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How to Write a Lesson Plan
Prepare for class by writing clear lesson plans that are easy to read. Include details specific enough that a substitute teacher could come in and understand them. Once you’ve written the lesson plans, make a copy to have in case the original is misplaced and as a backup at home.
Plan your objectives for the lesson plan. Figure out the amount of time you’ll be teaching and break it down into segments. Make an outline, including an estimated amount of time for each section. Decide if you want all lecture lessons, part lecture and student involvement or an activity-based lesson. Lay out a week’s worth of plans to carry over any information from one day to the next. What you don’t complete on Monday can be finished on Tuesday.
Write an introduction for the lesson, giving an overview of what’s expected. Include a warm-up activity to get the students’ attention. A lesson plan free template is ideal for creating weekly lesson plans. Include the procedures you’ll use during the intro and the rest of the lesson. Highlight materials you’ll need and have them available ahead of time.
Considering the academic, social and personal needs of the students, write out the instruction plans, keeping sequencing in mind for flow. Incorporating various learning styles in the lesson plans can be an effective teaching method with a wide range of students and their abilities. Worksheets, question and answer sessions, group activities and individual assignments make use of various learning styles. Curriculum-based hands-on board games and art activities related to the lesson break up the study sessions.
Conclude the lesson by summarizing what you’ve discussed. Review the key points. In your lesson plan, mark notations in textbooks you’re using as a cross-reference. Leave space in the plan to go back over areas that were difficult for the students to understand. Tie in one lesson plan to the next one. Mark down if you plan to assign homework related to the lesson.
Practice scripting, especially if you’re new to teaching. Use that extra copy of the lesson plan to practice at home. This helps you gain confidence and ensures successful classroom instruction. By walking through the lesson plan, you’ll find areas that might need tweaking. After you’ve completed the lesson in the classroom, evaluate how it went. What parts worked and which ones need adjusting? Give yourself wiggle room in each of the lesson plans to make adjustments as needed.
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See an explanation of the term ‘Process writing’.
Process writing focuses learners on the different stages and aspects of writing as they have been observed in good writers, and spend time on each, led by the teacher. These are; planning, drafting, revising, editing and considering the audience .
Example The learners are at the editing stage of their writing work so spend time identifying problems and correcting them, with the teacher helping.
In the classroom Process writing in its full form can take a lot of class time. Some parts can be done in class, such as brainstorming and discussion, leaving others for homework such as drafting.
Further links: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/approaches-process-writing https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/unit-6-process-writing https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/product-process-writing-a-comparison https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/school-discipline-0 https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/natural-disasters
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Incorporating Writing Skills From the Beginning
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Process writing is an approach to incorporating writing skills from the very beginning of the English learning process. It was developed by Gail Heald-Taylor in her book Whole Language Strategies for ESL Students . Process writing focuses on allowing students—especially young learners—to write with plenty of room left for error. Standard correction begins slowly, and children are encouraged to communicate through writing, despite limited understanding of structure.
Process writing can also be used in an adult ESL/EFL setting to encourage learners to start working on their writing skills from a beginning level. If you are teaching adults , the first thing learners need to understand is that their writing skills will be well below their native language writing skills . This seems rather obvious, but adults are often hesitant to produce written or spoken work that is not up to the same level as their native language skills. By easing your students' fears about producing sub-par written work, you can help encourage them to improve their writing abilities.
Only mistakes made in grammar and vocabulary that has been covered up to the current point in time should be corrected. Process writing is all about the process of writing. Students are striving to come to terms with writing in English by writing in English. Allowing for mistakes and refining based on materials covered in class—instead of "perfect English"—will help students incorporate skills at a natural pace, and improve their understanding of materials discussed in class in a natural progression.
Here is a short overview of how you can incorporate process writing into your students' learning routine.
- Aim: Improve writing skills from beginning levels of English
- Activity: Process writing - journals
- Level: Beginning to advanced
- Materials Needed: Notebook for each student
Encourage learners to write in their journal at least a few times a week. Explain the idea of process writing, and how mistakes aren't important at this stage. If you are teaching higher levels, you can vary this by stating that mistakes in grammar and syntax on material not yet covered aren't important and that this will be a great way to review material covered in past levels.
Students should write on the front side of each page only. Teachers will provide notes on the writing on the back. Remember to focus only on material covered in class when correctly student work .
Start this activity by modeling the first journal entry as a class. Ask students to come up with various themes that could be covered in a journal (hobbies, work-related themes, observations of family and friends, etc.). Write these themes on the board.
