Japan · JET Programme · School

Teaching Resources: Online Lesson Plans and Activity Ideas

This past week was my first time back in the classroom after a month of desk-warming thanks to exams, graduation, spring break, and the start of the new academic year with all its meetings, schedule planning, and more meetings.

At first it was great to have a break from teaching, but soon I felt frustrated from the lack of mental stimulation and missing the warm fuzzy feelings I get when in a classroom full of crazy (yet lovable) teenagers. Thankfully the long absence from the classroom is over now and it’s full steam ahead with lessons!

Back in the Classroom

For the most part, the lessons I did this past week were introductory lessons covering ‘Classroom English Phrases’ and students making their name cards (the best idea ever if you want to remember their names quickly). Not much preparation on my part as I just used the same lesson plan I did last year (with one or two minor updates).

Names cards from the previous year that I use as examples for the new students. Note the stickers: I give stickers as prizes for winning games and volunteering in class – they love them!

Back to Square One

However, I had to turn to my online teaching resources for one particular class. This class consists of third graders (seniors/matrics) who have chosen to study English Conversation in their final year. Their English skills are pretty good, so there is no need for a ‘Classroom English Phrases’ class. In addition, they don’t need an ‘ALT Introduction’ lesson either as they know me from when I first arrived in 2014 (when they were first graders). So the JTE and I decided we would do something that centered around them introducing themselves.

I have lessons that involve ‘introduce yourself’ activities, but there is one slight dilemma: there are only three students in this class. The lesson plans I have are for larger classes and I just couldn’t find a way for it to work with only three students. So, I looked to my good ol’ trusty online resources to find some ideas.

If you Google ‘ESL lesson plans’, a large number of sites will pop up, to the point where you might not know where to start looking first. In my case, I have found a few good sites that I always turn to for ideas and I thought I would share them with you.

Genki English (website)

This site has given me a few ideas, though I have found it contains a lot of lesson plans and activity ideas aimed at elementary and junior-high school levels. A lot of the lesson plans and activities come from current or former ALTs.

Teacher Planet (website)

I haven’t used this site often, but it did come in handy when I was looking up ideas for a Christmas lesson. The site has a lot of themes, such as holidays, and under each theme there is a list of websites that contain activities, worksheets and lesson plans.

Teach This (website)

This site has a lot of great ideas for lessons, covering all levels of English. A few of the lessons are ‘exclusive‘, meaning you have to be a paid member to access them. However, I have been able to find a lot of ideas from the free lessons. It is also very easy to navigate.

Busy Teacher (website)

This is my number one go-to website when I need ideas. It has so many activities, worksheets and lesson plans that you are sometimes spoilt for choice. The lesson plans and activities are submitted by users (English teachers), and as far as I know you can download the Word/PDF documents for free. It also contains a couple of articles about teaching that makes for interesting reading.

Sometimes all I need is an idea (not necessarily an actual worksheet) from one of these sites to come up with my own version of a worksheet or activity. As I mentioned before, there are numerous websites out there to source ideas, but for me too many options can sometimes be overwhelming – hence why I only use a select few and more often than not I find what I am looking for.

And as for the third graders ‘introduce yourself’ lesson?

Well, I ended up finding a fun board game here on Busy Teacher. I changed some of the questions to suit the lesson, printed it out, laminated it, and now I have a ‘Introduce Yourself’ board game!

The JTE and I also played (with me coming in last place…) and it took up the full 50 minutes of class. I think the students really enjoyed themselves (especially as it was a game and not a ‘proper’ lesson out of the textbook). All in all it was great fun and a lot of English was spoken that day. 😀



3 thoughts on “Teaching Resources: Online Lesson Plans and Activity Ideas

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