CoverObjectivesParagraphsShapeOrganizationParagraph TypesIntroduction to EssaysShapeOrganizationIntroduction ParagraphsBody ParagraphsConclusion ParagraphsExample EssayThe Writing ProcessPrewritingWritingRevisingNarrative EssaysExample Essay #1PrewritingWritingRevisingExample Essay #2Descriptive EssaysExample Essay #1PrewritingWritingRevisingExample Essay #2Classification EssaysExample Essay #1PrewritingWritingRevisingExample Essay #2Refining WritingDevelopmentUnityCohesionNuts and BoltsAudienceWord FormsPunctuation & CapitalizationGrammarVocabularySummariesWriting for the TOEFLIntegrated Writing TaskIndependent Writing TaskGlossaryTeachers' GuideTeacher NotesActivity IdeasAnswer KeyParagraphs AKIntroduction to Essays AKThe Writing Process AKNarrative Essays AKDescriptive Essays AKClassification Essays AKRefining Writing AKSummaries AKWriting for the TOEFL AK

Activity Ideas

Edit student production

Start the week with a story prompt. Collect stories and highlight the errors (don’t fix them). Bring them back and have students work in pairs to try to correct the grammar.

Time machine

Write a story as a class to describe a picture. Then, have students individually write the same story, but as if it happened yesterday.

Story with pictures - Audience

Have students take four or five random magazine pictures and use all of the pictures to create a story. Assign them specific audiences to tell the story to or have them change the story to fit different audiences (e.g., children, friends, a professor).

Charades

Have two students in the class act out a short scenario without any words or prompts. Have the students in the class write the story of what they think happened (10 minutes). Share stories and then have the two actors share their version last (the “real” version”).

Narrate a wordless cartoon - Pronouns and possessive adjectives

Show a cartoon without dialog. Have students write the story using only pronouns and possessive adjectives. Make sure the cartoon has multiple characters and objects for the students to discuss.

Charades challenge

Students get the same words for three rounds, but it gets harder each time. 

  1. Round one: 40 seconds. Students can say anything except the word to describe it.
  2. Round two: 30 seconds. Students can only say 1 word to describe the word.
  3. Round three: 20 seconds. Students have to play charades (act out) the word. 

I spy

Students work in groups describing objects and trying to get their group members to guess the object. Students could choose objects from around the classroom or they could choose an object not present in class. This activity could also be used to practice the target vocabulary for the week.

Mad libs

Give students a description containing blanks for missing words, typically adjectives and adverbs. Students then choose random words (adjectives and adverbs), in the specified part of speech, to complete the description. Students can then compare their stories and the different descriptions they’ve created with the same story.

Mad libs - Pronouns and possessive adjectives

Give students a description or story containing blanks for missing words. Mad Libs are typically missing adjectives and adverbs but you can fill these in and take out pronouns and possessive adjectives for the blanks. Students then fill in the missing pronouns and possessive adjectives to complete the description or story. Students can then compare their responses they’ve created to make sure they used the write form of the word (pronoun and possessive adjective).

Integrated writing

Watch a short clip of a story and have students write what happened.

Integrated writing - Modals

Watch a short clip of someone falling or making a mistake. Have students write what they should have done using a variety of modals.

Description activity

Bring candy, a picture, or an object for students to describe. Have them write a description of the item using all five senses. Students’ writing could also focus on using present tense or present continuous to practice the target grammar for the essay type.

Story with pictures

Have students take four or five random magazine pictures and use all of the pictures to create a story.

Narrate a wordless cartoon

Show a cartoon without dialog. Have students write the story. 

Fractured fairy tales

Tell a story and have the students retell the story in writing from a different perspective (e.g., “The 3 Pigs” from the Wolf’s point of view).

Paper strip stories

Cut up pieces of an example essay or students’ essays. You could cut them up by paragraph or sentences. Have students find the most logical way to arrange the parts of the essay. Students can then discuss what helped them order the essay. Also, they can discuss the essay’s strengths and weaknesses.

Paper strip stories - Pronouns and possessive adjectives

Cut a story into strips (or a cartoon into pictures). Have students find the most logical way to arrange the parts of the story. Once they have formed the story, have them write it down only using pronouns and possessive adjectives.

Paper strip activity

Cut up pieces of an example essay or students’ essays. You could cut them up by paragraph or sentences. Have students find the most logical way to arrange the parts of the essay. Students can then discuss what helped them order the essay. Also, they can discuss the essay’s strengths and weaknesses. - modify slightly, have students focus on pronoun use and/or audience

Classification activity

Bring candy, a picture, or an object for students that can be classified into a variety of groups. Have students write a description of at least one of the categories for the item. Students’ writing could also focus on using modals, pronouns, and possessive adjectives to practice the target grammar for the essay type.

Re-order a paragraph (revising activity that can be done on paper instead)

The first week of the ELC was very busy! When the ELC emailed me, I read the names of my teachers. I went to BYU campus on Thursday to get my student ID card. On Tuesday, I had an interview with one of the teachers. We also played a game together after lunch. On Monday, I spent several hours in the computer lab taking tests. On Wednesday, all of the new students met in the gym for more orientation and lunch. On Friday, I received the results of my tests in an email from the ELC. Monday afternoon, I attended the ELC orientation in my native language. I was very tired by the end of the week, but I was ready to start my first semester at the ELC.

ANSWER KEY

The first week of the ELC was very busy! On Monday, I spent several hours in the computer lab taking tests. Monday afternoon, I attended the ELC orientation in my native language. On Tuesday, I had an interview with one of the teachers. On Wednesday, all of the new students met in the gym for more orientation and lunch. We also played a game together after lunch.  I went to BYU campus on Thursday to get my student ID card. On Friday, I received the results of my tests in an email from the ELC. When the ELC emailed me, I read the names of my teachers. I was very tired by the end of the week, but I was ready to start my first semester at the ELC.