Dialogue Activities for ESL Students
Improve language skills through conversation.
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Practicing dialogues is a great way for English students to test their skills and develop a better grasp of the language. Dialogues are useful for a number of reasons:
- Dialogues provide models on which students can base their own conversations.
- Dialogues force students to focus on language production in a way that helps them practice correct usage.
- Student-created dialogues can be used to encourage creativity.
- Dialogues can be used as a basis for listening to comprehension exercises.
Using dialogues to help students develop their conversation skills is a common practice in most English classes. There are a number of different ways to go about incorporating dialogues into classroom activities. The suggestions below encourage students to role-play and practice new tenses, structures, and language functions. Once students become familiar with these new language elements, they can then use the dialogues as models to practice writing and speaking on their own.
Using dialogues can help students become familiar with standard formulas used to discuss different topics. This is especially helpful when practicing new idioms and expressions . While these expressions might be easy to understand on their own, introducing them through dialogues can help students immediately put the new vocabulary into practice.
Divide students into pairs and give each pair a topic to talk about. Challenge each student to incorporate a few given idioms or expressions into their dialogue before time runs out.
Gap Fill Exercises
Dialogues are perfect for gap-fill exercises. For example, take a sample dialogue and delete keywords and phrases from the text. Choose a pair of students to read the dialogue to the rest of the class, then ask the other students to fill in the missing words and phrases. You can also have students create their own sample dialogues and quiz each other to see how well they can fill in the blanks.
Dialogues for Role-Playing and Acting
Having students write dialogues for short scenes or soap operas helps them focus on correct expressions, analyze language, and develop their writing skills. Once students have completed their scripts, have them act out their scenes and skits for the rest of the class.
Have students write sample dialogues for popular TV shows such as The Simpsons or The Office . Alternatively, write a script together as a class, and have each student be responsible for a particular character. This exercise gives students time to pay attention to details as the plot moves forward.
Have students memorize simple dialogues as a way to help them improve their vocabulary skills. While old-fashioned, this type of rote work can help students build good habits as their English skills improve.
Create sample dialogues that show the words of only one speaker, then have students complete the dialogues using a list of responses you've provided. Another variation is to provide only the beginning or end of a sentence for each speaker. Completing this type of open-ended dialogue can provide a bigger challenge for upper-level English learners.
Have students re-create their favorite scenes from different movies. Ask a group of volunteers to act out a scene in front of the class, then compare their version to the original.
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10 Creative ESL Writing Activities For Young Students
By VIPKid | February 7, 2018
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ESL Writing Activities
If you are an ESL teacher on VIPKID then you must consider the following things before selecting ESL Writing Activities for your students;
- You must choose the activities that can easily be done online because communication between you and your students will be done using VIPKID’s online video chatting software. Therefore, games that require outdoor activities may not work that well.
- You must avoid picking group activities because each of your online classes will consist of one student only. If you pick games that require more than one student, it is quite possible that you may end up confusing your students instead of helping them develop their writing skills.
- VIPKID provides the teachers with its own teaching material; therefore, the games you pick for your students must be relevant to the material you are given otherwise you may not be able to achieve any progress.
- The ESL Writing Activities you pick must be age-appropriate, which means you should pick games according to the age of your students. For your younger students, you need to choose easier to understand activities that teach English writing at the most basic level. Older students who understand English a bit may benefit from slightly more complex games.
- You must include ESL Writing Activities both in-class lessons and your students’ homework. This will allow them to practice more, which will help them develop and improve their writing skills.
The key to using writing activities as a teaching tool for your ESL students is to know which activities will help achieve your lesson’s learning objectives. If you use activities that are all fun and games, then your students may not learn anything useful from them.
ESL writing activities are important because they teach students to express their thoughts and use arguments so they can support their points of view in English. Therefore, it is important to do ESL writing exercises not only as homework but also as a classroom activity . In this article, we will outline some interesting ESL writing activities that are suitable for interactive work in a classroom or while teaching ESL online.
These are some of the best 10 ESL writing activities
Most of your students should be familiar with Twitter and tweets, so it can be a good starting point for an ESL writing exercise. Encourage students to write short tweets on the given ESL writing topic . You can even create a Twitter account for your class where the learners can share their thoughts. By the way, recently Twitter has exceeded the number of characters per post from 140 to 280, but still you can stick to the old 140-character format and maintain the conciseness.
Emails are the main source of communication between people around the world, and that’s why email writing is a key to effective communication . Explain to your students the difference between formal and informal emails , outline the structure and vocabulary, and encourage the students to write their own emails. They can write emails to each other based on a specified topic, such as organizing a surprise party for a friend’s birthday.
Writing Ads and TV Commercials
Advertisements and commercials are a great example of creative writing , so they can be used as writing activities for ESL students . Give your learners some sample ads as well as typical expressions that are used in advertising, and then ask the learners to create their own ads. You can bring some familiar objects to the classroom and tell the learners to advertise them. The students can work solo, in pairs, or in groups. For even greater creativity, encourage them to support their ads with images . For example, they can cut out those images out of newspapers or magazines, or print them from the web. Bonus points go to teachers who have their students present them as pitches for an extra speaking activity .
This ESOL writing exercise focuses on the ability to detect and correct mistakes in an already written text. One of example is to give the students a letter from an “imaginary friend” who does not speak English very well and has asked you to correct his or her letter. Each line of the letter should contain at least one mistake, which the students should identify and correct.
Collaborative ESL Writing Activity
Ask your students to write a story together. Each student should write a sentence and pass on the sheet to another student, who should continue the story. In the end, someone can read the story aloud. Such activity can both train the writing skills and spice up your ESL writing lessons, making them more fun and exciting. If you’re Teaching English as a Second Language online, you can go back and forth with the student and drive the story toward the vocabulary you’re focusing on.
Don’t forget to check our article about Teaching English as A Second Language.
Play an association game with your students: tell them a word and ask them to create an association chain for it, i.e. to name the association with each next word. For example, airport – travel – holidays – fun – party – night – moon – space, and so on. When the association chain is ready, ask the students to write a story by using all of these words.
During this ESL writing game, you should write an essay together with your students, but in a slow-paced manner, sentence by sentence . When writing, you will teach them the typical essay structure, such as introductory, supporting, and concluding sentences. As a result, your students will not be afraid of long essays, as they can easily break down the essay structure into smaller chunks.
Image-Based Story Writing
For this ESOL writing practice, you should mix up cards with various images in a bag or basket, and then ask each student to take three random images. Then the most interesting part starts: the students should write stories that involve each of the three depicted objects .
How-To Instructions Writing
During this ESL writing exercise, you should ask your students to describe how something works in the form of a step-by-step procedure . Of course, they should describe the functioning of simple objects from daily life, for example, a toaster. Another option is to write a recipe for a simple dish, such as scrambled eggs or cornflakes with milk.
