Tips and ideas for English language teaching lesson plans and activities.
Of the four types, conditional sentence type one is the easiest one to teach. Students should be able to understand the following:
There is an if-clause and a then-clause in conditional sentence.
The then-clause should be understood as the consequence of the if-clause.
Conditional sentences are used to talk about possible situations. That’s why it is sometimes called the real conditional.
The structure of conditional type one involves the use of the simple present in the if-clause and the simple future in the then-clause.
Conditional sentences may contain verbs in the affirmative as well as the negative …
A spelling bee is a competition where contestants are asked to spell words. The origin of the spelling bee is believed to be in the United States. Nowadays, spelling bee events are organized in many parts of the world. As an EFL or ESL activity, spelling bee can be devised as a group or class activity that provides a fun way to practice spelling.
One of the meanings of the term ‘bee’ is the following:
A social gathering where people combine work, competition, and amusement
The word bee is also used in the …
These are seven picture activities that English teachers can use in EFL or ESL classrooms. They can be used to teach vocabulary writing or grammar.
1. Identifying pictures
You need to choose appropriate pictures to practice language items such as colors, clothes adjectives, the present continuous, prepositions… The teacher sticks the pictures on the board and number them. S/he describes one of the pictures and the students try to guess the number.
2. Memorizing details of a picture
The teacher shows a picture and then hide it. The teacher reads out statements about …
When teaching and practicing the simple present tense students must understand that the present simple is used to describe routines, habits, daily activities, and general truths. The following practice tips range from mechanical drills to meaningful practice. Teachers can adapt them to fit their students needs.
Students practice forming simple present negative statements. The teacher provides a sentence in the affirmative; students change it to the negative.
Teacher: My father watches TV in the evening.
Students: My father doesn’t watch TV
You can also use the same type of drill to practice question …
When teaching the simple present tense, there are several considerations teachers have to take into account. First, some irregular verbs may confuse students. For instance, the verb ‘have‘ and ‘be‘ have different forms in the simple present (has, am, are,…) A second concern is related to the dropping of the ‘s’ of the third person singular which many students seem to forget . Another difficulty is the spelling of the forms that take the ‘s’ of the third person singular. Sometimes, only ‘s‘ is added (close – closes) while in …
Teaching very young learners, those considered to be between three and five years old, may be a challenge because of many reasons. To start with, it is usually very hard to keep these learners 100% concentrated. They may easily feel bored and you will have to find a way to keep them focused. In addition, an EFL or ESL teacher will find it daunting teaching a language to very young learners in the same way older learners are taught.
Characteristics of very young learners
They need to feel safe.
They have short concentration …
This lesson plan helps students explore the different elements of a short story. By the end of the lesson students will be able to come up with a definition of the short story and know the elements that constitute it. On line materials may be used to carry out the lesson plan. More than one session can be needed to deliver it.
Ask students what a short story is.Write any suggestions on the board.
Present in the form of a work sheet the characteristics that define a short story:
1. Length: a …
Many teachers find it challenging to teach the present perfect. This is due to a number of reasons.
First, the present perfect is not really a present tense.
It is composed of the auxiliary have and a past participle.
The past participle itself is a real challenge for students, particularly the irregular forms
The following lesson plan provides ideas on how to teach this tense.
1. Start by giving examples of present perfect:
Last week, I watched three movies.
This week, I have watched only one.
2. Elicit the form of the present perfect simple.
Have + Past Participle.
This is a list of 2011 best posts. They are mainly about lesson plans and teaching methods. Some readers were also interested in class management and student-teacher relationships.
Situational Language Teaching
The importance of lesson plans
The Audiolingual Method
Communicative Language Teaching
The Direct Method
Why do teachers need lesson plans?
Grammar Translation Method
The Lexical Approach
The Natural Approach
Ten ideas for a fresh school year strat
Should L 1 be used in EFL classrooms
Explicit or implicit grammar teaching?
Glossary for ESL and EFL teaching
Teach with love and logic
The main reasons for lesson plans
The silent way
Practical tips for giving instructions
One of the difficulties of English is identifying and recognizing contractions, plurals and possessives. This worksheet provides students opportunity to practice these forms by editing sentences containing mistakes in these forms.
