ESL Writing Lesson – Slow Writing

Today’s writing theme is Slow Writing.

Slow writing is a learning tool that encourages students to think about their technique. Often, students are in a rush to write. Or, quite the opposite, they can’t get started because they don’t know where to begin.

Slow writing moves students to concentrate on how to write instead of what to write. This week, let’s try three different slow writing exercises.

Part A Six Sentences

Write a six sentence paragraph without repeating any word (no single/plural forms). In addition, the sentence must be reasonable and sensible. Here is an example written by a young student.

I went to school today. My backpack was full of stuff. It had binders and pencils inside. They were used for class work. Brittany is in first period with me. She has a bag filled with things as well. 

Part B Haiku

Write one haiku.

Japanese poetry. Typically (but not always) 17 syllables written in three lines. Divided into 5-7-5.

Here are two examples:

The whisper of wind

Here today, here tomorrow

Always Everywhere.


In the falling snow

A laughing boy holds out his palms

Until they are white

Part C Focus on the Craft

Here are two different models of guided slow writing. Each student will write a piece following one model.

Model A

  1. First sentence begins with a present participle (a verb ending in ‘ing’)
  2. Second sentence contains only three words.
  3. Third sentence contains a semi-colon.
  4. Fourth sentence is a rhetorical question.
  5. Fifth sentence starts with an adverb.
  6. Sixth sentence has a simile.

Model B

  1. First sentence appeals to the senses.
  2. Second sentence uses three adjectives.
  3. Third sentence starts with an adverb.
  4. Fourth sentence contains a connective.
  5. Fifth sentence uses exactly three words.
  6. Sixth sentence is a question. 


  • Connective. A word or phrase that shows a shift in time, a combination or a change. For example:
  1. Add information – In addition
  2. Show contrast – However
  3. Comparing – On the other hand
  4. Show order – first, then
  5. Show cause – Therefore, As a result
  6. Show emotion – Feeling betrayed …

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