Number one for English language teachers

Exchanging information: Table manners

Level: Elementary, Pre-intermediate Type: Extra

A short activity about countable and uncountable nouns.

 Language

  • Can you pass the (+ uncountable noun) please?
  • Sorry, there isn’t any (+ uncountable noun)
  • Yes, here you are
  • Would you like some (+ uncountable noun)
  • Yes, please
  • No, thank you

Level

Elementary +

  • NB: This warmer can also be adapted for there aren't any (+ countable nouns).
  • NB: it would be helpful (but not essential) for students to have prior knowledge of countable and uncountable nouns.

Procedure

  1. Ask students to make six cards (business card size). Elicit six uncountable food nouns (e.g. rice, salt, chocolate, pizza, cheese, butter, bread etc.). Ask students to write one word on each card.
  2. Each student in the class starts the game with these six different cards. The aim is to swap their cards so each student ends up with six of the same food card. To do this, they use table language. Ask two students to demonstrate the procedure as follows:
  • If they want to give away a card, they say Would you like some (pizza)? If the student they offer it to isn't collecting pizza cards, they say No, thank you. If they want the card, they say Yes, please and take the card.
  • If a student wants to ask another student for a particular food card, they say Can you pass the (bread) please?
  • If the student they ask doesn't have a bread card, they say Sorry, there isn't any (bread). (They can lie if they're collecting bread cards too.)
  • If the student is happy to give away some bread, they say Here you are.

It helps to have the conversation written up on the board. Some explanation or modelling of context helps. This is a fun warmer - and it targets some practical conversation language.

This warmer was inspired by a student using interrogatives to order me to eat over dinner one night.

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