Routine Questions for ESL Students

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

This lesson gives you a couple of engaging ideas to get your students using daily routine language. You also have some ready-to-use questions to encourage your students to produce language in oral or written form.

Routine Is Interesting

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 destine 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.

Thinking about Routine Details

To answer questions about routine, it is 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:

  • What is the very first thing you do when you wake up?
    • The first thing I do when I wake up is think about all the activities I have to do.
  • How many times a day do you brush your teeth?
    • I brush my teeth twice a day.
  • At what time do you leave your home to go to school or work?
    • I leave my home at 6 a.m. to go to work.
  • What are two places outside your home where you go every day?
    • I go to Starbucks and to the park everyday.
  • What type of drink do you have everyday?
    • I don't have an everyday drink.
  • Is there some food that you eat everyday?
    • I eat chicken everyday.
  • What leisure activity is part of your daily routine?
    • I watch a movie at the end of the day.
  • What is one activity of your daily routine you could replace with another? What would be the alternative?
    • I can replace my lunch at the office. The alternative would be to have lunch at the nearest park.

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