Monday, December 19, 2016

English for refugees - Recipe dictation and cooking together

This lesson plan is based on a idea from Teaching Adults Second Language Learners by McKay and Tom

Aim - To help refugees use cooking vocabulary, write recipes

Materials - Cooking equipment and ingredients, access to a kitchen, photocopies (see below)

Level - Elementary/intermediate.

1 - Ask students what verbs/words we use to talk about cooking. write some on the board and mime them to ensure understanding. Otherwise ask students to use smart phones for translation.

2 - Elicit words and write them on the board, use mime to ensure understanding.

3 - Hand out this photocopy from

4 - Students copy down any words they didn't know, check comprehension.

5 - In pairs, student mime words from the photocopy and the other s have to guess them.

6 - Now explain that you are going to give them a recipe (or write it on the board) and that they have to copy them into their notebooks but some words and/or numbers will be missing. (Just choose numbers for beginner students).

7 - Read the recipe aloud and have students fill in the missing gaps.

8 - When you have finished reading have students take turns in completing the dictation on the board or in groups of 3-4

9 - Now get students to use this as a template for their own recipes, encourage them to use their smart phones to find ingredients and names of cooking equipment

10 Tell students that next lesson we will be cooking together in Oikopolis's kitchen, ask students to say who would like to cook something simple for the class, e;g salads, dips etc that take less than an hour to make. Take students on a tour of the kitchen to check that it has all the equipment they need.,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

VIDEO: Clashes between riot police and anarchists in Greek port city of Thessaloniki.

December 6 marks the 8th anniversary of the killing of a 15 year old Greek teenager, Alexis Grigoropoulos in central Athens district of Exarchia. Within hours violent protests swept the country and for weeks afterwards Greece saw clashes between demonstrators and riot police.

Every year the events is commemorated, often violently.

Video taken in Thessaloniki on 6 December 2016.

English for refugees - word games for the revision of vocabulary

Last time we played this game to lighten the mood and revise some of the vocabulary areas we have covered recently.

1 - Divide the board into a grid, On one axis write the categories you wish to cover, I also included easier categories such as cities and names in order to help the less advanced students.

2 Divide the class into teams - The size will depend on how much English your students know, with elementary/beginner students, use bigger teams.

3 - Ask students to shout out some (5-10) letters of the alphabet.

4 - Write them in the grid and go through some examples.

Letter           Name           City               Part of the body       Something in the home

F                  Fay               Florence        Face                         Freezer  

5 - Set a suitable time limit (2-10 minutes) - encourage students to use their notes from previous classes and their smart phones.

6 - The winning time is the one who complete the grid or has the most correct entries when the time limit is up.

7 - Elicit answers from the whole class, write them on the board,

Thursday, December 08, 2016

English for refugees - Describing homes - finding accomodation


Aim - To help refugees with some grasp of English describe and find accommodation Greek city of Thessaloniki

Materials - Photographs of different kinds of housing  either from magazines or via  via smart phone.

Level - Elementary/intermediate.

1 - Ask students to think of their dream/perfect home. You may need a photograph to help get your message across and then describe the place and say why you want to live in this place.

2 - Now elicit suitable vocabulary for describing a home;

Type - e.g. flat/house/villa etc

Size - e.g in  square meters or number of rooms/bedrooms

Location e.g in the centre/suburbs/countryside

Amenities pool/utilities room/garage etc

3 - Write these on the board elicit further terms from the students.

4 - Now students look for a suitable dream home on their smart phones or simply describe it to the person next to them. Students then ask each other why they want to live in this place.

5 - Now draw a floor plan of your own or one you have found on the internet. Label the rooms and facilities, check comprehension.

6 - Students then draw their own present home/previous residence floor plan or for their dream home.

7 - Students then describe their plan.

e,g, It is/was
       It has/had
       I like/liked etc


Aim - To help refugees with some grasp of English describe and find accommodation Greek city of Thessaloniki

Materials - Photographs of different kinds of housing  either from magazines or via  via smart phone and a map of the city..

Level - Elementary/intermediate

1 - In the next lesson recap the language used to describe homes (see part one)


2 - Now divide the students into two groups landlords/landladies and tenants - explain terms.

3 - Now in their groups students think of questions the landlords/landladies and tenants would ask.


e'g How long do you want to stay?
     Do you have pets?
     How many people are there in your family?
     How will you pay the rent?- cash/credit card/direct debit?


e.g Where is the apartment?
      How big is it?
      How many bedrooms does it have?
      How much is the rent?
      Howe much is the deposit? 

4 - Write these and any others on the board so students can see them during the following exercises.

5 - Give out landlords/landladies and tenants role play cards (cut into strips)

6 - Work on vocabulary issues and either assign roles at random or ask student to choose their own roles. 

7 - Students write down/copy suitable questions and practice them in pairs.

8 - Now students stand up and the landlords/landladies go to one corner of the room and tenants to the other. Explain that the tenants are looking for accommodation and the landlords/landladies have properties in and around Thessaloniki. Remind students that in Greece prices are often are negotiable so they can haggle/negotiate things such as cost of rent.

You may also need to pin up a large  map of the city to help students understand where the properties are located

9 - Student try to find suitable property/tenant. Encourage students to try more than one option.

10 Students then explain how they made their choice to the class.

11 - If time permits students swap roles.

In the next lesson students can repeat the exercise using their real life details in order to recap.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

English for refugees - Giving directions

Aim - To help refugees with some grasp of English give and understand directions as well as talk about locations in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Materials - A map of the city either on paper or via Google Maps via smart phone.

Level - Elementary/intermediate.

Before the lesson begins, choose a nearby shop/cafe/office that the students are likely to know or have seen.

1 - Ask the students if they know the shop/cafe/office you have chosen. 

2 - Now ask them where it is and how I can get there.

3 - Write these phrases on the board Turn, left, turn right, go straight on, stop

4 - Explain to the students they are going to play a game and that they need to get into teams of 2-4 people each. In each group one person is going to be blindfolded (students can use hats/scarves/hooded coats etc and the other students will be giving them directions in order to reach a particular point in the classroom. You may need to demonstrate this yourself and get students to give you directions,

5 - Stand in the corner of the classroom and students in another corner. Now their fellow team members shout out directions so they can reach you. 

6 - Play the game 2-3 more teams with different team members blindfolded.

7 - Now ask students to once again elicit language used to give directions. Use mime and example as well as drawings ti explain them.

e,g It's on the left/right/next to/near/opposite/behind/in front of/on the corner/at the supermarket/cross/go past etc.

8 - Students write down how to get to their bus stop from the building or how to get to a supermarket/shop etc from their home.

9 - Now students explain to each other the directions they've written (if they can without looking at their notes).

10 Hand out a map of the city or ask students to look it up on Google Maps on their phones and write some nearby landmarks on the board.

Aristotelous Square/Kamara/ The sea front etc.

11 - Together students give each other directions of how to reach there.