Enriching Your Instruction
Whether you work with a predesigned curriculum or assemble your own, free lesson plans can enrich your instruction, help you address an isolated skill, or reinforce a concept. The list below contains several websites offering free lesson plans for ESL, EFL and Sheltered English teachers.
About.com English as a 2nd Language
The English Lesson Plans for ESL/EFL Classes page from this site consists of links to lesson plans in several categories. Choose from beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. Other selection options include printable quizzes, multiple intelligences, grammar, listening activities, pronunciation lessons, writing, reading, vocabulary, conversation, and lessons for children ELLs. The only issue with the About.com sites is their tendency to bury content. You have to click through several links to get to the actual lesson.
While many sites offer quick activities for children and simple lessons for beginners, the lesson plans and tutorials on this page are for more advanced learners. Among the options on the home page’s menu are weekly lesson, vocabulary, verb tenses, conditionals, modals, gerunds, prepositions, and irregular verbs. There is a page devoted to Mini-Grammar Tutorials (http://www.englishpage.com/minitutorials/index.htm) and an English Reading Room http://www.englishpage.com/readingroom/readingroomintro.html, with links to free online newspapers, magazines, books, reference materials, and libraries.
The quick, simple layout of this resource allows you to select lessons based on target English skill, academic skill (such as critical thinking, brainstorming, and classroom language), and topic. Once you enter your general search topic, the results page further refines your search by sorting lesson plans and activities into categories. The one downside is that the search and results pages contain several ads.
The Thematic Units-Survival Skills page features links to topics such as body and health care, finding directions, family, dealing with money, job search, travel, and weather. Each section is further broken down into vocabulary, listening exercises, reading passages, conversation activities, and grammar lessons.
Free ESL Flashcards
Quick drill activities often require print or visual reinforcements such as flashcards. These printables fill the bill and come in categories such as actions, adjectives, alphabet, body parts, colors, daily activities, emotions, food, numbers, occupations, places, rooms, school objects, sports, holidays, and time.
The TEFL Activities & Teaching Resources page targets international teachers more than ESL teachers in their home countries. The filter tags on the left allow you to select materials by context: elementary, intermediate, advanced, warmers, fillers, and, a welcome addition, calmers – lessons designed to conclude a lesson and settle students. The search bar on the right allows you to further limit teaching materials by desired length of time and skill area.
ISS of BC
Janis’s ESL Home Page features links to thematic mini-units on topics such as people, work, everyday activities, home, our community, our world, food, health, getting around, communication, and the basics. The categories open up to several subtopics, each one with a thematic unit covering related vocabulary, quizzes, listening activities, reading activities, grammar, conversation questions, links, and topics. A teacher can pull up an isolated lesson or teach a complete unit with these mini-lessons. They also build in complexity when followed in sequence.
This site offers several resources, but a particularly entertaining section is the Conversation Question Prompts page. The printable worksheets contain several intriguing questions on a single theme, with some of the prompts being simpler and others more abstract to encourage critical thinking by more fluent ELLs. Among the categories for discussion prompts are sleep, dreams, and nightmares; emotions; weather; sports and leisure; school; book, movies, and the media; mishaps and mistakes; customs and traditions; city and country; seasons; and clothes and fashion.
While the coverage here may not be as full as on other sites, the activities here are perfect to use in a pinch. Select a category from the right side of the page, including young learners, ESL activities, ESL warmers, phonics, writing, repetition drills, high school, one-on-one teaching, beginner, intermediate, advanced, adults, team games, drawing games, and fun activities.
This site has several pages dedicated to a range of activities and resources for ESL teachers. The Lesson Planner section contains regularly updated daily, weekly, and monthly lesson activities. For example, teachers can select a topic such as “Idiom of the Day,” “Saying of the Day,” or “Slang of the Day.” The results page includes the idiom, saying, or slang expression, as well as interpretations or definitions of it, notes, sample sentences, and a short quiz to check students’ comprehension.
The Internet TESL Journal
The EFL/ESL Lessons and Lesson Plans page has a custom search bar for locating relevant articles, lessons, and techniques. Users can also browse by topics such as For the First Class, Business English, Conversation, Culture, Games, Grammar, Pronunciation, and Reading. Unlike some of the other lesson-planning resources, the files listed here tend to be full lesson plans with introductions, background objectives, step-by-step instructions, assessments, and suggestions for further activities. Note that the files on this site are not sortable by grade level or English fluency level.
Sift quickly through this collection of teaching aids by using the ESL/EFL/TEFL Lesson Plans search box on the home page. Refine your results by age of students, English fluency level, type of lesson, or keyword. Navigation here is quick, but the pages contain many ads.
Here you find over 500 downloadable PDF lesson plans and worksheets that you can sort by level, grammar topic, or theme. You can also see the most recently added lesson plans and worksheets. The content here is not as broad or deep as some of the other free ESL lesson plan websites.
Refining Your Lesson Plan Search
ESL lesson plan and activity websites are an excellent resource for ESL and EFL teachers. However, another valuable tool for locating the exact skill you need to teach is using Google’s advanced search. Tools for refining search results, along with advanced search features, allow you to plug in multiple key words or an exact word or phrase. You can also narrow your results by language, reading level, and file format.