Shortening The Texts
Give your students a bulky text overloaded with long expressions and ask them to shorten the text and remove everything that seems odd, thus making the text clear and concise. You can shorten one of the texts together with the students and then have them work in groups or pairs.
We hope that our examples of writing exercises for ESL students will help you liven up the writing activities and turn them into an exciting adventure. Good luck with the next lesson plan !
Benefits of ESL Writing
Here are some of the benefits of ESL writing activities:
They help to improve writing skills – Yes, this is an obvious benefit. Writing is an important part of learning English as a Second Language, especially if you are teaching adults who are looking for job opportunities or applying to universities for higher studies in native-English speaking countries. You will have to make sure that they know the basic knowledge of how to compose emails, take notes, prepare assignments and communicate with their peers and colleagues.
They help you build your vocabulary – ESL write up activities are a great way to build your students’ vocabulary. Not only do they learn new words, but they will also know how to use them in different sentences.
They help students understand the English language better – When you write a sentence you learn new words, you learn how to use them and how to build content around them. This can be a great way to improve your students’ comprehension, which can help them with their fluency in the language and play a role in developing their communication skills.
Remember, in order to make sure that your students benefit from writing, you should select exercises that are age-appropriate, related to your lesson, and easy to understand.
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14 ESL Writing Activities to Spice Up Your Next Class
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Writing is one of the four basic English proficiencies next to reading, speaking, and listening. Developing a well-honed ability to write fluidly, naturally, and confidently — while using well-crafted grammatical structure and a wide array of vocabulary — carries several benefits for English learners.
A developed writing ability is essential for scoring well on standardized tests that include essay sections and a well-chosen ESL writing activity can increase the ability to express increasingly complex ideas succinctly and fully, thus improving communication skills across all four proficiencies.
How to Use ESL Writing Activities
As an ESL teacher, part of your teaching scope likely includes improving the writing skills of your students. Fun, engaging activities can be effective tools for achieving the gains in their writing abilities that you hope to see in the classroom.
When to Use ESL Writing Activities
Depending on the type of activity, writing activities can be used:
- At the beginning of a lesson to pique students’ interest and generate excitement about the upcoming lesson.
- Mid-lesson to assess students’ absorption and retention.
- At the conclusion of a lesson to review previously learned vocabulary/grammar.
Setup for ESL Writing Activities
Some ESL writing activities featured here require virtually no setup. Others require a whiteboard and/or projector with computer access. A handful require some preparation before class and pre-printed materials for handout.
Here are a few of the premier ESL writing activities for students divided by age and skill level.
ESL Writing Activities For Young Learners
Flash card writing.
Young learners are often best engaged with visual cues, so ESL flashcards are great tools for the classroom at the primary level.
To conduct the flash card activity, do a warm-up session by going through each card and, together as a class, writing the correct spelling on the board letter by letter.
Then, heat things up by dividing students into teams and having one member of each team write the vocabulary term on the board as quickly as possible when you prompt them with the corresponding flashcard.
The first student to finish earns a point for his or her team. Incentivize the students, if necessary, with a prize for the team with the most points at the end.
Building on the theme of combining imagery with writing for younger ESL learners, consider showing students a picture (the more vibrant, colorful, and detailed, the better) and asking them to write what they see. Consider using images with recently learned phrases as a review method.
Write a Letter to Santa (or Spiderman, Harry Potter, or Whomever)
Letter writing is an essential aspect of a young student’s English. Make it fun by having them write to their favorite superhero, celebrity, or best friend.
If your students need extra guidance, prompt them by suggesting what to write about; if writing to Santa, for example, encourage them to discuss what they would like for Christmas.
Help them frame their letter logically by providing a structure guide and helpful suggestions as necessary.
Postcards to Pen Pals
Capture young learners’ imagination by introducing them to a fictitious young boy or girl (or one inspired by real life) who is their same age and who lives in an exotic far-off land.
If your students are interested in a particular region or city, such as San Francisco, adjust your character’s geographic location accordingly.
Have them write a short composition to their new faraway friend that will fit on a postcard about who they are, what they like doing, etc. You can even make your own DIY postcards in the office using colored cardboard or other material.
This is a great opportunity to teach basic introductions and conclusions in English writing, a foundational component of almost any form of writing.
ESL Writing Activities For Adults
Write a business email.
Many adult learners are businesspeople, office workers, or other teachers themselves, so chances are all or most of your students have to send emails at some point in a work-related capacity.
Learning how to use professional, natural-sounding business language is a practical, valuable skill that adult ESL learners will appreciate — in fact, you may find that sounding “native” in both written and spoken word is a major goal of many English students, particularly adults.
Using a projector, create a relatable and entertaining work-related scenario and write an email to a boss or co-worker together about the situation.
Then, have your students craft their own email either in response to the example you provided or in a fresh scenario.
Fluent English writers and speakers have the ability to translate visual experiences into the written word, an advanced skill set that can serve your students well in a variety of real-world English-speaking contexts.
Consider using a well-known piece of local imagery with important cultural meaning (such as a portrait of a well-known historical figure or leader) and help your students to write verbal descriptions of the visual cue.
Paraphrasing is the ability to quickly recreate sentences with different grammatical structure and vocabulary while retaining the meaning and content of the original sentence.
The ability to paraphrase off the cuff is an important skill that can come in handy for adult learners who interact with other English speakers. Practicing paraphrasing encourages a greater understanding of the nuances of the language and developing alternative ways to construct sentences.
Offer your students a sentence, then ask them to capture the essence of what is communicated and reconstitute the critical elements into a new sentence structure.
Personal Ads for Dating Sites
Due to human nature, social conditioning, or a combination thereof, adult ESL learners’ ears tend to perk up when the topic of conversation moves to the birds and the bees.
If your adult students don’t use personal dating apps like Tinder, chances are they did at some point or their sons and daughters do.
Have your students write a personal ad – either about themselves or about one another in pairs – to be placed on a fictional dating app. Depending on the context of the learning environment, you can spice the activity up by encouraging uncouth language if/when you feel it is appropriate.
ESL Writing Activities for Beginners
This simple writing activity encourages creativity in use of the English terminology as well as recall of vocabulary. To create an acrostic poem activity for your students, write a short series of letters such as BIRD on the board, one on top of the other. Each of the four letters is its own line of poetry like this:
Create an example first for your students, such as:
- Barbara and
- I went to the garden where
- Red flowers grow
- Down by the creek
Then encourage students to think of their own poems to create.
Fill in the Letters
Mastering the letters and their phonetic sounds is a foundational element of ESL writing for beginners.
Present your students with words containing missing letters. You can either use pre-constructed worksheets from other teachers, create your own, or write the words with missing letters on the whiteboard.
