Intermediate ELT Lesson Plans

5 Lessons with Infographics – 1 – That’s Old News

April 29, 2012 by Neil McMillan

Lesson: That’s Old News Level: Strong intermediate / Trinity GESE Grade 7 and up (B2+) Age group: later teens and adults. I’d always liked the fancily animated graphical information on news and election programmes in the UK, so I was intrigued to discover just how big a phenomenon infographics are becoming on the internet. A quick search on google or pinterest reveals endless amounts of instantly appealing, varied and dynamic visual data, just waiting to brighten up your classroom and stimulate discussion on contemporary issues –


A man without money – Listening and discussion

April 19, 2012 by

This is a simple video, comprehension and discussion related to giving up money – aimed at intermediate adults and teens. I’ve kept this one free of too many ideas because I’d really like to see what you do with it – in what direction you… [Read more…]

30 days: Using English Outside the Classroom

March 26, 2012 by

This lesson plan aims to help students become motivated in their use of English out in the real world. They will start to plan and track their use of English and reflect upon their progress with other students in the class in what will hopefully… [Read more…]

The Friendship Graph

March 25, 2012 by

Sometimes, finding comedy clips which appeal across cultures can be tricky, but you know it’s working when your students start laughing along. Perhaps because it deals with people who are some way out of their own cultural safety zone, the HBO series Flight of the… [Read more…]

5 activities for a floor plan: Part 3 – Estate Agent

March 21, 2012 by

Everybody loves estate agents, right? Well, this is a lesson that celebrates them. I’m using pictures sourced from @elt_Pics – I encourage you to look at the Flickr group and to follow them on Twitter. If you’ve had enough of trawling the mounds of irrelevant… [Read more…]

The Green Card – A Guest Lesson by Neil McMillan

March 10, 2012 by

Neil McMillan is a TESOL teacher and teacher trainer from  Perth, Scotland. He can often be found in the staffroom surrounded by trainee teachers furiously scribbling in notebooks, faces awestruck, pencils shortening. When he’s not teaching you’ll find him DJ-ing or talking to his cat.… [Read more…]

What is photography? An advanced TED video lesson.

February 17, 2012 by

This is another image and video-based lesson. The students first discuss the concept of photography, watch a 6 minute video (Impossible Photography; a TED talk by Erik Johansson) and finally describe complex images. Lesson aims Giving opinion Listening comprehension Describing in detail Listening for detail… [Read more…]

7 billion: where do you fit in? 45 mins -1 hour

February 7, 2012 by

This is a short lesson, with lots of potential to be expanded upon. It give you the opportunity to really engage your class and get them talking about what makes them unique. Let me know how you use it and how you follow-up afterwards in… [Read more…]

Dog and Bone: Mobile Technology – past, present and future

February 5, 2012 by

This is a simple video lesson aimed at encouraging a conversation related to the past, present and future of phones, communication and technology. There’s plenty of room for student input and discussion here. Let your students speak freely, take notes and give them corrections where… [Read more…]

Lazy Stories – Student Centred Writing Activities

January 21, 2012 by

Don’t let the title mislead you; I’m not trying to encourage torpescence. Far from it –  in fact, this is a lesson focused on writing and speaking, using the third conditional, natural English and past modals (would have, could have, should have, might have). The… [Read more…]

5 Activities For A Floor plan. Part Two – Terrible Housemates.

January 16, 2012 by

Interviewing housemates. Teens, 14-17. Adults, mixed level. Adjectives of personality The teacher will provide a frame-work in which natural English is drawn from the students. Lesson Aims Question formation Interviews Adjectives of personality Modals for expressing preference Stage One –… [Read more…]

5 Activities For A Floor plan. Part One – Zombie Apocalypse.

January 6, 2012 by

Zombie escape. Teens, 14-17, mixed level. 2nd conditional. If your school/office is following the rules it will have a fire exit plan in every room. It’s the kind of thing you’ll see on your hotel door, with a plan of all the exits, staircases, lifts… [Read more…]

This Is Your Life: student centred, natural English, dogme.

