Prepare for a Commercial Driver's License
Created by Jimmie Sanchez
EDU134, Spring 2010
Intermediate to advanced ESL students

Introduction| Task | Process |EvaluationConclusion | Resources | Teacher's Notes   


 Greetings:  Thank you for coming!  In this project you will learn words used in earning a Commercial Drivers License (CDL).  You will learn words and directions used in studying for, taking tests and other pre-requisites for become a Commercial Truck driver. You will learn the process and how to apply for the CDL.

Earning your CDL is a three step process.  For one, you must learn the rules of the road regarding things like road signs, driving logs, driving down hills, city driving versus open road, parking and rest areas, and so on.  Secondly, you will find out that once you pass the written test, you will need to receive training on how to pre-check the truck, how to park (parallel or otherwise), actually drive a truck, with a trainer in the truck with you for a minimum of 30 hours, and finally, take the driver’s test, which entails doing a complete pre-trip inspection, displaying the skills of being able to park, back up and safely drive a pre-designated course.


The Task

In this project you will collect information relative to CDL’s from fellow classmates who currently possess a CDL, research for information from State Driver’s licensing agencies, and Trucking Companies.  You will learn the 5 W’s (why, where, when, who, and what).  At the end, you will compile all this information to create a guide to earning a CDL.


The Process

1.  A.  Write out the questions you will need to ask.

  1. What do I need to know about earning the CDL license?

  2. In what Languages is the test available?

  3. What is in the test – what kind of questions are asked?

  4. What do I need to study for?

  5. What does the driving test entail?

  6. When I am ready to take the driving test, will a truck be available?

2.  B.  Record all of the feedback that you compile.

  1. Feedback will be recorded in a spiral notebook. 

  2. Pictures can be taken of the driving test course for use in preparation.

  3. Pictures of the truck and parts to be identified can be taken or clipped out of the drivers manual or brochures or magazines, etc., and pasted into the notebook. 

(Teacher Note: books will be traded around and viewed by every student and suggestions or questions can be added or asked.)

3.  C.  Create flashcards, poster and handouts that apply  to CDLs.

  1. Flashcards can be created by pasting photographs of truck parts to be identified in the driving section of the test. (There are 136 truck parts that have to be identified during the test).

  2. If photographs are not available, drawings can be done on 3”x4” index cards or pictures from brochures or the driver’s manual can be used.

  3. Words or terms (air brakes, brake cylinders, lug nuts, air cleaner and etc.,) can also be written (with definitions) on the cards.

  4. Posters can also be created by using the same type of pictures or words/terms listed in a, b, and c above.

  5.  Hand outs, again with pictures and words and terms can be created on 9” x 11” and clarified with further information posted under each picture, term or word.

4.  D.  Write a paragraph or two to further clarify your findings.

E.   Play games (with the flash cards or using a chalkboard) or a means of checking competency.

  1. Flash cards can be used to play games. Learners take turns holding up their cards (one at a time) and the other students identify or explain what the card implies.  It can be made competitive or not.

  2. Match games can be played by placing the flash cards upside down on top of a table and having learners try to match their cards to someone else’s.

  3. A chalkboard can be used; Each student goes to the board either by himself or with a partner, a student not at the chalkboard asks the one at the board to spell (a word or term)  or draw a picture of a truck part or road sign or what-ever.

5.  D.  Check each other’s work for spelling, punctuation and clarity. Note books can be passed around so that the students can check each other’s spelling, clarify a truck part, or otherwise correct any miss-information.



  • Driver’s licensing manuals, bulletins, interview guides, and web-sites.

  • Photograph pictures, posters or flyers that you want to include in your guide.



30 points 
20 points               
10 points 

 No participation
0 points 

1. Complete sentences

2. Correct spelling 

3. At least  30 words   

4. Addresses the topic

1.  Complete sentences

2.  Correct spelling

3.  At least 20 words

4.  Addresses some of the topic.

1  Incomplete sentences

2. Incomplete paragraph

3. Doesn’t address topic

4.  Incorrect spelling



30 points 
20 points               
10 points 

 No participation
0 points 

Exemplary:  1.  Uses English for interviews. 2.  Interviews at least 2 persons. 3.  Contacts at least 3 agencies or companies.  4.  Includes all 5 W’s.  5. Creates at least 1 set of flashcards and at least two handouts.

Satisfactory:  Uses English for interviews.  2.  Interviews at least 1 person. 3. Contacts at least 2 agencies or companies. 4. Includes all 5 W’s. Creates at least 1 set of flashcards and at least 1 handout.

Unsatisfactory:  1. does not use much English. 2.  No Interviews. 3. Contacts 1 company.  4. Uses  some of the W’s. 5. Creates ˝ set of flashcards – nothing else.


1.      Introduction


2.      Task 


3.      Process


4.      Paragraph


5.      Rubric


6.      Games


7.      Materials & resources 


8.      Evaluation rubric         



Congratulations.  You can now go and apply for your CDL!

Teacher Notes

This project is written for an Intermediate to advanced class of learners, but could also include high beginners if they were paired with advanced or intermediates or if project was broken up into smaller pieces.  Any student having difficulties or problems will be offered assistance by a tutor.  Project is to be Learner-centered  as much as possible. (the teacher will prompt and offer suggestions and allow students to self direct and involve each other in all activities)