A Quick Writing Sponge Activity

One of the challenges associated with the art of teaching writing is time management. I think managing pace is an acutely important skill that can kill or motivate a class of student writers. C’mon, not many people can put their head down for 50 minutes and crank out a nice readable piece of writing. So, why should expect ESL students to do that?

That’s why sponge activities are vital. They ask students to write a chunk of writing, with a definite start and finish, in shorter period of time.

To that end, here’s a nifty sponge activity. It’s called slow writing and I got the idea from here and here. It looks like a writing activity for elementary kids but a clever teacher could find a few ways to adapt it to an ESL classroom.


This is the idea.

Ask students to spend time thinking and then writing a piece that follows this model.

  1. Sentence one must appeal to the senses.
  2. Sentence two must use three adjectives.
  3. Sentence three must start with an adverb.
  4. Sentence four must contain a connective (words that show a shift in time, a combination a or change).
  5. Sentence five must use exactly three words.
  6. Sentence six must be a question.



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