Review the differences in form between contractions, plural names, and possessives
Give examples such as the following:
He is = He’s
Give the students the exercise below to be done individually.
After correction, students work in groups to divide the corrected sentences into three groups, namely those which use contractions, those which use plural names, and those which use possessives.
Correct the …
As a teacher you may sometimes be stuck or trapped in unpredictable circumstances, it is advisable to plan beforehand for these kinds of situations. Knowing exactly what you will introduce in your lesson will relieve you from so much stress and will undoubtedly give you a clear idea of what may go on during a lesson.
Hints for lesson plan
Prepare more than you need.
It is advisable to have an easily presented, light reserve activity ready in case of extra time .
Be prepared to cut down some parts of your lesson.
A lesson plan provides a guide for managing the learning environment. As one of the teacher’s roles is that of designer and implementor of instruction, the preparation of lesson plan will ensure the organization of the English lesson according to some criteria. In this post I will present the components of a lesson plan.
Components of lesson plans
Lesson plans must include these components:
Information about the learners.
Lesson plans must involve a unifying theme, an overall general purpose to accomplish by the end of the lesson period. They must include clear statements of what learners …
Autobiography lesson plan
This is lesson plan is about writing an autobiography. Students will work individually in pairs, in a group and as a whole class. They provide ideas, write first draft, edit and type the final draft in the computer lab.
Teacher elicits a definition of autobiography. You may use a short autobiographical story.
Brainstorm ideas about information they could include in autobiographies.
Write all ideas mentioned by the students on the board.
Students in groups organize the information into categories. You may use a graphic organizer.
They write a rough draft using the …
Writing a group poem lesson plan
This lesson plan encourages fluency, team work, accuracy, and allows learners to their feelings. The activity is best done in groups of 4 students.
Open a discussion on a subject of interest to the students. (e.g. the environment, family, love…)
Encourage students to express their inner most feelings about the topic.
The class is split into groups of 4.
The class must agree on a title.
Explain that each group will make a joint poem
Each student will write 2 lines.
The group must then decide on the order …
The objective of this lesson plan is to help students understand the use of alliteration, repeating the same letter sound at the beginning of two or more words in a sentence, and review adjectives and adverbs.
Write on the board a sentence with alliteration:
Example: sweet smell of success
Ask students to tell you what they notice when they read the above sentence.
(Repetition of the same sound)
Tell them that this is a stylistic device called alliteration.
Give them a list of words and ask them to underline those that begin with the …
Command drills are a great way to teach many language points. The language activity described in this lesson plan has as an objective to teach students prepositional phrases through commands and write a paragraph using these prepositional phrases.
Here is the activity procedure:
Introduces prepositions and explain their meaning.
Write the prepositions on the board.
Call out a command for students to perform. For example:
under the chair
students drop under their chair
on top of the table
they sit on top of the table
next to the door
they stand next to the door
around the desk
they wrap …
An activity for beginners
During the first sessions with beginners, my students are not required to speak. Instead, they concentrate on obeying simple commands in the target language. The objective of these commands is to connect physical activity with meaningful language use as a way of instilling concepts. These command drills are usually used as a receptive practice for different language points including:
To practice classroom vocabulary items such as door, board, desks, teacher, students, book, pens, bag, ruler…
to present the parts of the body (nose, head, hair, eyes, foot, tongue…)
Or any …
Students introduce themselves
The most important issue an efl or esl teacher faces in the first day of school is to alleviate the stress generated by the encounter. I suggest an activity for the students to introduce themselves to each other. The activity will make everyone feel at ease. The lesson plan is described below.
Five questions as a starter
Instead of urging students to introduce themselves by giving their names and some other information about themselves (which are usually forgotten immediately after the activity), put them in a context. For example, tell …
Vocabulary Prediction Lesson Plan
These activities can be used to refine understanding of students vocabulary schematic knowledge and activate vocabulary related to the same semantic network. They can be done as pre-reading activities or as a game.
The teacher tells the student that they are going to read a text about for example environment.
The teacher writes the topic on the board.
