ESL/ EFL Lesson Plan B1 – Used To And Would – Past Habits

Used to and Would ESL Lesson Plan - past habits and stages in life
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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan B1 – Used To And Would

Talking about past habits and past stages in life

The following ESL lesson plan (B1) teaches students how to talk about past habits and past stages in life in English. This English lesson plan is suitable for esl teachers who work with intermediate English learners.
At the end of the lesson plan you will find the Answer Sheet available for download.

Target Grammar: Used to/ Would (expressing past habits)
Target Vocabulary: Food, Talking about past stages in life


1. Look at the table. What food from the table have you recently cooked/ ordered/ eaten? Describe in a couple of sentences.

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tuna, broccoli, lamb, spinach, courgette, coconut, steak, ice- cream, cake, vegetarian sandwich, cereal, grilled fish, omelette, curry, sushi

2. Listen to the conversation and fill in the table. Who prefers/ used to prefer what?

Rajiv: Hey, Naomi, how about sushi on Friday?
Naomi: Hm, I’m not sure sushi is such a good idea…
Rajiv: But you used to love sushi?! What happened?
Naomi: I still do. But yesterday we had some with Tina, and …
Rajiv: OK, I see. Well, then I have a better idea. Call Tina and let’s have a potluck party. I will prepare some spinach soup. It’s amazing. I used to like it a lot when I was a kid.
Naomi: Really? I used to hate spinach when I was a child. Tina still does, though. Maybe I can prepare some Neapolitan spaghetti. You like them, don’t you?
Rajiv: Sure, just skip the bacon. I am vegetarian, remember?
Naomi: For you I will make some without the bacon. And Tina will probably bring some of her delicious whole-wheat cookies.
Rajiv: Oh, I would eat piles of those when Tina and I were room-mates last semester.
ESL Lesson Plan For Teachers - Would and Used To - Table

3. Read the recipes. Circle the ingredient that does not fit.

  • Broccoli and cashew crunch
  • 25g grated Parmesan cheese
  • 450g fresh broccoli
  • 40g salted cashews, lightly chopped
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • garlic
  • black pepper
  • salt

Preheat the oven to 200C. In a small bowl combine the Parmesan cheese, cashews, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Place the broccoli on a baking sheet. Drizzle with butter and toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast in the oven until broccoli begins to caramelize, about 20 minutes. Remove, and toss the broccoli with the cashew mixture. Serve warm.

Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and butter. Beat together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. Add in the vanilla as well.

Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks and walnuts. Spoon the cookie dough by 2 tablespoon-size balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes.
[adrotate banner=”9″] Let the cookies cool for 2 to 3 minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

*Recipes courtesy to

4. Refer to the recipes from Exercise 3. Mark the statements T for true, and F for false.

  1. For the Broccoli and cashew crunch, combine the Parmesan cheese, cashews, lemon juice, garlic and chocolate in a bowl.
  2. The Broccoli crunch is quite an easy recipe.
  3. Roast the broccoli dish in the oven until broccoli begins to caramelize for about 20 minutes.
  4. We need 1 cup rolled oats to make the cookies.
  5. For the cookies, we add the chocolate chunks and walnuts last.
  6. The oatmeal cookies are baked for 10 to 13 min.


Grammar Box

Used to + verb expresses that an activity was a past habit that occurred at an earlier stage of life. Also, it can be used to describe past states.

E.g. We used to have English breakfast every morning.
E.g. He used to be a professional dancer.

Would + verb shows a frequently repeated activity, or typical behaviour. Would + verb cannot be used to talk about past states.

E.g. I would go to the beach, and pretend I knew how to swim.

1. Underline the correct word/ phrase.

  1. When I was in kindergarten, I would pretend/ would to pretend to be sleeping in the afternoon.
  2. When Tammy was in high- school, she used to/ would to go to drama club.
  3. In my forties, I used/ used to be much more organized, and motivated than in my twenties.
  4. When my father was a boy, they would walk/ used to be for miles, just to get to the school.
  5. After college, I used to be/ would be unemployed for very long time.
  6. When I was little I used to like/ used like the steak well done.

2. Make negative sentences from the examples below.

  1. I used to like fruit when I was a kid.
  2. Ornella used to fry noodles in a special pan I gave her as a present.
  3. Jay would practice piano every day for at least three hours.
  4. Ever since he was a child, his family would encourage him to become an artist.
  5. They used to play soccer every Thursday.
  6. This restaurant used to be very popular with its Japanese style noodles.


1. Share two of your favourite recipes.
2. Write three sentences for things you did routinely for each stage of your life:

  • Primary school student
  • Teenager
  • Early twenties/ thirties

3. Share some of the foods that you never used to eat before. Why? Do you eat them now?

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