Basic ESL Lesson Plan

group of preschool kids and teacher with flags in classroom
Use this basic ESL lesson plan to provide structure to your lessons

This is the daily ESL lesson plan that I use with my toddlers.

When teaching ESL to toddlers they need a good mix of repetition and new material. There is a much stronger focus on learning English vocabulary than there would be in a preschool class of native English speakers.

I have consistently found this to be an effective daily plan. If I find that the kids are starting to get bored with an aspect of it, I make some changes to content, but the basic structure of the lesson plan remains the same.

1. Hello Song. This is a signal to the kids that class is about to start and puts them in the right mindset. I have used both songs from CDs and songs that I just sing myself. One of my favorites to use is this:

(to the tune of Where is Thumbkin)
Teacher: Where is Yuki? Where is Yuki?
Yuki: Here I am. Here I am.
Teacher: How are you today Yuki?
Yuki: Very well I thank you.
Teacher (and class): Say hello. Say hello.

2. Short Conversation. This is just a quick question and answer that helps them to practice speaking English. I focus on a single question each month. At the beginning of the month, the kids may need some prompting for the correct answer, but by the end of the month they’ve usually got it down.

The first basic three questions I use are:
*What’s your name?
*How are you?
*How old are you?

During the fourth month, I focus on having them listen for the difference between “How are you?” and “How old are you?” as this seems to be a difficult thing for them to get used to. Depending on the class, I either start these questions over again or ask other questions like “What animal do you like?” or “Can you jump high?” It really depends on class ability. Older kids who have been taking English for awhile might be fine with the more complex questions, but if you have little ones and if you get many new students, you may want to stick to the basics. The idea here is that it should just be an easy warm-up.

3. Quick Simple Things Repeated Daily. This is sort of hard to explain. I select a few things that can be done quickly and every day. Some examples of the things I have used here are:

*weather (What are the different types of weather and what is the weather today?)
*ABC song
*days of the week
*counting to ten
*5 specific letters and the sounds that they make

4. Basic Vocabulary. These are things like colors, shapes, feelings, ABCs, numbers and counting. We review the vocabulary and do a quick activity. You should focus on one thing each day here.

5. Advanced Vocabulary. These are slightly harder vocabulary words grouped into categories. Animals. Food. Vehicles. Everyday Objects. And so on. Again, we review the vocabulary and do a quick activity or game.

6. Singing and Dancing Time. Every month I select 4-6 songs that we will do that month. I try to pick 2 or 3 songs that we can do standing and 2 or 3 songs that we can do sitting down.

7. Smile Time. This is my basic reward system. When kids do well, I draw a smile on a special paper for them. If they need work, they didn’t get a smile. I also like to give the kids a hug or a high five here. Some teachers like to give out stickers.

The great thing about this daily ESL lesson plan is that it can be tweaked as necessary to your needs. It’s designed to be a basic backbone for people who don’t really have an idea of where to start or who want to follow a loose schedule. For example, if you have more time, you might want to add another basic or advanced vocabulary section. If you have less time, you may want to make “vocabulary” just one section, combining the basic and advanced categories. You can easily make any of these sections easier or harder to suit your class, and find games or activities that are a good fit for your class.