Olympics Lesson Plan for ESL Students

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 the Olympics. After explicit vocabulary instruction, students will apply what they have learned in two different writing activities.

Learning Objectives

  • Define Olympics-related vocabulary words
  • Use Olympics-related vocabulary words in an original piece of writing


45-60 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.W.5.5

With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.


  • Olympics
  • Games
  • Gold medal
  • Silver medal
  • Bronze medal
  • Torch
  • Athlete
  • Winter
  • Summer


  • Markers
  • Index cards with vocabulary words written on them, multiple sets
  • Index cards with pictures of vocabulary words, multiple sets
  • Glue sticks
  • Chart paper
  • Multiple pictures of famous Olympians
  • Copies of blank postcards, one per student
  • Computers with internet access

Instructions and Activities

Olympic Vocabulary

  • Write each of the vocabulary words on the board. Point to each word and say it aloud. Have students repeat the word. Draw a simple illustration to go with the word. Ask:
    • Have you ever heard of this word before?
    • Can you use it in a sentence?
    • How would you act out this word?
  • Divide students into teams. Play a few rounds of Pictionary to reinforce understanding.

Olympic Pair Up

  • Divide students into groups. Give each group a set of index cards with words and a set of index cards with pictures. Students will work together to match the card to their picture.
  • Students will glue the matches on the chart paper. Underneath each match, students will write an original sentence with the word.

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