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Parts of speech | ESL lesson plan for adult beginners

Getting started | 60 - 90 minutes

This free ESL lesson plan is the final lesson of the first unit of our course for Adult beginners. It contains activities, games and other teaching resources that focus on parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective and adverb). If you need offline access to this lesson plan, you can do so using the TEFL Handbook app.


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.

Use of the board

You are going to give a quick overview of the four main word classes in English. If you don't have a translator available and have little understanding of your students' L1, 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).

ESL Activities

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.

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.

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

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.

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A classroom game

Noughts and crosses: Spelling challenge

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.

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