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Lessonstream.org contains a selection of lesson plans to help teachers make good use of the wide range of material available online.
The site owner, Jamie, is an English teacher and likens the lesson plans as being recipes with which to use in combination with the ingredients, in this instance ESL materials. He allows teachers to adapt the lesson plans to meet their needs, so the site uses a Creative Commons License. He states that, “teachers have permission to remix, mash and share the content on my site for non-commercial purposes”.
On the home page, there are many lesson plans listed, and you can click to go to the next page to view even more fantastic plans. For each plan, there is a logo or picture, the lesson title, the date it was added, who composed the plan, (Jamie Keddie, the site owner), the level the lesson is aimed at, and what the lesson’s objectives are. You can see how many people have “liked” the lesson via FaceBook, and you can also see how many comments have been made in response to a lesson. When you click for more details, you will see a step by step guide as to how to conduct the lesson, along with comments left by users. You are also able to download the lesson plan. The site is completely free to use.
There are tabs for Browse the Lessons, Language levels, Learner type, Time, Main activity, Language aim, Topic and Materials, as well as a site search function. I performed a search using the keyword “sports” and two results were returned; one to teach collocations and the other to teach numbers and the passive. I performed a further search using the term “conditional perfect”, which returned one result, and a search for “alliteration”, which returned zero results and a search for “adverbs” which returned one result.
There are also links to a blog and a list of top downloads.
The site is Completely Free to Use
There are no catches, no membership options and no registration requirements; all the lesson plans on Lessonstreams.org are 100% free to use. We all like good free materials!
You Can Download Lesson Plans and Adapt Them to Meet Your Needs
With a Creative Commons License, you are free to use the materials in your classes in whichever way you want to. You are able to share lesson plans with others and change them as you wish to meet your exact teaching needs.
There are Different Materials Available
On Lessonstream.org you can find books and DVD covers, corporate lesson plans, songs, video lesson plans, image lesson plans and materials for light lessons.
You Can See Popular Materials
The Top Download link makes it easy to identify what other teachers are using in the classroom. Whilst this may not necessarily be what you want to use, it can be useful to see the materials that your colleagues use for different topics.
There is an Interesting and Informative Blog
Blog posts are a great way to pick up tips and ideas from others and see the approaches that other teachers take in the classroom and with planning. The blog is divided into different areas, and you are also able to view archive posts, searching by month.
Lesson Plans are Available for All Ability Levels and Ages
There are suggested lesson plans for beginner to elementary students, pre-intermediate to intermediate learners and upper intermediate to advanced students. You can conveniently search through the lesson plans for each group by using the drop down options from the Language Levels tab. Of course, if there is nothing that meets your needs you can also search through the lesson plans for other levels and adapt them to meet the needs of your class; you can add more to a lower plan to make it more taxing and challenging for a higher level class, and remove elements from a higher level plan for a lower level class.
The Site Breaks Materials Into Learner Types
As well as being able to search by language level, you are also able to search through the lesson plans by learner type. Clicking on the relevant tab reveals a drop down list of Adults, Business, CLIL, Teens and Young Learners. Again, you can adapt any resources to meet your requirements.
You Can Search for Lesson Plans by Time
Using the drop down options from under the Time tab, you can identify all plans which have been tagged as needing 10 – 30 minutes, 30 – 45 minutes and 45 minutes plus to complete. This is a great way to see at a glance if there are any lesson plans appropriate for what you want to achieve.
You Can Also Search by Main Activity Type, Language Aim or Topic
Under the tab Main Activity there is a drop down menu for you to select relevant lesson plans based on the main activity. These include:
Reading Signs and Instructions
Using a Corpus
Under the Language aim tab there is a drop down menu of 47 different options. The good categorisation of the different lesson plans makes it so easy for you to find what you are looking for. Under the Topic tab, there are 35 different options where lessons have been tagged as covering that area. Topics range from health, hobbies, daily routine, work, and transport to love, human trafficking, life and death, and law.
Narrow Field of Use
I was unsure as to whether to list this as a negative feature, because the site delivers exactly what is says it will. The lesson plans on the site are classified really well, and the site is very easy to use and navigate. The materials are very thorough and easy to follow, and I think the site owner has created an excellent and really useful website. As an overall resource though for ESL teachers, there are websites that provide more. Printables, forums, job searches, tips and similar are becoming increasingly included features on ESL websites, and I feel that this site could benefit from perhaps trying to broaden its scope a bit. I am in conflict though, because I also think that sometimes things should stick with what they are good at, instead of trying to do too much. You may feel that the site is great as it is, or you may feel that there should be broader areas of ESL included. I am on the fence.
There are No Links to Other Resources
Especially given the narrow area of lesson plans, I would like to see a list of links to other useful ESL resources on the website. I think that links to other sites that provide information, printable resources, book recommendations, suggested activities, teaching forums, jobs listings and such would be a fantastic addition to this site.
There is No Facility for Teachers to Share Their Own Lesson Plans
Whilst comments can be made about existing lesson plans, I think it would be good if all teachers were able to submit their own lesson plans for others to make use of. Even if these had to go through an approval process, I think that the more ideas and lesson plans the site can offer, the more beneficial it would be.
Overall, I think that Lessonstream.org is a terrific place to start when planning classes on a new topic or for a new class. It can be a life-saver for those moments when you have to cover a class for another teacher and you have no idea what the class have already learnt, where they are up to in their course books, and you are struggling to think of what to do with them. As long as you know the grade or ability level you can find a comprehensive and fun lesson plan online to guide you through the class. I really admire the dedication of the site owner, Jamie, for creating such a website; it is obvious that a lot of hard work has gone into sharing his ideas and plans with his fellow teachers. I love that the site is completely free and that you can adapt and change the plans and use them in any way that benefits you as a teacher, which in turn benefits your students.
The different ways of searching the materials is excellent. I feel that no stone has been left unturned when trying to make the website as user friendly and as easy to use as possible. Lesson plans are clearly marked and described and they are very comprehensive. I think that this is a really useful website for all teachers, and one which many teachers will find themselves referring to time and time again.
Do you often use the lesson plans on Lessonstream.org?
Would you agree that this is a very practical and useful website for all teachers to have in their bookmark list?
This is a guest review by an independent author. This review reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of BusyTeacher.org as a publication.