After your students complete the words, take the time to sound out the terms again to strengthen students’ phonetic grasp on common English sounds and their corresponding letters. This will build their capacity to conceptualize letters when constructing words and sentences.
Print a series of words with one giant letter on each page. For example, if the word is HOUSE, then print an H, O, U, S, and E, each on its own respective page.
Scramble the papers up, then call an equal number of students to pages to the front – in this example, five. Say the word they should spell (house) and then watch them scramble to organize themselves in the correct order – helping them when necessary.
Although beginning ESL students don’t put pen to paper in this activity, it is nonetheless a writing activity in that it instills proper spelling and a basic grasp on phonetics that are critical at this stage of language development.
Students also enjoy and may benefit from the social, team-building aspect of this writing activity.
If single words are too easy, you can up the difficulty level by printing entire words on separate pages that form complete sentences.
ESL Writing Activities for Intermediate Students
Western ESL teachers might remember Mad Libs from their youth, a game in which a handful of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are extracted from a prewritten story and left up to the participants to fill in.
Mad Libs and its variants like Mad Takes can be wildly entertaining for ESL learners.
Fantasy Dialogue Using Pop Culture
Most of your students, especially in the mid-secondary school age range with a typical skill level for that group, will find this writing activity engaging.
Create a fantasy meeting between two well-known pop culture figures – for example, in Thailand, this would be something like Lady Gaga meeting Harry Potter if selecting from Western celebrities.
You can make the activity more exciting by setting the dialogue against an unusual background – for example, backstage at a concert in Bangkok.
Writing Descriptions of Visual Stimuli
Flash an image of a busy street corner in a major city in your student’s country, or of a well-known piece of historic architecture or famous landform – anything that your students are likely to know well.
Write the question words on the board:
Then ask your students to craft their own descriptions of the images you show for the question words. Some might not fit well – for example, the answer to who? may not appear obvious in an image of an island with no inhabitants. Encourage creative, “out of the box” answers in this regard and reward them with positive feedback.
The Directions Game
Giving and receiving directions is an intermediate English skill that ESL learners who want to travel will need to have. Additionally, this activity is useful to include at the outset of a lesson because the competitive nature captures students’ interest.
Draw a handmade map or grab one off of the internet. Divide the students into two teams. Then, have one student from each team come to the whiteboard with marker in hand.
Ask how to go from point A to point B on the map. Each student, with the help of his or her team, must quickly write coherent directions (turn left, turn right, go east, go west, etc.) from start to finish.
The first team to complete intelligible directions wins.
ESL Writing Activities for Advanced Students
What happens next.
This writing activity has the potential for several modifications to spice it up, but the essential idea is that the class, as a group, creates a story line by line.
The simplest version of Collective Story Time is to begin, as the teacher, with the introductory sentence on the whiteboard or projector: “Billy went to the skatepark.” The next sentence is completed by a student chosen at random, who then passes the baton to another student of his or her choice.
Depending on the age, maturity level, and preferences of students, you might put content limitations in place or interject with your own sentences from time to time to keep the story on a productive track.
Social Media Posts
Nearly everyone uses social media; they identify with it; they engage with it. Instead of fighting students to stay off of their phones in class, why not consider crafting your own Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram posts together as a class?
Use projection technology to supersize the browser or app and brainstorm a Tweet or post about a popular topic or the latest news in your learners’ home country.
Getting to the Point/Cutting Out the Fat
In English writing, more is not always better. The stage at which ESL students begin to develop advanced writing skills and become more confident is the right time to begin to introduce the concept of brevity and its benefits.
Start by offering your own writing sample that is chock full of redundancies, extraneous details, and non-sequiturs. Point some of them out yourself so that they know what to look for. Ask your students to shorten the story by half while keeping the original meaning and the critical details.
Transcription Practice (Dicto-Comp)
For some advanced ESL students who are either working already or will soon join the workforce, the ability to translate spoken English into written form quickly and accurately is an important skill.
Help them develop this skill set by selecting a text that is commensurate with their comprehension level. If you can’t find a suitable sample on the web, consider writing one yourself. The text should be about 500 words.
Students will listen and transcribe what they are hearing as quickly as possible. Emphasize the equal importance of accuracy and speed.
Read a few sentences at a time, pausing when you think appropriate.
Where to Start as an ESL Teacher
Devising effective ESL writing activities — and, equally importantly, adapting them to match the needs, interests, and social context of your students – requires a good bit of trial and error. Inspiration from other teachers’ examples and outside resources can help.To get started developing high-quality writing activities for your students, take a look at our list of free lesson plans . They are full of effective teaching strategies that are backed by years of practical success in ESL classrooms around the globe.
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ESL Games, Activities, Lesson Plans, Jobs & More
ESL Writing Activities, Games, Worksheets & Lesson Plans
If you’re teaching writing and are looking for some of the best ESL writing activities, along with worksheets, lesson plans and more then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about teaching English writing.
ESL writing exercises and games
Let’s check out the top ESOL writing exercises and activities to consider trying out with your students.
ESL Writing Activities and Games for All Ages
#1: 3 things esl writing activity.
I’m ALL about simple and easy for writing activities in emergency situations when you don’t have a lot of time to prep. 3 Things is ideal because it requires nothing except a pen and paper and also requires no prep time.
The way it works is that students think of 3 random things. Then, they give those words to a partner who has to write a short story using them. It can be serious or silly and kind of depends on the words chosen.
#2: Journaling for English Learners
When I teach ESL writing classes, I always have students keep a journal. It can either be with pen and paper or online. It’s a fun way for students to work on writing fluency and have some freedom to write about topics they want to write about, not just the ones that I assign.
If you want to see how I set up this ESL writing exercise, check out the following: Journaling for ESL Students .
#3: Postcards ESOL Writing Exercise
If you’re looking for a simple, fun ESL writing activity, then you may want to consider having your students write some postcards. Ideally, you could get your hands of a stack of blank, unused postcards. But, if not, students can design their own and then trade with someone else who can fill in the back.
Learn more about this fun writing activity here: ESL Postcard Writing Activity .
#4: A to Z Alphabet Game
Remember that writing is more than a 5-paragraph essay. It’s any time a student is writing something, even one word. With that in mind, you may want to try out this ESL writing game for beginners.
The way it works is that you name a topic. Jobs or animals for example. Then, students have to think of one word for each letter. I give my students a certain amount of time and the team with the most words is the winner.
Do you want to give this writing activity for beginners a try? Check it out here: A-Z ESL Writing Activity .
#5: Conjunctions and Transitions
Words like but, so, and, however, etc. are key in English writing because they join ideas, sentences and paragraphs together. This makes writing easier to understand and helps it to flow better. Even beginners can learn about using things like and or but.
