Posted in Reading Classes, Young Learners

After School Clubs: Reading & Poster Project

after school club

This is a lesson plan for A2 young learners. Students discuss the topic of after school clubs, do some reading comprehension and then create their own after school club posters. Download the example poster/reading text below:

after school poster

Lesson Plan

Write the topic of the lesson on the board, put students in pairs and give them 2 minutes to think of as many after school activities as they can. Check their answers awarding 2 points for each unique answer (no other group has it) and 1 point if another group has it.

Show students the Theatre Club poster, ask students to predict what activities the children do at theatre club. Give out the text and have students answer the comprehension questions, have them work in pairs.

Check students’ answers. Then students work in pairs or small groups to create their own posters for their own imaginary after school clubs. Refer back to the ideas they generated in the first activity. Encourage students to use the example poster as a model substituting word:

“Do you want to be an actor/actress a famous footballer?”

Put students posters up around the class and have a gallery activity where students move around the class reading each others posters. Have students think of two questions to ask each group about their club, then decide which clubs they’d most like to join.

Posted in Vocabulary Classes, Young Learners

Once upon a time: Stories and fantasy vocabulary for young learners


This is a lesson plan from a new series for young learners. I originally taught these classes spread over 2-3 half hour classes, they could obviously be combined into one hour and a half class.

Part 1 – Fantasy vocabulary

Print out this set of flashcards from MES:

Click to access fantasy1_flash.pdf

MES flashcards are a fantastic resource, I’ve been steadily working my way through all of the different categories with my primary classes.

Stick the flashcards to the board in 3 columns with enough space to write the names in next to each one. Then encourage students to name the ones they know. However,they also have to say where the flashcard is on the board: “on the left/right, in the middle, at the top/bottom, above, below, between, the 1st/2nd/3rd one down.”

Once you have gone through all the names and drilled the pronunciation you could play a number of games with the vocab:

Bingo – Students draw a 3×3 grid on a piece of paper and fill each box with a piece of vocabulary. You then read out sentences about each character, for example: “I breath fire and fly over the castle.” (Dragon) “I do magic and mix magic potions” (wizard) they cross off the characters they have as you describe them until they get a line or bingo (when they have crossed off all 9 squares).

Mimic – Print out the set of fantasy game cards from MES as well. Split the class into groups of 3-4, encourage the groups to think of an English name for their team. Then they take it in turns to send one member up to the board, this member then has 1 minute to mimic as many of the different characters using the game cards. Their team receives one point for each correctly guessed character. The team with the most points wins.

Part 2 – Running dictation

By now students should have picked up most of the vocabulary. Put them in pairs, one student sits at one end of the room with a pen and paper. Stick the dragon story handout to the opposite wall of the classroom. The other student in the pair has to run across the class room, memorise a sentence from the story and then tell it to their partner who writes it on the paper. Ensure that students copy the sentences in order and that they speak in English the whole time, especially when spelling out words to their partner. Set a time limit of 10 minutes for this activity. Students switch roles after sentence 5.

Once they have finished have them sit back in front of the board and dictate the sentences back to you. The students then correct their versions of the story, the winning team is the one with the fewest mistakes. You should also clear up any vocabulary issues, paying particular attention to the past verbs used in the story, they will be needed in part 3.

Part 3 – Write a fantasy story

Students can either stay in their pairs or you can put them in bigger groups. Encourage them to work together to invent a new fantasy story, they can use any of the vocabulary covered in part one. They will also need some extra vocabulary:

Once upon a time there was……

lived/rescued/saved/cast a spell/fought/killed/captured/went/gave/kissed

They all lived happily ever after.

They will also want to use more vocabulary so ensure they ask for it properly: “How do you say ________ in English?” If your knowledge of your student’s L1 isn’t too hot make sure you have a good dictionary. Guide and help them as they write their story, set a time limit of 10-15 minutes. Then give them 5-10 minutes to practice telling their story and acting it out for part 4.

Part 4 – Story telling and acting

Each group should either nominate a narrator or share narration amongst them (the latter is the best option). Encourage whoever is narrating to do it SLOWLY and LOUDLY, so that the others can actually hear the story. Then each group puts on their little play. My kids loved doing this, some where in stitches, make sure they take a bow at the end and give each other a round of applause. You could award prizes for various things: best actor/actress, most imaginative story, best narrator, best vocabulary, best grammar. Ensure every group gets at least one prize.


Kids have to name one of the characters from the flashcards before they are allowed to leave the classroom.

Dragon story:

  1. Once upon a time there was an enormous castle.
  2. In the castle lived a King, a queen and a beautiful princess.
  3. One day an evil dragon and an evil troll came to the castle and kidnapped the princess.
  4. The king and queen were very sad.
  5. But then, a brave knight and a famous wizard arrived at the castle, they decided to rescue the princess.
  6. They travelled to the cave where the troll and the dragon lived.
  7. The knight fought the dragon and the wizard fought the troll.
  8. The knight and the wizard won the battle and saved the princess.
  9. And they all lived happily ever after.
Posted in Conversation Classes

Child’s Play – Conversation plan for older adults


This is a conversation plan for older adults, more specifically adults who have children.

Start by writing this sentence on the board.

The exam was child’s play.

Have students try and guess what the expression “child’s play” means. (very easy)

Then bring up the following document on the projector or print it and hand it out:!410&authkey=!ANbQUt3tf7NITy4

It is a selection of classic children’s games. Go over them and see if they exist in the country where you are teaching.

Then give out the first page of the following handout:!413&authkey=!AHywlmzFiuZEhW0

Split the class into group of 3 -4 and have them discuss the questions.

While they are discussing encourage them to use the following handout for language of agreeing and disagreeing:!247&authkey=!ANBIbEVteXyYHnY


Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Your childhood

What games did you use to play as a child?

