Six Steps to Planning an Effective English Language Lesson

A 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.