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EFL/ESL lesson plans: First Day Activities

Updated on October 15, 2013


Level: Intermediate and above

Time: 30minutes


Who is it?

Step 1:

Ask students to cut two squares of paper. One one of them they should write three negative things about themselves, and three positive traits on the other piece.

Students usually find it hard to write about themselves, so give them at least 10 minutes for this task.

Step 2:

Once they've all finished, ask them to scrunch the papers into balls. Tell them to close the eyes.

Make sure that they all have their eyes closed, then tell them to toss the balls in any direction.

Step 3:

Ask the students to get up, walk around, pick two balls, and return to their seats.

Step 4:

Tell the students that they're going to walk around the class and interview each other to try to find out whose papers they've got. However, there's one important rule that they should follow. They can't use the words that they've got on the papers.

Give them the following example:

If you've got the word optimistic, what question can you ask?

Get some answers from them, and you can also write the following as an example:

Do you always look on the bright side of life?

Step 5:

Encourage them to walk around the class, interviewing each other. Monitor and make sure that they are obeying the rule.

Step 6:

You can conclude the activity by getting students to share what they've learnt about each other. Get feedback and write some interesting characteristics on the board.


Level: Lower intermediate and above

Time: 90minutes

Have you ever..?

Step 1:

Write the above question on the board and ask students to finish the question. Write their answers on the board.


Have you ever been to Italy?

Have you ever swum in the ocean?

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Step 2:

Elicit the tense (present perfect). Draw a substitution table to refresh their memory.

Ask them when we usually use the present perfect. The word which you're looking for here is experiences. Tell students that you will be talking about experiences.

Step 3:

Put them in pairs and ask them to write 5 questions starting with 'Have you ever...?' and pass them on to another group.

Give them at least 10 minutes to discuss the questions they get.

Get them to share some of the questions with the class and ask different students answer them.

Step 4:

On the board write three statements about three different experiences that you've had. They can be true, or false. It's up to the students to find out whether you're lying or not. Don't forget that the grammar point of the lesson is the present perfect.

I usually write the following (the last two are true):

I've camped in Siberia.

I've seen Brad Pitt.

I've eaten snails.

Tell the students that they are going to interrogate you. They can start with the first statement, and ask you questions related to that experience. You can give them a limit of 10 questions in total. After that they have to decide whether you're telling the truth or not.

Once you've modeled the exercise, get the students to write their own statements, and carry out the interrogation in groups or pairs.


Level: Lower Intermediate and above

Time: 45 minutes

Needs Analysis

Step 1:

Give students the following individual task:

Get them to reflect on their performance in English language skills. They should make a list of:

1. what they're good at

2. what they'd like to improve

Step 2:

Get responses from each student. Write the most common answers on the board.

Step 3:

Underline one of the skills that students would like to improve, and ask them to provide ways of how they can work on it.

E.g. Listening skills - watch films, listen to music.

Put them in groups and ask them to come up with more ideas that can help them work on their weakness and improve in certain areas.

Finally get them to share their ideas with the rest of the class.


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