Speaking Lessons

LEVEL: Elementary/Intermediate

OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to:

1. retell a story
2. make finger puppets
3. use finger puppets to tell a story

MATERIALS: Oslo paper, scissors, crayon or watercolor markers, pens, pencils, bond paper, ruler, a story with several characters, prepared finger puppet based on the story, glue, a story with several characters (elementary or intermediate)

TIME FRAME: 1 hour


1.) Find a good motivation that will prepare the students for the story. It can be a game, a question, or a picture that will spark their interest.

2.) Read the story aloud with expression. Make sure the story is suited to the level of your students.

3.) Discuss the story with the students.

4.) Bring out the finger puppets based on the story’s characters. Ask students to retell the story using their own words. Each student should use the finger puppet to retell the story. They can even change their voices to suit the character. Model how to do it.

5.) Ask the other students to provide different sequels to this story. Give them prompts or guidelines to help them with their different storylines. Elementary students can give simple storylines. Intermediate students are expected to give more complex storylines.

6.) Model how to make finger puppets. Give ¼ oslo paper to each student. You can give them a template they can trace or you can show how to do it from scratch. Let them put the puppet around their fingers to know the correct size. Tell them to use masking tape to attach the ends together.

7.) Pair off the students and let them think of the storyline for their puppets. They can decide to have more than two characters. Give them ideas on how to go about it. It can be a fantasy, a fairy tale, a fable, a horror story, an action hero story. Simple stories are required for elementary students and the dialogue should be at their level. Intermediate students need to make the dialogue and storyline more complex.

8.) Draw lots to determine which pair will present their story first. To make sure the other students are listening, ask them to evaluate the stories by writing the scores on a piece of paper (to be tallied at the end when all have presented already). Think of how to score the story. For example, it can be rated from 1 to 5, 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. The winning story will get a reward from you. Determine what the reward will be. It can be candy, bonus points, certificate, etc..

LEVEL: Intermediate

OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to:

1. think of ways to survive in extreme situations
2. write details about their plans to survive

MATERIALS: Some concrete objects that can be used to survive in extreme situations, bag to hold the objects, bond paper, pens, markers, pencils

TIME FRAME: around one hour


1.) Show ten concrete objects. Ask the class to identify each.

Suggested items: flashlight, matches, tissue paper, cup, scissors, knife, blanket, soap, mirror, comb

2.) Tell the class to imagine this scenario:

You used to be passengers of an airplane. The airplane crashed on an island but you do not know if there are people on that island or not. You found 10 objects left on the plane. You need to choose five objects to help you survive on that island. What will you choose and why?

3.) Pair off the students. Each pair should decide which five of the 10 objects they would choose to help them survive on the island.

4.) Ask each pair to tell the class which five objects they have selected and to explain why.

5.) Form groups of four. Put the ten objects inside a bag. Each group leader will pick five items from the bag without looking. Each leader will return the items inside the bag so that the other leaders can pick their group’s five items. Ask them to write the five items on a piece of scratch paper.

6.) Tell the students that they will try to survive on the island using the five objects. They should use each object in different ways (at least three, but encourage them to give more than three if they can). Model how to do the activity by picking a classroom object such as the whiteboard eraser as an example.

Example: Classroom Eraser
1. It can be used as a sponge to clean things and the body.
2. It can be used as a chopping block when cutting things.
3. It can be used as a pestle to pound soft food.

7.) They must write their ideas (sentences preferred) on scratch paper first before they use a piece of bond paper for the final draft. They should also illustrate the objects picked by their leaders. Divide the work among the members.

8.) Ask each group to present their survival plan. The presenters should act out how to use each object in different ways to prove their point. Let them use the concrete objects during their presentation.

9.) Let the other groups decide if the group who is presenting the survival plan will be able to survive on the island or not based on the report. The presenting group should be able to defend their answers.

LEVEL: Elementary/Adult Beginners

OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to:

1. locate places inside a school or a small town
2. give and ask for directions to a place

MATERIALS: Teacher-made top view map of an imaginary school(for elementary students) or a small town (for adult beginners) drawn on chart paper, pictures of different places found inside a school or in a small town, masking tape, small cut-out of a person’s figure

TIME: Around one hour depending on class size


1.) Unlock the meaning of the different places found inside the school or a small town by showing pictures of each and discussing what is done in each place.

Places inside a school:

gym, library, canteen, business office, principal’s office, faculty room, courtyard, grade school classrooms, toilets/washrooms

Places in a small town: hospital, school, church, public library, cinema, shops or stores, gasoline station, fire station, post office, bank

2.) Tape a large teacher-made top view of a school or a small town (drawn on chart paper) on the board. Make sure streets or hallways are clearly defined. The map should contain all the places introduced in the first part of the lesson. Point to each labelled rectangular representation of each place on the map and ask the students to read after you.

3.) Get the pictures of the places and flash each pic one at a time. Ask the students to locate that place on the map by going to the board and pointing to it.

4.) Ask the class to give the location of each place. For example,”The grade school classrooms are near the canteen.” It is assumed that they have a working knowledge of prepositions. Help the students if needed.

Sample Prepositions:

across, opposite, near, beside, next to, between, behind, on the left/right

5.) Introduce a list of language structures for giving directions. Choose the ones appropriate for a small town or a school.

Turn left/right.
Go straight.
It is just around the corner.
You will pass a (drinking fountain, a gasoline station, etc.) on your left/right.
It is (one, two, three, etc.) block/s ahead.
It is on the (first, second, third, etc.) block to your left/right.
Drive/Walk past the (shopping mall, clinic, etc.)

6.) Use the map on the board and the cut-out figure to demonstrate the list of language structures introduced in Procedure 5. Let the cut-out figure walk around the map. Make your own directions based on the map you have prepared.