Students predict the vocabulary items that may appear in the passage.
The teacher writes the suggested words on the board and asks for the reason of the students’ choice of words or …
This activity requires that students have some knowledge of relative clauses. The aim of the activity is to help students distinguish restrictive (defining) relative clauses from non restrictive (non defining) clauses.
Write on the board the following two sentences:
Michael Jackson, who was a famous singer, died of an overdose.
The man who sent the anonymous letter is the real murderer.
Ask students to do the following:
Underline the relative clauses.
Underline the relative pronouns.
Decide which relative clause is important and necessary to the meaning of the sentence.
Decide which relative clause is not necessary to …
Dictation is not considered an old-fashioned activity any more. A lot f teachers have discovered that it’s a rich mine for developing learners vocabulary and structural competence. The teacher’s role in modern variations of this activity is no longer considered central. Learners are given more control of the activity.
Here are my previous posts about what dictation is and its variations:
The activity I suggest in this post is another alternative to traditional dictation.
Write a short text using a limited set of previously taught vocabulary.
Read the text at natural speed.
Standard vs Slang
EFL learners have difficulty understanding and interacting with native speakers because the nature of native speakers language differ more or less from the artificial language that we, as EFL teachers, use in the classroom. That’s why, it would be a good idea to teach slang to EFL students to bridge the gap between the language of the books that we usually teach and the language of every day life that our learners would be forced to understand and use when facing authentic situations and interacting with native speakers.
Women in History
In this activity students are encouraged to do a research and write a biography about a prominent woman who made history.
Ask Students when the International Women’s Day takes place.
Ask about what the celebration stands for.
Students read a text about a prominent woman. This is a list of websites providing interesting material about women. More links can be found at Larry Ferlazo.
Children’s Encyclopedia of Women
Women Who changed the world
Fight for Women’s rights
Provide a form for students to fill (see the form bellow.)
Ask students to do research about a …
Why is lesson planning important?
Why is lesson planning important?
How is lesson planning important for the teacher? For the learners?
What do you take into account when you design a lesson plan?
What constant components are there in your lesson plan?
This slideshow tries to answer these issues:
View more presentations from tarakbr.
Third conditional sentence
This activity presents third conditional sentences. Students will be able to identify conditional sentence type three, its meaning and how it is formed.
Find an appropriate story to teach conditional sentences type three.
For example, tell the students this story:
“When John was 25, he had to choose a career:
a. To become an English teacher.
b. To become a businessman.
He finally decided to become an English teacher , because he wanted to be able to travel around the world and work at the same time. If he hadn’t become an English …
Songs are an effective way learn English because of many reasons:
Songs introduce authentic language .
They involve target language cultural aspects.
They can be used to teach various language points.
Using songs is a nice and joyful activity to foster listening skills.
Songs are fun.
To see why teachers should use songs in ELT read this previous post:
Why teachers should use songs in EFL and ESL classes?
The materials needed are the following:
Find a suitable song for your class and have copies of the lyrics. (To find some interesting songs for your students go to …
Dictation is one of the oldest activities. It is thought, unduly, to be an old-fashioned, teacher-centered and uncommunicative activity. Nevertheless, it still has its place in ELT. The activity that I will present in this post is a variation of the traditional dictation. You can look for more variations in my previous post about why teachers should use dictation in English language teaching.
This dictation activity allows students to recognize language in listening and writing. It is different from the traditional dictation because:
the learners themselves control the dictation,
it allows for …
This activity teaches students expressions of advice (asking for and giving advice.) The materials needed are sheets of paper and pens or pencils. The activity takes about 50 minutes.
Teach students expressions of advice.
Asking for advice:
What do you suggest?
What do you advise me to do?
What should I do?
What ought I to do?
If you were me what would you do?
If I were you, I would…
Why don’t you…?
You ought to/should…
If you take my advice, you…
Give students a set of problems to discuss:
A bad headache
You need to give up smoking. You …
Brainstorming is a tool that uses a relaxed, informal atmosphere combined with lateral thinking to solve problems. In spite of its importance in the generation of new ideas, many students do not have enough training to use it. This activity will teach students to brainstorm effectively. It can be carried out in a one-period session. No materials are required apart from a pen or pencil and sheets of paper.
