Future Tense Lesson Plan for ESL

Instructor: Alexis Jones

Alexis has taught grades 1 through 6, and has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.

Students of all ages are often talking about their futures--their hopes, goals, and plans. However, future tense can be confusing to English language learners. This lesson plan uses conversation with peers to address three ways of speaking and writing about the future.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Use 'will' to describe the future
  • Use 'be going to' to describe the future
  • Use 'be' + a verb + ing to describe the future


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • ELPS.1.10

An ELL can make accurate use of standard English to communicate in grade-appropriate speech and writing.


Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).

Materials and Preparation

For this lesson, prepare a poster displaying a description using three forms of future tense:

  1. 'will' + a verb
  2. 'be going to' + a verb
  3. 'be' + a verb + ing

The following is an example description you might use for your future tense poster. (The parenthetical numbers indicate which form is being used and are for teacher reference; be sure to exclude them from your poster.)

  • This weekend, I will take (1) a trip with my family. I am going (3) to Chicago so that we can see Lake Michigan. When we get there, I will go (1) on the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, and I am going to ride it (2) around and around several times! We are also going to see (2) a play. We are planning (3) many fun things on this trip, and I am so excited.


This lesson involves introducing students to three ways of describing the future. To prepare students for their work during this lesson, it would be helpful to talk to students about their goals for the future (what they want to be when they grow up, what they want to learn in school this year, etc.). In this way, you'll not only get an idea of their language abilities concerning the future tense, but you'll also give them a chance to practice speaking about the future in an informal way.

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