ESL lesson plans for body parts can help students through a trip to the doctor or just help them find the right words when speaking about something that is essential to their lives.
Developing lesson plans about the subject of body parts is ideal for incorporating activities that appeal to visual and kinesthetic learners.
- Visual learners most easily process and retain information they acquire by sight.
- Kinesthetic learners are aided by activities requiring movement.
Ideas for ESL lesson plans can include:
- Use Movement: When first introducing the vocabulary, encourage students to move each body part as they say the word. In fact, associating a specific movement with a word is one of the techniques used in the Total Physical Response (TPR) method of language teaching. This teaching style theorizes that physical movement can improve second-language acquisition by creating mind-body links. However, you don't have to endorse the entire TPR curriculum to recognize that a movement like waving a finger back and forth can serve as a physical version of a mnemonic device.
- Worksheets: Labeling worksheets are a good way for students to gain experience with new body parts vocabulary. Enchanted Learning offers printable worksheets for the entire body and the face.
- Flash Cards: Flash cards with images of body parts can incorporate a visual element in the classroom while helping students learn new body-related vocabulary. Use large cards at the front of the room to quiz the entire class, or break students up into pairs with smaller cards to practice with each other. ESL-Kids.com offers a selection of printable body part flashcards.
- Body Part Bingo: Create a game with body parts instead of numbers. You may want to replace BINGO at the top of each card with HUMAN or another related five-letter word. Just make sure no letter appears more than once in the word for easier game play. Online bingo card makers can help you create a complete set for the classroom. For instance, DLTK's Custom Bingo Cards include body parts bingo among the customization options.
- Simon Says: This classic children's game is a good fit for a lesson on body parts because you can direct students to wave their arms, stand on one leg, and pat themselves on the back. You can change the name of the game to include your own name, like "Mr. Greenburg Says." Include more than one body part in a direction to really get the students thinking. Because they come from diverse backgrounds, however, don't assume that everyone in your class will know the rules of the game. Take a few minutes at the beginning of the activity to explain the concept of "Simon Says" and what is expected.
Clothing and body parts naturally go together, creating opportunities to seamlessly combine lessons on the two topics. Several activities can be used to match pieces of clothing and the body parts on which they belong.
Provide an outline of a body on a piece of paper with articles of clothing to cut out on a separate sheet of paper. When directed, students should pick the appropriate article of clothing to place on a body part. The teacher can direct the entire activity or pair the students up and ask them to quiz each other.
Gather a large pile of clean secondhand clothing. Select two students. Then announce a body part and see who can be the first to find a piece of clothing to go on it. Don't forget accessories like shoes, scarves, gloves, ties, and jewelry. Continue with the game until every student has had a turn. For an additional challenge, ask the students to give the name of the article of clothing before they can be declared winner of a round.
Be sensitive to cultural beliefs and personal comfort levels when incorporating any activities that may encourage students to touch each other. Even an innocent direction to place your hand on someone else's shoulder during an exercise could make someone uncomfortable. The more comfortable students are, the more receptive they are to learning more about the wonders of the English language.