Progressive Verb Tenses


Progressive Verb Tenses focuses specifically on this one type of verb tense. Students will learn about past, present, and future progressive tenses. The lesson provides many examples that illustrate each tense. And the worksheets allow students a lot of practice to demonstrate their grasp of the concepts. They will familiarize themselves with the differences among the three tenses and easily be able to identify them all.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to have your students create a poster showing the differences between each progressive verb tense.

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What our Progressive Verb Tenses lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Progressive Verb Tenses expounds on this specific verb tense. It teaches students how to use this tense in present, past, and future forms. It discusses each progressive tense and provides examples to illustrate the concepts. By the end, students will easily be able to recognize and form sentences with this tense. This lesson is for students in 4th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the green box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. Two of the suggestions relate to the lesson activity. First, you could conduct the activity as a class-wide conversation. Second, you could assign your students specific verbs to use for their conversations. For an additional activity, you could have your students write a paragraph using each progressive verb tense at least twice. You could also have students identify the three different progressive verb tenses in their current reading content. Finally, your students could create a poster showing the differences between each progressive verb tense.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.


Verbs and Tenses

The Progressive Verb Tenses lesson plan includes two content pages. Verbs are action words like run, walk, drive, fall, and eat. We sometimes use them with helping verbs like is, are, was, will, were, and be. All sentences have a subject and verb. The subject is who or what the sentence is about. The verb tells the action of the subject.

Many actions have either taken place in the past or will take place in the future. Other are happening right now. If you’re reading this, that’s an action happening now. You’re reading in the present. We must make sure to use the right verb tense when using them to tell about action in the past, present, or future.

Progressive Verb Tenses

We have three main progressive verb tenses that we use for continuous actions. These tell if the action is happening now, was happening previously, or will be happening.

The present progressive tense tells about things that are happening now. They sometimes use a helping verb (is, am, are) and the -ing form of the verb. Some example sentences include: He is lifting the box. I am eating pie. They are singing a song.

The past progressive tense tells about things that were happening in the past. They use the helping verbs was or were and the -ing form of the verb. Some example sentences include: It was snowing when I was walking to school. We were slipping on the ice.

The future progressive tense is a continuous tense that describes actions that will be ongoing in the future. You form it using the helping verb will be and the -ing form of the verb. Some example sentences include: I will be studying much harder for the next test. All of us will be attending the movie together.

It’s important to pay attention when you’re deciding which progressive verb tense and helping verb to use. If the subject is plural, you should use helping verbs like are and were. If the subject is singular, you should use helping verbs like is and was. When you refer to yourself in the present tense, use am. In the future tense, you should use will be for both plural and singular subjects.

Pay attention to the progressive verb tenses you’re using while speaking and writing. They tell the reader or listener when the action happened.


The Progressive Verb Tenses lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.


You will divide students into groups for the activity portion of the lesson. Students will work with their groups to follow the step-by-step instructions on the worksheet. They will conduct conversations using all three tenses, past, present, and future. Then they will read a conversation and try to connect each new sentence to the previous one. Finally, they will use the charts on the worksheet to keep track of which tenses each group member has to use.


There are three parts to the practice worksheet. First, students will mark statements as either present (PR), past (PA), or future (F) progressive tense. They will underline the action and helping verbs in each statement. Second, there are 10 statements with blanks. The action words they will use are at the beginning of the sentences. They will alter the action verb to match the right tense for that sentence. Finally, they will write a sentence that illustrates each tense.


The homework assignment is also divided into three parts. For the first part, students will circle the proper tense that correlates to the sentence they read. There are three total. Next, they will correctly write a sentence using the prompt at the beginning of a statement. There are nine statements in this section. Last, they will change sentences from one tense to another tense using the direction at the end of the sentences. There are three sentences for this part.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information


4th Grade


Language Arts

State Educational Standards


Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.