Elicit from students different ways to generate new ideas.
Tell the students that they are going to try an activity called brainstorming …
What is Brainstorming
Brainstorming is a combination of a relaxed, informal approach to problem-solving and lateral thinking. People are asked to find ideas and thoughts that can at first seem to be a bit irrelevant. The idea is to use some of these ideas to form original, creative solutions to problems. Even some seemingly useless ideas can spark still more ideas. The goal of brainstorming is to direct people to new ways of thinking and break from the usual way of reasoning.
The most important thing about brainstorming is that there should …
Writing a persuasive essay
This activity teaches students to write persuasive essay. The activity takes about 2-3 session periods.
Tell students to choose an item of clothing, food, drink, … to advertise to the class.
Students write a short commercial to advertise the product.
Class votes on most convincing (persuasive) commercial.
Discussion about persuasion and how it was used in the short commercials.
Give complex, debatable topics (capital punishment, abortion, corporal punishment, etc.) to discuss. These will help provoke thought and trigger reactions.
The oral debate of the topics allows students time to develop opinions and …
This is an activity that helps students develop an awareness of both grammar and writing skills. It can be carried out in a one-period session. No materials are required apart from a pen or pencil and sheets of paper.
It’s just a 2 – 6 line poem. Best assigned to practice some language points such as grammatical categories.
Review grammatical categories.
Tell students to come up with examples of grammatical categories.
Tell students that they have to write a poem having this form.
2. adjective + and + adjective
3. verb + adverb
From alphabet to writing a story
By the end of this activity students will learn 26 new words and use them in sentences or to write a story. The materials required are a dictionary, paper, pen or pencil. The activity takes about one or two class periods
Students look through the dictionary and then define one word from each letter of the alphabet.
Each selected word should be new.
After they define all 26 words, students must copy them in their vocabulary notebook.
Then, they must write one sentence for each of the 26 …
This is an activity that teaches students writing skills. The students have to write a one-act play using process writing. It is done individually or in pairs and may be carried out over several weeks. No Materials are required.
The lesson plan
After reading one-act plays or scenes from plays, students are asked to write a short one-act play which involves two characters
First students imagine the situation they want to write about and write it down on a blank sheet of paper.
Then they brainstorm the situation to come up with ideas …
Objectives: travel vocabulary, learners cooperation, writing a paragraph using travel vocabulary
Materials: worksheets containing the task below.
Time: about 10 minutes.
Divide the students into small groups.
Hand out the worksheet containing the matching task below.
Students work together to do the task.
When they finish, representatives of each group write the answers on the board.
Answers are compared and discussed to find the right answers
The new vocabulary is written down on students’ notebook.
Assign a homework: ask students to find pictures related to the activity.
Students write a paragraph about what they do when …
EFL/ESL environment activities
Over the past few years, the environmental problems have gained a recognition around the world. “Green” issues have turned up as the subject of newspapers, magazines, TV documentaries, news report… This can be an invaluable source for EFL and ESL teachers to devise activities that would link the classroom to the world.
The following activity teaches students to undertake a mini research.
To increase awareness of the nature and the extent of environmental problems around the world.
To practice reading, note-taking, speaking, and written composition.
A worksheet with a chart listing the …
By the end of this activity students will be able to write a poem about what they are thankful for. The activity can be carried out in about 30 minutes.
Preparation (10 min)
Write the word thanksgiving on the board
Ask students to mention any thing they know about the word.
Ask them why the first pilgrims celebrated it?
Elicit from them things they should be thankful for.
The activity (20 min)
It’s time students show how thankful they are.
Tell students to draw a table like the following and show that they are thankful for the things …
Keeping a journal
Keeping a written record of what students have done each day, have thought about, or imagined can be a good way to train their writing skills. This activity teaches students to keep writing regularly in a journal . The materials needed are notebooks and pens. The journal is to be handed in to the teacher on regular basis ( once a week / a fortnight/ month.) The teacher should not over correct students writing as this may discourage them. Some succinct comments, however, are welcome.
