(Updated on May 13, 2015.)
So many lessons! What’s the best order in which to teach them all?
We often get asked if we recommend teaching our lessons in a certain order. It’s a good question! Did you know that our grammar worksheets are divided into grammar points (verbs, adjectives, etc.) that are easy for teachers to find, and not in the order of a typical curriculum? So you wouldn’t necessarily want to go into our Grammar Practice Worksheets section and follow it exactly as laid out. Things are laid out as they are for convenience—the verb lessons are all grouped together, the noun lessons are grouped together, etc. But nobody wants to teach 10 verb lessons in a row! And what about the many other sections on the site—when and why should you use them?
We’d love to offer some suggestions on how best to use our site. These suggestions are based on our team’s familiarity with the content on the site and many combined years of practical teaching experience. We hope that teachers will find these suggestions useful!Suggested teaching order for the major #grammar points Click To Tweet
Your best bet for comprehensive grammar practice is our Grammar Practice Worksheets. Since these lessons are so long, you can present the grammar point, do a few pages in class, assign a few for homework, and even do a few for review the following day, week, etc.
The following list is the order that we would recommend following to teach the major grammar points. Depending on the level of your students, you might not have to start at the very beginning. This list can serve as a good guide, but don’t forget that this list is open to variation—you know the needs of your students better than any textbook or list. (See Teaching Order for a printable pdf of this checklist.)
- Simple Present – Be
- Simple Present
- Singular & Plural Nouns
- Articles 1
- Pronouns 1
- Imperative Verbs
- Modals of Ability – Present
- Present Progressive
- Simple Present Vs. Present Progressive
- Adverbs of Frequency
- Prepositions of Time
- Prepositions of Place
- Parts of Speech
- Simple Past
- Subject-Verb Agreement 1
- Yes/No Questions
- Wh- Questions
- Modals of Ability – Past
- Count Vs. Non-Count Nouns
- Quantifiers – Many & Much
- Articles 2
- Quantifiers – Some & Any
- Adverbs of Manner
- Prepositions of Direction
- Simple Future
- Verb Collocations
- Subject-Verb Agreement 2
- Pronouns 2
- Gerunds & Infinitives
- Modals of Advice
- Modals of Possibility
- First Conditional
- Equative, Comparative & Superlative Adjectives
- Comparative & Superlatives – Adjectives & Adverbs
- Present Perfect
- Present Perfect Progressive
- Modals of Necessity & Obligation
- Second Conditional
- Complete Sentences
- Tag Questions
- Past Progressive
- Future Progressive
- Verb Tense Review 1 – The Simple Tenses
- Phrasal Verbs
- Causative Verbs
- Third Conditional
- Past Tense Modals
- Adjective Clauses
- Adjective Phrases
- Adverb Clauses of Time
- Adverb Clauses of Contrast
- Passive Causative
- Direct & Reported Speech
- Embedded Questions
- Past Perfect
- Past Perfect Progressive
- Future Perfect
- Future Perfect Progressive
- Verb Tense Review 2 – The Perfect Tenses
Once you’ve covered a lower-level grammar point using our Grammar Practice Worksheets, make sure you check out our other sections such as Grammar Stories, Easy Grammar Sentences, and Functional English for lessons that use these basic grammar points in the context of a story or dialogue.
Want help with presenting a grammar point? Check out my blog posts on grammar! Since I’m a big ol’ grammar nerd, I love explaining my favorite methods for teaching certain grammar points, and I also try to remind teachers of all the exceptions or tricky bits associated with many grammar targets. Reviewing these key points can be a good refresher before you teach the target. I often include charts that you can copy right onto your whiteboards or print and hand out as PDFs. Try using the Search the blog window to get right to the grammar point you’re looking for.
For more detailed information and tips on our grammar lessons and related activities, see Grammar Teaching Order – How to Best Use the Grammar Lessons on Our Site.
Grammar Through Writing and Speaking
What other ways can you practice grammar? We want our students to be able to use the grammar in natural contexts, not just in drills and exercises. Two ways to ensure students really “get” the grammar point are having them use it in writing and speaking.
For writing, we believe journals are a great idea. Practice is key, and journaling will enable students to practice everything from sentence structure to verb tenses. Using Journals with English Learners will give you some good ideas about journaling. Have you tried using an editing key for correction? This will help students remember their mistakes for next time and will also save you some time while correcting. (Try this editing key on our sister site, Sprout English.) For writing guidance, samples, and activities, check out our new Writing in English section.
For speaking, why not try some of our Discussion Starters? First, students can hunt for a certain grammar target while they read the short article. For example, if you were doing a lesson on the present perfect, you could have students underline all the examples they find in the reading. They could also count how many times the simple past was used, and explain why the present perfect was used instead in certain sentences. This activity would also work with a newspaper/magazine/online article or an excerpt from a novel. Then, while they’re speaking about what they’ve learned, tell them to focus on the present perfect and try to produce it as much as possible during their discussion. Practice makes perfect! Other sections that work well for this include Famous People, Famous Places, Famous Things, Famous Sports, and Historic Events.
