Happy dog with his head out of the window of a car

In the context of the ELT week that British Council Argentina organised in March 2023, we invited teachers to submit lesson ideas for the remote and online classroom that drew on the contents of the talks they attended during the event.

This lesson plan was contributed by teacher Anabella B. Herfert as a response to this call. It is designed to be used with primary school children and it aims to raise awareness on the importance of adopting dogs from animal shelters instead of buying them at puppy mills. The activities included seek to make the lesson meaningful and memorable for the students. 

During the last stages of this lesson plan, you can promote student reflection about what makes good communication in this situation e.g. appealing to emotions, deciding what information to highlight and how to do this, using attractive photos, etc. You can also encourage critical discussion in connection with the ethics of owning dogs.

Lesson Plan: Adopt a pet! - summary
Author: Anabella B. Herfert

Topic: Describing animals, raising awareness on the importance of adopting pets from animal shelters


  • To expand knowledge and vocabulary related to personality and physical description
  • To raise awareness on the importance of adopting pets instead of buying them as a way to prevent animal exploitation
  • To develop students’ 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration and visual literacy

Age/level: CEFR A2, children aged 9-11

Time: 60 minutes 


  1. Pictures of pets
  2. Images or websites of local animal shelters (e.g. https://www.elcampitorefugio.org/)
  3. Video from https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeapet
  4. Use the internet to watch the video together during the synchronous class.
  5. Share links through QR Codes or in a virtual classroom (Jamboard)
  6. Share the code to access the panel (Flipgrid)

Procedure summary:
The first part of the lesson focuses on a video from https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeapet  which shows dogs that have been adopted. Students watch the video in class and try to identify phrases or words used to describe these dogs. Then we think of more words or expressions that may come in handy. Students are invited to collaborate on a Jamboard and to use virtual “post it” notes to share their words or phrases. We edit this list together.

The second part focuses on the Flipgrid panel that students will create to complete /to complement the video. The ultimate goal is to encourage the viewers to adopt dogs from animal shelters. Learners design descriptions to promote dog & puppy adoption and upload a short video to the Flipgrid panel.

Lesson Plan: Adopt a pet! - Detailed procedure

1. Lead-in (5 minutes)

  • Tell the class that today’s lesson is about pets.
  • Ask them if they have any pets (show picture of your pet).
  • Encourage students to tell you whether they live with a pet, what kind of pet they have and to share information about their pets.
  • Ask the students if they know what an animal shelter is. What animals live in this place? Who works for animal shelters? How can people help? Give examples of local animal shelters and, if possible, show students pictures to help them understand the concept.

2. Viewing the video (10 minutes)

  • Announce that you will watch a video from an UK animal shelter
  • Watch the video with the class
  • Watch it again and this time encourage students to pay attention to words and phrases used to describe these pets

3. Language Focus: describing pets (10 minutes)

  • Send the link (through the chat box, your virtual classroom or via QR Code) to a Jamboard (see example here) and invite students to share the words and phrases they noticed in a virtual “post it” note.
  • Work out the meaning of words and phrases together with the class, ask students to add more items to describe pets. Invite students to pause and think if they have taken into account different aspects, i.e. not only physical description.
  • Edit and organise the list of words and phrases to describe pets together with the class

4. Practice: describing pets (10 minutes)

  • Share a Jamboard with the picture of King with the class (you can create your own copy). He is up for adoption.
  • Invite the class to come up with words and phrases to describe him and post them on the Jamboard.
  • Invite the class to explore the webpage to find more information about him.
  • On a new slide on the Jamboard, write a short text describing King in open class, encouraging collaboration from all the students.

5. Production: describing pets (20 minutes)

  • Assign different groups of students different pets from the animal shelter.
  • Students must work in breakout rooms to describe their animal
  • Visit each breakout room to provide feedback and support
  • Once their description is ready, one of them must upload a short video with the description to a Flipgrid (see example here).

6. Closure: Reviewing our work (5 minutes)

  • Share the videos so that everyone in the class can see what the different groups have done. (Note: sharing these videos publicly might make this activity more meaningful, but you would need to make sure you have necessary permissions to do so).
  • Encourage students to provide feedback to their classmates.
  • Wrap up the lesson with some reflection about animal adoption.