Free ESL Lesson Plans to Download

Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language

This page was originally designed to share my materials with other English teaching assistants in France, especially those who have no experience in teaching ESL yet. I've also included worksheets that I used for private English lessons in France as well as some of the materials I used in my ESL classes in the United States. Feel free to use them as you'd like. Some of the lessons listed under the Assistant section can also be used for private lessons and vice versa. There is a page of English grammar if you need a review. If you want to use videos with subtitles in your classes, Yabla and FluentU offer many videos on a variety of topics.

Teaching ESL Lesson Plans - Buy English as a Second Language Lesson Plans! All of the ESL lesson plans are now available as one ZIP file download, with FREE lifetime updates. All of the lessons available online are included and you will be notified via e-mail when new lessons and mp3s are added to the download. (New lessons will no longer be added to the website.) If you cannot afford the electronic pack, please download the free lesson plans below. Thank you very much and happy English teaching!

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Book Recommendations

If you are new to teaching English to non-native speakers, I recommend trying some Teaching English courses at Udemy and the following books:


The ESL / ELL Teacher's Survival Guide: Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching English Language Learners of All Levels, 50 Strategies for Teaching English Language Learners, Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language, Lessons from Nothing: Activities for Language Teaching with Limited Time and Resources, How To Teach Speaking (other books in this series also include reading, writing, listening, pronunciation, and vocabulary), Keep Talking: Communicative Fluency Activities for Language Teaching, Games for Language Learning, and Teaching American English Pronunciation.

English Assistant in France Lessons

Refer to the Teaching section of the Assistants Guide if you'd like a more detailed account of how I used these lessons in my classes, as well as links to other plans that I found online. Most documents are available in Word format; however if you do not have Microsoft Word, you can still open the documents in OpenOffice, which is a free software. (I try to provide my documents in Word format instead of PDF format so that you can modify them.) The majority of the below documents I have written myself, but some I have found online and can no longer locate the original source to link back to.

Classroom Conversation and Speaking

You should only have to focus on teaching conversational English (listening, speaking and pronunciation skills). The students will learn reading and writing skills in their regular English classes. Your school may have some materials and books that you can use, but try not to fall into the trap of only teaching the stilted form of English found in these books. You should incorporate authentic language (such as from television and movies) as well as reduced forms (such as gonna, wanna, doncha, etc.) because that is the way that most Americans talk and that is what the students will need to understand the most. Textbooks will focus on the formal ways of speaking and writing, but students need to learn the informal ways too.

Just Get Them to Talk - Plan for the first day with a new class when the teacher instructs you to "just get them to talk" and you have nothing else planned

Formal vs. Informal Conversation - Table of greetings and good-byes for formal speech and informal speech
Interview Your Partner - Unscramble words to form questions to ask partner, then write a paragraph about him/her. Also includes space to review countries & nationalities.
Two Truths & One Lie - Students write three sentences about themselves; two that are true and one that is false. The rest of the class must guess which is the lie.
Describing People - Phrases to use for describing a person with basic personal information, as well as likes & dislikes and personal appearance
"People" cards - for students to describe. Includes name, age, nationality, where they live and what they like/dislike doing
Color Cards - for games (Go Fish, Memory, etc.) to review colors and family members, and perhaps "do you have / have you got?"
Expressing Likes, Dislikes & Indifference - Sample phrases followed by nouns and gerunds, as well as space to write more
Telephone Conversations - Students match up English & French phrases, read sample dialogs and write their own
Debate Topics - Students choose topics and write a dialog in pairs debating the pros and cons of both sides
Anglophone Countries - Students give oral reports on anglophone countries of the world
Fillers & Reduced Forms - common fillers and reduced forms in everyday speech with sample sentences
Synonyms of say & uses of like - Plus exercises on switching from informal to formal language (reduced forms)
Common Reduced Forms - Includes all the reduced forms presented in Slangman Book One, but not in the order of the chapters
How to Present a Document - For Terminale students, guide on how to present the unknown document on the oral bac


Vowels of English: Spelling vs. Pronunciation - list of American English vowels with IPA symbols, English examples and French examples; sorting exercises and spelling exceptions, as well as 25 sentences to practice pronouncing
Vowels of English: Diphthong Version - same as document above, but with diphthongs of the "long vowels" in English
Letter Combinations & Pronunciations - Another list of long vs. short vowel pronunciation according to spelling, as well as exceptions
English Pronunciation Poem - A poem to show that spelling cannot always help with pronunciation; author unknown
Different Vowel Sound - Students circle the word that has a different vowel sound than the rest, even though they're spelled with the same letters
Consonant Sounds - IPA symbols of consonant sounds in American English, with room to write example words
Homophones - Set of 75 homophones in American English (different spelling, same pronunciation)
Heteronyms - Two sample sentences comparing each heteronym (same spelling, different pronunciation)
Pronunciation of -ed and -s - Sort past tense verbs and plural nouns according to the pronunciation of their endings
Word Stress - Mark the stress on the advanced vocabulary words for Terminale topics (environment, gun control, immigration, health, organization of speech)


Minimal Pair Listening Exercise - Students must circle word they hear among minimal pairs: want, won't, or went?
Similar Sentences Exercise - Students mark the sentence they hear: She's taking a bath or She's taken a bath?
I've Never Been poem - Good for stress and intonation patterns; by George Bernard Shaw
Little Tree by ee cummings - Short poem to read at Christmas, with fill in the blank exercise
Cherokee Nation Lyrics - Good for teaching about Native Americans in November
Girl Next Door Lyrics - Includes typical vocabulary for American high schools
Dear Mr. President Lyrics - May be a bit too old for young students nowadays
Strange Fruit Lyrics - Sad song to show severity of racism and lynching in the South
Animaniacs Presidents Song - Funny song to learn about the US presidents, up to Bill Clinton. Video available online too.
Animaniacs Capitals & States Song - Another fun song to learn the US states and their capitals. Video available online too.

Random Vocabulary & Grammar

Make boards with just the pictures (such as body parts, clothes, sports) at for free. This way the student must understand the words you say, and remember how to say them back to you in order to win the game.
British vs. American English - Fill in the blank exercise; write American vocabulary on board and students match with British vocabulary
Sports - Match names of sports with pictures, sort sports according to their verbs (to box vs. to play soccer), small review of short answers
Scattergories - Enough categories for 3 games; you choose the letter (students should know how to play - it's called Le Petit Bac in France)
Terminale Vocabulary - Vocabulary list for the topic of health (junk food, smoking, drinking, drugs)
Nations & Nationalities - Flags, nations and nationalities with fill-in-the-blank worksheet
Countries & Locations - Phrases for describing location of EU countries, plus nationalities
Fake English - List of fake English words used in French and their actual translations in real English, correct the mistakes and matching
Count vs. Uncount Nouns - Explanation of uncount, matching, translating, correct mistakes
Adjectives/Verbs + Prepositions & Prepositions + Nouns - Students sort collocations according to prepositions
Translation Problems - When translating from French to English and with the verbs devoir and pouvoir; wrong translations in English for students to correct
Common Translation Mistakes - Sentences in French for students to translate, many with faux amis or verbs that are often translated wrong
Simple Mistakes - Another correct the mistakes exercise, with explanations and multiple choice

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