Ferdinand ESL Lesson Plan [Free PDF]


The Ferdinand ESL Lesson Plan introduces students to the beloved children’s book “Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf, offering a unique and engaging way to improve English language skills. This lesson plan aims to enhance students’ vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking abilities while exploring themes of kindness and acceptance. By using this classic story as a basis for language learning, students can develop essential language skills in a meaningful context, fostering a deeper understanding of the English language.

Vocabulary Building


The traditional Spanish spectacle in which a matador confronts a bull.
Cork Tree
A tree that bears the cork used for wine stoppers and other products.
A piece of grassland, especially one used for hay.
(of a person) mild in temperament or behavior; kind or tender.
The name of the main character, who is a gentle bull that prefers smelling flowers to fighting.

Contextual Usage

1. The cork tree‘s bark can be harvested without harming the tree itself.
2. The meadow was blooming with wildflowers during springtime.
3. Despite his large size, Ferdinand is incredibly gentle and loves to smell flowers.

ESL Warm-up Activity

To set the stage for the Ferdinand ESL Lesson Plan, begin with a fun activity called “Act Like Ferdinand”. In this interactive warm-up, students will take turns pretending to be gentle and peaceful like Ferdinand. Using descriptive words such as “gentle”, “calm”, and “kind”, students will have to act out these characteristics without speaking. This will not only capture their attention but also introduce them to key vocabulary and encourage creativity in using non-verbal communication.

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Main ESL Lesson Activities

Vocabulary Activity: Word Collage

To reinforce vocabulary, divide the class into small groups and provide each group with a set of words related to the story, such as “bullfighting”, “gentle”, and “meadow”. Instruct the groups to create a word collage using magazines or printed images to represent each word. Encourage discussion within the groups about their choices and then have them present their collages to the class, explaining their selections.

Reading and Writing Exercise: Character Diary Entry

Ask students to imagine they are Ferdinand and write a diary entry from his perspective. Prompts can include describing a day in the meadow or reflecting on his feelings towards bullfighting. This activity promotes empathy while practicing writing skills.

Roleplay Activity: A Conversation with Ferdinand

In pairs, students will take turns roleplaying as Ferdinand and a curious onlooker who encounters him in the meadow. This encourages speaking practice while incorporating vocabulary from the story. Afterward, students can share their dialogues with the class for further discussion.

Listening Comprehension: Describe the Scene

Play an audio excerpt describing a scene from “Ferdinand” without revealing its context. Have students listen carefully and then work in pairs to describe what they imagine based solely on what they heard. This activity fosters listening skills and allows for interpretation and creativity in expressing ideas verbally.

ESL Homework Assignment

For homework, students are encouraged to write a short story or poem inspired by the themes of gentleness and individuality, similar to those portrayed in “Ferdinand.” They can also research and write about a real-life gentle animal or create an artistic representation of Ferdinand’s favorite flower, the daisy. This assignment aims to reinforce the lesson content while fostering creativity and independent exploration of related topics.

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Through the Ferdinand ESL lesson plan, students delved into vocabulary related to the story, engaged in creative writing and roleplay activities, and honed their listening skills through immersive exercises.

Reflective Prompt

Encourage students to reflect on how the themes of kindness and individuality portrayed in “Ferdinand” can be applied in their language development. Prompt them to consider instances where incorporating compassion, peace, and self-expression can enhance their language skills and interactions.

Why this topic is great for ESL learning

Engaging Content

The Ferdinand ESL Lesson Plan is an exceptional topic for ESL learning due to its engaging content. The beloved children’s book “Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf offers a captivating and relatable story, making it an ideal resource for capturing students’ interest and enhancing their language skills.

Rich Vocabulary

Through the themes and characters in “Ferdinand,” students are exposed to a rich vocabulary related to nature, emotions, and personal characteristics. This exposure aids in expanding their language repertoire while providing meaningful context for new words and expressions.

Cultural Insight

Exploring the backdrop of Spain, where bullfighting traditions are prevalent, presents an opportunity for students to gain cultural insight while learning English. It allows them to understand different perspectives and customs, fostering cultural awareness alongside language development.