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At the Dinner Table: A Foreign Language Lesson


  • Foreign Language


  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

This hands-on activity teaches basic foreign language vocabulary.


Students will
  • name dinner-table utensils in the foreign language being taught.
  • create a project to help them learn the vocabulary.


dinner, foreign language, French, Spanish

Materials Needed

  • paper plates
  • plastic spoons, forks, and knives
  • napkins
  • plastic cups
  • 9- x 12-inch white construction paper
  • glue sticks

The Lesson

This lesson can be used to teach basic foreign language vocabulary. Students use glue, paper plates, and plastic utensils to create a labeled illustration of a table setting. They label in the foreign language being studied each of the items listed below:

  • spoon
  • fork
  • knife
  • plate
  • glass
  • napkin

Display for students each item in the list above. As you show each item, write the foreign language word for the item on a board or chart. Have students repeat the words in English and in the language you are teaching.

Place the items as they would be arranged on a restaurant table. Have students cover their eyes or put their heads on their desks as you remove one of the items from the table display. Ask students to figure out and identify -- in the foreign language -- the missing item.

Provide students with a paper plate and with plastic versions of the other dinner-table items. Instruct them in the foreign language, one item at a time, to place the items on the plate. Watch to see which students understand and follow the instructions.

An added challenge: Give students a chance to lead their peers in giving the instructions.

Finally, provide each student with a sheet of construction paper to represent a placemat. Instruct students in the foreign language being taught to glue the items to the placemat in the order in which you name them.


As you instruct students to place the items on the placemat, watch to see which students place the correct utensil in the correct location.

Submitted By

Adrien Morel, E.W. Stokes School in Washington, D.C.

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