How we get tree planting wrong

Lesson plan overview

This ESL lesson plan for intermediate and upper-intermediate students explores the the topic of planting trees and the factors that need to be taken into account in order to reap the full benefits of this activity.

The lesson starts with an initial discussion and moves on to the pre-listening vocabulary section. Students match different nature-related words (nouns: soil, stream, timber, verbs: graze, chop down, environmental problems: wildfire, flood).

Listening: students watch a video about tree planting. The first exercise works on the pronunciation of a few commonly mispronounced words (climate, biodiversity, triumph). Students then watch the video, divided into 4 shorter parts, for detail. There are 2 gap-filling exercises and a note-taking exercise. Before they listen to the last part of the video, students brainstorm their own ideas about the benefits of trees in urban areas. There is a further speaking opportunity with the questions following the video.

Mini-grammar: Students learn how to use the expression “by far” and use the prompts given to talk about their own experiences and to share their opinions.

Confusing words: Students work on 5 confusing words pairs (e.g. current/actual, lose/loose, dessert/desert). The last speaking activity in the lesson wraps up the topic of tree planting.

The last few minutes of the lesson are dedicated to reflection: students decide which words and expressions from the lesson will be most useful for them in the future, discuss words that are challenging for them to pronounce and receive feedback on errors.

Homework: 3 different research topics are suggested, which will allow students to have additional contact with the target vocabulary, to reinforce and enrich it through he use of authentic materials.

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Teacher’s lesson plan

Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

Conversation cards PDF

Pre-class activities

To send the pre-class activities to your students, copy the link below.

Vocabulary matching


The first time you watch the video, pay special attention to the correct pronunciation of the following words:

1.rely on  3.floods  4.climate  5.infrastructure  6.biodiversity  7.species

Comprehension questions

In-class activities

Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Conversation cards PDF

Student’s interactive PDF

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