Ask each student to choose a theme and write a short journal entry based on this theme. If students do not know a particular vocabulary item, they should be encouraged to describe this item (for example, the thing which turns on the TV) or draw the item.
Collect the journals the first time in class and do a quick, superficial correction of each student's journal. Ask students to rewrite their work based on your comments.
After this first session, collect students' workbooks once a week and correct only one piece of their writing. Ask students to rewrite this piece.
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Writing Lesson Plan Stages (+ Sample in PDF)
- by MOHAMMED RHALMI
- April 28, 2021 September 22, 2023
Writing Lesson Plan Stages
This article provides a description of the writing lesson plan stages. A link to a sample of the lesson plan is provided at the end of the article.
Writing As A Skill
A writing lesson involves training learners to develop writing skills. By definition, a skill is an ability developed through training and practice. Nobody is born a writer; we become writers. Even native speakers need to be taught how to write. The sub-skills involved in writing range from the knowledge of the alphabet to the ability to produce a coherent text. Here are a few examples of sub-skills:
- Mechanics (spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.)
- Grammar and vocabulary
- Cohesion (i.e., the ability to use grammatical and lexical linking that holds a text together and give it meaning.)
- Coherence (i.e., the ability to produce a coherent text so that the reader can follow the line of thoughts of the author.)
- The knowledge of the genre (i.e., the categories of writing such as reports, essays, emails, formal letters, etc)
Obviously, we are not born with the above sub-skills. We develop them through practice and perseverance. The following sections provide the writing lesson plan stages that help learners develop these sub-skills.
You can also find a link to a writing lesson plan sample at the end of the article.
What Are The Stages Of A Writing Lesson Plan?
The writing lesson plan should include stages that guide the students to discover the distinctive features of a model text, a genre such as formal letters, reports, or essays. Then, ideally, the students should be invited to practice the language, the layout, and the format of the target genre we want to teach. This should be followed by the process competent writers follow when writing, namely, planning, drafting, revising, and editing. This is commonly referred to as Process Writing:
- Reading a model text that represents a genre such as an email, a report, an essay, an advertisement, etc.
- Understanding the text, studying the genre, and analyzing its distinctive features (e.g., the language and the layout or format of the text.)
- Assigning the topic and making sure the students understand it.
- Planning (i.e., collecting ideas and making an outline)
- Drafting (i.e., producing the first version of the task)
- Revising (i.e., looking at the overall content and organization of ideas.)
- Editing (i.e., tidying up the draft and checking for diction, grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes)
- Producing the final draft
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Let’s delve into the different phases of constructing a writing lesson plan.
Structure of a Writing Lesson Plan
Here are the four writing lesson plan stages:
Stage 1 – Model Text
The first of the four writing lesson plan stages consists of providing a model text of a genre and analyzing its distinctive features. This can be done by assigning well-designed guiding activities to help learners identify:
- The characteristic language of the genre (formal or informal, the expressions or vocabulary and grammar used to convey meaning.)
- The linking words and transitions used to connect the sentences of the text.
- The format or layout of the text.
Stage 2 -Practice
The practice involves working on the language and format of the genre. At this stage, the teacher assigns well-designed guiding activities to train the learners in using the right type of language, linking words, and layout. These can be in the form of matching, gap-filling, sentence completion, etc.
Stage 3 The Topic
Assigning the topic is not that easy. First, it has to be contextualized. Second, it has to be well understood by the learners.
1. Contextualizing the topic
The writing topic should be contextualized and should answer the following requirements: who is writing what to whom and why? Simply, asking the students to write about the advantages and disadvantages of smartphones is not helpful and is purposeless.
What should they write (i.e., what genre?): an email, an essay, an article, etc. And who is the audience? Are they the readers of a magazine, a friend, or conference participants? Finally, why should they write about the advantages and disadvantages of smartphones in the first place? Is it because they noticed that their mates have become addicted to their smartphones? Is the writing a reaction to an article in a magazine?
An improved formulation of the topic should consider all these elements.
You have noticed that many of your school mates have become addicted to their smartphones. Write a short article for the school magazine to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of smartphones to raise the their awareness of the positive and negative aspects of smartphones.
2. Understanding the topic
Learners should understand the topic. They should understand what genre they should produce, who they should write to, and why they are writing about that topic. To make sure they understand the topic, you may want to ask them to complete a chart.
Stage 4 – Process Writing
After understanding the topic, invite the students to go through Process Writing.