January 3, 2012 by

This is a very easy lesson to prepare, there’s no technology involved and it genuinely makes the students think. It’s good for generating discussion and the natural use of conditionals in conversation in adult GE or business classes. You won’t know where this is going… [Read more…]

Viral Video Predictions

January 2, 2012 by

A designer lessons ESL lesson plan developed by George Chilton Here’s a selection of four viral videos – taken directly from Youtube. It’s a simple prediction exercise, leading on to description using the narrative present simple and  fun to try out with pre-intermediate to intermediate teenagers. Each video needs to be paused at some point,… [Read more…]

A kiss isn’t just a Kiss – 30-45 Minute Image Speculation Activity

December 30, 2011 by

Lesson Aims This is a quick activity aimed at encouraging discussion and speculation. Materials-light,  for adult ESL learners Stage one – Description Project or distribute the image. Ask your students to study the picture and answer, in writing, the following three questions: What is the… [Read more…]

Who was this man and how did he change the world?

December 27, 2011 by

Who was this man? This is a quick activity to Practice FCE picture talk. Developed by Neil McMillan and George Chilton for designer lessons This is a very adaptable activity – you could use a photograph of just about anyone who has a claim to fame. I chose Sir Jimmy Savile primarily for his style,… [Read more…]

My Hypothetical World – Another 3rd Conditional Lesson

December 19, 2011 by

I’d hate to count the number of times I’ve misplaced a file or paper and had to remake the same stupid worksheet…then found the old one, which was slightly better. Anyway, I think teachers are also pretty good at doing that on the macro-scale too… [Read more…]

Prison Break: live listening comprehension and a review of the 3rd conditional.

December 19, 2011 by

Your students should be familiar with the 3rd conditional, but in need of practice. This is lesson is designed for a 1 hour 30 minute / 2 hour class. If you have a shorter class you can always change the first activity. Keep your eye… [Read more…]

You said what? An Unplugged Grammar Review of Question Formation, “memory and mingle”.

December 14, 2011 by

No-one expects the Spanish inquisition. This is a zero-prep unplugged review lesson aimed at reviewing question formation. The students will test their speaking, listening and memory skills. Lesson aims: To practise question formation Conversation skills Listening and memory skills Error correction Syntax in question and… [Read more…]

$203,150…for a what? Yes, darling – a handbag.

December 13, 2011 by

This lesson aims to get your students talking about status symbols and the megarich. The dictogloss activity tests both their listening ability and teamwork skills. I haven’t included strict timings here, though this lesson has the potential to overrun, so keep your eye on the… [Read more…]

“I didn’t say we should kill him!” – Intonation, Sentence Stress and Murder.

December 10, 2011 by

This is an interactive lesson that encourages the students to be creative and use natural language. The focus is on intonation and sentence stress, and can be adapted to suit your class as need be. Optionally, you could download this plain 4 slide powerpoint presentation… [Read more…]

You’re Beautiful – Literal Music Video Describing Actions, People, Prepositions, Movement and James Blunt.

December 10, 2011 by

This is a fun descriptive video lesson that can be adapted to suit the needs of your students. I’m not sure where I found it, but I’m sure the idea was given to me by one of the teachers in the staffroom. Wherever it came… [Read more…]

Unplugged ESL: Passing disagreeable notes

December 9, 2011 by

Passing disagreeable notes – Pre-intermediate – advanced. A three stage, zero-preparation unplugged lesson. Lesson aims: To practise giving opinions To help speaking fluency Class grammar review Writing opinions Stage One: – Each student must write an opinion on a slip of paper. As a guide, this opinion must be something that can be argued: “Barcelona… [Read more…]

A Dogme Cat Translation and Video Dictation

December 9, 2011 by

This is a lighthearted, interactive video lesson aimed at teenagers and younger GE classes. The learners produce their own language and material, using the video as a base. They perform, correct and compare dialogues and also complete a listening dictation. Yes, that’s right, it’s a… [Read more…]

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