This ESL lesson plan for kids is to teach the demonstrative pronouns this and that. The demonstrative pronouns this and that are often taught early on to ESL kids and beginner learners.
They are often taught together with the expressions ‘What’s this?‘ / ‘What’s that?‘ – ‘It’s a (pencil).’
Once kids learn how to use demonstrative pronouns they can begin to ask questions and talk about the things around them.
This page is a complete demonstrative pronouns lesson plan to teach this and that to young English language learners. It is complete with all the lesson materials you need and hopefully give you some ideas on how to teach this and that to kids.
Students will practice asking and answering questions in English using demonstrative pronouns while playing three fun activities. First, students will play a fun guessing game, then a fun board game, and finally, students will practice using this and that while playing a ‘Telepathy Game’.
All the materials needed to teach this lesson on ‘What’s this?’ and ‘What’s that?’ can be downloaded below. See the bottom of this page for free materials to teach demonstrative pronouns that are not included in this lesson plan.
Materials for this lesson:
- Flashcards – Classroom Objects
- Board Game – Classroom Objets
- This / That Guessing Game Video (YouTube)
- This / That Telepathy Game Video (YouTube)
Demonstrative Pronouns This and That | An ESL Lesson Plan For Kids
When teaching ESL kids, a great way to start your lesson and get your students energized is with a fun ESL song. See our list of the best ESL songs for young learners if you need inspiration for a good song to sing to start your class.
Show students these classroom object flashcards and check if students know what they are in English. Ask students ‘What’s this?’ as you show them the flashcards. If students don’t know the word you can tell them ‘This is a (pencil)’.
After showing students the flashcards, practice by saying each word aloud and ask students to repeat after you. Once you have practiced enough, it’s time to introduce the demonstrative pronouns this and that and show students the difference between these two words.
An easy way to demonstrate the difference between this and that is to simply place a flashcard close to you and say ‘This is a (pencil).’, and then move the flashcard away from you and say ‘That is a (pencil).’
Do the same with other flashcards and / or objects in the classroom. Then ask students to guess what the difference is between this and that. Elicit from the students that we use this for something that is close, and that for something which is far away. Once students understand the difference, drill the key expressions and practice asking and answering the question ‘What’s this/that?’.
Activity 1: What’s This? Guessing Game
This first activity is a fun guessing game to practice using the demonstrative pronouns this and that. In this game, students will see 10 pictures of objects hidden behind some colored shapes. As the shapes disappear, the object is slowly revealed. Students must try to guess what it is before the picture is revealed.
To play, simply show the video in class and pause the video when students are ready to guess. When students are ready to guess, ask them ‘What’s this/that?’ and students should answer ‘It’s a (pencil).’ / ‘That is a (pencil).’, etc.
Activity 2: What’s That? Board Game
This next activity is a printable board game for students to play in pairs. While playing this game, students will have a dialogue with their partner while using the demonstrative pronouns this and that.
Print out this classroom objects board game and give one to each pair of students. To play, students will take turns in placing their eraser at the bottom of the page and then flicking it with their finger.
If the eraser lands on an area with a classroom object picture in it, then they must make a dialogue with their partner. For example, if it lands on the ‘desk’ picture, the student can ask ‘What’s that?’ and their partner can answer ‘It’s a desk.’.
After making a dialogue, the student who flicked the eraser then writes his / her name in that area. Then it’s the other student’s turn. After 5/10 minutes, stop the game, and the student with the most areas is the winner.
Board games can be a fantastic way to reduce teacher talking time and get your students talking using the target language. Check out our board games page for many more FREE printable board games on many topics.
Activity 3: What’s This? What’s That? Telepathy Game
This final activity is a ‘Telepathy Game’ to teach how to ask and answer ‘What’s this / that?’. In this game, students will see two possible answers. Students must choose ONE answer and write it down. If they guess correctly, then they get a point. There are 10 questions, and this game takes approximately 20 minutes to play.
If your students cannot yet write down the answer, they can show their answer by simply raising their hand or moving to one side of the room.
TIP: Kids really love this classroom game and really enjoy pretending like they can read minds. To make this game more fun, tell students that they can try to ‘read your mind’ to find out the answer. Pretend like you are sending them the answer through telepathy and your students will really enjoy it. Especially when they get the answer correct!
Before finishing the class, review what students learned during the lesson. Check your students’ understanding of the difference between this and that, and then practice the key expressions from the lesson.
A great way to do this when teaching ‘this and that’ is to ask students to line up at the door before they leave. Then, simply point to things around the classroom and ask students, ‘What’s this?’ / ‘What’s that?’ and encourage students to answer using the target language.