Lesson Plan: Polite Questions in English

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to my students in the cafeteria saying ‘give me chicken sandwich’ or ‘I want coke’ like they’re a bunch of knuckle dragging Neanderthals. Now, I know it’s not their fault – they simply don’t know any better – and in their language it might not even be necessary to be polite. However, as they are now in England I always make it my mission to teach my students to be as polite as possible.

So without further ado here is a nice little lesson I’ve used with B1 – B2 classes to turn those Neanderthals into proper English gentlemen and ladies.

Lesson Plan: Grammar Review and Conversation with a Twist

This is a useful little game I like to play with my class to review grammar and practice speaking. It’s also handy if you have to cover a lesson with 2 minutes notice or are incredibly hungover.

Important: You will need four packs of playing cards (a great investment for any teacher)

First, I start the class off by asking a few students four questions;

  • What do you usually do on Mondays?
  • What did you do on the weekend?
  • What will you do next weekend?
  • Have you been to Paris?

Next, I split the board in four squares and elicit the four questions, putting each question in one of the four squares. Elicit the name for each grammar tense. I usually give students 5 minutes to then discuss with each other why we use these grammar tenses and what is the form of a question.

Your board should now look something like this (knowing me, it will look a lot messier ;p). Now elicit some example questions and board them but remind your students you want conversation questions so ‘What is your name?’ is not an acceptable example.

Note: You can adapt the game by changing the grammar tenses to whatever suites your needs. I’ve also played this with reviewing conditionals and it worked just fine. You can even simplify these grammar points by just focusing on the auxiliary verbs ‘do/does’ and ‘did’.

After all this brainstorming from students and helpful ideas from the teacher (depending on the participation of the class) the student’s should now be ready to do some practice. Split the class into four groups and assign a grammar point to each group. Ask them now to copy the three questions on the board for their grammar point and write 10 more on one piece of paper (numbering each question 1-13).

Monitor students making sure they’re using the grammar correctly but most importantly writing interesting questions for discussion. In total, each group will have 13 questions so if my mathematical abilities are still up to scratch 13 x 4 = 52. Fifty two questions! Enough questions to make even the most timid student speak for a good 10 minutes.

Now if you haven’t already figured it out this is where the playing cards come in to play. Collect their questions draw ♠ ♥ ♦ ♣ on each set of questions, run to the photocopier, make four copies (double sided of course – we have to do our bit for the environment) and give a copy of all the questions to each group along with a pack of cards. One student should take a card, find the question, discuss the question in the group and continue the steps until all the questions have been exhausted. et voilà an engaging, productive and enjoyable lesson for all.