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The ideas on this website have saved me many a time, so I thought it was about time I added one of my own! I teach oral English to high school classes of 65 (yes,65!) in east central China and I often have trouble coming up with interesting ideas that really work with that many kids in a tight space. This one was pretty successful, even with those post-lunch zombie classes who normally won't say a word!

First, I made sure the kids were familiar with some basic restaurant vocabulary like waiter/waitress, menu, salad, etc. Then I introduced and explained some phrases and sentences that they might actually hear in a real (American) restaurant setting--like, "Smoking or non-smoking?" "Are you ready to order?" "The soup of the day is..." "Check please!" and "Will that be cash or credit?" I gave a short list of things that waiters/waitresses might say, and things that customers might say, making sure to explain the concept of a tip. Then I passed out some sample menus with various foods and prices listed, and asked the kids to work in groups. One person would be the waiter and use the questions/phrases listed under "waiter" on the blackboard, while the others would be customers. They had to use their dictionaries or ask about food words they weren't sure of, since I made the menu semi-realistic. After they'd all had some time to talk among themselves, I called a few groups up and had them act it out in front of the class. Some of them were very realistic, adding in their own creative touch. In every class this activity got kids talking and involved, plus it gave them some practical and cultural language knowledge they could use in real life. I hope it's helpful!

Xin'an County, Henan, China

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