Why did the chicken cross the road? is one of the most famous (and least funny) jokes in English. In this lesson plan, students are asked to draw their own road-crossing chickens and consider chicken motives before being directed to the joke.
- Language level: Elementary – Intermediate (A2 – B1)
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 20 minutes
- Activity: Drawing; Writing sentences
- Topic: Jokes; English humour
- Language: The infinitive of purpose
- Materials: Materials free
Lesson plan outline
- Give every student in the class a scrap piece of paper.
- Ask students to draw a picture of a chicken crossing the road.
- Ask everyone to think of a name for their chickens. Students should write the chicken names on their drawings (see below).
- On the board, write: [Chicken name] is crossing to …
- While students are writing their sentences, go around the class and help with language. Offer corrections and suggest improvements whenever possible.
- Ask everyone to stand up. Invite them to mingle with as many other students as possible. Students should introduce their chickens to each other and explain why they are crossing the road.
- For homework, ask students to find out why the chicken really did cross the road.
Note: Some of your students may be reluctant artists. If so, let them know that you don’t expect masterpieces – just quick sketches. One way of getting students started is to lead by example – draw a picture of your own on the board – the simpler, the better.
Give an example or two to illustrate the infinitive of purpose. Then ask students to think of a reason why their chicken is crossing the road and complete the sentence in any way they want. Ask students to be as imaginative as possible. They should write their sentences on the back of their drawings – in pencil if possible. Also, if possible, give access to bilingual dictionaries so that students can express their ideas even if they don’t have the necessary language/vocabulary.
Note: The aim of this step is for every student to have a well-written sentence on the back of their chicken drawings. If students write their original sentences in pencil (see step 4 above), this will make the correction/re-writing process less messy.
It may be difficult to correct all of your students’ sentences in class (see step 5 above). This will be especially difficult for large groups. If this is the case, ask students to hand in all of their drawings/sentences (following step 4). In your own time, write language suggestions and corrections on the back of their drawings and give them back the next day. If done in this way, the activity should proceed over two days.
- Put all of your students drawing on the wall to create a collage. Ask students to write their chickens’ road-crossing reasons neatly on separate pieces of paper and stick these around the collage.
- Refer back to the ‘Why did the chicken cross the road’ joke whenever you need to revise, revisit or recap the infinitive of purpose (note that a common student error that often needs corrected is: ‘For to get to the other side’.)
The ‘Chickens Xing’ sign used in this lesson plan can be purchased online at www.randallburkey.com