S.O.S. Activity – Vocabulary Revision With Mind-maps

/ All levels, C1, Lesson tips, Teachers, Vocabulary training

You might end up in a situation when you need to substitute a colleague but you have no clue what the class is supposed to do in this coming lesson. Very often, you only know their level and what course book they use (if any). So, it’s essential that you have some treasures at hand before you enter the classroom. In this post, let me show you some materials for an emergency vocabulary revision activity.

New English File Mind-Maps:

Today, I’d like to take you to the ENGLISH FILE website, more precisely, to their Teaching Resources. You might not use this series (I used it for many years and I really enjoyed working with it, mostly with the second edition), but it gives you access to some really precious materials. Take your time to browse through all materials. This time, I’d like to lead your attention to the Vocabulary mind-maps (roll down to the bottom). These sheets might save a lesson for you.

Imagine that you need to enter an Advanced course and you only know that they started their course about three months ago, so taking a look at their course books (or knowing what topics might come up at this level), you decide to discuss Food & Cooking with them. Once you have downloaded the Advanced files, you can find this topic in File 9. Here are the two mind-maps:


You can also find them in blank version, when students need to complete them.
So, you prepare for two scenario: your students might know about the topic or they might need to be taught the target language at C1 level. This way, you can think of a lesson procedure like this:

Warm-up (5 min):

Welcome students, tell them about the substitution.
Play Hangman with the class to guess what today’s topic is (FOOD AND COOKING). Ask students if they like cooking (or eating).

Lead-in (15):

Ask the to explain the following four statements (write these on the whiteboard):
1. You are what you eat.
2. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
3. It’s no use crying over spilt milk.
4. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Then ask them to choose a partner (better if they choose first, since you don’t know the class) and in pairs tell each other situations from their real life when they (could have) used these proverbs.
Monitor them and give feedback.

Main part (30+):

Give students the handout about Utensils and after swapping pairs, ask them to discuss what these objects might be used for and what dishes might be prepared with them.
Monitor. Ask for and give feedback in open class.

Give them then the second worksheet about Preparing food. You can also start with the blank one and ask students to list as many ways as they know to prepare food or you can give them to complete version and ask them to work in pairs (with a new partner if possible) and to sort the dishes on the worksheet. They can choose their own categories. The categories might be: courses (starter, main course, side dish, dessert, etc.), type of restaurant (fast food, gourmet restaurant, ethnic restaurant, vegetarian restaurant, etc.), occasions (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, party food, etc.). Let your students use their imagination.
Monitor. Ask for and give feedback in open class.


Anything you consider as useful:
1) You might set up a group-activity to design a menu for a new Italian, Indian etc. restaurant in London.
2) If possible (why not in the age of smart phones), ask them to go on an online tour reading restaurant reviews (you might want to find comments in English about their favorite local restaurant).
3) You can turn the lesson into a writing lesson and ask them to write a complaint letter to a restaurant manager about the decreasing quality of their restaurant due to the recent change of their chef.
4) You can also ask them to discuss competition cooking shows (like Masterchef), which are still very popular and talking about their downside (high pressure, public humiliation, lots of hostility in the US-version, etc.).
5) You can also ask them to discuss in pairs what national dish they would present in an international fair to make their cooking culture more popular and also what they think people think about their national cuisine, etc.

Whatever topic you choose, the English File mind-maps will give you guidance and help to improvise a lesson at the proper level and a high quality.


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