Ms. Weaver has asked Anna to help with Operation Spy. Her mission is to learn all she can about spying. She learns by going to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
In this video, learn how to say the new words. Then compare the present perfect, present, and past verb tenses.
Use this video to learn about how Americans pronounce the reduced forms of "has" and "have' in the present perfect verb tense.
Anna: It is no secret that Washington, D.C. has spies. Well, it should be a secret because spying is secret. But it’s not a secret. There’s even a spy museum! The International Spy Museum has created an amazing collection of spy things! And today, we will see them! My boss, Ms. Weaver, has sent me here … on a mission!
Ms. Weaver: Hello, Anna, are you there?
Anna: That’s her. Yes, Agent Peacock. This is Agent Flamingo, reporting for duty.
Ms. Weaver: Agent what? Look, Anna … I mean, Agent Flamingo, I want you to learn all you can about spying.
Anna: You mean, collect intelligence?
Ms. Weaver: Yeah, it’s for our new show -- “D.C. Secrets.”
Anna: You've got it, Agent Peacock. The mission is safe with me.
Ms. Weaver: Oh, okay, great. Just be back by noon.
Anna: Agent Peacock, I’m at an air duct!
Ms. Weaver: Yes, spies sometimes sneak down air ducts.
Anna: I have never snuck down an air duct. It’s dark and small. I’m afraid of dark, small places.
Ms. Weaver: You can do it, Agent Flamingo. You know, spies aren’t afraid of a little darkness.
Anna: Right. It’s just an air duct -- a dark, small air duct. Okay. I’m doing it, Agent Peacock! I am sneaking down a long, dark, small air duct. I’m having a little trouble breathing.
Ms. Weaver: Just keep going, Agent Flamingo. Think of the team!
Anna: Okay, I will think of the team. I’m thinking of the team, Agent Peacock! I did it! I did it! I sneaked down an air duct. That was a little uncomfortable.
Ms. Weaver: Good!
Anna: What's the next mission?
Ms. Weaver: Umm … have you ever cracked a code?
Ms. Weaver: Well, go learn. Spies use their brains.
Anna: Got it! I’ve never cracked a code before. Let’s try, Agent Flamingo! This is really hard. I'm still trying to crack the code. I've cracked the code! I've cracked the code, Agent Peacock! My brain really hurts.
Ms. Weaver: Great. Umm, Agent Flamingo, now answer this question: Do spies have to be in good shape?
Anna: “Yes,” Agent Peacock! Spies have to be in really good shape! Can you hear me?
Ms. Weaver: You’re breaking up, Flamingo.
Anna: The International Spy Museum is awesome! Agent Peacock, I completed the mission!
Ms. Weaver: Great. Great. Now, I have another very important mission for you.
Anna: Got it. See you back at H.Q.!
Ms. Weaver: Yummy! You brought my lunch! Thanks, Agent Flamingo!
Anna: Mission completed. Agent Peacock!
(Amelia makes a face.)
Ms. Weaver: Don't ask.
Special thanks go out to the International Spy Museum for letting us film in the museum!
In this lesson, Anna learns about a job that many people think is exciting. Have you ever thought about doing a job that is different from the one you have now, or the one you think you will have when you finish school? Would it be more fun or more exciting? Tell us about the job. Write to us by email or in the Comments section.
Click on the image below to download the Activity Sheet to practice three verb tenses and learn about how your friends practice speaking English. Please note, our activity sheets now can be completed on the computer.
Learning Strategies are the thoughts and actions that help make learning easier or more effective.
The learning strategy for this lesson is Find Practice Opportunities. This strategy is what we use when we look for any chance we can get to practice speaking, listening to, reading, or writing English.
In this lesson, Anna is learning about being a spy. She practices some of the things that spies do - sneaking down an air duct, cracking a code, and staying in good shape. She found a good opportunity to practice spy skills. These experiences will help her to write a good story for her children's show.
What do you do to find opportunities to practice English? Maybe you meet another English learner for coffee and speak English when you are together. Maybe you write emails or texts to a friend in English. Or you could read in English for fun: novels, comics, blogs, tweets, and so on. Write to us about how you look for ways to practice in the Comments section or send us an email. Teachers, see the Lesson Plan for more details on teaching this strategy.
Listen to short videos and test your listening skills with this quiz.
agent - n. a person who tries to get secret information about another country or government
air duct - n. a duct or pipe for air to flow through to the rooms of a building
brain - n. the organ of the body in the head that controls functions, movements, sensations, and thoughts
breathe - v. to move air into and out of your lungs
code - n. a set of letters, numbers or symbols that is used to secretly send messages to someone
collection - n. a group of interesting or beautiful objects brought together in order to show or study them
complete - v. to finish making or doing (something)
crack - v. to find an answer or solution to (something)
duty - n. something that is done as part of a job
flamingo - n. a tall wading bird with mainly pink or scarlet plumage and long legs and neck
H.Q. - abbrev. headquarters - n. a place from which something (such as a business or a military action) is controlled or directed
intelligence - n. secret information that a government collects about an enemy or possible enemy
mission - n. a task or job that someone is given to do
operation - n. a set of planned actions for a particular purpose
peacock - n. a male peafowl, which has very long tail feathers that it can spread like a fan
secret - n. a fact or piece of information that is kept hidden from other people
shape - n. a physically strong and healthy condition
sneak - v. to move quietly and secretly in order to avoid being noticed
spy - n. a person who tries secretly to get information about a country or organization for another country or organization
Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.
Each Let's Learn English lesson has an Activity Sheet for extra practice on your own or in the classroom. In this lesson, you can use it to practice using the present, past, and present perfect verb tenses, and talk about ways to practice English.
See the Lesson Plan for this lesson for ideas and more teaching resources. Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.
Grammar: Present perfect vs. present; Present perfect vs. past tense
Topics: Reacting to information; Research for work
Learning Strategy: Find Practice Opportunities
Speaking & Pronunciation: Reduced forms of has/have in present perfect tense
Now it's your turn. Send us an email or write to us in the Comments section below or on our Facebook page to let us know what you think of this lesson.