Learners are prompted to collect as many ideas about the topic as possible through tasks such as brainstorming, discussions, chart filling, quick writing, answers to questions, etc.
This is the first version of the writing. Students shouldn’t be concerned with accuracy at this stage.
When they finish writing their first draft, students are encouraged to look at the overall organization of the text, paying attention to whether the ideas included are relevant, getting rid of those that don’t fit, and adding more ideas if need be. They should understand that the reader should be able to follow their line of thought.
At this stage, learners focus on tidying up their drafts. They check diction (i.e., the choice of words), grammar, and mechanics (e.g., spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.)
Editing can be done by the learners themselves (i.e. self-editing) or with the help of their peers (i.e. peer editing).
5. Final draft
The final draft is the final version of the text. To recognize and value the students’ productions, help them publish their writing online such as on the class blog, Facebook group, or wiki.
Check the writing lesson plan sample in PDF Format. Click here .
Implementing the Writing Process
About this Strategy Guide
This strategy guide explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers.
Strategy in practice, related resources.
The writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising and editing, rewriting, publishing—mirrors the way proficient writers write. In using the writing process, your students will be able to break writing into manageable chunks and focus on producing quality material. The final stage, publishing, ensures that students have an audience. Students can even coach each other during various stages of the process for further emphasis on audience and greater collaboration during editing. Studies show that students who learn the writing process score better on state writing tests than those who receive only specific instruction in the skills assessed on the test. This type of authentic writing produces lifelong learners and allows students to apply their writing skills to all subjects. Success in writing greatly depends on a student’s attitude, motivation, and engagement. The writing process takes these elements into account by allowing students to plan their writing and create a publishable, final draft of their work of which they can be proud. It addresses students’ need for a real audience and to take the time to draft and redraft their work. You can help your students think carefully about each stage of their writing by guiding them through the writing process repeatedly throughout the year and across various content areas.
The writing process involves teaching students to write in a variety of genres, encouraging creativity, and incorporating writing conventions. This process can be used in all areas of the curriculum and provides an excellent way to connect instruction with state writing standards. The following are ways to implement each step of the writing process:
- Prewriting—This step involves brainstorming, considering purpose and goals for writing, using graphic organizers to connect ideas, and designing a coherent structure for a writing piece. For kindergarten students, scribbling and invented spelling are legitimate stages of writing development; the role of drawing as a prewriting tool becomes progressively less important as writers develop. Have young students engage in whole-class brainstorming to decide topics on which to write. For students in grades 3-5, have them brainstorm individually or in small groups with a specific prompt, such as, “Make a list of important people in your life,” for example. Online graphic organizers might help upper elementary students to organize their ideas for specific writing genres during the prewriting stage. Examples are the Essay Map , Notetaker , or Persuasion Map .
- Drafting—Have students work independently at this stage. Confer with students individually as they write, offering praise and suggestions while observing areas with which students might be struggling and which might warrant separate conference time or minilessons.
- Revising and Editing—Show students how to revise specific aspects of their writing to make it more coherent and clear during minilessons. You can model reading your own writing and do a think aloud about how you could add more details and make it clearer. Teach students to reread their own work more than once as they think about whether it really conveys what they want to their reader. Reading their work aloud to classmates and other adults helps them to understand what revisions are needed. Your ELLs will develop greater language proficiency as they collaborate with their peers when revising.
- Rewriting—Have students incorporate changes as they carefully write or type their final drafts.
Rubrics help to make expectations and grading procedures clear, and provide a formative assessment to guide and improve your instruction. The Sample Writing Rubric , for example, can be used for upper elementary students.
As you work with your students to implement the writing process, they will begin to master writing and take it into all aspects of life. Peer review, with clear guidelines for students to give feedback on each other’s work, motivates students, allows them to discuss their writing with their peers, and makes the work load a little lighter for you. The Peer Edit with Perfection! PowerPoint Tutorial is a useful tool to teach students how to peer review and edit. You can also have students can edit their own work using a checklist, such as the Editing Checklist . Editing is when students have already revised content but need to correct mistakes in terms of spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and word choice. Use minilessons, small-group lessons, or individual conferencing if necessary to make sure that students have made thoughtful changes to their writing content before moving on to the final draft.
- Publishing—Encourage students to publish their works in a variety of ways, such as a class book, bulletin board, letters to the editor, school newsletter, or website. The ReadWriteThink Printing Press tool is useful for creating newspapers, brochures, flyers and booklets. Having an authentic audience beyond the classroom gives student writing more importance and helps students to see a direct connection between their lives and their literacy development.
