TESOL: Speaking and Vocabulary Lesson Plan Using ESA Format 

By Esra Merdimeydan – 250-hour TESOL Diploma graduate

TESOL Diploma integrated skills lesson planLevel: Low Intermediate to Intermediate (Mixed abilities)

Time: 100 min
Type of Lesson: Speaking and Vocabulary: Describing people physical appearance and personality.

Lesson Aims:
– To develop speaking skills by discussing the topic of describing physical appearance and characteristic traits of someone they know.
– Introduce and practice descriptive adjectives (topic related vocabulary).
– Give students semi-controlled and freer practice in speaking through communicative activities.

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Lesson Outcome: By the end of this lesson students will be able to share their opinions and give a physical and personality description of someone they know using the appropriate adjectives introduced during the class.

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– Students should already know the tenses they will be using in the lesson; present simple, past simple, and perfect tense.
– Students should be familiar with some of the descriptive adjectives from previous classes.
– Students should be comfortable sharing their opinions and giving descriptions in pairs.
– Students should be able to give simple descriptions of what someone looks like.
Anticipated problems and solutions:
– Students may not be familiar with some of the vocabulary from the list of fill in the gap/synonym activity- T will provide students with examples and pictures from the magazines to describe meaning.
– Students may not understand how to execute the activities initially – Teacher should provide students with clear and simple instructions before each activity.
– Students may not know how to give detailed descriptions of someone they know- Teacher will provide Ss with a list of descriptive adjectives for Ss to use during pair and group discussions.
Materials: Daily newspaper, magazines, board, markers, notepads, pens, handouts with vocabulary, handouts with fill in the gap/synonym activity, handouts with questions to be used during the activate stage.

Read: How to Use the Communicative Approach

Read: How to Use Task-based Learning


Introducing the topic of describing people.

Warm Up: Unscramble Sentences
Aids: notepads, pens, board, marker
Time: 5-7 min
Interactive Pattern: S-S

T writes the following scrambled sentences on the board and asks Ss to work in pairs to unscramble them.

1- Smith is tall Mr very = Mr Smith is very tall.
2- curly I hair have = I have curly hair.
3- Successful Alicia but smart not is = Alicia is smart but not successful.
4- funny Ted intelligent is and = Ted is funny and intelligent.
5- baby blue has the eyes = The baby has blue eyes.

After T gives Ss enough time to work on the sentences then calls on Ss to share their answers with the rest of the class.
T: Can you tell us the first sentence Asuka?
S: Mr Smith is very tall
T: Excellent. How about sentence 2 Saki?
S: I have curly hair.
T: Does everybody else have the same order?
Ss: Yes.
T: Excellent. Next sentence Kazuki?
S: Alicia is smart…..
T: Very good.


STUDY 1- Introduction to new language
Technique: Skim/scan reading
Time: 10-12 min
Aids: board, marker, handout with the mum-daughter dialogue
Interactive Pattern: S-S, T-S

T writes the following two questions on the board and asks Ss to read the following dialogue and find the answers.
– What does Mr. Anderson look like?
– What is he like (his personality)?
Mum: Who is your English teacher Ellison?
Ellison: His name is Mr. Anderson.
Mum: What does he look like?
Ellison: He is very handsome. He is tall and has brown hair. I think his eyes are blue.
Mum: What is he like? Is he a good teacher?
Ellison: Yes, he is. He is very smart and friendly. He is also very patient with his students.

After Ss discuss the answers to the questions in pairs T elicits the way to ask for a description from Ss.
T: So what question do we use when we want to describe someone?
Ss: “What does he/she look like?”
T: And what question do we ask to know the personality of someone?
Ss: What is he like?/ What is his personality like?
T: Excellent
T: So what words describe Mr Anderson physically? – Writes “physical description” on the board
Ss: handsome/tall/has blue eyes/brown hair…
T: And which words describe his personality? – Writes “Personal traits” on the board?
Ss: He is friendly/smart/patient

The board looks like this:

What does he look like? What is he like?
physical description personality traits
handsome smart
blue eyes friendly
brown hair patient

T: Excellent, when we are describing someone we know, we talk about their physical description and their personality.
Ss: Yes
T: If it is someone we only saw once? Can we describe their personality?
Ss: No
T: That’s correct.

STUDY-2 Teaching vocabulary
Technique: Fill in the gaps/synonyms
Time: 10-12 min
Aids: Handout with fill in the gap activity, pens
Interactive Pattern: S-S, SSS

T then passes around the handouts with fill in the gap activity and asks Ss to complete the sentences with the words from the word bank in pairs.

Word Bank
slim, good-looking, pretty, brunette, easy-going, delighted, adventurous, exhausted, disappointed, miserable, humorous, honest, optimistic, pessimistic, polite

T: Here is some of the vocabulary we are going to be using today. Please work in pairs and fill in the gaps with the words from the word bank.

