ESL lesson plan infogap game

As your lesson plan goes, so goes the class. Organizing your thoughts and plans with clarity will assure a much better, enjoyable and efficient class with a minimum of awkward moments and disjointed transitions. Here are some questions to think about that will, hopefully, generate some positive changes to your plan so that your lesson plan sparkles instead of slumps.

  1. When and how will I be using the whiteboard? Will I be partitioning it? Will some areas stay in use (like a place to park vocabulary or questions? Are the other props, materials and tools mentioned in materials readily available? If not, are instructions for finding/creating them clear in the plan?
  2. When and how and when will I be using the document camera (ELMO etc.)? When and how will I show things? Will I need to be online as well? What websites should be ‘open’ and ready to go before the class? How and where will I use these websites during my class?
  3. In my lesson plan, am I clearly showing the three steps for most every activity? (These steps being; INTRODUCE/MODEL, FACILITATE and WRAP UP) Am I allowing time to ‘remodel’ if necessary? As I’m facilitating, am I clear on what my role is? Am I making sure to come back to the target language (re: function or grammar) and having students produce that target language in wrap up? Are most all of my activities really student-centered? How?
  4. Am I predicting what questions will arise and how I will address them? Am I clearly implementing a strategy of asking to elicit information or content rather than lecturing? Also, am I keeping my notes and explanations of what I’m doing student-centered as opposed to teacher-centered? Am I focusing on what students are doing as opposed to just what I’m doing?
  5. Is my lesson plan transferable to another person? In other words, if I become ill, can someone pick up my plan and be ready to teach it? How can I make it more ‘user friendly?’
  6. Have I built into each lesson plan some space for students to discuss, ask questions, or explore another topic of interest generated from activities or materials? Is there ‘room to breathe’ in my plan? Am I allowing time for extending successful activities to allow time for the students to continue enjoying an activity that works? Do I have ‘quick’ ready-to-go activities ready for when an activity bombs?
  7. Does my lesson plan clearly ‘flow’ in a logical and interesting manner? Does each activity lead naturally to the next? Is it clearly scaffolded? Is there thematic continuity? For example, does the warm-up and or review or closure activity link conceptually to the lesson? Does it help retrieve past vocabulary or target language?
  8. Does the opening activity set schema, ‘hook’ the students and provide a bit of anticipation for the lesson to come? Is it a comfortable and motivating ‘opener’? Is the closure at the end of the lesson a nice ‘wrap up’ of the day’s lesson? Does it help students better understand the lesson? Does it reference and revisit key vocabulary or target language from that lesson? Is it a relaxed ‘bring down’ from the lesson so they leave with calm closure? How will this lesson move the class towards the next lesson?
  9. Am I implementing on-going assessment for each student? Have I noted along the way what I’m evaluating either formally or informally? Have I explained to the students HOW they are being evaluated? Have I referenced and shown rubrics and examples of projects that will be graded? Do I have notes or strategies on how I will assess each student in terms of key activities and am I also evaluating the success/appropriacy of each of MY activities in terms of effectiveness?
  10. Teacher’s Exit Ticket!
    Finally, is this a FUN and INTERESTING lesson? If I were taking this class in Arabic, would it excite me and be an effective way for me to acquire the language? Would I want to sit through my class? Will I have fun?
    (Hint: Yes.)
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M.A. History (Cross-Cultural Studies), Western Washington University; TESOL Certificate, The School of Teaching ESL. Denny is a teacher educator at S-TESL and delivers most of the 4-Week Intensives each year. Denny has taught ESL at ELS Language Center in Seattle and in Japan at Sundai Junior College. He worked at American Cultural Exchange in Seattle as Center Director and as Director of Marketing.

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