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It's not easy surviving fourth grade (or third or fifth)! In this lesson, students brainstorm survival tips for future fourth graders and incorporate those tips into an essay.
Students are encouraged to understand a book that the teacher reads aloud to create a new ending for it using the writing process.
While drafting a literary analysis essay (or another type of argument) of their own, students work in pairs to investigate advice for writing conclusions and to analyze conclusions of sample essays. They then draft two conclusions for their essay, select one, and reflect on what they have learned through the process.
The Essay Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for an informational, definitional, or descriptive essay.
The Persuasion Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to map out their arguments for a persuasive essay or debate.
The Stapleless Book can be used for taking notes while reading, making picture books, collecting facts, or creating vocabulary booklets . . . the possibilities are endless!
Students examine the different ways that they write and think about the role writing plays in life.
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A Sample Process Writing Lesson Plan
The point of the activity is to focus on the peer reviewing of the process writing. The activity is designed for Grade 6 ESL students who come from thediversified background. Some of them just came to the US within a year. Writing sentences on the topic aboutthe change of their own lifestyle could provide them with a window to talk about their experiences and feelings after moving to the US, which makesthe topic familiar to everyone. Bringing in the poem writing in this activity is to let students know that writing a poem is not that overwhelming and it can also be fun. In the term of addressing the peer reviewing, the activity is suitable for the introduction of the skill. Personally speaking, one the most important purposes of peer reviewing is to teach the students the sense of audience. They have to always keep in mind that the existence of the potential audience. By reading each other’s stanza, they will get a clue about what it feels like when the audience is reviewing their work. They can also try to offer basic and simple comments when they are sharing and ordering in the group. So that they would be more experience in the future instructions on specific language points and skills on peer review.
In the process of micro-teaching, I think in general the activity went well. The students were engaged in writing their own sentences and sharing within their groups. Most students were active and seem to enjoy their discussion. However, I am not sure whether it would go well in a real setting with less proficient students.
As for letting the students try out the peer review, it is indeed hard to judge how the studentsactuallyfeel about it. The students in our class are familiar with peer work, and I am curious about how it would work when it comes to the real implementation. Also, because of the time limit, I think the sharing and reviewing process had not gone deep. Students did not have enough time to provide feedback and comments, as well as expressing their own thoughts to other group members. This made them less confident in sharing their poems in the whole class.
In my future teaching, I would still be willing to use this activity. However, I will divide the stanza writing part and the group reviewing part into different lessons. For the stanza writing lesson, I will address prewriting skills and focus on more complex and detailed language structures, and give students enough time to write about their thoughts. For the peer reviewing lesson, students will share their relatively well-developed stanzas within their groups and have deeper discussions. Hopefully, by providing enough instruction and support, as well as sufficient time, students would be more likely to enjoy their writing learning process.
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TESOL: Preparing a Writing Lesson Plan
- Lesson Planning
- June 15, 2022
Writing, unlike speaking, is not an ability we acquire naturally, even in our first language: it has to be taught. In TESOL , writing is often referred to as the ‘Cinderella’ skill because it’s the one that gets left behind while all the others ‘join the ball’.
What this means for us as English teachers is that unless our learners are explicitly taught how to write in their new language, their writing skills are likely to get left behind while their speaking, reading and listening develops. Fortunately, there are ways we can plan effective writing lessons.
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1. Generating ideas
This is a natural first stage in planning a writing lesson and is vital because learners can’t write unless they have ideas to write about. This planning stage will be most effective if you give learners the opportunity to work together and brainstorm lots of ideas.
Plan to control this stage by allowing enough time in your planning for learners to generate more ideas than they need. Additionally, have some sample ideas or sub-area categories ready in case the class needs help in finding inspiration.
2. Focusing ideas
A natural progression from idea generation is an ideal organization. Learners may work in groups to put the ideas they generated in the previous stage into a ‘mind map’.
This mind map can then be drawn on the board, using ideas from the different groups. Alternatively, you could get learners to put ideas into a table with a series of headings for different boxes. At this stage, you may want to add useful vocabulary and/or phrases that the learners will use in their writing but couldn’t produce.
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3. Examine a model text
Once the learners have come up with their own ideas and thought about which are the most relevant or important, the next part of your lesson plan should be to give them what they need to express those ideas in the most appropriate way.
