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Speaking Lesson Plan

Describing Another's Physical Features

Teacher: Greg George
Class Profile: Adult Intermediate to Advanced
Date: October 20, 1997


Students will be able to describe physical characteristics of someone (hair, body type, facial features, etc.) to a colleague and, in turn, will demonstrate comprehension of such a description by selecting a picture described by another student among several others.

Teaching Materials:

Warm Up/ Review:

Hold up a picture of someone famous and ask the class who it is. After response, ask them to describe the person to someone who does not know who he/she is.


Explain that the class will be practicing describing and listening for descriptions of people. Explain that by obtaining these skills they will be able to describe family members or friends to those who have not met them, and other benefits/uses of the skill.


Hand out the worksheet containing categories of physical attributes. Have students call out examples in addition to those already on the sheet. Write their ideas on the board and tell them to write them on their sheets. Briefly go through phrases/ ways to make sentences out of single vocabularies.

Have one student come to the front of the class. Whisper the name of another student to the student and have him/her describe the person to the class. Ask the class to listen and raise their hands when they figure out who the person is.


Have the class split into groups. Give each group several pictures cut out from magazines. One member is appointed the "describer" and one the "listener." (Though all present should practice listening skills) The describer looks through the pictures and selects one. He/she then describes (without looking!) the person to the listener, who acknowledges comprehension to the describer.

*** At least three or four descriptive phrases should be used each time, even if the listener can figure it out earlier.


Evaluation will be carried out by observing the group activity and by follow up on homework assignment during the next class time.


Ask students to describe four friends, family members, or classmates to another English speaker before the next class period.

Contingency Plan:

If the students have a hard time coming up with descriptive words and phrases, spend more time on that activity. Perhaps using one of the pictures to spark ideas to fill out the worksheet. The group work activity is important, but can be saved for the next class period if necessary.


I was pleased with the way the lesson went. It was a good experience for me and I enjoyed trying to express the things I had prepared. The biggest problem I noticed was the lack of time. I only had time to explain the group activity, but I expected as much. I donít think I would try to teach a lesson like this in 10 minutes in a real classroom setting. I was at least able to show what I would have done if I had the time. I also felt I rushed a bit, and I would definitely want to slow down and make sure the students understood the words and phrases that we were putting up on the board. I also think that ESL students would have taken a lot longer to respond to questions and give their ideas.

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1997 © Dr. Lynn E. Henrichsen
Department of Linguistics
Brigham Young University
Last Updated: Saturday, November 29, 1997