick up an object and drop it in the correct box (make sure they say the time of the day word as they drop). Then proceed through all of the flashcards quickly as students rush around the classroom putting objects into the correct boxes. It may be the case that some students will need to visit two boxes for some activities (e.g. watch TV could be morning and evening) - this is fine.

Finally, ask everyone to guess which box has the most objects - then count out the objects in each box to see which is the winning time of the day!

3. Create a 'Times of the Day' chart on the board
If you don't have a board, you can use a large sheet of paper stuck to your wall. Draw a vertical and horizontal line to create 4 equal squares and title each square with 'in the morning', 'in the afternoon', 'in the evening' and 'at night' (see image below).

Have your students copy the chart into their notebooks or onto a sheet of paper.

Next, your students are going to stick the daily routines flashcards onto the board. First model: take a random flashcard and show it to the class. Elicit the word (e.g. 'wake up') and stick it into the 'in the morning' section of your board. Write 'I wake up' next to it. Have your students write 'I wake up' into the corresponding square on their charts.

Then have different students come up to you and select a card (hold face down, fanned out, like a card trick). Have them stick the cards onto the board in the right section. For more advanced students you can help them write each sentence, otherwise the teacher can write the sentences next to the cards. Each time, have students copy onto their charts. Continue until all of the cards are on the board with sentences:

4. Add times to the 'Times of the Day' chart'
Your students will have studied telling the time in a previous lesson (see our Telling the Time lesson plan). We are going to add times to the chart.

Again, first model: point to 'I wake up' on the chart. Do the gesture for waking up (stretching, yawning, rubbing eyes) and then look at your watch. If you have a clock (either real or a craft clock - we have a great clock craft sheet on our crafts page: https://www.eslkidstuff.com/craftsheets.htm) you can hold this up. Set the time to 11:00 and say 'I wake up ... at 11 o'clock?'. Make sure everyone says 'Noooo!'. Then ask someone to move the clock hands to a more realistic time, such as 7:00. Write on the board, 'at 7 o'clock' after 'I wake up'. Chorus 'I wake up at 7 o'clock in the morning'. Get everyone to write the time that they wake up on their charts.

Now have students come up to you, change the time on your clock and write times on the board next to each flashcard (e.g. I eat lunch at 12 o'clock in the afternoon), and make sure these are being chorused and times are being written on the students' charts.

NOTE: For times that are not hourly (e.g. 6.30, 9.55, etc.) you need to decide whether to teach the full times (e.g. half past six, five to ten) or the digital version (six thirty, nine fifty-five).

5. Play the 'Daily Routines Memory Game'
Erase the chart from the board and take off the flashcards. Put students in pairs and get them to swap charts. Students are going to test each other on the times they do things.

Make sure you model with 2 students first:

Student A: selects a sentence on Student B's worksheet (e.g. I do homework at 6 o'clock). S/He does the action of doing homework (e.g. writing in an imaginary notebook).

Student B: must guess the action and say the exact sentence on their chart (e.g. 'I do homework at 6 o'clock in the evening').

Then it is Student B's turn to select a sentence and do the action. Pairs keep going until they have done all of the sentences on their charts. Make sure students don't allow their partners to get away with mistakes - if they get the time wrong, make them guess again!

6. Do the 'What time do you ...? (Survey)' exercise
Give each student the survey worksheet and explain that they are going to ask 6 people in the class (or less, depending on class size) about their daily routines on school days. Before starting, go through the survey sheet with everyone and make sure they write an additional activity on the last row. Then model with a student, showing writing their name at the top of the column and asking and answering questions using the following structure:

Student A: What time do you (wake up)?
Student B: I (wake up) at (7 o'clock) (in the morning).


Have students stand up and mingle, filling in their surveys.

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7. Daily Routines Theater
Now let's do a fun activity - your students will make a short theater play! Pair up students but make sure each pair has surveyed the other in the previous activity. They are going to use their survey sheets to make a short play.

