Graduate Writing Class Spring 2017 Week 3

ESL Writing Class

It’s week 3 of the semester for the graduate students in the ESL writing class.

Work Plan – Week 3

  • improve sentence fluency – complex sentences
  • improve writing style – better first sentences
  • add details – by asking questions
  • story #1 – rewrite and finish food story
  • story #2 – rewrite second draft of Room 8
  • story #3 – write a creative story based on a picture prompt and first sentence exercise
  • story # 4 – write a new short story by adding detailed information

Review Last Week

  • watched a video and wrote a summary (Room 8)
  • timed repeated writing
  • completed Before and After writing activity
  • looked at and practiced basic writing concepts
  • some error correction practice

ESL Writing Activities

Hour 1

Attendance and review (5)

The first sentence: start with a bang (15)

The first sentence of a story, essay or review is important. It should create interest and encourage the reader to continue reading.

Try not to be boring.

For example:

  • Romeo and Juliet is about two people who love in each other.

How about this?

  • It’s a story about beautiful love that goes terribly wrong.

Better Examples

These were written by an American movie reviewer, Robert Ebert. He was famous for reviewing movies and telling good stories. Let’s look at the first sentence in a few of his reviews.

Drill (15)

Time to practice writing first sentences. Look at the pictures in the pdf file. Imagine a creative story and then write the first sentence.
Writing prompts for first sentences.

Story #3 – Extension (20)

Now you have a few sentences. take one and write a 1 – 2 page creative story.
Remember a good story needs a few things:

  • a killer first sentence
  • at least one character who wants something
  • a plot with a beginning, middle and end
  • a good sense of place

Hour 2 and 3

Attendance and review (5)

Story#4 – Not Enough Details (30)

Some students have a hard time writing a paragraph with enough details. Adding a few details can improve the quality of your writing.

How do you add details? By asking questions.

Below is an example. It is a simple description of a man and his actions. You can see the main parts of the story are there, but there are few details.

A man walked into the room and saw that there was a party going on. He glanced across the crowd, and as soon as he saw that she was there, he turned around and walked out. He didn’t even stop to put on his coat on the way to the front door, but walked out into the snow. The next day, he never answered his phone.

Here are some questions. Use your imagination and answer the questions. Then, rewrite the paragraph by adding some details.

  • What did the man look like?
  • What did the room look like?
  • What was he thinking when he saw her?
  • How was she dressed?
  • Why was there a party?
  • Why didn’t he put his coat on?
  • Why didn’t he answer his phone?


Writing exercises (50)

  • rewrite story 1 – food story (based on feedback and lessons learned)
  • rewrite story 2 Room 8
  • finish story 3 – creative story (based on picture prompt and first sentence exercise)
  • finish story 4 – adding details

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