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What middle school world language teacher hasn't taught that stale old café lesson, with its myriad variations on how to politely order a meal of un steak-frites et un coca, s'il vous plaît? Food units in many textbooks generally serve several purposes: They supply a ready-made, structured opportunity for student-student interaction in terms of asking for and providing information; they tap into the students' universal interest in food as well as their curiosity about basic cultural similarities and differences; and lastly, they provide an arena to practice the concept of gender and gender identification with indefinite articles. In the following unit, I will attempt to breathe some vitality into what can easily become that lesson during which we find ourselves sacrificing creativity for ease and familiarity. Although I understand the appeal of and value in tasks like creating a menu and acting out a restaurant scenario, I find myself (and my students) growing tired of the same ten menu items! By exploring new facets of food and health in this unit, I hope to increase the communicative options available to my students in a restaurant-based unit.
(Recommended for French, grade 7.)