Stuart Mill English

How to Learn, How to Teach English

Top Ten

Conversation Activity

This is another one-hour conversation activity. For an introduction to the series, click here. Enjoy.

Name: Top 10

Prep Time: Two minutes (You should make a list of your ten favorite places to eat)

Materials: None

Primary Objective: Discuss Restaurants

Other Benefits: Practice checking for understanding


Pre-Speaking (15 minutes)

On the board, write “Description” “Comprehension Questions” “Your Questions”.

Now, write your top 10 favorite places to eat in the world. Tell the students about each place and why you like it so much (Description). After you talk about each place, ask the students three or four questions to check that they have understood you (Comprehension Questions). Finally, have them ask you a few questions about the place (Your Questions).

Note key phrases and vocabulary that might be helpful to your students in the Speaking section.

(You don’t need to tell about each place. Just do it for 10 minutes or so.)

Now, ask the students to make their own lists of their top 10 favorite places to eat in the world.

Speaking (35 minutes)

In groups of three, have the students repeat the process. One student should tell about a place they enjoy eating, ask comprehension questions, and answer a few questions from the group. Then, another person in the group should take a turn.

Post-Speaking (10 minutes)

Go around the class and ask each student to present one of their places to the class.


Have the students create their perfect place to eat. They should combine the best qualities from their ten places to design the best possible one place to eat. Then, they can describe their places to a partner.


Ideas for Homework: Send the students to a website like to read restaurant reviews. For the next class, they share information about a restaurant they found. Or send them to where they can check out lists on tons of topics.

Modification for Lower Levels: During the Pre-Speaking, you’ll need to give them a bit more structure to work with. On the board, write “It is good because it is + adjective” Have students write three adjectives for each restaurant. This is a good activity for students to use their dictionaries. They’ll choose their own words and practice them in English.

Modification for Higher Levels: It should be OK, but if you’d like to challenge them, write these words/expressions on the board:

Luxurious, Scrumptious, Elegant, Well worth it, An absolute gem, Innovative, Sommelier, Impeccable service, Inventive

Ask the students to use at least half of them in their descriptions.

Modification for Small Groups: If possible, stretch Pre-Speaking because you won’t be able to do the Post-Speaking. Otherwise, you could add another category such as Top 10 Foods and do them quickly at the end. Or you could just do the extension.

Modification for Private Lesson: Rather than presenting all ten of your places right away, just present one and then have your student make their list. Then, trade places back and forth. Teach them how to ask good comprehension questions along the way. Keep an eye on your watch at the beginning. If you’re sharing 20 places between the two of you, you’re aiming for about three minutes a place.

Modification for Different Themes: Simply make Top 10 lists for a different topic. Top 10 places you’ve traveled. Top 10 Items of Clothing. Top 10 family members. Anything will work.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | Conversation Lesson Plans, Lesson Plans | , , , , , | Leave a comment