How to create a Young Learners lesson plan using the GSE Toolkit

GSE young learners

Teaching young learners (YL) can be tough. You have to think about classroom management and spend a lot of time planning engaging activities to keep them focused. Many teachers don’t have a course book to work from or a syllabus to follow. Even if you do, you may have a group with different levels and have to adapt your plans accordingly.

Teaching students at different levels can make it difficult for you to decide on learning goals for your students and what vocabulary and grammar students should know at each level.

That’s where the Global Scale of English (GSE) Teacher Toolkit comes in. It’s a free, online database complete with more than 1,800 GSE Learning Objectives, over 390 grammar points, 36,000 vocabulary word meanings and 80,000+ collocations. All of which are searchable by age, level, topic or category. Having all this in one place lets you plan classes effectively and efficiently – as long as you know how.

Step 1: Choose the age and level of your learners

The first stage is simple. On the Learning Objectives tab, select Young Learners from the drop down menu on the left. Then use the sliding bar to indicate the level of your students. If you are teaching a mixed ability group you can choose a range (e.g. A1 and A2).

Once you have selected your filters, click Show results.

Step 2: Pick a learning objective

The most difficult step is choosing the learning objective. Ask yourself what you want the students to achieve by the end of the class. Think about:

  • Why the students are learning English
  • What they enjoy
  • What they need to improve

The learning objectives in the GSE Toolkit are broken down into skills, so you can easily filter by speaking, reading, writing and listening if there’s something specific you want to work on. If you have a syllabus or the students are preparing for an exam this may help you to decide.

Step 3: Decide what target language the students need

In the learning objective highlighted in the screenshot above, the students need to be able to express their likes and dislikes in relation to familiar topics such as food. To do this they need appropriate language. Click on the Vocabulary tab on the top right and scroll through the topics until you find the most appropriate one and click Choose (see below).

You should now have a list of related vocabulary for the chosen level. It is also useful to review lower level language in order to see what the students should already know and what you might need to revise.

By clicking on the down arrow (see the screenshot above), you will discover more information related to the vocabulary, including the definition, an example of the word or phrase being used in context, and the grammatical category (verb, adjective, noun, etc.).

If you have some vocabulary you want to include but don’t know if the level is appropriate, you can also search directly by keyword.

Step 4: Complete a lesson plan

Now you have objectives and you know what target language to include, it’s time to think about the structure of the class and the activities you are going to do.


  • Keep activities short. As a rule of thumb use their age to guide how long each activity should be (e.g. 5 minutes for 5 year olds, 7 minutes for 7 year olds etc.)
  • Vary interaction patterns and energy levels to avoid over-excited or sleepy children
  • Teach grammar implicitly through songs, chants and games
  • Always stick to a routine that children can easily follow

Here’s the beginning of a lesson plan we’ve started for you to help with your next class.

Class: Little Monkeys                                 Level: A2
Date: 15/12/2017                                    Time: 16:30 – 17:30
Topic: Likes and dislikes, food
Skills: Writing
Objectives – By the end of the lesson learners will:

1. Review food vocabulary (e.g. ice cream, vegetables, sausages, soup, salad).

2. Be introduced to new ways of talking about their likes and dislikes (e.g. I can’t stand, I prefer, I’d rather).

3. Be able to write simple sentences about their likes and dislikes (e.g. I’d rather have ice cream than vegetables).

Materials needed:

Next time you are creating a YL lesson plan, try consulting the GSE Teacher Toolkit. It can also be used for planning adults classes, designing courses, writing syllabi and much more.

For more inspiration read about how others are benefitting from the Toolkit on our blog.

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