For each pair, one student will act out their day whilst the other is the narrator (using the survey to make the narration). Give each pair 5 minutes to practice before coming up to the front of the class and acting out their daily routines, for example:

Ken (narrating): Hello, my name is Erika!
Erika: (waves to audience)
Ken: I wake up at 7 o'clock in the morning.
Erika: (Pretends to sleep, wake up, stretch and yawn, etc.)
Ken: I eat breakfast at 7:30 in the morning.
Erika: (Pretends to eat cereal, drink juice, etc.)

Encourage students to make their plays funny and also allow them to add extra parts (e.g. play video games, read a book, ride a bike, etc.).

At the end, get everyone to vote for their favorite play.

8. Read classroom reader 'Tom's Cat'
Let's end with a nice story which reinforces the lesson vocab and structures. Before class, download and print off the reader 'Tom's Cat'. As you go through each page, point to the pictures, elicit each routine action, elicit times on the clocks and times of the day and ask if your students do those things at that time or time of day, for example:

Teacher: What time is it? (pointing at the alarm clock on page 3)
Students: 8 o'clock!
Teacher: Yes, 8 o'clock! At night?
Students: No, in the morning!
Teacher: And what does Tom's cat do at 8 o'clock in the morning?
Students: He sleeps!
Teacher: Yes, how about you Hugo? Do you sleep at 8 o'clock in the morning?
Student (Hugo): No, I don't.
Teacher: Look at Tom. What does he do at 8 o'clock in the morning?
Students: He wakes up!
Teacher: That's right! And what does he do next?
Students: He eats his breakfast and brushes his teeth ...

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Get the students really involved in the story by asking lots of questions and getting them to tell you about their daily routines.

After reading the story, give out a reader worksheet to each student and read through the story one more time (without stopping for questions, etc.) as students fill in the missing verbs and write the times. Then go through the answers as a class.


Alternatively, watch our video version of the reader (Internet connection required):

Wrap Up:

1. Assign Homework: 'My Day 3' worksheet.
2. Wrap up the lesson with some ideas from our 'Warm Up & Wrap Up' page.

Broadcast journalist Jon Ronson’s 1st book Them: Adventures With Extremists is a mostly hilarious, occasionally chastening romp through the shadowy world of paranoid conspiracists. Ronson, a consummate faux-naïf, inevitably treads similar ground to Louis Theroux, though perhaps with a lighter, more disingenuous patter, which sustains him in encounters that veer from the extraordinary to the mundane at a dizzying pace, blurring the space in-between.

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He meets Omar, the infuriatingly likeable Islamic fundamentalist organising a jihad from a North London semi, despite a more real struggle with the reprographic world, and PR-conscious KKK leader Thom Robb, who unaccountably has Jewish mannerisms.

Others who allow Ronson to share a window in the life, and possibly into their soul, include David Icke, still believing that the world’s ruling elite are descended from reptiles (no, really), Dr Ian Paisley and Tony Kaye, a Hollywood director, determined to sabotage his own movie, American History X, rather than see it publicly released without his approval. These are easy pickings, but Ronson picks them with unobtrusive and gentle irony.

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You know, I was actually expecting this book to have a pretty serious tone. But instead, I wound up chuckling most of the way through it. The same way you watch a stupid TV show and can’t honestly believe that some of these people actually exist. (Looking at you, Alex Jones. We’ll get to that later.)

A little background. In the late 1990s – early 2000s, Welsh journalist Jon Ronson swanned around the world investigating various groups of extremists, a practice he’d continue when he started research into psychopaths a few years later. These extremists were generally fundamentalist Christians, along with one cheerful space-case of a fundamentalist Muslim extremist whom Jon managed to befriend in London. The majority of these extremists tend to be New World Order conspiracy theorists, and Jon was able to accompany a few to supposed “Bilderberg activity hotspots” and listen to rhetoric about how, you know, there’s a small cabal of powerful people who are able to pluck regular Joes off the street and perform some sort of conditioning on them to make them the next president of the United States or whatever. Or they send notes to Miley Cyrus, Justin “Beebler” and other pop artists to make sure to include some secret message that brainwashes the populace in their latest single.

