ESL Emotions Lesson Plan

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

Teaching the concept of emotions can be a challenge. Look no further! In this lesson, we will take a look at how to deliver an interesting and engaging lesson on emotions for English as a second language (ESL) students.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, ESL students will be able to appropriately describe their emotions in English for a variety of circumstances.


This lesson will take between 1 hour and 1.5 hours.

Curriculum Standards


Identify new meanings for familiar words and apply them accurately (e.g., knowing duck is a bird and learning the verb to duck).


Identify real-life connections between words and their use (e.g., note places at school that are colorful).


  • Sad
  • Happy
  • Angry
  • Excited
  • Stressed
  • Disgusted
  • Surprised
  • Afraid
  • Confused


Materials for Activity One (Hand It Out)

  • Printed photos of each vocabulary emotion. For example, for the word sad, print out a picture of someone who is frowning.

Materials for Activity Two (Hold It Up)

  • Popsicle sticks (five per student)
  • Glue sticks
  • Blank Paper (five sheets per student)
    • Half of an A4 sheet works best, but a full A4 sheet is okay, too.

Lesson Instructions

Complete the following activities. You may change the order of presentation.

Act It Out

  • Stand in front of your learners so they can see you.
  • Ask your students How do I feel? and make a face that shows sadness.
  • Be sure to encourage students to use full sentences - You are sad.
  • Once they are able to identify that you are sad, mimic the remaining emotions.

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