Sample directions:

From the school gate, turn right and keep walking. Once you see the canteen on your left, stop and turn left. Go straight and walk past the canteen. YOu will see several classrooms on your right. Just continue walking and when you see a big statue, look around you and you will see the clinic just around the corner. The clinic is next to the library.

7.) Practice the structures with the class by pretending to be the figure. Ask the the question, “Excuse me. Where is the canteen/cinema?” Then, let the students give you the directions. Help them out with the structure but don’t expect them to get it right the first time.

8.) Introduce a set of questions that they can choose from.

Excuse me. Where is the (library/grocery store)?
Excuse me. Can you tell me where the (library/grocery store) is?
Excuse me. Where can I find the (library/grocery store)?
Excuse me. How can I get to the (library/grocery store)?

9.) Pair off the students. Everyone will pick a picture of a place and then ask the directions to it. The partners will give the directions using the map on the board. Encourage the students to use different questions introduced to them in Procedure 8.

LEVEL: Elementary

OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to:

1. interview their classmates
2. write down basic personal information

MATERIALS: Big picture of a famous person or cartoon character, strips of paper for written questions and corresponding answers, markers, masking tape, board, chart paper for language structures, Speaking Worksheet on Personal Information, construction paper, paste/glue, scissors

TIME FRAME: Around 45 minutes


1.) Show a big picture of a famous person or a famous cartoon character like Superman, etc. Ask questions like the ones given below:

“What is the name of this person?”
“How old is he/her?”
“Where does he/she live?”

2.) Explain to the students that if they need to know about someone they need to ask questions. Flash the questions written on strips of paper and read each one aloud. Tape the strips on the board.

“What is your name?”
“How old are you?”
“When were you born?”
“Where do you live?”

3.) Show the other paper strips with the answers to the questions flashed a while ago. Flash the answers randomly. Read the random answers aloud and then ask volunteers to tape the correct answer beside the question.

“What is your name?” “My name is Susan.”
“How old are you?” “I am 7 years old.”
“When were you born?” “I was born on April 29,____”
“Where do you live?” “I live in Springville.”

4.) Show another set of paper strips and ask them if there is something different or similar about each question compared to the first set of questions on the board. Then, tape each new question near the question related to it on the board.

“What is your last name?”
“What is your full name?”
“What is your first name?”
“What is your middle name?”
“What is your nickname?”
“What is your age?”
“What is your address?”
“When is your birthday?”

(*Note: The questions above are very specific. Explain how each question is related to the questions given already. It is important to equip esl learners with all the known language structures related to personal information.)

5.) Teach the students another set of language structures that will help them during the final activity. Write these structures on chart paper before the class begins. Explain how each should be used. Show scenarios when such structures are used and act each one out with a volunteer so the students can get the picture.

“Please speak slowly.”
“Please repeat.”
“Please say that again.”
“I am sorry, but I don’t understand.”
“How do you spell…..?”

6.) Give out the worksheet that they need to fill out. Tell them to choose ten classmates whom they need to interview to get the necessary information. Demonstrate how to do this first so they know what to do. If the class size is smaller, they should interview all their classmates. It is up to you, the teacher to decide as well. Allow the students to move around freely and guide them accordingly. Give them a time limit.

7.) Let the students paste their worksheets on pieces of colorful construction paper. They can cut the sides to make the worksheet fit the construction paper if they need to.

LEVEL: Elementary

OBJECTIVES: The students should be able to:

1. use basic courtesy expressions appropriately
2. roleplay situations involving basic courtesy expressions

MATERIALS: Marking pens, strips of paper, 1/4 sheet of paper, pen

TIME FRAME: around one hour


1.) Show prepared courtesy expressions written on strips of paper. Discuss each expression by giving and acting out situations on how each expression is used.

Thank you./Thanks
You are welcome.
May I have____________?
May I borrow____________?
Good morning
Good afternoon
Good evening
Good night
Good day
Excuse me.
I’m sorry./ Sorry
It’s all right./ It’s okay.
May I____________?

2.) Write another set of situations and ask the students to give the appropriate expression for each situation. The students will pick the situation written on 1/4 sheet of paper. Add situations to the given list depending on the number of students you would like to participate. This is just an exercise.

Sample situations:

1. Ana wants to borrow Tom’s pencil. What should she say before and after borrowing?
2 Jason forgets his pad paper. He needs to get a piece of paper from Roger. What should he say before and after getting a piece of paper?
3. Judith is running very fast. She bumps into Dexter. What should Judith say?
4. Ms. Smith, the teacher, is talking to another teacher. Dennis wants to go home because he feels sick. What should Dennis say?
5. Lea is inside a crowded room. She needs to go to the washroom but there are many people standing in her way. What should she say?

3.) Ask the class to do the following actions.

1. Borrow anything from your seatmate.
2. Greet your seatmate.
3. Ask for anything a seatmate can give you.
4. Ask your teacher’s permission to do something you would like to do.
5. Elbow a seatmate and then apologize for doing so.

4.) Group the students and ask the students to roleplay situations involving behavior at home, behavior outside the classroom during recess, behavior inside the classroom during lessons, behavior inside the classroom when the teacher is out, behavior on the playground, behavior in the canteen, behavior in a neighbor’s house, and behavior in the library. Make sure to divide the different situations among the students. It can be done by draw-lots.

(*Note: If the class size is small, the students can do pair work. If the class size is quite big, students can be grouped into groups of four or more. The group members can play different roles — e.g. father, mother, son, daughter, etc.)

5.) Let the students discuss roles with their groupmates for just a few minutes before presenting their roleplay. They should be spontaneous about what they will say and do, so don’t seat group members together to avoid inattentiveness during the presentation of the other groups. Just guide each group or pair accordingly as they do their presentation.