Tell students that …
This activity teaches students compound nouns, their form and meaning. The materials required are cards and pens or pencils. It can last for 30 minutes.
On different cards, write down half of a compound noun and then the other half on another card.
Try to use a few compound nouns that students might not be familiar with.
Mix up the cards and have each student choose one.
Then tell them that they should find the other half of their compound noun.
Students get up and move around.
Once a student has found his or …
This activity teaches students how to add details to sentences. The materials required are crayons or colored pencils and drawing paper. The activity can last for 40 minutes.
Before you start, brainstorm
Read the sentence: I see a house.
Ask students to visualize and draw a picture using only the information given in the sentence.
Next, read the sentence: I see a white and blue house with three small windows and a large garage.
Students draw a picture based on just the details given.
students tell which sentence gave them the information needed to visualize.
Students tell …
This activity teaches students how to organize their writing in a logical order. The whole class participates in the writing process, but the activity is best done in group work. It doesn’t require any materials apart from pens or pencils and sheets of paper. It can last for about 40 minutes.
Divide the class into different groups of 5 or 6 students.
Make sure every student has a blank piece of paper and pen or pencil.
A sentence is written on board to serve as the starting point:
Example:”Suddenly, the teacher fell while …
This activity will help students be able to identify the verb and the subject of any sentence and discover how the verb must agree with the subject in number regardless of the word (s) or phrases between them.
Write the following sentences on the board.
Nancy plays basketball every Sunday.
The children don’t like this food.
Sara meets her boyfriend regularly
Students underline the subject and the verb in each sentence.
Students should discover subjects and verb agreement in English.
To check understanding of the rules, assign the following task.
a. The coffee on the table (is, …
This language activity can be used to teach the alphabet or review vocabulary.
Before you start the activity
Spell a name slowly to the students, writing it on the board as you do so. Ask the learners “whose name is it?” Tell them to try to guess as soon as possible, before you reach the end.
Divide the class into teams.
Spell the name of a student;
Tell them to write the letters as you speak.
As soon as a student thinks s/he knows whose name you are spelling, s/he should put up his/her hand.
I Have A Dream…
This lesson plan activity relates the classroom to the problems the world is facing. It takes as the starting point one of te most beautiful speeches about civil rights. The objectives are the following:
Students will be able to write about a real-world problem facing their school, community, city, state, country, or ten world.
Students will demonstrate in writing solutions to problems relating to their lives and the lives of others.
This lesson plan activity can be done as follows:
Read the story, A Boy Named Martin to the students.
Dictation is one of the oldest language teaching activities. It is perhaps for this reason that it has been neglected recently by teachers, claiming that it is too teacher centered, uncommunicative, boring and old-fashioned. But is dictation without any merit? Is it really old-fashioned and uncommunicative?
What is dictation?
Dictation is a decoding-recoding activity. It is the act or process of dictating material to another for transcription. Oller (1979) defines it as a “psychologically real system that sequentially orders linguistic elements in time and in relation to extralinguistic context in meaningful ways.” …
A lesson plan in three steps
The objective of this activity is to help students understand cause and effect relationships, recognize them when reading and use them in their writing and speaking.
Read a short story to the class.
After reading the story, ask the class comprehension about why particular events took place.
Students draw a chart with two columns, causes and effects.
Students complete the chart with causes and effects as they occur in the story.
Make a list of possible causes and have students brainstorm for possible effects.
John sleeps late
Nancy was ill
This activity helps students identify the elements of a paragraph and learn how to write a paragraph. The materials required are envelopes containing individual sentences, a tape and sheets of paper.The paragraphs can be taken from books or written by the teacher and are arranged in a series of individual sentences using a large font.
Students learn the elements of a good paragraph.
Divide students into groups of four.
Give each group an envelope containing sentences.
