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Writing exercises

1. Start Small with Tweets

❶You'll all be surprised at how creative some of the student definitions are! After your enthusiastic writing pairs have developed their outlines in the practice stage, you can move them into production and let them co-author their article for publication in the newsletter.

Surefire Ways to Make Your Lessons More Fun

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Setting Up Your ESL Writing Activity
Mystery Theater

The only rule is that the students can not give the actual answer to the question if they know it! They must create the most entertaining and original answer they can think of. The more outside-the-box they get, the better.

Give them about 15 minutes to work on their answers. Once the time is up, bring everyone back together and have students take turns presenting answers to the class. They get points for presentation, originality, and creativity. When everyone has finished presenting, you can either pick the winner yourself or have the class vote on who they thought created the best answer for each question.

This one's an old favorite of mine. It's basically a quiz game with a twist that makes it even more enjoyable for the students. One soft ball one that won't do any damage if thrown around a classroom , a whiteboard, and pre-made question cards.

Before the lesson, prepare questions of varying difficulty in at least five categories. Categories I often use are: Geography questions about the world , grammar they must correct a sentence , synonyms they must provide a synonym for a word , general knowledge I just find odd facts on the Internet for this one , and acting you give the student a word or sentence, they must act it out without making a sound for their team to guess.

You can design your own categories so you can manipulate the game however you wish, depending on the language and skill level that you want to target. You will need four questions per category, ranging in difficulty from easy to hard. So once you have your questions ready, draw a jigsaw map on the board with five big pieces, and assign one of your categories to each piece.

In the center of each space, write the name of the category, and surround it with the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. Divide the students into two teams, and give one team the ball to start with. They must throw the ball at the board to select a category. This makes it harder for them to pick the category they are comfortable with, and they have fun throwing the ball in the classroom.

Once they have a category selected, ask them how many points they will play for; they get to select a number from If for some reason their team can't answer the question, or they get it wrong, the other team then gets a chance to steal the points if they can answer it correctly. It's fun, and all you have to do is sit back and ask the questions. They enjoy throwing the ball and they get to talk with each other about what the correct answer is.

Of course, keep a running tally of the scores somewhere on the board, and at the end of class, you can declare who is the champion!

I saved the best for last. My students requested this game more often than any other game we ever played. It's based on the old drinking game "Ring of Fire," modified for the classroom. A standard deck of playing cards, a whiteboard, small slips of blank paper, and a bowl.

Place the bowl in the center of a table and spread the cards out, face down, in a circle around the bowl. On the whiteboard or on a photocopied handout if a whiteboard isn't available list the 12 cards ace to king and the actions associated with each card. For more on what exactly those actions are, see below. Before you start the game, hand every student two small slips of paper.

Instruct them to write down two questions and to keep them secret! When they are finished, they need to fold up the papers and place them in the bowl on the table. The students will take turns pulling a card.

When it's their turn, they choose one and hold it up so the whole class can see it. Now here's the fun part. They must perform the action associated with that card, whatever it is!

The person who draws the king must pull a random question from the bowl and pose it to any of their classmates. They love it of course, but once they catch on to the game, they will start slipping dangerous questions in there, hoping to catch you, i. Everyone must make bunny ears with their fingers. The last person to do so must select and answer a question.

You choose a topic: The students must go in a circle naming new vocabulary for that topic. The first one who can't say a new word has to answer a question. For the topic of fruit The person who said "carrot" has to answer a question! Like bunny ears, except students must now touch their noses with both fingers to avoid answering the question.

The person who picked this has to answer two questions in front of the class. This is just an example of a setup I use for intermediate university level classes. You can adjust the actions and penalties however you want to suit the topic or grammar point you would like to work on. Students love this game: They get to talk and act silly, and the suspense of waiting to see which card will be picked is really intense!

Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Thank you for sharing. If you have any new ideas please send me by this e- mail. I teach Oral English at a university in China. My students are slightly past beginners but not yet intermediate. Today I implemented the " Mystery Theater" for the first time. The creativity in their stories was awesome!

First of all, thank you for sharing these amusing games. I have a question though, referring to the game "ring of fire" what if the students answers or asks the questions wrongly or correctly?

Is there any reward, punishment or points system? Mystery Theater was awesome last month!! Thank you, thank you: We are developing a new oral communication skills course, and I can see using games like this on a regular basis.

