English Banana.com ESL Blog

The latest free material and news from English Banana.com


FREE ESL Lesson Plan: Make a Group Text

This is a free lesson plan from You Are The Course Book – Lesson Plans by Matt Purland. You can download the complete book for free here. (.pdf – 6 MB) This book is in the public domain, which means that anybody can use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.


1. Stage 2.1 First Draft – Initial Ideas:
Explain that the whole group is going to write a shared text with 8 sentences on the board, which includes an agreed number of vocabulary words and phrases. T states or elicits a text type, e.g. an informal email. A SS from one team comes up and writes their sentence at the top of the board. A student from another group comes up and writes the next, and this continues until there are 8 sentences and SS from each group have participated. As they write, all of the other SS have to copy the text into their notebooks. Other SS can call out with suggestions and corrections. T must stay out of it. T does not try to correct their work. If SS ask for help, T says, “Sorry, I can’t help you at the moment.” By the end of this stage, SS have created the first draft of the text. One SS reads it aloud.

Variation: each sentence has to begin (or end) with one of the 8 chosen words.

2. Stage 2.2 Second Draft – Corrections:
T asks: “Can you see any errors?” T elicits a few from the text. SS work in their teams and analyse the text for errors: grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. After a few minutes, T elicits the errors from the whole group, helping if SS really can’t see some of the errors, and corrects the text on the board (or a SS could do this), until the text is completely correct. SS should also correct the text in their notebooks, so that every SS has the same corrected second draft text written down.

3. Stage 2.3 Third Draft – Improvements:

T congratulates the group: “Good! The text is correct; it’s good, but can it be improved? How can we make it better?” T elicits the different ways in which it can be improved:

  • title / headline / subject line (if required)
  • higher-level vocabulary and more adjectives
  • compound or complex sentences instead of simple
  • character development, e.g. names, motivations, back-stories
  • more dramatic action
  • consequences of actions are explored
  • detail where the text is generalised

SS work in their groups to produce an improved text, which means that there are now several distinct texts in the room. T can check each group and offer advice. After about 10-15 minutes, T asks a SS from each group to read their text aloud. After each reading T asks the other groups: “What was different? How has it been improved?” T helps SS to process what they have done: how they have gone from a few vocabulary words, through a rough version of the text, then a corrected version, to an improved version – working together as a whole group to begin with, then in smaller groups.


  • T must let SS do all the work. Guide, don’t lead. Let them make mistakes on the board in Stage 2.1. Encourage SS to peer correct. All mistakes will be corrected in Stage 2.2.
  • Before you begin, make sure you have a few board pens that work!
  • The text that the SS write on the board should be legible and of a reasonable size. If it is too small, other SS will not be able to read it; if it is too big, there may not be enough room for all 8 sentences.
  • SS could write up their own final draft of the third draft text for homework.

FREE ESL Lesson Plan: Mode 1 Vocabulary Session

This is a free lesson plan from You Are The Course Book – Lesson Plans by Matt Purland.  You can download the complete book for free here. (.pdf – 6 MB) This book is in the public domain, which means that anybody can use it for commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Mode 1 Vocabulary Session


1. T asks each group to write down 8 interesting and random words or phrases. They must be content words, not function words. They could be completely random, or begin with the same letter (elicited from a SS), or from a particular topic, e.g. Music. SS work together – one list per group. SS can use dictionaries. One SS from each group reads out their words and T selects the most interesting and random words to write on the board – 8 in total. T does not allow boring words, e.g. table, chair, book… SS write down the whole list.

2. T checks that everybody knows all the words and leads a pronunciation drill with the words. SS have to listen and repeat each word after T.

3. T asks SS to work as a team and write down the type of each word, e.g. noun, verb, adjective, etc. When each group is ready T asks for a SS to come to the board and write the word types on the board next to the vocabulary words. T elicits whether they are correct or not. If not, T elicits the correct answer and the SS writes it.

4. Repeat 3, except with number of syllables in each word.

5. Repeat 3, except with the stressed syllable in each word, which is underlined.

6. Repeat 3, except with the stressed vowel sound in each word. SS writes it with Clear Alphabet, if possible. If not, T elicits it from SS who use the Clear Alphabet chart (p.107). SS could also write each word in Clear Alphabet.

7. Repeat 3, except with whether the stressed vowel sound is short, long, or diphthong. T models the stressed vowel sounds and SS repeat.

8. Repeat 3, except with schwa sounds circled. By the end of the session, your board might resemble something like this (with words from the topic of Music:)

Vocabulary Lesson Plan - Image 1

…and so on.


  • Try not to spend too long doing the vocabulary session. Remember to put together a lesson that provides a balanced ‘meal’ – where different skills are practised and different student needs are met. For example, while one SS might be happy to work with vocabulary for the whole lesson, another SS might prefer free practice activities, and so on.

How I used the Love and Relationships Idioms in my lesson today

I wrote twenty idioms on the board which kind of told a story of a relationship from the beginning to the end:

Method (Pre-Int to Intermediate Level):

Pre-task: Elicit: what is an idiom? i.e. A fixed phrase with a meaning that isn’t clear from the words used in the phrase.

1. SS work in pairs. They discuss together which ones they know already.

2. Group feedback.

3. SS check ones they don’t know in the dictionary or online.

4. Group feedback. Go through the list in order. Give examples. Elicit examples from SS. Check that everyone understands each idiom.

5. SS work together to prepare a dialogue or performance that includes all 20 idioms. Give them around 15 mins. Make a cup of tea for yourself; have a break; er, I mean monitor SS… Dialogues could be set in the past, with SS talking about a past relationship, or in various scenes set throughout the course of a relationship; or discussing future foreseen problems that might arise in a present relationship… etc.

6. SS read out or act their dialogues/scenes. Give feedback. Solicit feedback from other groups. Make a note of errors.

7. Error correction on the board with the whole group.

8. Homework, or follow-on activity: find 10 more idioms or phrasal verbs on the topic of Love and Relationships, and write a sentence using each one.

Note: for higher levels, you could mix up the order and get them to put them into their own order to make a story of a relationship.

It worked well and passed the time nicely for about 50 minutes. SS seemed happy to be learning (a lot) of new idioms. Do let me know how you got on, if you used this lesson plan! Thanks 🙂