Here are some of the ideas for teaching these words: ESL Conjunction and Transition Activities .
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- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
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#6: Whiteboard Games
I don’t know why, but students really love to write on the whiteboard. There are a ton of relay type ESL writing activities that you can do. Here are some of the best ones:
ESL Whiteboard Activities .
If you want to challenge your students with some serious listening and writing, then consider this dictogloss ESL activity. The way it works is that you find a passage or write one at an appropriate level for your students.
Then, put the student into pairs and read out the passage at a slightly faster pace than normal. Students have to take notes and then attempt to recreate what they heard by writing. Read the passage again and students add to what they have. Finally, they can compare their version with the original one.
Do you want to give it a try? Read this first: Dictogloss ESL Writing and Listening Activity .
#8: How to Teach English Writing to Beginners
Back when I did the CELTA course, my tutor told me that writing doesn’t have to be a 5 paragraph essay. It can actually be any time the students are writing something in English. With this in mind, here are some of the best activities for absolute beginners to English writing:
Teaching ESL Writing to Beginners .
#9: Fill out an Application Form
One very practical writing activity that we can do with our students is getting them to fill out an application form. If they plan on living in an English speaking country, they’ll certainly have to do this. And, there’s often some very specific vocabulary and expected answers that you can help them with.
More details here: ESL Writing Application Form .
#10: Sentence Structure Activities
In speaking, our students can sometimes get away without having great sentence structure. This is because people often speak in sentence fragments and rarely in full sentences.
However, in writing, sentence structure is key and vital to helping our students get their ideas across on paper. Here are some of the best activities to help our students practice this:
ESL Sentence Structure Games and Activities .
ESL writing games and activities
#11: Is that Sentence Correct?
A simple reading and writing activity is this one that focuses on error correction. The way it works is that you make some sentences, some of which have errors and some that do not. Students have to decide which ones are incorrect and them correct them. It’s ideal for review at the end of class or the beginning of the next one.
Learn more about this writing activity here: ESL Error Correction Activity .
#12: Proof-Reading and Editing
A key part of writing well is proof-reading and editing. Everyone does it, even professional writers! Instead of the students relying on me to correct their errors for them, I like to teach them do to edit their own work. It’s a key skill in the writing process but often overlooked by many English teachers.
Check out this activity for helping students with this writing skill: ESL Proofreading and Editing .
- 146 Pages - 06/18/2020 (Publication Date)
Spending some time working on self-editing skills, instead of relying on the teacher-editing model is a nice way to improve student autonomy in English writing classes.
#13: Focus on Fluency Activity
Many ESL writing textbooks (and teachers too) focus on accuracy in English writing at the expense of fluency. However, both are needed if students are to become proficient in English essay writing. After all, no employer is going to appreciate an employee who can write a simple, but perfect email in half a day! Most would expect it to happen in a few minutes.
Check out this activity to help our students out with this: Fluency ESL Writing Activity .
#14: How to Teach ESL Writing on the Let’s Talk TEFL Podcast
#15: Word Association
I like to use this quick writing activity if I know that students have studied the topic of the day before. For example, jobs and weather are very common in almost all ESL textbooks and if students are at a high-beginner or intermediate level, I guarantee that they already know some of these vocabulary items.
You can find out how to do it right here: ESL Word Association Activity .
#16 : ESL Surveys
I love to use surveys in my classes. They are a super versatile activity that covers all 4 skills, including writing. It’s also easy to make a survey for just about any topic or grammar point. See why I love them so much?
If you want to know more, then you’ll want to check this out: TEFL Surveys.
- Smith, Jennifer Booker (Author)
- 134 Pages - 03/31/2016 (Publication Date)
#17: Opinion Activities and Games
Opinion essays are a classic writing activity for both English learners and students in high school or university. That’s why I like to give my students some chances to practice writing and supporting their opinions in my classes. Do you want to try out some of the best ones? You can find out all the details right here:
ESL Opinion Activities .
#18: Parts of Speech Activities for ESL
English writing is ALL about parts of speech. After all, if you don’t know where the verb, subject, object, adjectives and adverbs go, how can you have any chance of making a coherent English sentence? It’s nearly impossible!
That’s why I like to do some worksheets and practice with my students related to this. If you want to try it out too, here are some of the best ideas:
ESL Parts of Speech Activities .
Top 17 ESL writing games and activities
#19: Spelling Challenge Game
Spelling is an important, but often neglected part of writing. In my opinion, it’s worth spending some classroom time on and one way to do that is with this word challenge game. Because it’s done on the whiteboard, it’s ideal for smaller classes.
Want to find out what it’s all about? You can right here: ESL Spelling Challenge Activity.
A nice TEFL writing activity that you might want to try out is dictation. It covers not only writing, but also listening, spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary in a big way. Is it obvious why I like it so much?
Try it out with your students today. Learn more here: ESL Dictation Writing Activity .
#21: TEFL Writing Activities and Games
#22: Brainstorm Games and Activities
One of my favourite, simple ESL writing activities is to get students to brainstorm words or things related to a certain topic or category. It’s a nice way to get some creative juices flowing and can also be used for a quick warmer or review activity.
There are a number of engaging, student-centred activities to consider. Here are some of my favourites: Brain Storming Games.
#23: Freeze Writing Activity
Group writing activities for TEFL classes are few and far between. However, freeze is one of the best ones to consider. Students have to work collaboratively to make stories, line by line is a fun and engaging way.
Want to give it a try? Find out how: Freeze Activity .
#24: Five-Paragraph Essay Writing
For higher-level students, it can be a worthwhile activity to teach students how to write academic essays. Here’s an outline and some tips for how to do that:
Five-Paragraph Essay Template .
#25: More Ideas for TEFL Writing
#26: fill in the blank sentences games.
A nice option for beginners in English writing is to use fill in the blanks. This adds a bit of structure to it and makes it much easier for students! Have a look at some of my favourite options:
Fill In The Blank Sentences Games .
#27: Round Robin Story
Try out this simple story writing activity that can be used for speaking & listening, or writing. Learn more:
Round Robin Story .
#28: Five Senses
Try out this simple activity that involves a lot of adjectives. It can be done with speaking or writing.
ESL Writing FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching English writing. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
What is ESL Writing?
ESL technically refers to English as a Second Language but the more common usage is anyone who is a non-native speaker of English, whether or not it’s their second, third or fourth language. ESL writing focus specifically on writing skills.
How can ESL Students Improve Writing?
There are a number of ways that ESL students can improve their writing skills:
- Practice, both in class and outside of class is key.
- Give students a reason to write.
- Use peer correction.
- Offer self-editing checklists.
- Give students some freedom to choose what to write about.
- Use a variety of writing activities and games.
- Give students a chance to revise their work based on feedback.
