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ESL Recipe Lesson Plan: Practice the Imperative Mood

Many English language learners hope to function fully and completely in the English language. Learning to follow and write recipes is one such function of the language. ESL teachers can use the following lesson plan to teach ESL students about recipes in English as well as to practice the imperative mood. The following sections outline teaching activities for introducing English language students to the genre of the recipe.

ESL Cooking Vocabulary

Begin the ESL recipe lesson by introducing some important vocabulary needed for talking about cooking. The following vocabulary words are common English verbs found in recipes:

  • add
  • bake
  • barbecue
  • beat
  • blend
  • boil
  • broil
  • brown
  • chop
  • combine
  • cook
  • cube
  • cut
  • dice
  • drain
  • fold in
  • fry
  • grate
  • knead
  • marinate
  • mince
  • peel
  • puree
  • refrigerate
  • roast
  • saut√©
  • sear
  • separate
  • serve
  • slice
  • simmer
  • strain
  • toast
  • toss
  • whip

In addition to important verbs, also teach the vocabulary words for appliances and utensils frequently mentioned in recipes written in English such as the following:

  • baking dish
  • blender
  • bowl
  • cake pan
  • can
  • coffee maker
  • cookie sheet
  • cup
  • cutting board
  • dish
  • food processor
  • fork
  • frying pan
  • grater
  • jar
  • juicer
  • knife
  • ladle
  • microwave
  • mixer
  • mixing bowl
  • oven
  • pan
  • refrigerator
  • rolling pin
  • saucepan
  • spatula
  • spoon
  • springform pan
  • stove
  • toaster
  • whisk

Finally review any food vocabulary that the ESL language students already known such as the foods listed in English Language Vocabulary: Thanksgiving. Teach additional food vocabulary as necessary.

English Imperative

In English, recipes largely contain verbs conjugated into the imperative mood. The imperative mood allows speakers to make direct commands, express requests, and grant or deny permission. Examples of verbs in the imperative mood include the following:

  • Boil the potatoes.
  • Dice the vegetables.
  • Do not overcook the pasta.
  • Do not melt the butter.

After teaching the cooking vocabulary, review the imperative mood of English verbs with the ESL students.

Recipe ESL Activity

With knowledge of cooking vocabulary and the imperative mood, English language learners can master the genre of the recipe. Some fun ESL recipe activities include the following:

  • Provide the ESL students with recipes appropriate for the proficiency level of each student. Either in class or at home, the students should follow the recipes and prepare the food. Optional: The ESL students can share their creations with the entire class.
  • Have the ESL students write down their own favorite recipe in English. The recipes can be for foods the students enjoy from their native cultures or just recipes that the students enjoy. Optional: Have the ESL students exchange recipes, or create a recipe book from all the recipes the students bring in.

Learning to follow a recipe in English is one skill that many ESL students must learn to master in order to function fully in the English language. This ESL recipe lesson plan will help English language teachers help their students accomplish this skill. An ESL lesson focusing on recipes also allows English language learners to practice using verbs in the imperative mood.

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