Days of the week

Low-resource ESL lesson plan
Low-resource ESL lesson plan
Functional Language
Low-resource ESL lesson plan
45-60 min
Low-resource ESL lesson plan
Print pdf version of this low-resource ESL lesson plan
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In this beginner ESL lesson, your students will familiarise themselves with the vocabulary and spelling of the days of the week in English. Learning this fundamental topic is vital, as it serves as a foundation for scheduling, making plans, and general day-to-day conversation.

This lesson plan includes a recommendation for boardwork, which demonstrates one way to teach the days of the week. Additionally, there are several low-resource classroom activities that are designed to help students solidify their understanding of the topic. To end the lesson on an exciting note, we have included a couple of classroom game ideas that focus on reinforcing this vocabulary.

If you need more ideas, check out our blog article on how to teach the days of the week.

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Classroom activities

Low-resource ESL lesson plan

Use of the board

Step through the days of the week with the class, eliciting as much as possible.

Begin by writing "What day is it today?" on the board. Then try to elicit the correct response and add it to the board.

Some of your students may already be familiar with the days of the week in English, so let's try to leverage that.

Elicit a list of days of the week and add them to the board. Lean on the students' L1 if you need to. Drill the days of the week a few times from the board, moving your finger to each day as you step through.

ESL board work for teaching the days of the week to beginners

Low-resource ESL activity

Video and song: Days of the week

For this activity, we will use a video with a song to introduce and reinforce the names and order of the days of the week to young ESL learners.

Introduce a catchy song that teaches the days of the week, such as "The Days of the Week Song" by Maple Leaf Learning. 

Depending on the resources available, either play the video or audio for students and encourage them to sing along.

Make the activity more engaging by teaching a clap routine to accompany the song. Another video from Maple Leaf Learning shows a couple of different ways to do this.

Low-resource ESL activity idea

Days of the week ball toss

Students practice and reinforce the order and names of the days by throwing a ball and saying the days of the week in sequence.

Have students stand in a circle and toss the ball around while saying the days of the week in order. For example, the first student says "Monday" and throws the ball to the next student, who says "Tuesday", and so on. The student who begins can start from any day they choose.

Once students have gotten the hang of this, you can make the activity more challenging by having them say the days of the week in reverse order. 

Low-resource ESL activity idea

Role-play: Days of the week

The students act out the activities while their classmates guess the corresponding day.

Begin by adding the days of the week to the board, leaving space between them to write statements underneath.

Elicit 2-3 simple statements for each day from your students and add them to the board. The statements should be about your students and appropriate to their age and level. For example, "We have English class on Monday," "Clare goes swimming on Tuesday," "Jen and Mark have music class on Wednesday," and so on.

Once you have completed the board with statements for each day, have students take turns coming to the front of the class to act out one of the statements.

Encourage the rest of the class to guess the day of the week corresponding to the activity. For example, if a student performs "Clare goes swimming," the group would shout, "Tuesday!"

Low-resource ESL activity

Extension activity: Student quiz

The teacher challenges the class on what they learned during the role-play activity. 

If you have done the previous activity, you'll know enough about your students to quiz them on the days of the week. 

Ask the class five to ten questions about the days of the week based on what you learned from the role-play activity. Add each question to the board and confirm that the students understand the question before eliciting the correct answer. 

Some example constructions might be:

  1. What day does Clare have piano lessons?
  2. What does Mark do on Saturdays?


Classroom games

Low-resource ESL classroom game

Noughts and crosses: Days of the week quiz

The students play a version of noughts and crosses, answering questions about days of the week to mark a square for their team on the grid.

Begin by dividing the class into two teams, and draw a 'noughts and crosses' grid on the whiteboard.

On each turn, a student from one team will select a square and must answer a question about the days of the week. Some example questions might be:

  • What day comes before Wednesday?
  • How do you spell Saturday?

If the student answers correctly, they mark an 'X' or 'O' in the square for their team.

Play continues until one team gets three in a row, either vertically, horizontally or diagonally, and wins the game.

Low-resource ESL classroom game

Spelling circle: Days of the week

In this Spelling circle elimination game, students take turns saying one letter at a time to spell out the days of the week, with those who make mistakes or hesitate sitting down until a winner remains.

Begin by arranging the students by having them form a standing circle.

Explain the concept of the game to the students: You will say a day of the week, and then each student will take turns saying one letter of the word in the correct order. 

Announce the first day of the week that the students will spell. The first student in the circle says the first letter of the day, the next student says the second letter, and so on, until the day is completely spelled out.

If students say the wrong letter or take too long to respond, they are eliminated from the game and must sit down. 

Once the students have completed a day of the week, announce a new day to spell.

The game continues until there is only one student left standing. This student is the winner of the game.