1- Oh wow! Nancy lost a lot of weight. She is so _________(Skinny)
2- My math teacher is very tall and _______________ person (Handsome)
3- We have a new girl in our class, she is very elegant and _______________(Beautiful)
4- She has long and brown hair I guess we can call her a__________(Brown-haired girl)
5- John would agree with anything we say. He is a very _________________ person.(Agreeable person)
6- Of course, I would be _______________ if you could come with us Mary. We miss you! (very happy)
7- Tenor likes mountain climbing. He is an _______________person (brave)
8- Oh what a long day. I am going home to sleep, I feel __________________(very tired)
9- When I lost my purse I was very _____________________(very sad)
10- Shannon was very upset when she failed her exam. She was ___________ for the rest of the afternoon (unhappy)
11- Ted loves making funny jokes, he is very ______________________(Funny)
12- Jack made my lunch and helped me with my homework, he is the most ___________ person I know (kind)
13- Can you tell me the truth please. I just want you to be ______________(Telling the truth)
14- We need to be positive and think good thoughts, can you try to be more _________________(Thinking positive)
15- You always think of the worst, I have never seen anyone as _________________as you are.(Thinking negative)

T and Ss go through the sentences together in order to correct Ss’ mistakes. If there are any words Ss do not know the meaning of T will provide them with examples and pictures from the magazines.

T: What is the answer for number 1, Aya?
Ss: Slim
T: Excellent. What is your answer for number 2, Asoka?
Ss: Good-looking
T: Great. How about number 4, Saki?
Ss: I don’t know/maybe brunette?
T: Does anybody else know the answer? – T encourages peer correction – If Ss can’t come up with the correct answer T finds a picture with a brunette girl from the magazine and shows the Ss.
T: It means a girl with brown hair.

STUDY 3- Reinforcement of vocabulary
Technique: Synonyms/Antonyms
Time: 10-12 min
Aids: Magazines, handout with the vocabulary list, dictionaries
Interactive Pattern: S-S, T-S
T then hands out Ss the rest of the descriptive adjectives that will help them describe someone they know using the vocabulary from the list and vocabulary previously taught during the study stage.

Describing Someone:

TESOL lesson plan vocabulary and speaking

T asks Ss to read the list of adjectives and discuss their questions with their partners if they don’t know the meanings of the vocabulary on the list. T will provide Ss with some pictures from the magazines and drawings on the board to explain the meaning of the vocabulary if Ss need further help (bold, blonde, wavy hair, mustache, goatee etc).


Technique: Give Descriptions, Summarize and Report
Time: 30-40 min
Aids: Handouts with discussion questions, magazines, cut out pictures, notepads, board, marker
Interactive Pattern: S-S, SSS

ACTIVATE 1- Describe the picture

T then assigns each pair of Ss a picture to be described using the magazines and newspaper she brought to the class.

T asks Ss to take a look at the picture and describe the person they see in the magazine/newspaper to their partners trying to include as many details as they can. Expected performance:

T then calls on volunteers to share their descriptions with the rest of the class.
T: What does your person look like, Asuka?
S: She has curly hair and glasses. She is wearing a white shirt. She is overweight.

ACTIVATE 2- Describe Your Partner
T then asks Ss to use the handout as their guideline and collect information about their partners and give a description on their physical and personal traits using at least three traits in their descriptions.

What does he/she look like?
is tall / short / average
is slim / mid-weight
has long / short /curly/ wavy/ spiky / straight hair
has black / brown / red / blond / gray hair.
is bald (has no hair)
has brown / blue / green eyes.
wears glasses / contacts
wearing a hat / earrings / a necklace /skirt/pants/shirt
has a mustache / a beard

What is he/she like?
is smart, successful
is optimistic / pessimistic
is relaxed/ lazy/ hard-working
is kind / friendly
is generous / outgoing / adventurous
is humorous / happy/ pleasant
likes dancing / playing golf/ swimming

ACTIVATE 3- Describe your best friend

T then asks Ss to discuss and answer the questions below in pairs. While one S is describing her/his best friend the other S will prepare a summary of the description. Then Ss will exchange notes and correct their partners’ mistakes (Peer correction encouraged).
1. How did you meet your best friend?
2. What does your best friend look like?
3. What is he/she like?
4. What does he/she like doing? Hobbies, interests?
5. What do you have in common?
6. How do you stay in contact?
7. What do you like about him/her?
8. What do you not like about him/her?
9. Are you planning to visit your friend soon?

ACTIVATE 4- Follow-up: Summarizing and Reporting

T asks Ss to summarize the description of their partner’s best friend, including as many details of the description as they can remember. Students should write their responses and report it to their partner to compare their stories. They should compare what details their partner remembered that they didn’t. Ss may give feedback to their peers by adding/removing details to the reports written by their partners.

Feedback: T walks around the class and gives Ss feedback whenever necessary and asks questions to check Ss’ comprehension. T also reinforces peer correction and provides Ss with feedback, explaining written and spoken mistakes, on the board at the end of the class.

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