Students work to place the paragraph in the correct order and tape the sentences in place on a …
Speaking is one of the most important language skills. Few activities help students stimulate this skill. Role Play is one of them. It is the best way to simulate conversation and can be an excellent teaching tool if done properly. It necessitates interaction between at least 2 partners.It is often helpful to teach beforehand phrases and vocabulary to be used in the context of the role play. Sometimes both roles A and B can be given; otherwise the role play can be open-ended with only Part A being used …
Nothing can be more motivating and effective in a language teaching classroom than doing things with words. This game helps students review action verbs and fosters their long-term retention of these verbs. The materials needed are action cards and a dice. Each action card must contain five action verbs and can vary in difficulty depending on your grade level. The activity should be done in groups of 3 to 5 students.
Revising action verbs
Fostering retention of the action verbs.
Bringing lively action into the classroom.
Give 1 dice and 1 card for each …
This is an activity that will help students develop both the vocabulary related to “family” and the ability to talk about themselves and family members. Materials required are papers and pencils. The activity can last about 30 minutes.
Oral practice of family vocabulary.
Introducing themselves and other members of their families.
The class is divided into groups of four learners.
The teacher shows the students a simple drawing sample of the members of a family, and briefly introduces each to the whole class in English.
The teacher writes the relevant vocabulary on the board.
Each student …
This activity can be used to review vocabulary related to food, dishes, food cultural differences, healthy and unhealthy food…
to introduce new vocabulary related to food, to know about eating habits in different countries.
Students are given a text and a set of pictures presenting cooking vocabulary.
They should match sentences and pictures and make up a list of new vocabulary.
Then they are given a list of places where people can eat, so they could match a place and its short description given orally or on another card.
Students discuss various diets and types …
This game can be used to review vocabulary such as opposites. But it might be adapted to teach any language point. Some of its advantages are the following:
Students learn through doing.
It brings variety to the English class and contribute to create a low affective filter and enhance motivation.
can be adapted to review any language point
Students draw a grid with25 cells.
In Each cell, there should be an adjective studied previously. (The adjectives may be suggested by the teacher.)
The teacher then reads a text or separate sentences containing opposites of the …
A grammar activity to prepare for the end of the year exam or to review grammar points in the beginning of the year or to raise awareness of what has already been learned and where problems still lie. This activity is very effective because each question focuses on one important, specific grammar area.
goal: Grammar review of the most important intermediate level English tenses, structure and functions
This is straight-forward stuff. Make the copies and give them to the students.
Have each student do the sheet by him/herself.
Ask students to compare …
Students are set in a circle. They choose a word which is written on a sheet of paper.
Every student writes a new word that starts with the last letter of the previous word.
go – out – tea – arm – meet ….
The spelling must be correct.
When a student makes a mistake s/he leaves the game.
A variation of the game:
The game can be carried out orally. But more speed is required in this case
Find the mystery person!
adjectives (black, white, tall, long…)
Skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking.
Student A leaves the room.
The other students choose a secret person and write a short description of him/her. They then ask Student A to return and read the description.
Student A must find the mystery person. To make the game more challenging a time limit can be set.
A variation of the game:
Divide the students into teams. The team with the higher score wins.
In this post I will present a sample of a lesson plan that I personally use. But before you proceed reading, you might be interested to know why teachers need lesson plans.
Although a lesson plan doesn’t necessarily equate a successful lesson, it will undoubtedly ensure a coherent view of the teaching procedure in the teacher’s mind. A well organized lesson plan serves as a guideline for managing the learning process and outlines beforehand the decisions he must make about the methods, techniques strategies and procedures he opted for.
A lesson plan …
A lesson plan is a lesson “project” written down on paper. It is only a “project” because a lot of unpredictable events occur in the classroom. It is also a dreaded part of instruction that most teachers detest. It nevertheless provides a guide for managing the learning environment. As one of the teacher’s roles is that of designer and implementer of instruction, the preparation of lesson plan will ensure the organization of the English lesson according to some criteria. Regardless of the format, all teachers need to make wise decisions …
Although writing tasks can be time-consuming when assigned in the classroom, it would be a huge mistake to reduce the frequency of its assignment. On the contrary teachers should try hard to make it part and parcel of every classroom activity as they offer an opportunity to gain feedback, learn more about our students and lead them to reap the fruit of creativity. In my last post I promised to share some time-saving writing tasks that can be integrated with other language activities. Here the are!
Hear me, what I am …