I would call the following a classic English First lesson plan based on the Communicative Approach. There is a general tendency in EF lessons towards relays, information gaps, and role plays, and this lesson is no exception. The real gems in it, though, are the Day Starter and Transition. Starting the class by holding hands in a circle is fun and positive, and allowing the students to go crazy for a few seconds releases energy and (strangely) establishes your authority, which you very much will need as you move into the Warmer.

Day Starter: Circle Hand-holding.

Teacher and students form a circle in the middle of the room and hold hands. While holding hands, everyone quickly moves into the center of the circle, then back out again. Repeat several times, alternating different ways of moving in and out of the circle. (Hopping, tip-toeing, etc)

Transition: Go Crazy then Salute.

Direct students to go crazy for a few seconds. (Teacher should do this too to model it.) Teacher says “3-2-1-FREEZE!” Then, teacher and students do a salute.

Warmer: Flyswatter Relay.

Divide students into teams. On one side of the room, teacher hangs pictures of food. Give each team a flyswatter, then go to the opposite side of the room (from the pictures). One student from each team stands in front of the teacher, while another member from each team stands in the middle of the room (half way between the teacher and the food pictures). Teacher gives students a prompt. (For lower level learners, this could be the vocabulary word; for higher levels, a description.) Once students get the prompt, they must relay it to their teammate in the middle, who must swat the right picture.

Transition (optional): Go Crazy then Salute.

If necessary, repeat above procedure to bring students back from the game. Students sit in there seats.

Presentation: How much vs. How many.

Teacher draws one banana on the board and asks, “How many bananas are there?” Repeat with other food vocabulary, then write $.79 next to the banana. Ask, “How much is the banana?” Repeat with other vocabulary. Try to elicit from students when to use how many and when to use how much, i.e. we use how many to talk about the number of things and how much to ask about the price.

Drilling: Mix and Match.

Teacher creates slips of paper with food items on them. On some slips, it’s different numbers of food (3 bananas, 5 hamburgers, etc.), on others it’s a picture of the food and a price. Teacher sets up two boxes, one for how many, one for how much. Teacher throws the paper slips into the air so that they randomly scatter on the floor. Students put slips in their appropriate box.

Teacher sits on the floor with students and takes out the slips one at a time, checking to see if they’re correct and eliciting a sentence.

Optional: This would be a good place to practice with fake money, if some is available. Every student gets a certain amount of money, and must buy the fruit slips from the teacher.

Controlled Communicative Practice: Dialogue.

Students complete At The Stall dialogue worksheet in pairs. (This was taken from iSLCollective, a great website I like to draw on for resources.) I modified the dialogue on the worksheet to make room for a how many question. Mine was:


Free Production: Customer and Waiter Role Play/Relay.

Divide students into two teams. One student is the customer, one is the waiter. Teacher is the chef and sits on one side of the room with pictures of food. (If it’s a large class, students can take on the roll of chef.) Customers sit on the other side of the room with a menu and give their order to the waiter, using appropriate language structures, i.e. How much is the fried rice? Waiters write down the order and give it to the chef, who gives them the pictures of food. First team to get the pictures to the customer is the winner.


%d bloggers like this: