TTP 2018 Writing Week 2

ESL writing activities for the teacher training program week 2.

Hour 1

In this hour, we will look at the inquiry method and try ti understand how it can hep improve the clarity of your writing.

Activity 1: Review Slides (10)

Activity 2: Murder Analysis (30)

Long Writing Activity

Analysis Framework

  1. Ask a question
  2. Collect small pieces of data
  3. Make a rule (Why is this important? Does this fact have an important consequence?)
  4. Probable Conclusion/Argument

Long: Did She Lie?

Look at this murder mystery picture. This is what she told the police

  • Yesterday, Queenie and her husband Arthur an argument.
  • She left the house and met friends in a bar. Arthur went to a different bar.
  • She said she left the bar about 1am and asked her friends to come to her house for a drink.
  • She said she arrived home at 1:30 am. Her friends got to her house about 10 minutes later, about 1:40 am.
  • When the friends arrived, she opened the door and was shocked. She said something bad happened.
  • Her husband fell down the stairs. He was coming down for another drink.
  • She called the police.
  • The police report said he died from a head injury and he was drunk when he died.

Do you believe here?


Hour 2

The focus of this class will be writing activities that you can use or modify for your class. Two of these are guided writing activities, which are great for all levels especially lower level students. The third is for more advanced students.

Activity 1: Write a Bio Poem (20)

Step 1 Introduce Poem

Kate …

is tall, energetic, happy, intelligent

is Danny’s sister

loves music, books and fresh air

is afraid of ladders, spiders and small places

wants to see Latin America, the end of war and summer

lives in Seoul

… Thompson

Step 2 Describe Task

You will write a similar poem about yourself (autobiography) or another person (biography).

Let’s look at the poem’s structure:

  • Line 1: first name/nickname
  • Line 2: 4 adjectives which describe the person
  • Line 3: important relationship
  • Line 4: 3 things s/he loves
  • Line 5: 3 things that scare her/him
  • Line 6: 3 things s/he wants to see
  • Line 7: lives in place/time/concept
  • Line 8: last name


Review key terms if necessary:

  • first name and last name (compare and contrast name cultures)
  • language points: nouns, adjective, verbs
  • relationship, place

Here is the Word doc version.

Step 2 Describe Task

Students complete task. Options then include: pair work dictation, Q&A, read a loud in class.


_________, … (first name or given name)

is _________, _________, _________, _________ (adj)

is ______________ (relationship)

loves _________, _________, _________, (nouns)

is afraid of _________, _________, _________ (nouns or verbs)

wants to see _________, _________, _________, (people, place or things)

lives _________ (place or time)

… _________ (last name or family name)


Activity 2: Guided Writing Rewrite (10)

Step 1 Introduce

Here is a short story. It is about some animals.

The task here is to change the subject of the story from one spider to the plural form – spiders. The students also has to pay close attention – notice – other aspects of the story to make sure they match the plural spiders.

Step 2

10 minutes to read and rewrite. Review answers with class.

A spider, and his neighbor, a hyena, decided to go to the river together. There they met the King of the river who gave them a gift. It was a bucket of fish. The spider and the hyena made a fire. As the spider cooked the fish, he threw them on the river bank to cool. However, the greedy hyena ate all of the fish by himself. When the spider walked to the river bank to eat some fish, tears of anger filled his eyes. The hyena asked the spider why he was crying. The spider replied that some smoke from the fire was in his eyes. Quietly, though the spider was planning his revenge.

Download the lesson here: guided-writing-lesson.

The story and writing lesson were adapted from an idea by ISP Nation in “Teaching ESL/EFL Reading and Writing.”


Activity 3: Logic Puzzles and Word Games  as Sponge Activities (10)

Easy: Days and Dates Puzzle Worksheet

Medium: Family Puzzle Worksheet

Hard: Max Genius Puzzle Worksheet

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