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How hotdogs are made; Process writing lesson
Intermediate; GEP Level 9A level


In this lesson, students will learn about the structure of a process essay through an activity where they are asked to unscramble the different steps in how chocolate is made to complete the sample essay, as well as practice their receptive skills with the listening activity which outlines the different steps in the process. They will also be introduced to transition signals and learn how to use them effectively to show the different steps in their essays.


Abc A3 paper
Abc Glue
Abc HO1 - Fun with Letters
Abc Large sheet of paper for group writing
Abc Blu-tac
Abc Markers
Abc HO2 - Sample Essay - Unscramble a Process Essay

Main Aims

  • To provide process writing practice of a essay in the context of structureparagraphs and ideas
  • To provide process writing practice of a essay in the context of using transition signals to outline the steps of 'how hotdogs are made'.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide practice of transition signals in process essays in the context of 'how hotdogs are made'
  • To provide specific information listening practice using a text about food production in the context of 'how hotdogs are made'


Warmer/Lead-in - Fun with Letters (12-15 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Give students a copy of the HO with the fun with letters activity. The students are presented with four letters on the sheet 'S,O,P,T'. Explain to the students that there are 3 activities on the worksheet. First they must re-arrange the four letters to create 5 four letter words 'Stop, Pots, Spot, Tops, Post'. In activity B, the students can add as many letters as they like and use each letter more that once to create new words 'Ex: Sports, Octopus, Triceratops'. In activity C the students must use the letters in the correct order to figure out the mystery word 'Opposite'. In their groups, students will complete exercises A,B and C while the teacher monitors and offers assistance and encouragement wherever needed.

Pre-Writing task #1 (15-20 minutes) • To prepare students for the text and make it accessible

Put the students into groups of 3 or 4 (3 is preferable). Give each group an A3 page, some glue, a copy of the cut up sentences from the body paragraph of the sample essay on 'how chocolate is made', and a copy of the plan outlining the steps in the process. Students must work out which order the steps are undertaken in to complete the task. This will assess if students can follow a plan, as they will have to match the steps in the essay with the different stages outlined in the plan. As a side-task also ask the groups to highlight the transition signals in the text, which indicate order. This will familiarize students with the transition signals and offer examples of their usage in a process writing essay. This activity also appeals to a wide range of learning styles: visual learners, kineaesthetic learners, and intra-personal learners, which should be enough to stimulate most if not all the students in the class.

Pre-Writing task #2 (15-17 minutes) • To provide practice using transition signals (order)

Give students HO from the Introduction to Academic Writing coursebook, which provides practice for the students using the 'order words' to complete the sentences/process writing paragraphs. Explain to students that more than one answer is often possible. Allow students time to complete exercises independently, but allow students time to peer check answers. Once students have finished the activities check the answer together as class.

Pre-teach Vocabulary for Listening (12-15 minutes) • To provide students with vocabulary scaffolding for listening text

On the whiteboard, pre-teach any vocabulary blockers that could prevent the students from comprehending the process which is described in the video "how hotdogs are made". Go through the definitions and pronunciation of any difficult vocabulary that appears in the text. Try to illicit answers from the students rather than just spoon feeding students the definitions. Use CCQ's to check students comprehension and usage of each of the new vocabulary words. 'Trimmings, Corn Syrup, Puree, Blend, Drape, Emulsion, Vacuum, Vat'

Pre-Writing task #2 (Listening) (20-25 minutes) • To provide students with less challenging gist and specific information listening tasks

In their groups, the students will listen for the information needed to complete the gap-fill activity that outlines the steps in the production of hotdogs. There are 10 stess. The students will be given a gap-fill which contains most of the steps involved in the production of hotdogs. However the steps will be incomplete, students will have to listen for the specific information needed to complete each of the steps on the HO. Explain the activity to the students. Then use ICQ's to check that they have understood what they are being asked to do. Students will watch the video twice. After the activity has been explained, play the video for the first time for the students. Allow the class time to compare their answers in their groups and check with their peers, only very briefly, no more than 1 minute. Teacher will monitor the class to ensure that everyone is following the task and making sure that no-one is being left behind. Once students have finished comparing their answers play the video again a second time. Encourage the students to not only listen for the answer they missed the first time round, but also to check the answers they already have, checking for little things like: is the verb in the correct tense or is it singular or plural, as these little issues could cause problems later on when they are using their notes to write their process essays.

Writing task - How Hotdogs are Made? (40-45 minutes) • To provide with an opportunity to practice what they've learned

Students will now work together in their groups to compose their own process writing using the notes they completed in the gap fill listening exercise on 'how hotdogs are made'. Each group will be given out a some blu-tac, a marker and a large sheet of paper to hang on the walls around the room. Using the sample essay about the process of 'how chocolate is made' as a guideline. Students will use their notes to outline the process of 'how hotdogs are made'.

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