Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Project 366: What's cooking?

ELT EFL ESL CLIL Blog Lesson idea using images for speaking, writing
Images by C. Pang. More of the same here.

Yeah, what's cooking, people? Literally and non-literally. Do you know that to be cooking can mean to be happening or planning (often secretly)?

In case you're wondering...mmm... how come only 7 photos? You may be thinking that I haven't been able to keep up with the project. Well, you're wrong! Here's 36 from February. To see more, click here.

ELT EFL ESL CLIL Blog Lesson idea using images for speaking, writing

Why there are only 7 in the first mosaic is to do with my lesson idea to go with these images. Set a task for your students. Write K-I-T-C-H-E-N on the board. Their task is to take pictures of what they can find in their kitchen beginning with those letters. Scroll back to the top image - can you guess the names of those objects?


Knives, iodised salt, tea canisters, cereals, heat, eggs and nuts.

When they bring in their photos, they compare them with each other's collection. What's the most common? The most unusual? Check vocabulary, check spelling.

How far you can take this lesson depends on the level of your class. Here are some suggestions:
  • Who cooks in the family?
  • Do you eat in the kitchen?
  • What's the size/shape of your kitchen? Describe it.
  • Which is your favourite meal?
  • How many meals do you eat in a day? What do you eat?
  • What is your favourite food?
You can take it a step further like this (I got this idea from Brad Patterson, although his may be a little different): Mine is CLIL-influenced. ;-) Think ecosystem. Instead of you asking the question, get the students to do it after demonstrating it first.

What did you have for breakfast?
Ham sandwich and a coffee with milk.
Where does the milk come from?
What do cows eat?
What does grass need to grow?
Where does water come from?
And on and on it goes.

You can do cooking verbs (click to see an example), and if yours is an advanced class, you can venture into idioms (such as "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen) and phrasal verbs (cook up). I have quite a few activities on idioms. Go to the index file, and search (Ctrl F) for "idioms".

Food is a topic you can do so much with. You can have them write their own recipes (good for imperatives and linking words), you can discuss food expenditure, health, marketing, etc.

If this is successful with your class, you can, naturally adapt this for the other rooms of the house. You may like them to do my activities on Objects in the house either before taking the photos or after. For other activities go to the index file, search (ctrl F) for "houses".

For other ideas on using images in the classroom, search for "Project 366" or "Images" in the index file.



  1. Nice post, Chiew. Love how you're having the students bring in their own photos (do they all have cameras, or camera phones?).

    I'm more and more convinced that a successful class is in the details and that small bit of personalization is huge. It's their photos, but it's also their kitchen and there's an element of "who's got the coolest photos" too.

    Thanks for the mention, and I like your CLIL spin! Cheers, brad

    1. Thanks for coming in, Brad. It doesn't really matter if they use camera or other mobile devices. If they haven't got any of those (which is unlikely unless they're very young and their parents don't allow them that creativity) they can always draw the objects!

  2. Lovely idea. In an English speaking context, you can get students to bring in actual items from their kitchens (foodstuffs not knives!)and get a lot of content from reading and understanding the packets and talking about what they usually cook with the items, or even what they could make with all the items brought in.

    1. Thanks for the visit, Rachael. Yes, realia can bring the class to life and students can discover loads of things. Sometimes, however, they might be awkward (such as knives!) to bring so taking photos can work just as well. Having students themselves bring their own photos makes it personal, and so much can be discussed from what they decide to snap.


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