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3 of the best proven English PowerPoint lessons to ignite your online classes

Keeping your students' attention when teaching English online can be challenging. English teaching materials and games traditionally used in the classroom don't always work well when teaching online, but using an ESL PowerPoint can help put fun into a format that students can follow.

After reading 3 of the best proven English PowerPoint lessons to ignite your online classes, use the new ideas with a free clothing ESL PowerPoint to use in your online class. Click here to download your free PPT (and many other freebies). There are no tricks or gimmicks, just one ESL teacher providing PowerPoint resources for teachers.

Why use PowerPoint Presentations?

PowerPoint presentations can be a fantastic aid when teaching English online, especially if used correctly. They help present new information and key language points more clearly than flashcards presented on camera. A powerPoint lesson plan helps create stories or games to show new vocabulary and sentences to students in a way that captures their attention and allows them to follow the lesson. They also help teachers review previously taught materials and check that students have mastered new concepts.

After teaching for ten years in the classroom, I struggled when first teaching online because I couldn't keep my young ESL learners' attention, and my students couldn't concentrate even when using an English PowerPoint to show pictures. Especially as I was adjusting, my young learners would run away from the screen, and it would be impossible to get them to come back. These students would run away in front of their parents, and I was embarrassed. I'm a teacher with a decade of experience, but I still couldn't keep them focused. So I decided that I needed to create ESL PowerPoint resources that took traditional ESL games into an online format that can be used to practice material in a way that students can follow online. Of course, repetition, chants, and TPR are still necessary when teaching online, but what I found most helpful was to put information into a story-like format to draw students' attention. Instead of simply showing vocabulary word pictures, I would create a more specific context for students to understand. By creating a character and a scenario, students can follow basic ppt English lessons using traditional games. So let's take a look at 3 of the best proven English PowerPoint lessons to ignite your online classes.

1. Slow Reveal Game

Simply showing a picture and asking students to repeat a new word is a quick way to lose your students' attention. Instead, take a character and place them in a setting where they discover the new vocabulary in a relatable way. Such as in these ppt English lessons teaching sea animals.

What will you need?
  1. Explain to your students that you will all be going diving and that they need to get ready by jumping into the ocean.

  2. Count down from five and pretend to jump into the sea together.

  3. Open your Ocean Animal lesson Plan PPT 1 and introduce your friend Jimmy who will be diving with you.

  4. Follow Jimmy as he explores the ocean. Different ocean animals will zip past Jimmy before stopping and revealing themselves as you go through the PPT. Use this to captivate your students' attention.

  5. When stopping at each ocean animal, teach the new vocabulary using chants and TPR.

  6. Now that students have been introduced to the new vocabulary play the slow reveal game to practice. Open your Ocean Animal lesson Plan PPT 2

  7. Follow Jimmy as different ocean animals are slowly revealed part by part. Ask students to guess which ocean animal they think is being revealed.

  8. Keep going until all the new ocean animal vocabulary has been practiced.

This activity works because it is introduced in an interactive story format, where students follow a character as they discover the new ocean animals. Introducing new words in this way captures students' attention, and if you have their attention and understand the meaning, they will acquire the new language. I have used this method in many of my lessons when teaching English lessons for Chinese students.

The slow reveal game is a classic game used in ESL classrooms across the globe. But by putting this into PPT format following the story of Jimmy the Scuba Diver, it is much clearer and easier for students to follow.

Don't be afraid to try putting this lesson format into other subjects and creating your own simple PPT.

2. What's that sound?

Another classic game that transfers well into English PowerPoint lessons is 'what's that sound?'. It keeps students' attention as they concentrate hard on trying to recognize the different sounds and also helps develop students' phonological awareness. Phonological awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate sound and is a vital skill that can help students learn phonics. This game works incredibly well when teaching farm animals.

What will you need?

  • Open your ESL PowerPoint, ready for the lesson


  1. Once again, you can take students on a journey through the farm with Farmer Jimmy! Introduce Farmer Jimmy to the class and have 'Jimmy' introduce his farm and farm animals. Remember to use chants and TPR as you teach each word.

  2. After introducing all the animals, move through the PPT and explain that 'Oh no!' all the animals have disappeared; where did they go?

  3. Move to the next page of the PPT and ask students what sound they heard. Have students guess what animal they can hear. If they don't know the animal's name, introduce the farm animal using chants and TPR.

  4. Keep going through the PPT until you find and name all the farm animals.

3. What's Missing?

Once again, you can use this straightforward ESL game and put it into your online ESL PowerPoint lessons. This game can be incorporated into any subject but should be presented using the story format to make the context easy for young students to follow and understand. You can create a story with a bit of imagination. For example, if teaching vegetables, instead of simply taking a vegetable away after teaching the new vocabulary, use the farm concept and have a hungry rabbit come and eat a vegetable rather than simply removing one. Using a vegetables ppt for kids in this method keeps the game's simplicity but puts it into a story format that students can follow. You can get a free Mooncake English vegetable ESL PowerPoint here.

Another example is color monster abductions. When teaching colors, use color monsters as a fun way to introduce new color vocabulary. Instead of simply taking a color away and having students guess which is missing, explain that aliens came down from space and abducted one of the color monsters. Again, this makes the game more interesting as there is a story to it, capturing your students' attention and helping them remember the new language. I talk more about teaching colors in my Discover 3 Brilliant Ways to Teach Colors in English blog.

What will you need?

  • Have your PPT open ready to show students.

  1. Introduce the color monsters one by one using chants and TPR. As you introduce each color, ask your student to find something of that color to show you.

  2. Explain that aliens are coming to take the color monster away (make some funny alien noises).

  3. Go through the PPT, and as the aliens take away a color monster, ask students to say what color has gone missing. Try to encourage students to use a sentence if ready to do so.

  4. Once the name the correct color, explain that you need an object of the same color to get the color monster back from the aliens. Encourage your student to find something of the same color that is missing.

  5. Once they show something of the correct color, the color monster can return in the PPT.

  6. Repeat this until all the color monsters have been abducted and returned.

This method works because it's put into a concept that students can understand and follow. Having the main character and a story to follow does help make your lessons more engaging and fun. In turn, this means students learn much faster.

I hope that these 3 English PowerPoint lessons help ignite your online classes and make your teaching more fun for both you and your students. If you're looking for more tips and ideas for online teaching, try some of these online ESL games for kids.

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