As you can probably tell by now, I hate conspiracy theories, and I find most of them wholly ridiculous. Whether that makes me a puppet of the Freemasons or New World Order, I don’t care, but if you really think Freemasons are doing something that isn’t just Biblical am-dram with ancient traditions that they keep secret in the same way that a top sports club will keep the changing room door combination a secret to non-members, then yeah. You probably need to go outside a bit more.

In fact, my ire for conspiracy theorists traces back to another Jon Ronson exposé – The Psychopath Test. One of the chapters details a woman who survived the 7/7 bombings in London, who set up a blog to support fellow survivors. A noble cause, right? Then conspiracy theorists learned about her blog, and harassed her over the Internet, even going as far as insisting in real life while she was in the same audience as them that she was merely an actress carrying out an agenda. Since the post-traumatic stress disorder and the vivid nightmares suffered by those survivors can be so easily faked. Presumably the Big Government got a whole load of them in a room one day and told them: “Look, you’re going to pretend to be a survivor of the buses and subway trains we blew up in London just to prove a point about Muslim extremists.” Yeah.

The same way the deaths six million people and multiple court proceedings testified by both the perpetrators and the many survivors of the Holocaust doesn’t mean anything to your common or garden conspiracy theorist, who insists the entire thing was faked in order to make Jews seem sympathetic so that they could take over the world. There are actual people in the world who believe this.

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Ronson himself is Jewish, and he discovers that there is a real layer of anti-Semitism behind a lot of these conspiracy theories. Like, nearly all of them. Jewish people run Hollywood to ‘promote an agenda.’ The debacle about American History X is detailed, with its director Tony Kaye coming across as completely ridiculous when he starts ranting about Jews and rabbis and such in Hollywood. David Icke’s theories about successful people being alien lizards (and thus completely inhuman) often centre around successful Jews.

I’ve always liked how impartial Ronson is to a lot of these absolutely bonkers events he is exposed to. I would have lost my temper with these people far, far quicker than Ronson does towards the very end of the book. Thing is, though, although the book is billed as a look into the lives of extremists… Well, none of them seem to do much to knock down the “establishment,” besides grousing about it to anyone who will listen.

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Speaking of grousing about the “establishment” to anyone who will listen, Jesus Christ, guys. If you ever need a really, really good belly laugh, watch any of Texan conspiracy theorist Alex Jones‘ videos, or tune into his radio show. (Not to be confused with the lovely Welsh presenter of BBC’s The One Show, of course.) It’s like if Dale Gribble from King of the Hill took up public broadcasting. New World Order this, New World Order that, an obsession with airships and a near phobia of how one day his guns will be taken away by those darn Liberals and some fear of an oppressive police state that will happen if we continue to be SHEEP! SHEEP I TELL YOU! (The scary thing, though? MANY people supposedly tune into his show and website. What.)

It all culminates with Ronson accompanying Alex Jones on his famous trip to California to bust into the Bohemian Grove camp of successful businessmen, which he insists is a PAGAN RITUAL where THE NEW WORLD ORDER CONVENE IN ORDER TO COME UP WITH NEW TACTICS FOR POPULATION CONTROL AND KEEP UP THEIR OPPRESSIVE HEGEMONY AND WE NEED TO BRING BACK THE SPIRIT OF 1776! Jones actually treating a gathering of businessmen where they just hang out and burn a bonfire as some kind of top-secret army infiltration – the way Ronson writes it is absolutely hilarious and well worth the read for that chapter alone.

Ronson writes in this really fun and breezy way. Where I wasn’t outright chuckling, I was grinning to myself a lot. The characters he finds are often larger than life – you’d expect a book titled Adventures With Extremists to be a lot more, well, populated with characters who are seriously dangerous. Like the same skinheads in that Louis Theroux documentary who threatened to kick his ass if the cameras every stopped rolling while he was on their property, because he was Jewish. But no. It’s just a load of curtain-twitching conspiracy theorists. The KKK are just buffoons trying desperately to cling on to relevance, the fundamentalist Muslim cleric isn’t taken seriously by his fellow Muslims at all, and all the other so-called extremists even fight amongst their own groups.

The book itself is impartial, flows excellently, and although there were a few moments where I kind of wish Ronson hadn’t gone on quite as much of a tangent as he did, it was still a great, often times hilarious read. 4/5.

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