Teacher Training Writing Class: Week 1


In this first class of the week, the trainees:

  • Read a short descriptive paragraph about a subway station. This was used as a model for the pre-writing assignment.
  • Wrote short sentences using a puzzle prompt about a man crossing a river with a boat, goat, wolf and head of cabbage. The purpose of this writing assignment was to use a variety of verbs to describe similar actions and focus on the proper use of articles.


Section 1

Five things to learn about good writing:

  1. Remove needless words.
  2. Describe complex ideas with simple words.
  3. A paragraph  talks about one idea.
  4. Topic sentences are mini-thesis sentences.
  5. The best writing talks about big ideas with specific details.

Section 2

Here is an ESL video lesson that uses animation to build vocabulary and fluency skills. It’s a four-part ESL activity.

The video is called Howl. It was made by students who graduated from Bezalel academy of Art and Design in Israel.

Howl from Natalie Bettelheim on Vimeo.

1. Key Vocabulary

  • shadow
  • crawl
  • chew
  • growl
  • lamppost
  • moonlight
  • secret passage


Brainstorm the word HOWL. What does it mean, What ideas come to your head when you think of howling.


Watch the video. Make notes about 2 different kinds of things. One is the activities that are part of daily life. Second, the unusual things you see in the video.

Howl from Natalie Bettelheim on Vimeo.


Now, make a summary of the story with your partner.

Write about the plot, the location, the characters, the action, the surprises and the ending.

Does this story have a message? What’s the point?

Section 3

Remember Dr. Seuss.

Section 4

What: Write 3 to 5 paragraphs.

Purpose: Describe clearly your idea/opinion with evidence that uses personal experience.

  1. Look at the popular expressions/proverbs below.
  2. Discuss the meaning of these phrases with your partner.
  3. Be sure to define the key words in each sentence.
  4. Do you think they are true or not true? Explain your answer by talking about your personal experience.
  5. You will probably want to write two paragraphs. In the first paragraph, you might have a thesis sentence (your main idea), explain the expression/proverb and define the important words. The second paragraph might describe your experience and how it makes you agree or disagree with the expression/proverb.


  1. Money is the root of all evil.
  2. Two heads are better than one.
  3. Might is right.
  4. Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.
  5. Don’t rock the boat.
  6. Patience is a virtue.

A Quick Lesson About English Words

Here is a quick lesson about words in the English language.

The New General Service List (2013)

This is a list of about 2800 words. All ESL students need to learn these words. These are the most important words in the English language when you measure how often they are used in daily life. These words represent about 90% of all words that ESL students will find in books.

Get the General Service List from that link.

Sight Words

These are the words children will find in books as they

Read more