I am so excited. I have been going to Hungary for the past 10 years in the summer to teach conversational English and the gospel. These games are fresh, exciting, and motivational for my teens. I can't wait for July to come and use these games. Thank you, Thank you. Sphere Selector was awesome! Wow this list of games is awesome and so much different from the same old games everyone already knows! Thank you so much for posting! I am really impressed! These games are different from the ones usually suggested for ESL classroom and I love them!

That's very useful information. I'm really interested with this stuff and if you don't mind I'm gonna make it as my thesis title for improving speaking. The purpose is to give teachers fun games they can use in the class, nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for posting this. I have to prepare my class and I didn't know what to do Great ideas, but please use "you're" instead of "your" where appropriate in the text.. Sounds like some games I could use. I could use a whiteboard here in China - but still I guess the old blackboard and chalk will work OK.

Gee I wish they'd get white boards. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others. To provide a better website experience, owlcation. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: Surefire Ways to Make Your Lessons More Fun If you've ever taught English before, you have probably had this complaint or have at the very least known someone who has received it before: Just a whiteboard and some markers!

For example, I might ask students things like: You probably want to choose 3 to 5 questions to brainstorm as a class.

First, direct the students' attention to the questions written on the board. Conduct a class discussion about each, writing your students' answers on the board clustered around the question. Have them brainstorm at least ten quick answers for each question. Then choose which question-and-answer the class likes best: This will be the word group you'll be working with.

Assign each student to a small group of students, depending the size of your class. Draw their attention to the genres you listed in the corner of the board, describe each one, then assign a different genre to each group. Okay, now it's time to explain that this game is all about creating role-plays.

Every team must make and perform a role-play for the class in which they find a way to use every word that's clustered around the question at least once, in the genre they've been assigned! Give them minutes to work in their groups and figure out just what the heck they are gonna say! After that, bring the class back together for presentations, and I promise you're going to see some very original, hilarious plays being acted out in English!

There really is no wrong way to do a Cinquain, students can put key vocabulary words together any way they like to create the message they desire. Teachers may want to use Cinquains to reinforce new content vocabulary and concepts as well. With these writing activities to try in your classroom, the only thing left is to buy a few boxes of pencils, hand them out to your ELL students and help them discover the possibility of joy in writing.

Teachers who use a variety of activities and strategies to help ELL students become comfortable with expressing their ideas in a new language and finding success with small writing tasks, will give their students' confidence for a lifetime of self-expression. I offer this Cinquain poem to sum it up. This article from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, featured on LD OnLine, discusses dysgraphia and its warning signs, as well as strategies for addressing it for different age groups.

Reading Rockets webcast featuring Dr. Louisa Moats, and Dr. These three renowned reading and writing experts address why writing is important, what the latest research tells us, and what educators and parents can do to support our children's development as writers. Teaching Plot Structure with Picture Books. Use picture books to teach young writers how to organize plot logically. This article includes examples of basic plot structures, along with picture books that use those structures.

An Introduction to Letter Writing. This article from My Child Magazine, featured on Reading Rockets, offers samples of different styles of letters from thank-you notes to letters to Santa and style guidelines that children can follow. This site lets you create your own handouts of words that students can practice writing. The paper is lined and the word is outlined in small dot print. Good for ELL students developing initial literacy skills.

ReadWriteThink offers a variety of fun, interactive writing activities, including the Comic Creator. Students can fill in comics with their own words and storylines.

A poetry site designed to assist instruction of ESL students in poetry and other creative writing forms. The site has links and detailed information on poetry such as Cinquain, Diamante, Haiku and Limericks. It also has further information on other types of creative writing and tips for instruction. Language Arts Graphic Organizers.

These graphic organizers can be used to prepare for a five-paragraph essay, organize sentences in a paragraph, map concepts and events, compare topics with a Venn Diagram, organize notes for a presentation, create a double-entry journal, and much more.

With generous support provided by the National Education Association. Thanks for sharing useful ideas out of your personal experience. I really enjoyed reading the sentence auction activity and would share it with a friend who is teaching English at some local school; I am sure her students will benefit a great deal with this writing technique.

I enjoyed your personal experience and it is very helpful. Way to be creative and go the extra mile for ESL students.

I also love the poem. Great idea and allows for the students to comfortably use their creative side. Sharing your experience in helping learners improve writing skills seems informative and useful. I do enjoy your personal experience in teaching or training experience. These ideas have raised my teaching up after trying out for a long time with boring traditional ways and sometimes I lost my patience when facing students' works.

