A hands-on ELT activity – Fancy some pizza?

Food is a very common topic in ELT. Coursebooks usually have at least one lesson on this issue ranging from healthy/junk food to restaurant etiquette. Being surrounded by ‘digital possibilites’ in the classroom sometimes doesn’t help promoting hands-on activities. However, teachers shouldn’t forget the importance of those. The benefits of doing activities in which the result is a touchable product are huge.

- great for the tactile learner. - learning through experiencing.
- discussing, investigating, creating with other SS. - enhances collaboration.
- SS learn by negotiating. - SS become proud and motivated to learn.

These ‘products’ can vary from board games, classroom materials, visual aids for lessons in the future, a dish, a book, a school magazine, and so on. There are many possibilities and, different from what some teachers might think, these activities can easily be integrated to suit different ages, levels, subjects and to fit a tight schedule.

On this post, I’m going to show an activity done with a group of five 11-year-old kids from the language school where I teach. The target language was countable/uncountable nouns and it included a short reading passage about a girl and her favorite kind of pizza. The topic was discussed with the group and kids commented on their favorite pizza. I told them about my idea of making pizza on the following lesson and asked them if they could bring the ingredients. They were all very excited to be doing something “not” from the book (but still related to what we were studying).

Each student brought something: some oregano, a small can of tomato sauce, 400g of mozzarella cheese, 4 raw bread rolls (you can find them in most bakeries in Brazil), and a bottle of soda.

The pictures & the video below show students making the pizza. I asked each one to help, from spreading the tomato sauce to cleaning the classroom afterwards, making them equally responsible for the final result.

While the pizza was in the oven, we went on with the regular lesson and finally ate the pizza 15mins later. The whole activity was about 45min long and the result was delicious!


 



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