Writing is an integral part of learning English but is often overlooked in the classroom;
When we think about writing we either imagine our teachers giving us boring topics like ‘Write about your vacation’ (or non-vacation this year) or write a letter to your friend.
But writing is such an important skill that we should not overlook the value it has for our students.
Writing reinforces their understanding of English and improves vocabulary, it’s a mental exercise which helps students learn better, it enhances communication skills and It increases Knowledge, Creativity and Imagination.
Because it is seen as something you can only do by yourself, most teachers use it when they want quiet time, as homework or a punishment. Even though teachers know that writing is important, they know how to mark individual papers, how to correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. They give ideas on how to improve writing, but often they don’t know how to teach creativity, structure or use activities that get the best out of their students.
Table of Contents
Creative Writing Prompts
I made a list of interesting topics to write about. You can download 60 really fun writing prompts for free in the description below, pick the one you like and give them to your learners.
60 FREE Writing Prompts ► https://sendfox.com/etacude
Set up 4 chart-paper stations around the room with the following titles: Conflicts, Character Traits, Settings, and Themes. Break the class up into 4 groups and have each group go to one of the stations.
The group members work together to “graffiti” the page with potential conflicts, character traits, settings, and themes that could emerge in a fictional story. Fill in a couple of your examples to get them started. Remind them to leave space for the other groups – There will always be a joker that writes too big.
Have each group spend 3-4 minutes filling the chart paper up with their ideas. Then, have them all circulate to the next station and repeat the process.
When they are done, have each student select one character trait, conflict, setting, and theme from the graffitied pages to develop a unique narrative.
If students are lower level you can use diffent stations like: Characters, actions, objects and descriptive words.
Ask the Oracle
Come up with fun questions, and see how your student’s mind’s work to create wild answers
How To play it:
- Every player has to write one question each which they want the Oracle to answer, at the top of the page. Keep it PG!
- Now every writer has to pass their papers to the person on their left.
- That student has to answer the question.
- Now the players have to conceal the question written on the top portion by folding it and then pass on the papers again to their left.
- This step is tricky but interesting. Every player has to write a possible question after reading the previous answer they see in their paper.
- Now they fold the paper so that only the latest question is visible and pass it to the left side player.
- The same rounds continue till the bottom of the page and end with an answer.
- At the end of the game, all the players unfold their papers to read their original question, the answers they have received, and everything in between.
So much fun! You will be surprised to see how original question evolves to show something totally different.
How-to-do writing for Clear Instructions
When teaching writing we’ve got to focus on expository – and creative writing. The main mistake most English teachers make is to focus predominantly on creative, leaving expository writing for letters, postcards and email writing.
(Expository writing is writing that seeks to explain, illuminate or ‘expose’ This type of writing can include essays, newspaper and magazine articles, instruction manuals, textbooks, encyclopedia articles and other forms of writing, so long as they seek to explain.)
But actually, expository writing gives students structure, it helps them create arguments and lay out their thoughts. Expository wring is crucial to develop the minds of English learners but it isn’t used enough.
A HOW-TO PARAGRAPH FOR ALIENS
An alien wants to imitate you!
First, it needs information. Students have to write clear instructions for an alien to impersonate them. To warm up ask students how they would explain putting on their shoes. With your guidance, write down how do they do that step by step, on the whiteboard. Then, each student should pick a different activity that they can teach the alien to do.
Write clear instructions for the Alien on how to go to school in the morning. The alien should be able to impersonate you exactly without getting caught.
This assignment asks students to think over something that is second nature to them; they must break down actions and describe them. Students must not only think about what they do but how they do it: are they grumpy in the morning, or do they spring out of bed?
They should have fun with this assignment!
Watch a video then write
You can use your own video but as an example I’ll use this one. It’s from Coca-cola and it displays the differences between today’s life and the past by showing a grandfather and a grandson’s life side by side.
- First, put the students into pairs and then they watch the video:
- Then ask them questions – (Start easy) What’s your favorite drink? What did you see in the video? What differences were there? How is your life different form your grandparents? What remains the same? What do you think the message of this video is?
- Then, watch again. Each pair should write down the differences they see.
Don’t write in full sentences. Only take notes. This will help them with their notetaking skill.