- Strive to make English writing fun and engaging
- Make it relevant to real-life.
- Ensure that your ESL writing classes target the level of the students.
How Can ESL Beginners Learn to Write?
Remember that ESL beginners will not be able to write a 5-paragraph academic essay. Instead, you may want to focus on things like filling in the blanks on a worksheet or writing very simple sentences with a subject, verb, and object.
Why is Writing Difficult for ESL Students?
Writing can be a little bit difficult for ESL students because it not only involves vocabulary and grammar, but things like punctuation, capital letters as well as style and other writing conventions. What does make it easier is that it doesn’t happen in real time like with speaking.
Did you Like these ESOL Writing Exercises?
- 72 Pages - 12/09/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book you can easily find on Amazon: ESL Writing Activities, Games & Teaching Tips . It’s the first and only ESL activity book dedicated exclusively to teaching writing and it’s a must-have if you’re teaching these kinds of classes.
You can easily get these ESL writing activities in both digital and print formats. Consider keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office and using it as a handy reference guide. Or, bring the digital version with you on your phone or tablet to your favourite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning for your English writing classes.
It really is that easy to have ESL writing classes! Check out the book on Amazon, but only if you want to get yourself a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
Do you Have an ESL Writing Grading Rubric?
If you’re looking for a bit of guidance on how to evaluate your students’ writing, then you’re in the right place. We strongly recommend using a simple rubric that’ll save you a ton of time. Plus, students will understand why they got the grade that they did. All the details can be found here:
ESL Writing Grading Rubric .
ESL Writing Lesson Plans
If you’re looking for some ready-made writing lesson plans that can help your students improve their skills in a big way, you’ll want to check out our top recommendations:
One Stop English
Writing practice for English learners
ESL Writing Worksheets
The good news for English teachers is that there are a ton of English writing worksheets to help you out with just about anything! Why reinvent the wheel if another English teacher has already done the hard work, right? Here are some of the best ESL writing worksheets:
ESL Writing Assignments
If you’re not sure about writing assignment options for your ESL/EFL students, here are some of the best ideas that you’ll want to check out:
Consider Investing in Grammarly if you Teach ESL Writing
If you teach English writing, then one of the top tools we can recommend to you is Grammarly. It can help you catch lots of errors that your students are making in their writing. It’s fast and easy to run written assignments through it.
The other reason to consider Grammarly is for the plagiarism checker. It’s a simple way to find out who is actually doing written assignments on their own and who is stealing things from the Internet. Head over there now to find out more about their services:
The World’s Best Automated Proofreader
Have your say about these ESL Writing Activities and Exercises
What do you think about these writing ESL activities? Did you try out one of them from this or have another that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy English teachers, like yourself find this useful resource for teaching English writing.
Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.
Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including Business English Vocabulary Builder and 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.
You can find her on social media at: YouTube Facebook Pinterest TikTok LinkedIn Instagram
Top Selling ESL Activity Book
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More ESL Activities and Games
Best-selling author and English teacher Jackie Bolen has been talking ESL activities and games since 2015. The goal is to bring you the best ideas, lesson plans, and activity recommendations for your TEFL classes.
Get in touch: About + Contact
Email: [email protected]
Address: 2436 Kelly Ave, Port Coquitlam, Canada
ESL Writing Exercises: Activities, Worksheets, and Ideas!
We have several free ESL writing lessons on this page, including sample essays, sentence patterns, writing assignments, and more! If you like these lessons, consider buying our ESL writing textbooks to get even more content just like this!
Beginner Writing Lessons
The four units below are all taken from our book Write Right: 9 Beginner ESL Writing Lessons , available for instant download!
Sample Essay: “My Hobby” – Introductory sample essay that students can reference later when writing their own essays
Sentence Pattern: Start/stop verb+ing – Practice adding “ing” to verbs after “start/stop/quit/begin”
Grammar: Past Tense – Simple introduction to past tense verbs
Error Correction Worksheet – Correct the errors in this sample “My Hobby” essay
Sample Essay: “A Funny Story” – Introductory sample essay that students can reference later when writing their own essays
Past Tense Error Correction Worksheet – Review of past tense; rewrite the paragraph and correct the past tense errors
Indention and Quotations – Teaches students to indent new paragraphs and use quotation marks correctly
Indentions and Quotations: Error Correction Worksheet – Identify and correct the mistakes in the paragraph
Sample Essay: “My Favorite Place” – Introductory sample essay that students can reference later when writing their own essays
Sentence Pattern: Although / Even though – Introduction to “although” and “even though”, with sample sentences and practice exercises
Sentence Pattern: not…at all – Introduction to the sentence pattern “(not)…at all”, with sample sentences and practice exercises
Error Correction Worksheet – Identify and correct the mistakes in the paragraph
NEW! UNIT 4: “Letter to a Relative”
Sample Essay: “Letter to a Relative” – Introductory sample letter that students can reference later when writing their own essays
Writing Lesson: The Elements of a Letter – Introduction to the elements of a letter (greeting, body, conclusion)
Writing Lesson: Conjunctions – Introduction to the conjunctions and/but/or/so, with an explanation of how to punctuate them correctly
Error Correction: Conjunctions – Identify and correct the mistakes in the letter
Intermediate/Advanced Writing Lessons
The writing lessons and worksheets below are taken from our book Write Right: Transitions , available for instant download!
Writing a Formal Paragraph
Topic Sentences (Introduction) – Introduction to topic sentences and their function in a formal paragraph
Introduction to Similes and Metaphors – Using similes and metaphors to write interesting topic sentences
Similes and Metaphors Review – Practice describing people and things using similes and metaphors
Topic Sentences (Review) – Practice writing topic sentences
The Body of a Paragraph (Introduction) – Introduction to the body of a paragraph and the information that should be contained therein
The Body of a Paragraph (Review) – Practice thinking of information to use in the body of a paragraph
Concluding Sentences (Introduction) – Introduction to concluding sentences and their function in a paragraph
Punctuation and Conjunctions
Sentence Fragments and Complete Sentences – Introduction to sentence fragments and a review exercise to practice identifying them
Run-on Sentences – Worksheet to practice correcting run-on sentences
Comma Splices and Conjunctions – Worksheet to practice using conjunctions correctly to fix comma splices
Commas and Conjunctions (“and”) – Explanation of how to correctly use commas with the conjunction “and”
Semi-colons – Introduction to this often baffling piece of punctuation, with a review exercise
Transitions and Connectors
Listing Things in Order – Practice listing items or events in order using words like “First”, “Next”, “After that”, “Finally”, etc.
