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Enjoying the Fruits of Their Labour
September 11, 2011
 ESL adults use realia, teamwork and their listening and speaking skills to prepare a salad.

As students walked into my classroom after lunch, they found one desk covered with a plastic tablecloth, kitchen utensils and vegetables.  “Tomatoes,” Maria said.  “I buy tomatoes at the store,” she added.   I labelled the extra virgin oil and vinegar bottles and the salt box.  After reviewing the rest of the ingredients, pupils were able to name them all, as well as the kitchen utensils:  bowl, knives, vegetable peeler, serving spoon and fork, cutting board and hand sanitizer.  One of the crucial parts of this lesson was to emphasize the importance of sanitizing hands before touching the ingredients and utensils to prevent contamination.

Students were eager to wear aprons to keep themselves clean and applied liquid hand sanitizer on their hands.  During the presentation and guided practice stage of my lesson, each pupil took turns reading each “action” word and meaning first in the infinitive form (i.e.,  to apply hand sanitizer, to peel, to slice, to blend, to stir), and then read the recipe in the imperative form (i.e., peel the cucumbers and slice them thin.) Importantly, students were taught to expect  the imperative tense in every food recipe they read or heard.   

Every time I called a pair of students to the front to prepare part of the salad recipe, student A (Head Chef) asked student B (Sous Chef) to please pass him/her the vegetable and utensil necessary to complete a particular task.  

When students did not understand the instructions, they were encouraged to ask their peer to “Please repeat,”  thus developing self-confidence and self-esteem in the classroom.

 LESSON PLAN - by Magda Simpson 

Class Level:  CLB 1/ 2

Topic:  Recipe    Task: Prepare a salad.

Class Length:   2.5hrs.

Lesson Objective:  Students will be able to speak and give instructions to their classmates while reading a recipe.  Students will also be able to listen and follow the step-by-step oral directions when preparing food.

Enabling Skills:

Grammar:  use of the Imperative to express a command: slice, blend, stir, peel.

Vocabulary: words found in recipes and ingredients

Instructions:  give a number of short step-by-step instructions.

Materials and Equipment:

Audiovisual:  Agenda with lesson outline.

Realia: dictionary, hand sanitizer, plastic tablecloth, salt, olive oil, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce, forks, knives, vegetable peeler, salad bowl, dishes, serving spoon and fork.

Handout: vocabulary/recipe hardcopy. 


Warm-Up/Review (30 mins.):  Enter the classroom and apply hand sanitizer on your hands, put the apron on.  Start displaying the realia (ingredients/utensils) on two desks that are covered with a big plastic tablecloth.  Ask students to predict what you will be doing and write answers on the board.

Introduction/Brainstorming (30 mins.):  Draw a circle on the board and write the word recipe.  Elicit the realia (food/utensils) words.  Students are encouraged to use the dictionary.


30 mins.

Guided Practice

30 mins.



25 mins.



Elicit from students the parts of a recipe:

ingredients and preparation.  Review with students the vocabulary words by showing the realia that you introduced in the early stage.  Suggest that students look for the meaning of unknown words in the dictionary. 

Give a handout with the salad recipe.

Students take turn reading parts of the recipe and the vocabulary, focusing on the imperative form.



Student A:  plays a Head Chef and follows oral commands from another student.

Student B: plays a  Sous Chef and hands out each ingredient to the Head Chef.  Students take turn to read step-by step instructions and prepare a salad.  The teacher serves the students the salad.

Comprehension check:

Ask W-H questions to students during the Review and Introduction stages.  Give constructive feedback to students who answer correctly.

Focus on accuracy and form during the Guided Practice stage.  Concentrate on fluency and meaning on the Communicative Practice stage. 


Conclusion/Wrap-Up (5 mins.):  Review with students the importance of washing their hands before and after preparing or eating food.  If water is not available, encourage students to use hand sanitzers.

Application:  Students practice the step-by-step instructions first in the classroom (trial and error) before they try to prepare a salad at home.  This interactive step-by-step lesson accommodates active, visual, verbal, sequential, kinesthetic and tactual learners. Learners will enjoy tasting the salad (final product:  big picture).

Salad Recipe  (16 servings)


2 cucumbers  
2 hearts of Romaine lettuce
6 tomatoes
white vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Peel the cucumbers and slice them thin.  Put them inside a large bowl. 
Cut the Romaine lettuce into medium size pieces and add to the sliced cucumbers.
Dice the tomatoes and blend them with the cucumbers and lettuce.
Stir the vegetables together using the salad utensils.
Season to taste with salt, white vinegar and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.




 to peel:   to strip away; pull off or cut away the skin of fruits and vegetables.  
 to slice: To cut or divide into slices a tomato, cucumber, potato, etc…
serving:  an individual portion or helping of food or drink. 
recipe:   a set of directions with a list of ingredients for making or preparing something, especially food.
to blend:  to put together two or more ingredients in a bowl.
to stir:  to mix together the ingredients.
command:  an order.
bowl:  a container to serve or prepare food.
to season:  to add flavour to the food by adding oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, etc…
utensil:  an instrument, implement, or container used domestically, especially in a kitchen.
to apply:  to put something into use.  For example, put hand sanitizer on your hands.
to dice:  to cut into small cubes.

Magda Simpson was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. After settling in Chatham, Ontario, she got married and raised two children.  She studied American, Canadian, Spanish and Latin American literature at the University of Windsor.  Magda obtained both her Ace TESOL and TESL Ontario Certificates and is presently working as a Temporary ESL Instructor for the Thames Valley District School Board in London, Ontario.

Filed under: Lesson Plans


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