Building vocabulary lesson plans for ESL students is not very difficult. It’s simply a matter of finding words and building up your students’ knowledge of them step by step, a few at a time.
Research shows that most people can only retain a handful of new words at a time. If you want your students to learn – really learn – new vocabulary, you should limit your word list to 5-7 words per lesson. Try teaching five new words each day for the first couple of days each week. Then spend the rest of the week giving your students an opportunity to practice using them.
In general, a lesson plan should include the presentation of new material, opportunities for practice, and the challenge of producing original language.
Building a vocabulary lesson plan for ESL students is no different.
First, you will present the new words and then you will give your students the opportunity to use and practice with the new words.
YourDictionary ESL experts have created a lesson plan template to use in preparing vocabulary lessons:
Try to give your students as much information as possible about each word. Depending on the level you teach, you may want to give some or all of the following:
Looking for a little more help with lesson plans? Check out these two vocabulary lesson plans for ideas on teaching the information about a specific word list and some vocabulary activities to use the words:
Note: There is something to be said for having students use context clues to determine the meanings of new words themselves, but it can also be problematic.
The next step is to give your students the opportunity to practice using their new words in a controlled activity. Possible activities include:
Finally, challenge your students to come up with their own sentences using the new vocabulary from your lesson. You can:
Now that you know exactly how building vocabulary lesson plans for ESL students works, you just have to choose some words.
If you have access to computers and the Internet in your classroom, your students can find your word lists and use them to study words before reading.
There are tons of great books out there with word lists and activities already laid out. Wordly Wise (School Specialty) and Townsend Press’s vocabulary series are two that have several books spanning a wide range of levels.
You can also pick out words ahead of time from anything you plan on having your students read. If you spend a few days teaching vocabulary before you read, the students will be able to better digest the reading.
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