How to teach articles to your ESL students (3)

We have developed a set of eight lesson plans to help you teach the use of articles to your students!

Our articles lesson plans (N11 – Articles-A/An-The – 1 to 8) can be found under the Nouns section of our library.
As experienced ESL teachers, we have all heard students ask us, ‘how do I know when to use a and when to use the?’. The problem with this question is that the answer is quite complex! That’s why we’ve developed eight lesson plans covering the different uses of articles across as many different scenarios that we could think of.
In this post we’ll take a look at our lesson #6 – 8. The first part of our teaching articles post can be found here, where we examine our first two lessons and the second part of our post can be found here, where examine lesson #3-5. Lessons #6-8 are great resources for students that enjoy geography and travelling. Since many of the articles uses in these lessons cover geographic places or features, we incorporate geographic themed exercises where possible.

Lesson 6: N11.6 – Articles/A-An-The – 6

In lesson six of our lesson plans we  focus on the use of articles with different terms describing geography:

  • Not using the with most names and places including cities, towns, countries, provinces, continent, islands and mountains (e.g. Canada, Africa, London)
  • The use of the for states, republics and kingdoms (e.g the Netherlands, the United Kingdom)
  • Geographical names that use the such as oceans, seas, rivers, groups of islands and mountain ranges (e.g. the Alps, the Nile)

We also examine the use of the with family names in the plural form (e.g. the Smiths). This is a wonderful lesson to teach any student that is interested in geography:
articles articles

Lesson 7: N11.7 – Articles/A-An-The – 7

In our seventh lesson we review many of the geographical terms that are used with and without the. We also introduce cardinal points on a map (N, S, E, W) used with the (but not when the cardinal point is in a place name, such as South America).
We finalize the lesson by including more place names that do not take the (buildings and institutions) and those that do take the (hotels, theatres, monuments and museums) and some that take of (e.g. the Bank of Montreal). The exercises should motivate students that enjoy geography and travelling!
articles articles

Lesson 8: N11.8 – Articles/A-An-The – 8

In our final lesson on articles we examine more names of places that both take the and do not:

  • Restaurants/businesses/hotels that are named after people ending in -s, -‘s or -s’ that don’t take the (e.g. Lloyd’s of London, Harry’s fish shack)
  • Churches named after Saints (which do not take the)
  • Company names, that typically don’t take the (e.g. Google, Nike)

We finalize the series by reviewing all the different place name types we’ve examined over the last three lessons:
articles articles

We think we’ve covered the gamut for teaching your students the different uses of articles, let us know what you think!

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