Where did you use to play?

Who did you use to play with?

Which one of your friends had the best toys or best place to play?

Did you have a garden as a child?

Were there any games or activities that you weren’t allowed to play at school or at home?

What was your parent’s view on children watching TV?

Did you have lots of toys? Did you have to share with brothers and sisters?

What did you get for your birthday / Christmas?


Your children

(If you don’t have children think of other children in your family nephews / nieces or friend’s children)

What games do / did your children play? Do / did they play any of the games you used to?

Where do / did the play? Who do / did the play with?

Are there any games / activities that you don’t  / didn’t let your children play?

Are there any activities / games that you think should be banned?

Do you have rules about watching TV or using computers in your house?

How much time do you think a child should spend watching TV? On the computer? Outside playing?

Do / did your children have lots of toys? Do / did they have to share with brothers and sisters?

What do you give your children for birthdays / Christmas?


Get feedback from the class about their responses to the questions.


Then give out the 2nd page and have the students discuss them and decide if they agree or disagree and explain their reasons.

Discuss the following statements in your groups, do you agree or disagree?

  • Forget toys. Let children go outside and play in the garden, with nothing but their imagination to guide them!
  • Children are given too many toys that they never play with. Books are more important.
  • Toys are important educational tools for pre-school children.
  • Carefully chosen toys can help a child develop.
  • Children today have less imagination than children in the past.
  • A child learns more from 2 hours in the countryside than 20 hours in the classroom.
  • Adverts should not be shown during children’s TV shows.
  • Some people use children as a fashion accessory.
  • Children today should be given more free time to play and be children.

Students report back to the class to recycle vocabulary.

Posted in Conversation Classes

Adventure Game

Murphys Gesetz 9 - Fantasy Adventure

This lesson plan is good for young children and low level adults. Some teens really get into it, with others it has been known to die on its arse. You will need a dice and the powerpoint below.

Here is the powerpoint:!234&authkey=!ADjqXTKxe4d-QPA

It is a beautiful demonstration of my skill on Microsoft paint.

Game Instructions:

This is a problem solving game. Students must use items they find during their adventure to solve problems and overcome obstacles that are in their path.

Tell the students that one night they all go to sleep and suddenly wake up in a strange place. In front of them are 4 mysterious doors (slide 3). They can choose which door to go through. Behind each door there is a different scene:

  1. Behind door 2 (red) there is a small orchard with some apple trees, flowers and a mysterious X on the floor  (slide 4).
  2. Behind door 4 (yellow) there is a crying princess in a room with two axes on the wall (slide 9)
  3. Behind door 3 (blue) there is a man lying in bed ill with hamburgers under his bed. (slide 12)
  4. Behind door 5 (orange) there is a cold, hungry guard guarding a big locked gate, he has a spade. (slide 14)

The students have to complete the quest, here is the solution, try and let the students think through all their options, useful questions to ask are: What can you do? What do you have?

On entering door 2 (red) the students see the orchard, the flowers and the X. If they want they can pick flowers and apples (slide 5 shows the picked flowers and apples).

On entering door 4 (yellow) they see the princess. If they speak to the princess she will tell them that she is very sad because nobody loves her and nobody every gives her any presents. If they give her the flowers from the orchard (door 2) she will stop crying and give them an axe (slide 10 shows this)

On entering door 3 (blue) students will see the ill man who will tell them that his stomach aches because he has eaten too many hamburgers and that he needs healthy food to feel better. If they give him apples from the orchard (door 2) he will feel better and fall asleep (slide 13 shows this) the students can then take hamburgers.

On entering door 5 (orange) students will meet the cold hungry guard. He doesn’t like apples. However, if they give him a hamburger from (door 3) he will be happier (slide 15) But he won’t give them his spade unless they make him a fire by chopping down a tree in the orchard (door 2) with the axe they got from the princess (door 4) (slide 6 shows the chopped down tree, slide 7 shows the tree chopped into firewood). If they make him a fire the guard will be warm and happy (slide 16) He will then give them his spade.

The students can then use the spade to dig for treasure on the X in the orchard (slide 8 shows the treasure dug up) The treasure is a small golden box, but it is locked, it cannot be opened by force. If they show it to the princess she will unlock it because she has the key in a locket around her neck. Inside the box is an enormous key which unlocks the gate in door 5.

The boss room (slide 17) On entering the boss room students will see a hydra and the handsome prisoner held captive in a cage. Students must attack the hydra with the axe and must roll higher with the dice than the teacher to be successful. Each student has 2 lives, if they roll less than the teacher they lose a life. When the student rolls higher than the teacher for the first time show slide 18, and explain that the student has cut of the hydras head but 2 more have grown back in its place. The prince will then shout that you need fire to burn the stumps after you cut them. The students must return to the guard room and get a flaming piece of wood. When the students have beaten the hydra by rolling higher than the teacher 4 times (slides 19 and 20) (one for each head) then the prince’s cage will magically spring open. The prince and princess will be reunited (slide 21) and will live happily ever after. They will also give the students lots of treasure!


I wrote this lesson plan for children, specifically a small group. I have since gone on to use it with larger groups of children and found it to be successful. Then one day I tried it out on a group of lower level adults and they got really into it.

Target Language:

Loads of good stuff comes up and the higher the level the more vocabulary you can introduce. Examples include:

Verbs: chop, cut, give, ask, burn, dig, pick (flowers)

Nouns: spade, axe, fire, gate, key, lock, orchard etc.

It can be used to practice a range of structures depending on the level. For example for intermediates you can have them discuss their options in the 1st conditional: “Maybe if we give him a hamburger he will give us the spade.”

Enjoy, let me know if the instructions make sense or not.