In addition / Additionally / Moreover / Furthermore / Plus / …as well – Introduction to these commonly used transitions, with several sample sentences
In addition / Additionally / Moreover / Furthermore / Plus / …as well – Review worksheet to practice writing sentences with these transitions
However / Nevertheless / Still / Despite that / Nonetheless / Even so – Introduction to these commonly used transitions, with several sample sentences
However / Nevertheless / Still / Despite that / Nonetheless / Even so – Review worksheet to practice writing sentences with these transitions
Therefore / Consequently / As a result / Thus / For this Reason – Introduction to these commonly used transitions, with several sample sentences
Therefore / Consequently / As a result / Thus / For this Reason – Review worksheet to practice writing sentences with these transitions
Review of these Transitions and Connectors – Review worksheet to practice using all of the transition words above
More Transitions and Connectors
Although / Even though – Introduction to these commonly used transitions, with several sample sentences and review exercises
Though – Introduction to “though” and it’s various uses in a sentence
Despite / In spite of – Introduction to these commonly used transitions, with sample sentences
Despite / In spite of – Review worksheet to practice writing sentences with these words
Despite vs. Although – Review worksheet to practice using “despite” and “although” correctly
Because vs. Because of – Explanation of how to use these similar transition words correctly, with several sample sentences
Because vs. Although – Explanation of the difference between these two words, with several examples and a review exercise
Because of vs. Despite – Worksheet to practice using these transitions, which have nearly opposite meanings
Regardless of – Introduction to this commonly used transition, with several sample sentences
Regardless of / No matter – Review worksheet to practice using these transitions correctly, including an explanation of “embedded questions”.
Review of Transitions and Connectors
Transitions and Punctuation – Explanation of how to correctly punctuate transitions using commas, periods, and semi-colons. Also includes a review worksheet.
Transitions and Punctuation (2) – Students rewrite a short essay, adding punctuation around transition words as needed.
Review of Above Transitions and Connectors – Fill in the blanks with an appropriate transition word to complete the essay
Additional FREE ESL/EFL Writing Worksheets, Activities, and Ideas:
Useful phrases and sentence patterns.
Instead of / Rather than – Handout explaining how to use these phrases, with sample sentences
Instead of / Rather than – Review – Worksheet to practice using “instead of” and “rather than” correctly
Instead – Worksheet reviewing different ways to use the word “instead” in a sentence
Would rather – Handout explaining how to use “would rather”, with sample sentences
Would rather – Review – Worksheet to practice using “would rather” correctly
Prefer – Worksheet to practice using “prefer” correctly
Regardless / Regardless of / No matter – Examples and practice sentences
Gradually / Eventually / Sooner or later / At some point / In the end / …end up… – Examples and practice sentences
More sentence patterns and phrases (in no particular order):
vary / varies from __ to __
that which / those who
Just because [A] doesn’t mean that [B]
If it weren’t for [A], then I never would have [B]
If I hadn’t [A] then I wouldn’t have [B]
I wish I had / I should have
(Currently) in the process of
Putting pen to paper doesn’t always have to be boring. Here are some activities and game-like things to make writing a bit more enjoyable.
Interactive Stories – Students collaborate to write each others’ stories.
The Lying Game – Guess which statements are true and which statements are lies!
Idiom Worksheets – Give advice using idioms. Less a “game” than an “assignment,” though the idioms tend to make things a little more interesting.
Explain the Idiom – Try to guess what the idioms mean, and use them in a dialogue.
- Business English
- Phrasal Verbs
- ESL Library
- Online ESL Curriculum
ESL Writing Activities for Kids & Adults
Three-word stories esl writing activity.
This ESL writing activity is an adaptation of the Three-Word Stories game from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon . The aim of the activity is to create stories by collaborating with classmates using three words at a time.
Student Level: Beginner , Intermediate , Advanced
Age Group: Kids , Adults
The 5 Whys ESL Writing Activity
This activity is an adaptation of Sakichi Toyoda’s technique for determining the root cause of a problem. The 5 Whys Method was originally used within the Toyota Motor Corporation.
Let’s explore how we can use this technique as a language learning activity.
Dictogloss ESL Writing Activity
The Dictogloss writing activity is an excellent collaborative English lesson that incorporates all core language skills. Students work in groups to reconstruct a text after listening to the teacher’s reading of the text.
Student Level: Intermediate , Advanced
Running Dictation ESL Writing Activity
Have you ever tried doing a running dictation in your English classroom? This ESL writing activity will also help students elevate their listening, speaking, and reading skills. It is a great collaborative activity for pairs and group work.
Family Tree ESL Writing Activity
This activity is appropriate for all ages and levels. By using the Family Tree ESL Activity in class, students can develop their descriptive writing skills. You can easily adjust the level of difficulty depending on your context.
Christmas Story ESL Writing Activity
Do you need a fun writing activity for the Christmas season? The Christmas Story ESL Activity is a great way to develop your students’ creative writing skills. In this activity, they can create their own unique story and get peer feedback from their classmates. It is ideal for younger learners, but adults could try it too.
The Cube Test ESL Writing Activity
The Cube Test ESL Activity can help students improve their writing skills and have fun evaluating their classmates’ personalities.
The original Cube Personality Test was developed by Tadahiko Nagao and Isamu Saito who co-wrote the popular Kokology book series. The test analyzes people’s personalities by using guided storytelling. However, you can also use it in your language class.
Daily Diary ESL Writing Activity
This daily diary ESL activity could be used as a project-based assignment that you can have your students do throughout the term. However, you can use it as an activity in a single class. It works quite well for all ages and levels.
Movie Subtitles ESL Writing Activity
The Movie Subtitles ESL Activity helps develop students’ writing skills by watching films. It can be used with movies and films on YouTube or other movie sites. Students should create their own dialog from what they see with the volume turned down.
Age Group: Adults
Five Senses ESL Writing Activity
The Five Senses ESL Activity encourages students to write more descriptively using all five of their senses with a piece of chocolate. It is recommended for adult learners; however, kids could try it as well if their level is high enough.
News Report ESL Writing Activity
This is an effective activity for improving students’ writing skill by summarizing information from a news broadcast. The goal of the news report ESL activity is to create a brief summary of a news story that they watch in class. Students can also improve note-taking skills.
Postcards ESL Writing Activity
It may be a bit old-fashioned for the times, but some people still like to keep old traditions alive. This postcards ESL activity can be a useful method for getting students interested in writing a personal message to a friend from a travel destination of their choice.
Comic Strips ESL Writing Activity
Creating dialog for comics is a fun way for students to spark some creativity and improve their writing skills. This comic strips ESL activity can be done with any popular comic strip that you can find online and edit accordingly for your students’ levels.
Other ESL Activities for Developing Core Skills
- ESL Listening Activities
- ESL Speaking Activities
- ESL Reading Activities
Other Interactive ESL Activities and Games
- ESL Vocabulary Games
- ESL Board Games
- English Idioms and Phrases
Need more ideas for your lessons?
