Odd Jobs

Another work related lesson plan and one that kids love is Odd Jobs. In every country and culture every kid wants to grow up to be a fireman or a policeman or the President or maybe a businessman. But who wants to be a bus announcement reader? Or a circus cleaner? Who gets these jobs and what do these people really do every day?

This lesson plan gives students the chance to play the role of someone with a Truly Odd Job and imagine what they do every day, in the context of a guessing game.

One lesson that students beg to do again and again.

Your Perfect Job

Help students find a new career with an entertaining lesson plan that asks students to take a personality test and then finds out which job is suited to them. The test is loosely based on a Myers-Brigg test but adapted for ESL students and also made a little more fun. Make sure students know that this is just for fun and not serious, but it’s a great way for students to practice taking a test in English, thinking about their personality, and about what factors are important for them in work.

Your New Career Lesson Planalso an easy way to introduce tasks like talking about your job or everyday activities or describing people’s character.

Survive This Lesson Plan

Students love role plays and interesting situations. Everyday English is important but students often react well to unusual situations too. Survive! is a lesson plan that makes students imagine that they have survived a plane crash and must decide which items they will need to survive. Of course the fun of the lesson is that different students have different ideas of what survival means.

Does it mean finding their way to civilization? Keeping comfortable until wild animals kill them or they die of hunger? Or waiting it out til rescue planes come?

You Can Have This Lesson Plan on Corruption for Ten Dollars

Corruption is a serious problem around the world so it’s something students can talk about. It’s also an important topic because often students from corrupt countries never examine their attitudes toward giving and taking bribes–either they think it’s very bad or they think it’s very normal. My Corruption Lesson Plan has students think about what corruption really is, how to stop it, and whether or not it is a serious problem by presenting real life situations, a realistic story and even a scientific and slightly offbeat study of corruption by country, looking at UN diplomats’ unpaid parking tickets! This is another lesson where students have so much to say that it often fills 2 or 3 classes.

Learn How to Complain

Beauty Inc is a fun role play for students involving a meeting between a large corporation and victims of its faulty products. Great for large or medium sized classrooms and a great way to get students talking, particularly more advanced students who get bored with drilling and answering exercises. Encourages students to be creative while introducing a real life situation. What do you do when a company sells bad products that don’t work? Or worse, turn you into a freak?

Role Plays

Ever since ESL Flow, I’ve been getting a lot of traffic to my lesson plans. One of the most popular lesson plans is called culture shock and gets students talking about different habits and manners in different cultures.

Since it’s getting so many hits, I’ve typed up a related lesson: Cultural Role Play, which is basically adapted for ESL lessons from a Peace Corps exercise.

It’s a fun exercise where you give students one of two different cultural roles to play with very different standards of behavior and ideas of what is normal. If you don’t like my variation, you can make up your own. The fun part, and where students will be forced to use their language, is when you make the student’s cultural rules conflict.

What's Up, Teach? Sorry I Bombed That Killer Test


Another fun vocab building lesson plan, the School Slang Lesson Plan teaches American school traditions and socialization while also introducing kids to teenage slang and terminology like freshman, sophomore, detention, midterm, prom and jock. A lot of your students have been exposed to American teenage movies, and they will love to discuss exactly what all the slang they’ve heard means.

Also this lesson uses pictures to teach idioms which is a great tool to help kids remember new vocab and phrases. Because idioms don’t translate literally, and sometimes metaphors don’t translate well, giving students funny pictures that link the idiom to the meaning can be very effective. Linking words to context helps students to retain information better and making students laugh creates a great emotional context!

If you’re teaching in another country, this lesson can lead into a comparative discussion of student life in the US versus your host country.