ESL Describing Places Lesson Plan

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

This lesson plan provides teachers with individual and group writing and speaking activities designed to teach English as a Second Language students how to describe places.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Describe places using appropriate vocabulary and phrases
  • Understand how to give both a verbal and written descriptions of a place
  • Interpret place descriptions provided by other people


30 to 60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.4

Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.6

Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation.

Key Vocabulary and Phrases

  • Near/far/close/big/small
  • Expensive/cheap/fun/boring
  • Can you describe _____?
  • Where is _____?


No special materials are required.


My Favorite Place

  1. Have students write down a description of their favorite place. It could be their room, home, a store, park, etc. If possible, the description should include specific details and dimensions.
  2. After students have completed their written descriptions, collect the papers and redistribute them randomly.
  3. Each student should read his or her classmate's description and draw a graphic representation of that place.
  4. When the drawings are completed, have students return both the written description and the artistic interpretation to the original student.
  5. Go around the room asking whether or not the drawing matches what the description writer had in mind. This is also a good time to discuss what elements of the written descriptions were clear and which elements were confusing.

My Favorite Place - Version 2

  1. Instruct every student to prepare either a written description or a drawing/map of the same place. For example, the classroom, the cafeteria, the athletic fields, etc.
  2. Have students compare the differences and similarities in the descriptions.

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