What about taking a break from grammar? We suggest doing a vocabulary lesson at least once a week, if not every day. Going through one of our series with a continuing story is a great way to practice vocab, especially phrasal verbs and idioms. Our series include Everyday Idioms (a love story), Everyday Idioms 2 (a story about a student in first year university), Detective Series 1 (a story about a missing ring), and Detective Series 2 (a story about a high school prankster). Everyday Idioms 3, a story about two students from Brazil and Korea living in New York, is coming soon! Almost all of our other sections include a vocabulary component as well, so students will learn a lot of new vocabulary with our lessons.
Take a look at 4 Ways to Teach New Vocabulary and 4 Activities for Reviewing Vocabulary to spice things up in your classroom. Your students may also want to use our handy Vocabulary Record Template to record all the words they’re learning.
Speaking is a very important skill, and most students want to improve their speaking above all else. That’s why almost all of ESL Library’s lessons include a speaking component. For more targeted speaking practice, try our Discussion Starters, Role-Plays, Mini-Debates, and Functional English sections. Make sure you have a speaking activity for your students daily, if not a few times a day.
ESL Library now has a comprehensive Writing in English section that offers lessons and step-by-step guidance for writing academic essays, stories, and more! From brainstorming and writing an outline to writing an introduction, body, and conclusion to proofreading, students will see many samples and try short writing tasks throughout each lesson before attempting a final draft. There are also lessons on how to write a blog post, email, business letter, and recipe. For academic writing, try our lesson on how to compare and contrast. Students can even get punctuation tips in our lesson on how to use an apostrophe!
We’ve got you covered! Almost all of our sections include a reading. For beginner through intermediate-level readings, try our Famous People, Famous Places, Famous Things, Famous Sports, Historic Events, and Holidays & Events sections. For longer, more challenging readings, try our Business in English, Living in English, and American Presidents sections. Try the ideas suggested in 3 Ways to Make Reading Lessons More Interactive to engage your students as much as possible. Depending on the kind of class you teach, you’ll probably want to do a reading exercise a few times a week.
A lot of our lessons have a corresponding podcast that you can play for your students for listening practice. Our Everyday Idioms, Everyday Idioms 2, and Detective Series 1 sections also include audio. Check out Using Listening Transcripts in Class for tips and ideas. Aim for a listening exercise a day if you have the time.
Grammar can get boring without interesting warm-ups, fillers, and other activities to introduce the topic or just take a break from it. ESL Library has a whole list of Warm-Ups and Fillers and Tips and Ideas ready for you to use with your students. Ideally, you’ll want to start each class with a warm-up and use a filler between grammar, reading, or listening activities.
Our head writer, Tara Benwell, turns current events into English lessons regularly. If something major is happening in the news, you’ll usually find a lesson on it in our Discussion Starters or Famous People sections. You may also want to try Tara’s suggestions in our Something to Talk About category and grab your students’ attention with these real-life meaningful discussions.
ESL Library has over 2,000 flashcards in our Flashcard Library. Did you know that our new flashcard system makes it easy to adapt and organize flashcards just the way you want them? You can even change the words by typing in your own before printing! There are so many ways that flashcards can enhance your lesson. Check out Flashcard Ideas for suggestions.
Turning a holiday into a lesson is a great way to expose students to other cultures. Holidays are also fun! We’ve recently launched our revamped ESL Lesson Plan Calendar to make it easy for you to plan ahead and figure out which holidays are coming up. You could also check out our Holidays & Events and Every Day Is a Holiday sections. Following ESL Library on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter will also alert you to which holidays are coming up and which lessons correspond to them.
ESL Library has done the legwork for you and grouped lessons together by theme in our new ESL Lesson Collections section. This is a great way to learn about a certain theme all week/month long! Going over related grammar and vocabulary repeatedly means that students will actually retain it. Check out our theme collections such as the environment, love and relationships, shopping and money, food and dining, etc.
Our new Visual Learning section is a great resource! You’ll find idioms posters and vocabulary posters that make learning fun and colorful. Hang these posters in your classroom to expose students to the words or idioms daily.
For general lesson plan help, refer to How to Make a Lesson Plan, Macro and Micro Lessons, and our handy Weekly Planner template. But remember that almost all ESL Library’s lessons are lesson plans in and of themselves. We like making teachers’ lives easier—that’s what we’re here for!
We have a complete grammar section for young learners called Fun Grammar Lessons. These kid-friendly lessons cover the basic building blocks of English with activities that will keep young learners engaged. For more information about this exciting section, see our blog post on Fun Grammar Lessons for Teaching Young Learners.
Any other suggestions?
If you have a different suggestion about lesson order based on your experience using ESL Library’s lessons, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! It’s so helpful when teachers share their experiences and ideas with each other. Also, if you’re teaching a certain theme and would like us to suggest related lessons for you, please ask! Tara and I are very familiar with the site, and would be happy to help you find what you need.