ESL Summer Sports Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Increase your ESL (English as a second language) students' understanding of summer sports and related vocabulary with this lesson plan. Students will do activities and play games to strengthen concepts.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • name and identify summer sports in English
  • name and identify equipment related to summer sports in English


50 minute lessons


  • Index cards
  • Print-outs listing all the different types of equipment used in summer sports; each sport should have several pieces of equipment listed (for example, 'baseball' might include bats, gloves, balls, bases, batting helmets, etc.)
    • Separate the terms on the paper in columns and rows so that they might easily be cut apart onto individual slips of paper
  • Scissors, one for each student
  • Glue
  • Colored pencils
  • Video clips of summer sporting events

Key Vocabulary

  • Baseball
  • Mitt
  • Pitcher
  • Catcher
  • Batter
  • First base
  • Second base
  • Third base
  • Home plate
  • Home run
  • Tennis
  • Racket
  • Green
  • Linesmen
  • Umpire
  • Swimming
  • Life guard
  • Pool
  • Diving board
  • Sailing
  • Gymnastics
  • Sand volleyball
  • Surfing
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Golf

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1

Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.6

Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Direct Instruction

  • Gather students together and brainstorm a list of sports, recording on the board. When students say a sports term in their native language, write that word and the English translation on the board beside it.
  • Divide students into groups and have them copy the list onto index cards in English, one sport on each.
  • Ask students to sort the sports according to winter or summer, or type of weather in which they are played (warm or cold).
  • Come back together as a whole group and have each share their sorts, giving reasons for their ideas.
    • If your students are able to communicate their decisions in English, encourage them to do so.
  • Decide which sports are summer and winter together, then eliminate the winter sports from your master list.
  • Ask students to discuss their prior knowledge of the summer sports, encouraging them to answer your prompts in English.
    • Who has played them?
    • Which sports need a team?
    • Which can be played individually?
    • Are they all outdoors?

Name That Sport

  • Increase vocabulary knowledge of sports names with this matching game.
  • Keep students in their groups and have them use the English-words index cards created in the direct instruction section for summer sports.
  • Ask students to make a new index card to accompany each index card in their summer sports pile by drawing an image to represent the sport on a new card. For example, the 'baseball' card may be paired with a card that has a picture of a baseball bat and ball.
  • When all groups have matching vocabulary cards and picture cards, have them shuffle the cards to mix.
  • Students can play a memory game by laying cards in a grid-like manner and matching.
  • Old-Maid or Go Fish are also games that can be played with these cards.
  • Consider playing a charades game with cards by having students draw a vocabulary card and act out the sport as their team mates guess.
  • For early English learners, create a set of summer sports terms in both English and the student's native language and use this matching set along with the image as a tri-match game.

What Do You Need? - Sporting Equipment

Teach students the English words for the equipment needed for summer sports, such as baseball, golf, swimming, and tennis with this game.

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