Also, it helps them organize their thoughts with writing. Once you take care of organizing your thoughts, writing is simple.
- Then with their partners, let students construct sentences, give them an example sentence:
In the past, people brought their lunch to work.
Today, people buy lunch.
Let the pairs write it down together.
- Finally, Tell the students to apply some of the ideas from the board to write an essay on how life has changed. Encourage them to use examples from their own lives in their writing.
Video is a great tool for writing. Another video idea is to play a clip and then end it prematurely. Students have to write an ending to the video. You can play them a dialogue, then students have to rewrite it using their own words. Many creative ways to utilize video for writing.
The aim is for students to write about a single, chosen object.
In this exercise, we use a cube to ask six kinds of questions about an item to help them describe it.
Each question gives students a different way to look at an idea or object. The answers generate lots of information, which helps students add depth and detail to their writing.
This is a kind of guided writing exercise – because of the question prompts – so it works well with students who say they don’t know what to write.
DESCRIBE: What is the idea? What does the object look like? Describe it with words about the senses.
COMPARE: Is it similar to something else?
CONTRAST: How is it different from others? What makes it unique?
ANALYZE: Divide the whole thing into smaller parts.
APPLY: How can it be used? Who uses it? What can we learn from it?
ARGUE: What do you think about it? Good or bad? Right or wrong? Yes or no? Explain your decision with reasons.
Mix up cards with various images in a bag or basket, and then ask each student to take three random images. The students should write stories that involve each of the three depicted objects.
Transitions – Linking Paragraphs
What is a transition?
A transition is the element that smooths the leap from one paragraph to the next. The reader should not feel disoriented by a new paragraph; he or she should feel that it all makes sense, that there’s a flow of ideas that clearly connect.
How are transitions made?
The transition is often made in two places: in the final sentence of the first paragraph and in the first sentence of the following paragraph.
Activity: Four Seasons
In two linked paragraphs, write about two seasons. Explain which season you like the most and which season you like least. In order to help students write fully developed paragraphs, have them think of all the things they can write about. What do they do during summer but not winter? What is the weather like? Remind students to appeal to the reader’s senses: what seasonal smells, sights, and sounds do they feel?
Another linking activity is Watching TV – Pros, cons (reasoning)
In this assignment you want students to make lists of pros and cons before they begin writing. Then tell them to write two paragraphs. They should link the paragraphs together carefully, creating a smooth transition.
Musical Group Writing
Hand each student a sheet of paper. Ask them to write a story neatly from the top. Then ,play music and tell students to write according to the mood of the music – African drumming, pop, star wars theme Classical or whatever works for them.
They write any story they want. When you stop the music they pass their paper to the person next to them, who reads it, and then continues the story. The longer this activity lasts, they’ll need more time to read the story.
So I suggest you limit each story to 5 or 6 turns otherwise it gets too long. Make sure to prepare them for the final swap so they can write the conclusion. – No wake up scenarios!! Kids have the Hollywood habit of ending stories with a cliché. You want to avoid that!
Play an association game with your students: tell them a word and ask them to create an association chain for it. Each student should make their own on a piece of paper. For example, airport – travel – holidays – fun – party – night – moon – space, and so on.
Each words should be connected to the last, but there doesn’t need to be a general theme to it. When the association chain is ready, ask the students to write a story by using all of their own words.
Another fun way to play the game is to put the students into groups of 4. In each group, students draws a character, inanimate object, place, action. Mix up all the papers and redistribute them among the cl. Each person in a group has to write a story using the 4 new papers.
Report a Real Event – Olympics, Real Life
Give students a newspaper, let them share it in a group and pick a news story to write about. They can rewrite an article in their own words – Although this will lead to a lot of plagiarism. Or, write it from another perspective, like if it’s a sport they do it from a player’s point of view or a letter to the editor.
Report writing is an essential part of life, academia and business, so you can build on the structure they may already be familiar with. Report writing can enhance your students’ careers and even get them higher scores on exams. Later you could even let the students present their reports in front of class and answer questions about the material.
Presenting their report is also an excellent way to build confidence in your students in both communication and writing.
Try these 10 Writing Activities to spice up the writing of your students in English Class.
Writing should be fun but also useful for learners to fully enjoy and learn from the experience.