Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ideas for EFL/ESL writing

Here are some ideas I used today to help students with their writing skills.

Lesson Plan 1

1 Write the first line of a story (this is a common exam question) on the board.

E.g. "I opened the envelope and inside I saw a plane ticket with my name on it."

2 Write down a second sentence.
E.g "If that wasn't strange enough, there was also $1000 in cash."

3 Ask the class to shout a third sentence and write it on the board.

4 Ask for a couple more sentences and write them on the board.

5 Put students in pairs or groups of three. Get them to write the sentence in their notebooks and explain to them that they'll take turns in adding their own sentences. To ensure that they don't waste too much time, tell them that each person has only 30 (or more) seconds to write their sentences. To make sure they have an idea of the time, count to 30 aloud slowly.

6 Students then swap the book and the other person adds their sentence. If they haven't finished the sentence his/her partner must finish it before adding, their own.

7 Do this four or five times.

8 Ask the student to make a copy of the story in their own notebooks

9 For homework, students correct what has already been written and then finish the story.

Lesson Plan 2

This idea is a way of getting students to practice using relative clauses in a way that doesn't bore them (not an easy feat, believe me).

1 Write a short sentence on the board;

E.g. "Alan is a librarian"

2 Ask students in what ways we can make the sentence longer.

E.g "Alan is a good librarian"
"Alan is not a good librarian."
"Alan is sometimes not a good librarian." etc.

3 If the students don't mention relative clauses the write up an example of your own.

E.g. "Alan, who is married with two wonderful kids, is sometimes not a very good librarian at Kingston college, which is one of the best in the country."

4 Now write a new sentence on the board;

E.g. " Ingrid is the boss."

5 Tell students that they have five minutes to write the longest sentence they can. The winner of the competition has no homework for that lesson.

I did both these activities in my intermediate lesson today and they were a great success with a very lively and demanding bunch of teenagers.

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