ESL American Culture Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heidi Marble

Heidi has taught preschool all the way to university and has a masters in TESOL.

During this lesson we will look at the American cultural values that your ELL students may not be familiar with. The students will review and model cultural values by creating role plays depicting different cultural values.


After the completion of the lesson:

  • The student will recall the American cultural values discussed in a previous lesson.
  • The student will analyze what cultural values are expressed in a given role play.
  • The student will model cultural values in their own role play.


90-120 minutes



Build upon the ideas of others and articulate his or her own when working collaboratively.


Present claims and findings, sequencing ideas logically and using pertinent descriptions, facts, and details to accentuate main ideas or themes; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


  • Vocabulary List
  • Vocabulary Worksheet
  • Copies of the roleplay


Cultural Values Vocabulary

  • Independence
  • Equality
  • Privacy
  • Timeliness
  • Informality
  • Achievement
  • Directness
  • Future indirectness

American Lifestyles Vocabulary

  • Family relationships
  • Exercise and fitness
  • Focus on youth
  • Shopping as a status symbol
  • Many casual friendships


  • Have students read the 'Eye Contact' and 'American Culture and Lifestyle' sections silently from American Culture & Lifestyle Today: Values and Characteristics.
  • Pause to discuss.
    • What vocab was introduced in this section?
    • Are any of these cultural values the same as your home country?
  • Have students read the 'American Lifestyle' section silently.
    • What vocab was introduced in this section?
    • Are any of these lifestyle choices important in your native country?
  • Read the 'Lesson Summary' section aloud together.


Activity 1

  • As a class, review the vocabulary.
  • Hand out the worksheets with the vocab lists on it. These should be done silently or in partners.
  • To review the vocabulary have the students use their notes to match the vocabulary with the descriptions.
    • The correct letter is by the vocabulary word; the answer keys follow.

Cultural Values Vocabulary

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