How to plan a 90 minute esl / efl lesson?

Christine wrote in asking what to do for a 90 minute lesson. Β Here’s my reply!

Hi Christine,

90 minutes is a long time!

Rather than doing 2 themes back to back, I’d do two halves on the same theme.

1. For the first 45 minutes just do the normal lesson plan.

2. Then give the kids a 2 – 5 minute break (they’ll need it! Even just telling them to “sleep” works wonders!)

3. Then start again by a worksheet based activity to calm them down – the imagination worksheets are far and away the best.

4. Now review the song again and do either the same game or another game.

5. Finish off with the Picture Book.

The kids should be really impressed at how much better they are the second time!

This is how we plan a “double lesson” and so far it’s working out really well.

Be genki,


Do you have any suggestions for a 90 minute lesson?

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. When I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. Now I help teachers just like you teach amazing lessons and double your incomes!

9 Responses to “How to plan a 90 minute esl / efl lesson?”

  1. Roy Melling

    Yes, that’s useful with the public school summer camps coming up. However, I have to plan lessons from 9.00 – 12.20. So, to be would a teacher plan for the other 80mins? Perhaps, it would be best to do two or three themes in one day? Or just develop one theme?

    The kids are 11 and 12 years old.

  2. richard

    Hi Roy

    Depends on the goals of the camp. Is it an itensive learning course to boost their skills? Or more of a “let’s have fun” type thing?

    For the former I’d go with 2 or 3 themes per day ( the kids will cope – the teacher might not!)
    For the latter probably more crafts and arts may be an idea?

    It’s actually really good doing an intensive course with GE, you get so much done and have a real blast doing it!

  3. Margit

    In the beginning of teaching I had 50 minute lessons~ it felt like ages.

    Now I’m having 60 or 90 minutes. And it still isn’t long enough, neither for me nor for the kids.
    With GE it’s really easy to fill this time .

    As Richard suggests I also go for only one topic. + of course review.
    So, TPR and do other exercises for warm up and review. If the new topic is difficult make it about 10-15 minutes but usually I would say 20-30 minutes for this first part.
    Spend about 30 minutes to introduce the new topic in a fun and interesting way, and then do games for the last part. In between you have time for drink breaks, to read a little story book, draw something…
    If you are also teaching reading it is just perfect to have 90 minutes.

    I think whatever time you teach (even 3 hours), just follow the GE lesson structure and spend some more time on each part is fine. And review is always great, even if it lasts hours.

  4. Carol

    I have always taught 45-50 min time blocks and 90 min is just 2 classes of 45 min together but without any sinking in time…

    I’d give more than one break for younger kids!
    Go more for input than output. The GE software games are great for this and any game where they have to listen.

    How about after drawing imagination sheets, the teacher can use student ideas to tell them a simple story?

    Read them stories, have them act out the action and like real storytellers have the kids participate like repeating certain phrases with you. They can act out restaurant scenes, doctor doctor, etc which normally eats up time getting everyone involved.

    Do themes that combine well like body parts, numbers and Mr Octopus.

  5. Roger

    Hi everyone,
    How about half the class do a themed song, and second half do some phonics? Is that too much for the kids? I know this an older post, but I was wondering how or where do you fit the phonics in a class?

  6. richard

    Hi Roger, in our big programmes we do full 30 minute lessons of phonics and separate 45 minute Genki English lessons, so it’s never too much.

    But …. having said that I’d always focus more time on the speaking rather than the phonics.

  7. Martin Wenzel

    I do 90 minute classes EVERY day. The problem at the school I work at is actually the opposite of not having enough to do and focus on. The problem is our curriculum crams so much material into each 90 minute lesson. We must review 100s of words (the kids never review at home and the parents blame us for this shortcoming???), we must cover new vocabulary (2 different sets – some that actually goes along with a theme of grammar – and then other vocabulary which often is just RANDOM words), upper levels we do spelling and reading (which I admittedly have expanded, so they do take up more time).

    All in all, I haven’t really done a pure GENKI lesson 45 minutes or otherwise, yet, but used the songs purely as extensions and aids to a given lesson. I’ve been rewriting the school’s provided lesson plans to better organize each 90 minutes, but I haven’t been too radical about scrapping the whole thing and doing more of a Genki approach. Part of my hesitation is that the homework and everything is based on covering all this material each class. However, kids often CAN’T do any of the material taught, but we’ve taught it…

    I think I also haven’t taken the full leap, yet, because I haven’t been able to print out materials from Genki (mini-flashcards for games, etc) and I just started to yesterday only to find our school printer is miscalibrated! Blues are pink, pinks are off-white!!! SIGH.

  8. Martin

    Interesting response to Christine, because you suggested I do back to back lessons! Your suggestion to Christine is more in line with what I would probably do (more activities and more building the confidence with the language…especially with young kids).

    As I get more and more comfortable with the songs and the games, the results are even better and the kids are having more and more productive fun.

    My current favorite game is the mini-card conversation Rock Paper Scissor game (Name card game???) where I give the kids 3 or 4 mini cards of the vocab and they go around asking each other the question of the lesson. Recently it has been “Do you like (first card)?” back and forth and then Rock Paper Scissors and the winner gets the other person’s top card.

    It has even worked successfully with young young kids and I see their English getting better throughout the game!

  9. Richard

    @Martin, yeah I’ve learnt a lot over the years since I originally write this, mainly that it’s way easier than we thought when you do the two lessons rather than one. πŸ™‚

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