ESL Activity: Poster Presentation

Looking for an oral presentation activity, but hate student speeches? Try a poster presentation. It’s an awesome fluency activity that keeps students talking and engaged.

ESL Activity Introduction

This English lesson, about 40-60 minutes, works great as a replacement for the old boring student speeches. You know, one student struggles at the front of class to speak about a topic. The rest of the class, and sometimes the teacher, struggle to stay awake.

Everything about this lesson is different and better. The description below is in two parts. Section 1 contains instructions for students. Section 2 contains more detailed notes for lesson plan implementation.

Poster Presentation

1 Student Notes

We’re going to do a poster presentation activity. Here is what each students needs to do:

  1. Choose a topic that you are interested in. Choose a topic that is fun, interesting and informative.
  2. Stay away from simple topics like, “My hometown.”
  3. Do some research and write a script. Create a 2-4 minute talk.
  4. Make a poster. One A4 piece of paper is probably too small. If you tape four pages together you can make a good size poster for little or no cost. You don’t need to buy special poster paper.
  5. Placing a few pictures on the poster is a good way to create interest.
  6. Writing a few words on the poster is okay. Don’t write your whole script though.
  7. On presentation day, you are going to talk about your topic and teach the other students something.


2 Teacher Notes

I usually give students 2 to 3 weeks notice before running the activity in class. This gives them plenty of time to choose a topic and prepare materials.

On presentation day, be sure to bring some to class.

Here is one way to run the activity:

  1. Divide the class into two groups, A and B.
  2. Group A students tape their posters to the walls and whiteboard. Ask students to spread out as much as possible because the room can get noisy.
  3. Group A students stand beside their posters.
  4. Group B students mingle with Group A students, one on one.
  5. Group A students talk about topic. They use the poster to highlight points or even remember what they need to say.
  6. Group B students listen and ask questions (I require a minimum of two questions).
  7. Teacher mingles and monitors discussions, provides encouragement for lower level students.

Expect an average of 2 to 3 minutes of talk time per poster. Once the conversation dies out, call for a break. Group A students remove their posters. Group B students put up their posters.

Repeat the presentation and mingling process.


I use a rudimentary assessment system: total score total 10 points.

The Poster – up to 3 points

I tell students the poster is a means to summarizing the topic and main points. It doesn’t not need to be amazing, nor does it require a great deal of time, effort or expense. So I grade like this:

  • 3 – the student did a wonderful job, a great deal of care and attention is evident, it’s colorful, attractive and stimulates interest
  • 2 – it’s good, it does the job, some evidence of effort and organisation, satisfactory
  • 1 – incomplete, it looks like it was made 5 minutes before the activity started

The Presentation – up to 7 points

  • 7 – fabulous oral presentation and interesting topic, lots of eye contact with students, thoughtful and informative
  • 6 – good job, not the best, but satisfactory, perhaps too much reading from the poster
  • 5 – the topic is simple or not well researched, the student seems unprepared, just adequate
  • 4 or less – incomplete, poor topic choice, reads from the poster too much, little engagement with listeners, not much evidence of research, not much to learn

Save time. Teach well.

Cut your lesson prep time with this colossal collection of ESL resources that stimulate language learning and critical thinking. Simplify your lesson planning because teaching should be a joy, not a chore.toolbox-front-cover-3d-book-8-8

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