ELLs and the Joy of Writing. On this page How to differentiate writing activities: How to differentiate writing activities: ELL students at Level A copy a sentence or short passage exactly as it is written. This helps beginning-level students who are not very familiar with the language, but may be able to interpret some of the information as they copy it. Level B students receive a paragraph or two that has blank spaces in the text. The students write the word or phrase that completes the sentence.

This allows the student to write an amount that is not overwhelming and helps them comprehend the information. Level C students write on their own, but perhaps they receive paragraph prompts or are allowed to look in a book, but must put the idea in their own words. After some practice with this system and getting to know your students' English language skills, you will be able to create a system that works best for your class. Language Experience Approach The Language Experience Approach draws on instructional techniques used with younger children who have not yet developed literacy skills.

Experience something — for example, the students have listened to the story, "The Little Red Hen" and then acted it out. The teacher stands by the board or a large sheet of paper and says to the students, "Tell me the story of the Little Red Hen. For example, a student might say, "The Little Red Hen work so hard and nobody want help her.

Then the teacher tells the students, "Let's read the story together and listen to see if the story makes sense and if there is anything we want to change. For example, one student may raise her hand and say, "I think it should say, "worked" not "work. If the suggested change is correct, the teacher offers praise and moves on to the next suggestion. If the suggested change is not correct, the teacher should help the student analyze the suggested change.

We can say "She worked so hard. As a final activity, students are instructed to take the story home and read it to three people and bring it back with signatures. Sentence Auction This activity helps students analyze common writing errors through a personalized activity since they are trying to buy their own sentences.

The teacher reads out the sentence confidently exactly as it is written. Some sentences will not sell because students will know they are "bad. After all the sentences have been sold, the teacher goes through the list and the students say whether the sentence was good or bad. If they agree that it was a bad sentence, then the teacher asks them to explain how they can make it a "good" sentence.

Finally the students can count how many "good" sentences they have since they may have bought some bad ones and a winner is declared. The teacher may want to give a little prize or certificate to the student. In a variation of this activity students can work in pairs or groups to buy the sentences. Error correction I have never "corrected" my students' writing mistakes, at least not in the traditional way. Quick Write One of the challenges for ELL students when they approach writing is their anxiety about writing their ideas correctly and writing a lot of information in English.

Cinquain poems Cinquain poems offer great flexibility in working with ELL students of a variety of language levels. A one-word summary An example of a Cinquain a student might write: Home Warm, happy Loving, welcoming, helping People you love. Family There really is no wrong way to do a Cinquain, students can put key vocabulary words together any way they like to create the message they desire.

Writing Fun, creative Thinking, sharing, revising Lots of ideas. Writing Webcast Reading Rockets webcast featuring Dr. Teaching Plot Structure with Picture Books Use picture books to teach young writers how to organize plot logically. An Introduction to Letter Writing This article from My Child Magazine, featured on Reading Rockets, offers samples of different styles of letters from thank-you notes to letters to Santa and style guidelines that children can follow.

Handwriting Practice This site lets you create your own handouts of words that students can practice writing. Cinquain poems A poetry site designed to assist instruction of ESL students in poetry and other creative writing forms.

Language Arts Graphic Organizers These graphic organizers can be used to prepare for a five-paragraph essay, organize sentences in a paragraph, map concepts and events, compare topics with a Venn Diagram, organize notes for a presentation, create a double-entry journal, and much more. For commercial use, please contact info colorincolorado. Getting Ready for College:

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5 ESL Activities Guaranteed to Get Your Students Excited About Writing Practice Writing might seem like a daunting task for ESL students. But writing activities can totally spice up your classroom and teach your students to express themselves in new ways.

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Many students study English to further their business careers, but not all business English students have advanced language skills. To keep their writing practical but still keep its goals attainable, have your students write a memo. Memos follow a certain format; they .

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Writing a Formal Paragraph: These worksheets are all included in our e-textbook Write Right: Transitions. Download this book, including all of the intermediate/advanced worksheets on the left, as well as several additional worksheets, review exercises, and essay assignments for intermediate/advanced ESL students! Activities for your EFL / ESL writing class. Icebreakers, warmers, creative writing, and essay writing activities. Steps, rules, and ideas to get students free writing.

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Many of our teenage students now have mobile phones and enjoy sending text messages to each other. This activity introduces them to some English text messages . This section of the ESL site contains many exercises for beginning learners to practice various types of writing or writing task.