Listening, Speaking, Grammar & Vocabulary Lesson Plan: Apartment Hunting

Communicative Approach TESOL Lesson Plan

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TESOL lesson plan: apartment huntingLevel: Low intermediate
Aims: To practice listening and speaking skills in the context of apartment hunting; to review the use of contrasting adjectives: big-small, cheap-expensive, high-low, old-new, beautiful-ugly, plain-fancy, near-far; to review vocabulary related to different kinds of furniture, appliances, rooms in the home.

Time: Approx. 80-90 minutes
Assumptions: Students are familiar with the above mentioned adjectives and comparisons –er and superlatives –est; students are familiar with some of the vocabulary related to house hunting, buying and renting; students can use present, past and future tenses.
Aids: audio clips, flyers from Real Estate Agencies, magazine ads.

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Step 1: Warm up
Aim: speaking about where students live. Brainstorming vocabulary related to types of homes and house hunting: renting, amenities, utilities, lease; review adjectives.
Time: 15 minutes; Interactive pattern: T-S/S-S

Ask students if they rent or own the home that they live in. Give them some minutes to share their experience with the class.

Ask students to brainstorm as many words as they know related to types of homes. Elicit the answers from the students. Introduce words such as utilities, lease, and amenities.

Have the students work in pairs and talk about the words that describe their homes, the rent or mortgage (high, low, cheap, expensive), the amenities their buildings offer, if any. Students present their findings to the class. The class as whole talks about whose house is smaller or bigger, near or far from school, an old or new building, etc.

Step 2: Listening
Aim: Introduce the topic of house hunting through a listening activity
Time: 5-10 minutes; Interactive pattern: individual work – T-S
Aids: “Apartment Hunting”, courtesy of Leslie Hammersmith,

Tell the students they will listen to dialogue about apartment hunting and that you would like them to answer the following questions. Go over vocabulary for rent/buy if students do not know some of the words in the questions before they listen to the dialogue.

Questions: (on the board/handout)
1) Does Bill want to rent or to buy an apartment?
2) Where does Bill want to live?
3) When does Bill want to move in?
4) How much can Bill pay each month for rent?
5) Does Bill require a swimming pool?

The following is the dialogue the students will be listening to:
Agent: Hi! Welcome to Rental Property Management. How may I help you?
Bill: Hi, yes. I’m interested in renting a two-bedroom apartment.
Agent: Okay. If you have a seat, one of our rental agents will be with you in a moment.
Bill: Thank you.
Associate: Hi, my name is Ann Smith.
Bill: Hi, I’m Bill Harrington.
Ann: Hi, Mr. Harrington. So that we will be able to match your needs better, I would like to ask you a few questions before I show you what we have available. First, what price range were you interested in?
Bill: Somewhere between $400-$450 a month.
Ann: Okay. Did you have a specific location in mind?
Bill: Well, I would like to live somewhere near the university. Or at least on a bus line.
Ann: And when would you like to move in?
Bill: On the first of the month.
Ann: Okay. Are there any other amenities which you would like to have? For example, a dishwasher, a balcony, a swimming pool or central air conditioning?
Bill: I would definitely like to have a dishwasher, and with summers like these, central air! A balcony is not that important. Oh, yes, and two bathrooms would be nice.
Ann: Okay. Here are photos of the apartments we have available which fit your preferences.
Bill: Thank you. This one on Broadway Avenue looks nice. I would like to see that one. And the one on Main Street.
Ann: Sure. Let me get the keys and we will go look at them. If you choose to rent one of them, we will need a damage deposit of $250. You will be responsible for all the utilities. You can sign a lease today, if you like.
Bill: Great! Thank you.

Listen again to check answers. Write housing vocabulary on the board (price range; location; on a bus line; move in; amenities; deposit; utilities; sign a lease.

Step 3: Elicitation of target language
Aim: Briefly review the pattern I would like + to infinite (I would like to live somewhere near the university), and Would you like + to infinitive? (What amenities would you like to have?) to express a desire.
Time: 5 minutes; Interactive pattern: T-S

Provide the students with the script of the dialogue. Have them underline all the examples containing the pattern would like. Write them on the board. Review the pattern and remind them that after would like the main verb takes a to-infinitive form. Have the students read the dialogue aloud to prepare for a role-play in the next step.

Read: How to Use the Communicative Approach

Read: How to Use Task-based Learning


Step 4: Communicative drill
Aim: Speaking and listening skills (roleplaying), semi controlled practice with cue cards
Time: 10 minutes; Interactive pattern: S-S

Put students into pairs. Give out cue cards. Students use the photos and information in the flyer as a guide to help them find their dream apartment.

Cue card A: You are looking for a (2 bedroom*), (130*) m2 apartment. Your budget is RMB (15,000). Your Real Estate agent suggests some apartments for you to look at. Tell him/her what you think about those apartments. Are they small or expensive? You decide.
*the figures in parenthesis can be replaced with other figures when pairs exchange roles.

Cue Card B
You are a Real Estate agent and you have some apartments to show your client. Ask him/her what his/her requirements are, and what the budget it. Discuss with your client the different options.

Feedback: have each group present their dialogues to the class.


Step 5: Speaking and listening skills
Aim: Speaking about housing problems (discussion)
Time: 15 minutes; Interactive pattern: Group work
Aids: any pictures that can describe house problems as an input for discussion. Picture courtesy of

Topic to discuss in groups: Have you ever lived in an apartment or a house that had lots of problems? Tell your partners about them. Partners present the other’s bad experiences to the class.

Possible problems to discuss: water pressure, noisy neighbours, gas bill, washing machine, elevator, sink.

Step 6: Writing skill
Aim: to produce a Classified advertisement: “For Rent”.
Time: 15-20 minutes; Interactive Pattern: Pairs or groups
Aids:, or similar
Procedure: Have students look at the sample ads in the City Weekend magazine (the link above is the online version). Ask them to write an advertisement for an apartment or house to rent out. Students should remember to give descriptions of the size, price, location and other amenities offered. If time permits students can read out their ads to the class and classmates can decide which apartment is expensive or far, etc.

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