Teaching Daily Routines: “I ____ in the morning/afternoon/evening.”

What do you do in the morning? Think about it. I mean reaaaaally think about it. You probably wake up, brush your teeth, maybe even wash your face? If you’re like me, you skip breakfast and opt for a cup of coffee instead. But for most people, eating breakfast is part of a healthy morning routine too.

Ok. So I’ve got you in the right mood now. You’re thinking about morning activities and daily routines. It’s the perfect time for me to throw this lesson idea at you. Let’s do this!

For this lesson, you’ll need flashcards of daily routine activities. You can get a set of those from this amazing website. It’s important to note that I prefer not to use ALL of these flashcards for the first lesson. I opt for a handful that I find the most useful: wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, brush my hair, eat breakfast, and get dressed.

Let’s assume you have those flashcards then. The first thing you want to do is teach this new vocabulary to your students. I usually show them one by one and have students repeat the words as we go. When I feel that they’ve had enough repetition to know at least some of them, I do a quick game of karuta (the slap game) or I’ll get students to pass a flashcard around. When I say stop, they must name it. Really, the review game you use is up to you, as long as the students are getting to practice the new vocabulary on those flashcards.

Once this first part is done, it’s time to teach them a useful sentence pattern. I usually opt for: “What do you do in the morning/afternoon/evening?” –> “I ______ in the morning.”; “I ______ in the afternoon.”; and “I _____ in the evening.” To explain the concept of morning, afternoon and night, I’ll draw pictures of where the sun is during each word (for “morning,” it’s high in the sky; for “afternoon,” it’s in the middle of the sky; and for “evening,” it’s setting on the horizon). I then have them practice substituting different vocabulary into the sentence patterns I just taught. For example, I’ll show “brush my teeth” and point to evening on the board. Together, we’ll say “I brush my teeth in the evening.” This step is super important, so make sure students are at least starting to get it before you move onto the next part.

Let’s assume that students can now make a few simple sentences with the new vocabulary words and the sentence patterns we provided them. Have them put their chairs in a circle and remove one chair. One students should be in the middle. Hold up a flashcard and ask him/her: “What do you do in the morning/afternoon/evening?” Have them respond with what’s on the flashcard. The students then need to switch chairs. The student left without a chair is the next person to answer the “What do you do in the morning/afternoon/evening?” question. Continue to play the game until everyone has had a turn. Once they’ve had a turn, take away the flashcard element. Have them answer from their own memory. You’ll see if they’ve retained the vocabulary (and if they’re able to use it properly) that way!

If you have some time left at the end of class, you can always do a miming game where one person goes in the middle of the circle you’ve made and mimes an action from the flashcards. The other students have to guess what the action is by using it in a sentence pattern. For example, I could mime brushing my teeth. I would choose a student with their hand up and they would need to say: “Brush my teeth. I brush my teeth in the morning.” or simply: “I brush my teeth in the morning.”

In subsequent classes, if you still have time to teach daily routines, try introducing new vocabulary and teach them the sentence pattern: “Do you _________ in the morning/afternoon/evening?” –> “Yes, I do.” “No, I don’t.”





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