I designed this lesson plan based on the fairly standard one of teaching present simple, every day activities and adverbs of frequency. I tried to keep in mind Kalinago English‘s critique that this can lead to inauthentic sentences (How often do you take a shower? Sometimes-who talks like that?). I made this lesson for my high-school age beginners and while I just wrote a post defending explanations and translations in class, I also felt that it was important for them to slip some things by them without teaching them them deliberately. I wanted to see if we could jump to authentic communication without having to go into too many confusing explanations of grammar.
- To teach/review/elicit Present Simple in sentences
- To teach verbs of every day activities
- To teach/review adverbs of frequency: always, often, usually, sometimes, never
- Flash cards with pictures of everyday activities such as: ESL Flash Cards
Try a few questions out on them to see how their vocabulary is. Ask a few students, “When do you wake up?” “When do you leave for school?” “When do you have dinner?” See how that goes and get a feel for what they know and what they don’t know.
Vocabulary of Every Day Activities
Put up a list of some things we do every day (wake up, get up, make breakfast, brush my teeth, shave, have a shower, make dinner, go to work, etc.) and a few sometimes activities (wash the clothes, watch TV, go for a walk, etc.). Now narrated your usual routine, adding in times and words like “often” or “usually”, as well as some commentary just to make it a little authentic. Make sure you emphasize the vocabulary words when you say them. You can even point at each word on the board as you use it. I say something like this:
I wake up at 8 o’clock. Usually I get up then and go to the bathroom. There I brush my teeth and usually I shave, but not always; I hate to shave. I make breakfast. Sometimes my wife makes breakfast, and I go to work at 9am…..
Now field questions they might have.
After that, hand out each student a picture card or two, Go over the vocabulary on the board one by one. Say the word, and ask which student has a card with a picture of that word on it. Have the student come up and tape it next to the word for a little TPR and a little analyzing of pictures.
If they seem to have the vocab down, ask them to break into pairs and tell each other their daily routine. Bring the class back together and ask them some more questions, “What time do you wake up, Azamat?” “What time do you have lunch, Irina?” and so on. Or if you want to really test them, ask the students’ partners, “What time does Irinia wake up, Azamat?” When you feel they are comfortable you can move on to “How Often”.
Put a model question on the board: “How often do you watch TV? (Note: I often underline the parts of model sentences that I want the students to manipulate or change. That way they can clearly see the base structure and also they know where they have to think). Then write down the adverbs of frequency, “usually, often, sometimes” as well as expressions like every day/month/year”.
Ask a few students individually, “how often do you talk on the phone?”, “how often do you wash the dishes?” Make sure they are giving good answers and that they sound authentic. Add any vocabulary onto the board that they ask for. When I did this, students immediately wanted to know how to say, “Once a week” for example. Now tell them to look at their picture cards and ask their partner how often they do the things in the picture.
For homework, have them write out their daily routines. Make sure they have the vocab down and also that they can write times and use the preposition “at”.
The next class before they hand the homework in, you can have them work in pairs or small groups. Tell them to take out the homework and then in their groups find 3 things in common (we both wake up at 7am, we both make dinner at 8pm) and three differences (I have dinner at 8:30 but she has dinner at 8pm).
As a follow-up you could have them find a free time when they can meet by asking each other, “Are you free at 3 o’clock?” “No, I have lunch at 3 o’clock.”
Note that this doesn’t work well if the students all have almost the exact same schedule because they may not have to even ask a question. When I did this, they all said, “But we all have our break at 4pm. So we can meet then.”