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Fun Writing ideas for EFL classes

Fun Writing ideas for EFL classes

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.

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1) Lonely Hearts: write an advert for a photo 

Firstly, share one or two lonely adverts from the newspaper/internet as a class to give them an idea of what they will be writing about. Pick out any stylistic points, note typical tenses (usually the present simple) 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 up on the walls them around the room. Students walk around reading and trying to match each description to the right photo. Who has the most matches correct?

This is a favourite with students, especially teens, and a game element spices things up.

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2) Consequences: create amusing stories by adding the next line 

Give each student a blank sheet of paper and ask them to fold it into five, in the shape of a fan. On the first fold 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.

On fold two 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.
On fold three, the next person writes:  He said ‘………’  (students make up a quote).
On fold four, the next student writes: She replied: ‘………..’  (students make up the reply).
On fold five, 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.

Again, this works great with teens. Works as a 10 minute filler or can be extended/customised.

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3) What am I? A writing guessing game

Put a packet of 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:

It feels… soft, smooth
It is large, small, rectangular
It is used for…….ing. 

Repeat with two 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) without stating what the object is.

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.

Students generally like getting praise, so if they know others will be reading their work, they are likely to try to do it well. This can be motivational for them.

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Summary

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..."  type instructions. Notice too how there is initial teacher input and ongoing 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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What next?

  • Author: Louisa Walsh
  • Date: Thursday 16th June 2016

Comments

Edith Little

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?

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Fun Writing ideas for EFL classes