Fun Writing ideas for EFL classes
- Author: Louisa Walsh
- Date: Thursday 16th June 2016
It is true that many EFL classes tend to focus on reading, listening and speaking. Writing is often seen boring; confined to essay writing - to be put in a box marked ‘homework’ or ‘for exams only.’
However, that doesn’t have to be the case. Good writing tasks which have a focussed end result not only give students valuable time to formulate responses in English but they can even be fun. (Yes, really!)
Here are 3 of our favourite and very different writing ideas, which are designed to get even the most reluctant students keen to pick up their pens.
- Lonely Hearts - write an advert for a photo.
Firstly, share 1 or 2 lonely adverts from the newspaper/internet as a class. Pick out stylistic points, note typical tenses and useful descriptive phrases and vocabulary. Next, hand each student out a photo of a person (referenced 1, 2, 3 etc.) Each student makes notes for their photo as follows: Age, character, looks, likes, looking for... Then, each student writes their photo’s lonely hearts ad. (Students jot down the corresponding photo number on the back of their ad.) Mix up the photos and adverts and stick them around the room. Students walk around reading and trying to match each description to the right photo. Who has the most matches correct?
We say: a favourite with students - especially teens and a game element spices things up.
- Consequences - create silly stories by adding a line each
Each student folds their paper into 5. In the first box each student writes the name of a famous male. They then fold it backwards so it can’t be read when the paper is passed on to the next person.
In box 2 the next student, writes: met and the name of a famous female. They fold it over so it can’t be read and pass it on to the next person.
In box 3 the next person writes: He said ‘………’ (students make up a quote.
In box 4 the next student writes: She replied: ‘………..’ (students make up the reply.)
In the 5th box, the next student writes In the end they……….. (making up the ending.)
Each student opens the paper to reveal their whole, amusing story. Share a few as a class.
We say: great with teens. Works as a 10 minute filler or can be extended/customised.
- What am I? A writing guessing game
Put some tissues in a bag. Let each student feel what’s in the bag, guessing what it is.
Elicit useful vocabulary to put on the board: e.g. It feels… soft, smooth etc…It is large, small, shapes etc. It is used for…….ing. Repeat with 2 other objects with different characteristics to elicit more useful vocabulary for the board.
Students then write their own description of an object (or you provide the pictures).
Pin up the descriptions around the room. Students read the descriptions, jotting down which object they think is being described. See who gets the most right.
We say: if you think other people will read your work, it is very motivational.
What the above ideas have in common is they are task-based; there is a reason to write and an outcome to achieve. These are so much more motivational than ‘Write about what you did at the weekend. Notice, too, how there is some initial input and support so students are not asked to write cold.
When planning writing tasks, you can also take your inspiration from real-world reasons for writing, such as emailing a hotel for a stay or organising an evening out with a friend by text etc. The possibilities for productive writing tasks are endless. Enjoy.
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- Ask any questions about TEFL training and ESL classes directly to me, Louisa Walsh at Global English or chat in our friendly FB group
I love these ideas. That's exactly what I'm looking for ... ways to educate in task-oriented but fun ways that leave students looking forward to the next class.
Have any examples for grade-school age?