Vanishing Dialogue

This activity practises language of ordering food in a restaurant although this can be adapted for any scenario. It's a great way to consolidate the language and recycle the vocabulary.

Derek Spafford

It also becomes very personalised when students create their own dialogues in the final stage. As the drilling is done in groups it is non threatening and enjoyable.

The activity can be used with any level and any number of students. The procedure I have suggested below is designed to be used with primary students.

  • Show a picture of two people in a restaurant. Elicit language and vocabulary for the picture. You could do this as a mind map with different categories such as phrases, food vocabulary, people, furniture, etc.
  • Elicit a dialogue taking place between the people. Depending on how many you have in your class and the size of your groups this could be a diner and a waiter/waitress or a family and a waiter/waitress. I would choose the group size first then build a dialogue with this amount of people. Take into account the level of your learners and vary the length accordingly.
  • Drill the dialogue. Mix it up with one side of the class as waiters/waitresses and one side the diners. Swap roles and drill again. With young learners I like to change the pitch of my voice and add silly voices to keep it lively and interesting.
  • After the students are comfortable with the dialogue omit a word or phrase and drill again. This time they have less of a written record and are required to remember the dialogue.
  • Repeat the above stage until all the dialogue has gone.
  • Now put the students in groups to practise. Monitor for pronunciation errors and correct as a class.
  • Put students in pairs to practise. This time you can monitor more effectively and pick up on any individual errors learners may be making.
  • Put students into groups and ask them to write a similar dialogue for themselves. Monitor and check for language and pronunciation errors.
  • Students could then act out their dialogues in front of the class.

If possible record the dialogues and play back. While students are listening they could complete a worksheet and record what each student had to eat. This could also be done real time with students controlling the dialogues of each other. The data collected could be used to create a chart detailing the type of food students chose.

Language Level


Submitted by KaraAharon on Sun, 12/20/2009 - 07:40


I've played this game in class and it works very well. I printed and laminated several copies of a menu and pictures of the foods listed. The pictures are given to a cook, who has to give the correct foods to the waiter. My pupils are not native speakers so the menu includes a picture of each food. I don't see an option for attaching files (I'm new to this site) but I would be happy to share my menu.

Submitted by Harv Kay on Sun, 01/17/2010 - 02:47


This is such an excellent idea to teach kids English, words and dialogue. Having menus will help further.  Kids learn through practical experiences.  Perhaps, it may also be useful for children to prepare simple menus, decorating them. And even the cooking process, can help children learn English, spelling and writing. I share experiences in a blog, I love to hear your experiences and tips to help parents to teach kids while cooking or just doing anything at home , particularly language.

Submitted by griddles on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 15:21


There are very interesting concepts here. It made me rethink about most of the steps mentioned here, for example the step in which after the students are comfortable with the dialogue you need to omit a word or phrase and drill again. I will try to remember this important article, thanks.

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