Parts of speech

Low-resource ESL lesson plan
Adult Beginner
Low-resource ESL lesson plan
Getting Started
Low-resource ESL lesson plan
60 min
Low-resource ESL lesson plan
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This lesson delves into the foundation of the English language structure, focusing on the four main word classes: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. By the end of this lesson, students will be able to identify and understand the role each of these word classes play in sentence construction. This essential knowledge will pave the way for more advanced grammar and syntax exploration in the future.

The lesson begins with an optional warm-up activity that builds upon the previous lesson's homework, creating a continuous learning thread. This is followed by suggested boardwork, which visually reinforces the word classes and their functions within sentences. Several low-resource activities are included, where students are encouraged to identify and utilise the different word classes in example sentences. To keep the learning fun and memorable, we've also added a classroom game idea that reinforces the material covered in the previous lesson.

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Low-resource ESL classroom game

Review homework

The students have to give full-sentence answers to the interview questions from the previous lesson.

If you assigned the homework task from lesson 2 in this unit, take turns and ask each student the questions. Remember, their answers should be full sentences. The questions were:

  1. What is your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. How old are you?
  4. What do you do?

For larger groups, split the students into pairs and have them perform the interviews. Monitor for the correct responses.

Classroom activities

Low-resource ESL lesson plan

Use of the board

You will give a quick overview of the four main word classes in the English language.

If you don't have a translator available and have little understanding of your students' L1 (first language), you may want to look up some of the L1 translations before you present this board work.

Step through each of the parts of speech with the class. Add a short description, its L1 translation and a few examples. Elicit some of these if you can.

As you move through each type, you can build out the example sentence on the right. If you don't have coloured markers for your board, mark the abbreviated forms of each class under every word in the sentence (n, v, adv, adj).

Low-resource ESL activity

That's classified

The students will work in pairs to determine the correct classifications for a list of random words.

Given that students at this level will typically have a limited vocabulary, this activity works best if they have at least one of the following resources available:

  1. Smartphone with an internet connection or Google Translate.
  2. Dictionary.

Start by adding a table to the centre of the board with the columns nounverbadjective and adverb. Add four rows to the table. Next, add some words to the outside of the board. Select the simplest, most commonly known examples of each part of speech (see the list below). Twelve should be enough.

Nouns: student, man, notebook, Spain
Verbs: read, listen, say, sing, play
Adjectives: short, thin, old, young, hairy
Adverbs: quietly, softly, gently, intelligently

Split the group into pairs and have them copy and complete the table, putting the words into the correct column. Fast finishers can compare their table with another group that has completed the task.

When finished, complete the table on the board as a group. Don't forget to look out for pronunciation errors and work on trouble areas.

Low-resource ESL activity idea

A class of their own

The students have to determine the correct class of the highlighted words in a sentence.

Start by adding the following sentences to the board, including the underlined words:

  1. The girl sings very loudly.
  2. She speaks softly to the children.
  3. The boy quietly opens the box.
  4. The large birds fly quickly.
  5. The weather in Paris is lovely.
  6. The largeblue lorry drives slowly through the town.

The students will then work in pairs and without a dictionary to determine the correct classification for the underlined words in each sentence.

When everybody is ready, correct the exercise as a group.

Low-resource ESL activity idea

Mind the gap

The students will work in groups to complete sentences with the most appropriate word.

Start by adding the following gap-fill exercises to the board:

  1. The students worked on their _____.
  2. Mary looked in the _____.
  3. The teacher _____ pictures on the whiteboard.
  4. The flowers are _____.
  5. He plays his music _____.
  6. Today is a _____ class.

Next, add the missing words randomly around the outside of the board (See answer key). You can throw in a few extra words to make this more difficult.

Now divide the students into groups of 3-4 and have them work together to complete the sentences. The students may use smartphones and dictionaries for this activity.


  1. assignments
  2. mirror
  3. draws
  4. beautiful
  5. loudly
  6. normal
Low-resource ESL lesson plan

Suggested homework

The students have to add to their vocabulary notebooks.

Have the students add ten words of each type covered today (noun, verb, adjective and adverb) to their vocabulary notebooks. Advise them to search Google for the most commonly used vocabulary in each category.

If you haven't recommended that they keep a separate notebook for vocabulary, do that now. See the board work in lesson 2 for one suggestion on how to record new language in a useful manner.

Classroom games

Low-resource ESL classroom game

Noughts and crosses

Students must spell words correctly to claim squares on a grid for their team.

Repetition is critical at this level, and the students will need routine spelling practise for several weeks. Therefore, we can continue to adapt this game to rehearse spelling and the alphabet.

Divide the class into two teams, draw a 'noughts and crosses' grid on the board and number the squares from one to nine. Assign known vocabulary to each square, but don't show the students. For example:

  1. age
  2. noun
  3. desk
  4. after
  5. say
  6. verb
  7. small
  8. learn
  9. school

On each turn, ask a student from one of the teams to select a square on the grid. That student must then spell that square's assigned word correctly to claim it on the grid for their team. Make the centre square the most difficult.