View the complete collection of ESL activities for kids and adults on the main page.
Teaching Writing to ESL/EFL Students: Tips and Activities for Any Level
Teaching writing to non-native speakers of a language presents a plethora of unique challenges and can feel overwhelming for new and seasoned teachers alike. However, teaching writing to ESL students can be dynamic and meaningful when approached with a bit of ingenuity.
If you’re new to teaching, you’ll want to get initial training and qualification with a TEFL certificate . You can explore our online TEFL courses to get started!
Why is it important to teach writing to ESL students?
In order to effectively participate as contributing members of society, individuals need to be able to communicate their thoughts in written form, whether they are using the English language as their vehicle or not.
Writing is an essential component of productive language, and ELs will need to demonstrate their ability to write in English if they hope to be competitive in a globalized world . Building competency in English-language writing supports reading comprehension, vocabulary expansion, and oral fluency , so there’s so much to be gained. And even if your students don’t plan to use the lingua franca on a regular basis, the skills gleaned from learning to write in another language transfer to all facets of life, making students more aware and more effective communicators in their native language(s) .
Teaching ESL writing aids in self-expression , which might be particularly meaningful for individuals who are hesitant to express themselves verbally. You might have the next Henry David Thoreau or Gabriel García Márquez in your class!
Why do ESL students struggle with writing?
Writing in another language is no easy feat, so it’s only natural that your ESL/ EFL students encounter difficulties when asked to do so.
First, it’s essential to recognize that writing conventions differ from one language group to another . Students from various linguistic backgrounds might declare that writing in English (particularly in an academic setting) is “boring,” something they perceive as formulaic. Often, these students come from backgrounds that value writing in a way that might seem “tangential” to native English readers.
In “Cultural thought patterns in inter-cultural education,” Robert B. Kaplan (1966) put forth a model for examining written discourse patterns, which illustrates how different thought patterns influence how speakers of other languages express themselves in written form.
You can observe that English is illustrated as being very straightforward, which aligns with the directness of spoken English. Kaplan poses here that other language groups tend to branch off in different directions in written form, pulling in supporting elements that might not be directly correlated to the main idea and that present as “off-topic” for native English speakers.
Secondly, it’s crucial to keep in mind that writing requires a vocabulary lexicon that can adequately support sharing . Often, even the most proficient English learners struggle to select the language they need to convey their point. When tackling writing instruction, make sure to consider how you’re supporting vocabulary development to support the conventions you’re teaching.
Lastly (and perhaps most importantly), writing is a form of self-expression, and self-expression through writing isn’t valued the same way in all cultures . There is a great deal of value placed on sharing one’s opinions in the U.S., for example, but this is not the reality all over the world. Some of your students might have been taught that they receive and process information, but that they are not in the position to make statements of their own or have the authority to teach others. Therefore, putting their thoughts down on paper might feel formal, high-stakes even, for your students.
What are some tips for teaching ESL writing?
Regardless of the age and proficiency level of your students, or whether you’re teaching writing in an ESL or EFL classroom, there is a myriad of strategies that you have at your disposal.
Don’t underestimate the value of conducting needs assessments
When it comes down to how to teach writing skills, even if you are teaching a group that is considered a certain proficiency level, recognize that there is always going to be a range of experience and ability present. Spend time getting to know what your students have been exposed to and in what ways before deciding on your approach. Teach to the middle to ensure no one is left behind.
Check out the following sample needs assessment to get started:
Think about how you can lower learners’ affective filters
A large portion of all successful teaching comes from relationship-building. In addition to getting a true sense of your learners’ experience and abilities, try to understand their attitudes towards writing as a process and any challenges that might be borne from those attitudes. How can you increase your students’ comfort level? How can you engage the individuals sitting in front of you?
Check out these 5 ways to build rapport with your students when teaching English.
Think about how the writing task can act as a building block for other assignments
Learning how to write in another language can be intimidating, and even more so if your students don’t enjoy writing in the first place. When wondering how to teach writing to ESL/EFL students, think about how you can integrate writing more often and more seamlessly into your lesson plans. Instead of approaching writing in isolation, teach writing skills alongside other “more engaging” activities that students tend to enjoy more. Have your students participate in role-playing and storytelling activities that require writing but don’t make writing the focus of the activity. This is your chance to be sneaky and get your students to build their writing skills without even knowing!
Present opportunities to examine authentic, written language
Providing students with examples of the target language is non-negotiable, but challenge yourself to move beyond the sample texts in your curriculum where possible. Students might feel bored by the selected works in their textbooks – they need to recognize that written language is all around them. Pull from authentic texts that cover an array of topics that you know matter to your students to keep them enticed.
Try incorporating pop culture into your ESL classroom to spice up writing activities!
Lead with function over form in instruction, and then alter your focus
Students can be discouraged to find their paper covered with red ink, highlighting their fallacies. While it is important to provide corrective feedback, consider the purpose of the assignment before marking up the composition. Was the output comprehensible? Did it touch upon everything that you asked for? Focusing on both function (the purpose of the assignment) and the accuracy in form simultaneously can feel overwhelming. Choose your objectives carefully, make them known to the learners, and provide corrective feedback accordingly .
Choose writing activities that pertain to your students’ learning goals. For example, the following clip, from a BridgeUniverse Expert Series webinar , covers how to teach Business English students to write an email in English:
Consider formative assessment and reflective strategies
Whenever possible, assess student work periodically, examining the process with various checkpoints and iterations throughout, instead of just evaluating the final product. Writing is an iterative process, and students benefit greatly when offered opportunities to reflect on their process. Create opportunities for students to participate in self- and peer-revision processes, which in turn will result in more conscientious and focused writers.
What are some ESL writing activities and lesson plans for beginners?
It can feel challenging to come up with writing activities for learners with beginner proficiency, but with proper scaffolding , writing can be inclusive and participatory.
Try group writing processes in class to get students comfortable
Writers with beginner proficiency might default to a deficit mindset, believing that writing is inaccessible for them due to a dearth of vocabulary or experience, so when you start to look at how to teach writing in the ESL/EFL classroom, your first job is to inspire confidence and get students into a growth mindset. To get them comfortable with the writing process, engage them in group writing activities.
- Choose a familiar topic (or have your students choose a topic together), and explain that you are going to “group-author” a paragraph.
- Have the students share what they know about the topic, and you, as the teacher, act as the scribe, jotting down their thoughts in a central location.
- Continue gathering their ideas until everyone has shared, remembering to emphasize that this is a process and that there is no wrong contribution.
- Examine the individual contributions and note overlap: How can a few thoughts be grouped together? In the process, ask students to elaborate on what they meant and provide examples.
- Organize these preliminary thoughts to the best of your ability, involving the students and getting them to notice organizational structures and decipher between the main idea and details.
