West Side Story ESL Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Activities in this lesson plan will help you lead your English language learners through a discussion of the film ''West Side Story.'' Students will identify important story elements and will then devise and act out an alternate ending to the story.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • discuss West Side Story using appropriate vocabulary
  • give opinions about the movie
  • identify story elements of the movie
  • brainstorm an alternate ending to the movie
  • present a skit of their alternate ending


150-180 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • ELP 9-12.2

ELLs participate in grade-appropriate oral and written exchanges of information, ideas, and analyses, responding to peer, audience, or reader comments and questions.

  • ELP 9-12.3

ELLs will speak and write about grade-appropriate complex literary and informational texts and topics.

  • ELP 9-12.7

ELLs will adapt language choices to purpose, task, and audience when speaking and writing.

  • ELP 9-12.9

ELLs will create clear and coherent grade-appropriate speech and text.


  • Video of West Side Story
  • Writing paper
  • Pens or pencils


Write the following vocab terms on the board:

  • Gang
  • Jets
  • Rumble
  • Sharks

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