ESL Writing Drill: 4 Key Sentences

This 45-minute drill helps students learn 4 to write kinds of sentences. 

Lesson Introduction

The aim of this guided writing activity is to reinforce and improve skills by reviewing existing knowledge and focusing student attention on 4 sentence patterns.

This writing activity is not designed to provide a comprehensive review of the grammar points.

Instead, the aim is to help high beginner+ students practice 4 useful sentence patterns:

  • appositives
  • simple sentence
  • compound sentence
  • complex sentence


Step 1 Review (10)

Run through the slides. They provide basic explanations and some examples. At the end of the slide show, there is one sample question for students to complete as a whole class. This is a chance for the teacher to inspect understanding before moving on to the next task.


Step 2 Introduce Task (5)

With this fresh knowledge, students will begin a writing assignment. The students will:

  • watch short video called Paperman (5 minutes).
  • make notes about plot and details
  • identify 5-7 main chunks in the plot 

Step 3 Watch video (5)

The 5-minute video is called Paperman.  


Step 4 Writing (25)

I suggest the following process:

  • give students a chance to work in pairs if they want (some of my writing students hate pair work)
  • allow 10-15 minutes to outline main chunks in the plot
  • point out that each will chunk will need 4 sentences


  • Each student will have divided the story into 5-7 chunks. Each chunk will have 4 sentences.
  • That means each student will have written 20-28 sentences.


Step 5 Option (15)

This activity is designed for student development without the need for teacher review or feedback.

Peer review is possible. Honestly though, it’s not something I do because many students don’t like to get writing feedback from other students.



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