Six Steps to Planning an Effective English Language Lesson

dreamstime_l_39119483A highly effective English language lesson should be fun and engaging with lots of teacher modeling, guidance, visuals, games and hands-on practice. Every English lesson should include all four modes of language; listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each mode of language uses a different part of the brain. When students use all four modes of language in a lesson, they have more brain power and thus better retention of the skill. Here are six steps for planning an effective English language lesson and productive follow up activities:

  1. Objective: Decide which specific language words and skills the students need to learn and practice. You can look at the Common Core Language standards to get some ideas.
  2. Materials: Gather and prepare materials to use with the lesson. These might include word and picture cards, stories, hands-on items, posters, videos, games, writing and drawing supplies, and/or white boards.
  3. Introduction: How will you introduce the lesson objective in a comprehensible and memorable way? Stories, videos and colorful posters showing examples of the language skill are perfect to use for an introduction.
  4. Guided Practice: Plan an activity which will engage students in the skill as the teacher supports and coaches. Reading, sorting, matching, talking, playing a game, drawing and writing are good ways to practice the skill with teacher guidance.
  5. Independent Practice: Prepare an activity which will engage students so they can continue to practice the skill independently or with a small group of students. Card games, board games and digital games are great activities for independent practice, because they are engaging, easy to differentiate and provide repeated practice.
  6. Writing: Plan a writing activity that can begin in guided practice and continued in independent practice. Writing is usually the most difficult of the four modes of language, so it’s important to provide students with many opportunities to write. Writing is one of the most differentiated activities, because students will write from their own personal experience and at their differing language levels. Instead of giving students a worksheet to fill in, have them write and illustrate their own meaningful sentences using the words or skills they have learned.

Here is the first in a series of English language lessons I created in response to many teacher requests.   Click here to download a blank lesson planning page.

1 ELL lessons cover

Plastic Egg Math Games

Collect bags of plastic eggs and make some super fun math centers for students in grades K-5. Each game can be adapted for different math levels.

egg math pics.jpg


1. Write problems and answers on plastic poker chips (available at the dollar store).

2. Hide the poker chips under plastic eggs halves and mix them up. 

3. Students play the Memory game by picking up two egg halves. If the numbers are a match, they may keep the poker chips. If not, they cover the numbers and the next player takes a turn

SHAKE AND ROLL                                                                                                                                1. Spray paint once side of giant lima beans.

2. Write numbers on the eggs.

3. Students place that many beans in the egg.

4. Students shake the egg, open it and roll out the beans.

5. Primary students will write down the different ways to make eight by counting how many red and white sides they see on each roll.

6. Intermediate level students will write the fractions they see with each roll.

COIN COUNT                                                                                                                                          1. Write numbers on the eggs.

2. Fill eggs with coins depending on the level of your students.

3. Create an answer sheet with the amount of money in each numbered egg.

4. Students will take an egg, open it  and count the coins. They should write the number of the egg on a sheet of paper and how much money is in the egg. Then they take another egg.

5. When students are done they can check their answers on the answer sheet.

TWIST A FACT                                                                                                                                        1. Write facts on the eggs as shown.

2. Have students work with a partner as they twist one side of the egg and see how quickly they can say the answer.

Milk Carton Magic Machine

magic-math-machine-2These milk carton magic machines make such a fun center activity. They are easy to make, and they are run on kid power: no batteries and no plugging in! Here’s how they work:

How They Work  Pick up a card and read the problem. Answer the problem then check your answer by sliding the card into the hole at the top.  The answer will slide out of the bottom slot. It’s like magic!

How To Make Them:  Click here to watch the video.