Every year, I have done a Menu Project after our unit about food. I generally have students create a menu with a group and then make the classroom into a cafe and allow them to take turns being the waitstaff and the customers. The kids usually enjoy this project, but I had to do it differently during pandemic teaching, and that really changed my mind about the project.
During the start of the pandemic and even into the following year, I had to pivot to making this an online project. I decided the first year to let students just create one. It didn’t go well. There was LOTS of copying and pasting going on. The next year, I decided to throw some culture into it since some were still at home in their copy and paste/Google Translate mode. Instead of focusing on language, I made the project really based on culture and even allowed them to do it in English (it was Spanish class).
This year, I came to a happy medium. I made it a mixed project and used several opportunities to differentiate the project.
First, I had students choose a country, region or city they were interested in. For my Spanish classes, this had to be one in Latin America. For my ESOL classes, I allowed them to choose any country, including their home country, they were interested in or wanted to share.
Next, students had to find at least two dishes that were common, or popular or traditional to that region, country or city for each meal of the day. They had to find pictures of the dish and save them to their computer or drive. Then they were told to keep a Google Doc with all the information about the dish (ingredients, how it is served, when is the dish generally prepared, etc…)
After that, it was time to decide on how to present this. This past year, I gave them the option of doing it digitally (they had to present a written rough draft first) or creating a menu on a piece of posterboard (remembering they had to draw for this one).
Now, they had to write out their “order” for a waiter.
Finally, they were to present their favorites and their “order” with the class in person or in a video to be shown to the class.
I really did enjoy the mix of culture and language that I saw being practiced this year was AMAZING, and I will definitely do this project this way again! I hope these ideas help you get your students to review vocabulary and practice speaking while learning about cultures around the world. I have the full project slideshow on my TpT store HERE, but you can totally just take the idea and run with it. The key is to sail on into the summer with low stress and high engagement!
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