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Three Ideas For Lesson Plans in Your ESL Classes

written by: Audrey Alleyne • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 12/29/2013

Your ESL lesson plans should include games and activities to increase learning pleasure for students. Below you'll find several suggestions to keep your students' enthusiastic during the learning process.

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    Fill In the Blanks

    There are a number of activities and games for a teacher to include in her ESL lesson plans. Take a look at the ideas below, and you ESL Class can also have fun creating your own.

    Divide your students into groups. Distribute 4-6 index cards to each student. Write a variety of examples of phone conversational phrases on the board. After verifying that the students understand the phrases, have them play a game of filling in the blanks followed by role-playing the parts. For example:

    A. Hello. This is Peter Howe. I__________speak to John. Is he____________?

    B. Sorry, sir. You _______________________. This is______________

    A. Isn’t this _____________________?

    B. No sir, this is_____________________________

    Here is the next one:

    A. Hello.This is Joan. May I ______________________with Julia.

    B. Excuse me. I _____________; did you say Joan or Joanne?

    A. This is Joan. Is Julia ________________________?

    B. I’m afraid she’s not available_____________Would you like to_____ ?

    A. Could you repeat please? I ___________________

    B. She is not here now. Would you like to_____________________?

    A. No, that’s fine. I’ll__________________________

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    Picture Reading Comprehension

    You can also give Reading Comprehension a different twist. In addition to reading a passage and answering questions, make the lessons more alive by presenting pictures for a change. The students actually read the pictures instead of words, and they choose from a multiple choice of statements regarding the picture. For example, they can look at a simple picture of two people shaking hands, and choose from the following sentences what they think the two people are saying to each other.

    • Nice to meet you
    • This is Anne.
    • Please
    • You are welcome.

    This is an example for beginner students. Intermediate and Advanced students can work on less simple ideas. Numbers are usually a challenge and are good to practice at all times. Give non-beginner students an image of a price like $116.40. Their choice of the correct answer can come from:

    • It’s over two hundred dollars
    • It’s nearly 100 dollars
    • It’s about 1,000 dollars
    • Its one hundred and sixteen dollars and forty cents.

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    The Guessing Game

    Here’s another fun game. Present pictures of people and animals and ask students to guess what happened depending on the expression on the person’s face or the animal’s gait, for example. This game can have students’ imaginations running wild, and it's a good way to create a lot of laughter in the classroom. They can look at a portrait of a handsome man for example, and say “I think he’s a famous actor,” or they can look at picture of a dog and say "I think he wants to go and play with another dog." They can look at a picture of a happy woman and say “I think she’s won the lottery.”

    This game can encourage a lot of conversation including differences of opinion, which is a good exercise for students. Include it in your ESL lesson plans, and try to create more fun games of your own. Advanced-level students may even surprise you and come up with some games and activities of their own.