Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.
Routine Is Interesting
We all know about and most of us engage in some kind of a routine; it's simply an action you repeat at a given time. That's it. This is why you may like to say to your class, ''Routine makes me feel safe because it means I have structure in my life.'' Try asking your students to tell you how routines make them feel. Naturally, many are likely to give you some negative answers.
You can then point out that routine is part of life and that it can be interesting. The reason is that there are specific aspects of routine that are common to many people. Some examples include the time they designate to lunch time, the choice of food for breakfast, the toothpaste someone prefers, etc.
With this premise, ask your students if anyone knows about aspects of their routine they have in common with their peers. The answer is probably ''no.'' The questions in this lesson get students talking about their routine. To work individually, they could produce language in writing and then they compare their answer with peers to find others who have routine aspects in common. Let's begin with some common routine questions.
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Thinking About Routine Details
To answer questions about routine, it's best to have students reply with complete sentences. Some ready-to-use questions about routine follow, and each includes a sample answer in case you want to give a model to your students.
Question: What is the very first thing you do when you wake up?
Answer: The first thing I do when I wake up is think about all the activities I have to do.
Question: How many times a day do you brush your teeth?
Answer: I brush my teeth twice a day.
Question: At what time do you leave your home to go to school or work?
Answer: I leave my home at 6 a.m. to go to work.
Question: What are two places outside your home where you go every day?
Answer: I go to Starbucks and to the park every day.
Question: What type of drink do you have every day?
Answer: I don't have an everyday drink.
Question: Is there some food that you eat every day?
Answer: I eat chicken every day.
Question: What leisure activity is part of your daily routine?
Answer: I watch a movie at the end of the day.
Question: What is one activity of your daily routine you could replace with another? What would be the alternative?
Answer: I can replace my lunch at the office. The alternative would be to have lunch at the nearest park.
Once students have their own answers, they can interview their peers and ask about their routines. For example, if Alicia eats chicken every day and so does Pedro, they can report on that. For example: ''Pedro and I eat chicken every day.'' Have the students try to find someone who matches their answers, then have them write each one down.
Have your students talk or write about why it is important to break the routine a little bit. You could model with something like, ''It's important because it gives me a break from the usual,'' or ''it renews my interest in my other activities.''
Then, students can work in pairs or groups. Have students come up with as many ideas as possible to slightly change the daily routine and do something different.
A model could be:
- Going for a walk
- Eating a new dish at lunch time, or
- Taking the bus instead of driving to work
Okay, let's review. This lesson gives you a way to introduce the idea of routine, as in an action you repeat at a given time, as something positive. Students get to answer questions about their own daily routine to then compare it to others. The objective of comparing is to find common routines. Also, this lesson includes a brainstorming activity to break the daily routine. All activities are flexible to have your students practice speaking or writing.
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Routine Questions for ESL Students
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