- After celebrating what you can refer to as the “first draft,” provide specific and limited ways to improve the piece. Did they include everything they thought was relevant to the topic? Could the paragraph benefit from additional cohesive devices? Do the subjects and verbs agree? Provide ample support in the form of examples, formulas, and sentence frames alongside the piece. Invite students to examine the paragraph and seek out these common mistakes (in partners or individually).
- Create your “final draft” together, and ensure that it’s displayed prominently in the space.
By engaging them in the writing process in this way, you are instilling habits that will aid them in writing autonomously when the time comes.
Make the most of brainstorming – both individually and with others
Have you ever had students tell you that they don’t know what to write? Students, particularly those at the beginner level, need ample time to think about the content before diving into the actual writing process . Emphasize the importance of brainstorming as a way to collect their thoughts and aid them in their writing. Engage students in different kinds of brainstorming activities, going beyond “write down what comes to mind.”
Consider Think-Pair-Share as a framework for brainstorming, where students take time to think independently about the topic, share their ideas with their peers, and then share aloud to a larger group. Typically, the sharing is done orally, but you could also consider the independent writing portion of the activity as “sharing” with a larger audience, just in written form.
What are some ESL writing activities and lesson plans for intermediate and advanced students?
Facilitate a two-way journal experience with your students.
Create a way for individual students to exchange their ideas with you in an informal way with a two-way journal . Have the students maintain a writing journal that you periodically collect to write comments and ask questions. The objective of this exchange is not to formally evaluate your students’ writing, but to gather intel about your students’ progress and connect with them as individuals. Within these exchanges, not only are you building and sustaining rapport, but you are also augmenting critical thinking and meta-cognitive skills with strategies like noticing and annotation.
Cultivate peer revision routines
Learning to write in a non-native language is as much a social process as it is a cognitive process. Involving students in peer revision activities can be incredibly beneficial in that students can learn from their peers (potentially those who are stronger writers than themselves) and develop the ability to think more critically about their own writing. While getting students to effectively participate in peer revision activities requires a lot of frontloading and the establishing of routine, it is the gift that keeps on giving. If you’re interested in facilitating peer revision with your students, consider the following as general guidelines:
- Start by determining your focus for the activity. What are you asking the students to do? Make it clear to the students what you’re looking for, and provide supports that they can use in the process (e.g., a checklist or rubric).
- Demonstrate how students would use the rubric, and go through the revision process as a group.
- Provide sample pieces to examine, and engage the students in discussion around the samples.
- Make sure that students are aware of what is considered appropriate and useful feedback through modeling. Have them practice, and give them feedback on their feedback.
- Monitor the peer review sessions and jump in as needed, ensuring the quality of feedback for all involved parties.
- Reflect on the peer feedback activity in whole-group format, asking students to share what they got from reading their peers’ work, defining areas that they excelled in and areas for improvement.
Once your students feel comfortable with the writing process and the structure at hand, consider different contexts that they’ll be writing in. Perhaps they are planning to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and hope to study abroad, or maybe they’re about to enter the workforce and work collaboratively with others.
In either case, your students will need to demonstrate their ability to communicate their ideas in written form while adhering to time constraints . Plan timed writing activities for your students on a variety of topics and with different parameters. In a standardized test prep context, have students write under the same conditions as the test that they’re preparing to sit for.
Take a Micro-credential course in Teaching TOEFL Test Prep or Teaching IELTS Exam Prep to help students ace these high-stakes exams.
In a workforce development setting, illustrate a scenario in which an email from management warrants an urgent (and polished) response. In either context, examine the output and discuss strategies that the students used. Student output from timed activities provides fertile ground for examining accuracy in form. Walk students through noticing activities, and challenge them to remember their tendencies in subsequent timed writing tasks.
Teaching writing to ESL/EFL students requires commitment and perhaps a bit of innovation on the part of the teacher, but if done well, it can prove immensely useful in a globalized world, aiding individuals in self-expression and beyond.
In addition to writing, there’s another subject that can sometimes fill teachers with dread: grammar! Here are 7 simple strategies for teaching grammar to English language learners , so you can tackle this topic with confidence .
Post by shelynn riel.
Shélynn Riel is Bridge's Expert Series Moderator and regularly contributes articles and ELT news reports to the BridgeUniverse blog. She has served as an English language instructor for over a decade, a program coordinator in both university and community-based programs, and an English Language Fellow with the U.S. Department of State. Her interests include holistic teacher development, learner identity, and decolonial ethics in the language classroom. She is the co-creator of The Teacher Think-Aloud Podcast, which focuses on reflective practices for teachers around the world.
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Fun ESL Writing Activities ( See Activities )
There are many kinds of ESL Writing tasks, such as free writing, creative writing, and guided writing (i.e., an essay).
Jump to ESL Writing Activities
I like to get my students started with free writing at the beginning of each class to encourage creativity and relieve pressure of making mistakes.
Steps to Free writing
- Suggest the topic for Free writing.
- Suggest the time limit (e.g., start with five minutes for higher level students and three minutes for lower level students). Try to increase the time each week.
- Get Ready, Get Set, START WRITING !
Four Rules of Free writing
1. keep writing don’t stop .
Write as much as possible! Aim for quantity over quality. If you can’t think of anything, then simply write, “I can’t think of anything to write.”
2. No dictionaries!
Looking words up in the dictionary takes a lot of time. If you don’t know a word, they write the word in your language, try to explain it in a different way, or skip it and move on.
3. Don’t worry about mistakes!
The goal is to write as much as possible without worrying about grammar mistakes or vocabulary. Don’t worry about spelling, word usage, etc. Just write!
4. No talking!
Free writing is a time for you to write. Don't talk until the Free speaking time is finished.
Ideas for Free writing
- Tell each student to write one word on the board. Then, tell the students to create a story using the words. It’s not necessary to use all the words.
- Students write about their weekend to practice using past tense verbs.
- Give students a topic each week similar to Free Speaking (e.g., Hometown, Food & Restaurants, etc.).
Try Our Fun ESL Writing Activities
About The Teacher
Inside My Wallet
Warmers & fillers.
Correct The Errors
ESL Boggle Game
ESL Spelling Bee
Four Squares Incorrect Sentences
Give A Reason Because
Rhyming Words Activity
Telling Jokes With Homonyms
Top English Words
What's The Question?
Tic Tac Toe
Activities by topic.
Brainstorming ESL Essay Writing Topics
Brainstorming ESL Writing Topics
ESL Creative Writing Activity
ESL Essay Writing Worksheets
ESL Persuasive Speech Topics
Using Mind Maps For ESL Writing
Teacher submitted activities.
A Lesson On Shopping And Money
Paragraph Writing: The Marvelous Toy
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