ESL Activities and Games | How to describe people

Functional language | 60 - 90 minutes

This ESL lesson plan contains activities and games for teaching beginners how to describe people using the verbs 'to be' and 'have got'.

If you find the free materials useful and want complete access to all of our teaching resources, you should consider becoming a member. Also, if you have an Android or iOS device, check out the TEFL Handbook app. We have designed it for use in the classroom, and it gives teachers offline access to all of our lesson plans.

Use of the board

The sample board below acts as a warm-up or lead-in activity for the target language in this lesson. Start off by adding both verbs and eliciting the adjectives associated with each. After that, draw some characters on the board and elicit sentences that describe them.

EFL - ESL Lead-in activity for beginners | Describing people


Describe the teacher

The class will help you to write a description of yourself. 

You are going to write a description of yourself on the board in the third person. Elicit as much as possible from your students and have them copy what you write. If you have used the sample board, you could leave the list of adjectives at the top and pull from that.

Describing myself

Students have to write a description of themselves. 

Using the board work as a guide, each student will now write a description of themselves. Fast finishers can come to the front of the classroom to read their work.

My partner

The students have to swap books and describe their partner. 

Before they begin, remind them of the correct forms of the verbs be and have got in the third person.

Meet the family

Each student describes a famous person or well-known fictional character while their classmates attempt to guess who it is. 

Start by telling your students to choose a famous person or well-known fictional character to describe. Give them a few minutes to think about how to describe their choice. They can write it down if they wish. 

When they are ready, go around the class and elicit the descriptions. Encourage the other students to guess and ask follow-up questions when a student has finished describing their choice.

Spend less time planning & teach with confidence
Learn More
A well-organised collection of English teaching materials for busy and under-resourced teachers.
Cut down on planning. Teach with confidence.
Try the TEFL Handbook mobile app. Perfect for quick reference in the classroom.
Download the app


Hot seat: Describing people

Students have to describe another classmate to their partner. 

Start by splitting the class into pairs. On each turn, one student will sit with their back to the rest of the students, facing their partner. The teacher points to one of the students behind the hot seat. The student in play must then describe the chosen student to their partner in the hot seat. 

Depending on the age or level of the students, set a time limit, or limit the number of guesses to one or two.

More ESL lesson plans for beginners

We hope that you were able to grab a few ideas from this lesson plan. Our suggested next lesson focuses on questions about time. Also, be sure to check out our full list of ESL lesson plans for beginners (A1 Upper), as well as the complete collection.

Are you an iOS or Android user? Then you should give our app a go! The TEFL Handbook app has over 100 lesson plans, 300+ ESL activities, over 100 ideas for games and has been designed for the ESL the classroom.

Printable versions of all resources are available to members. View a sample
Plan your lessons on the go
A mobile app for English teachers
Download the app

Get Updates

Go Mobile

Access the entire TEFLHandbook library

Significantly reduce your planning time and improve the way you present and teach English grammar.

Access the entire TEFLHandbook library

Significantly reduce your planning time and improve the way you present and teach English grammar.

Pin It on Pinterest