ESL Directions Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

In this lesson plan, ESL students will learn about directions vocabulary. They will illustrate according to oral prompts with directions vocabulary, play a game of directional Simon Says and use compass rose vocabulary to write a sentence about a map.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, student will be able to:

  • Illustrate objects in positions based on directions vocabulary
  • Model directions with kinesthetic movement
  • Write a sentence using compass rose directions


45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.Math.Content.K.G.A.1

Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.


  • Blank paper
  • Crayons
  • Copies of maps of the U.S. and compass rose, one per student
  • Blank writing paper


  • Above
  • Below
  • Beside
  • In front of
  • Behind
  • Next to
  • Left
  • Right
  • Up
  • Down
  • North
  • South
  • East
  • West

Instructions and Activities

Directional Drawing

  • Write the following words on the board:
    • Above
    • Below
    • Beside
    • In front of
    • Behind
    • Next to
  • Point to each word. Say the word aloud. Have students repeat the word. Draw a simple illustration that represents the word.
  • Draw a square on the board. Say, 'I am going to draw a heart above the square.' Draw a heart above the square.
  • Call on students to give you additional prompts (e.g. 'Draw a flower next to the heart').
  • Distribute blank paper and crayons to students. Explain that they are going to listen to prompts using directions vocabulary and then illustrate the directions. Say the following prompts:
    • Draw a triangle in the middle of the paper.
    • Draw a smiley face above the triangle.
    • Draw a square below the smiley face.
    • Draw a star beside the smiley face.
    • Draw a circle in front of the smiley face.
    • Draw a rectangle behind the circle.
    • Draw a heart next to the rectangle.
  • Have students hold up their final products. Address misconceptions as necessary.

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