An effective method is to provide them with a model of ‘good practice’. Looking at a model text raises learners’ awareness of the conventions of typical text styles of different genres. This text should have a similar style, length, and organization to that which you want the learners to produce.
4. Organizing ideas
After learners have seen how ideas are organized in an example piece of writing, they can organize their own ideas in a similar way. A good way of planning this stage is to put learners in groups to draft a plan of their work. This group plan might include the number of paragraphs and the main points of each paragraph.
-Read Teaching Writing Skills in Exam Preparation Courses –
In some situations, you might wish to make stages one to four your whole lesson, with the actual writing done outside of class. The advantages of doing this are that the learners can spend time thinking about their composition and not feel rushed.
However, getting your learners to write in class enables you to monitor and suggest ideas, provide extra language input, and spot those learners who are off task. Think about how long the first four stages of the plan might take and decide if you want to include the actual writing of the text in your lesson.
-Read Role-Play Texting as an Authentic Writing Activity –
6. Post-writing lesson follow-up
Although it might feel like the culmination of a writing lesson, the writing itself should not be the final stage of your writing lesson plan.
It’s important to follow up with some review and revision of what has been written. Two things you should plan for in subsequent writing lessons are peer review and error correction. Getting other class members to comment and give feedback on a piece of writing can be both motivating and a non-threatening correction technique for learners.
Nevertheless, follow this up with a teacher-led review. You can plan for this by either collecting in the writing and giving individual feedback, or by monitoring, making notes of common errors and going through these as an end-of-lesson review on the board.
Writing remains an under-appreciated skill in language classrooms, so planning effective lessons around the written form of the language will be greatly appreciated by your learners.
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The ESL Writing Process and Using Writing Frames
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Presentation on theme: "The ESL Writing Process and Using Writing Frames"— Presentation transcript:
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How to teach writing: writing lesson ideas
So you're looking for writing lesson plan ideas, and you're not sure where to start.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Yes, but writing is boring.
Sure, but writing could be time spent in class doing fun speaking tasks..
Who said you can’t do both?
But my students get more out of class from interactive activities.
Exactly – writing lessons don’t have to conform to any of these assumptions. Indeed, there are many reasons why giving students a written task may be better for their language development than spoken tasks.
Got some spare time for professional development? Watch our webinar on writing for young learners below.
Firstly, written language is permanent . It creates a record of language that can be manipulated, edited, changed and commented on. Whereas when students are speaking everything happens at once and then the language used disappears into distant memories. That is to say that when you ask someone to speak, especially in a second language there are many things happening at once: you first have to identify what someone is saying to you, then you have to formulate a response by recalling chunks of languages and drawing on your knowledge of syntax and pronunciation, if you don’t know a word you then have to find a way to communicate that idea (i.e. paraphrase), then you have to articulate it and finally, you have to monitor what you are saying for errors and accuracy. Most of this is an unconscious process, but because it tends to happen in a very short time scale, it places speakers under a very high cognitive load , which means you actually have fewer cognitive resources for attending to errors, accuracy and the content of what others are saying . However when language is written down, while similar processes apply, the time you have to run through them is largely extended because students can easily see and work with the language they have produced: it’s on the page!
Secondly, well-delivered writing lessons will include multiple stages that focus on interaction and collaboration . Some of the most important elements to successful writing lessons are often overlooked. These include: planning content, peer correction and collaborative writing. Giving students the chance to plan what they are going to say (rather than simply saying: “now start writing”) is a key stage in the process of writing: it is a behavior that many successful writers rely on to organize their ideas. In second language classrooms, it also means students don’t need to think of two things (i.e. what they want to say and the target forms they wish to use to do so) at the same time, thus freeing up those invaluable cognitive resources for other processes during a task.
Likewise, asking students to peer correct provides another stage in which students can interact in a meaningful and reflective way. This doesn’t mean telling your students to “read your partner’s letter and decide if it’s good or bad” . A well-planned correction stage will consider the key ingredients of the text the students are working with (e.g. address, salutation, stating the reason for writing, clarifying the problem, stating a desired outcome, closing….if you’re writing a letter) and also some of the key target phrases for each of these components of the text. It then make sense for students to look for examples of these linguistic features when editing (they won’t be able to edit and correct everything) because if they could, they wouldn’t need to be in your class, would they? So giving students checklists, asking them to tick, circle, underline, box…these are all concrete ways you can encourage the students to engage in the writing process and develop their ability to comment on and monitor language use and appropriacy.
Who should do the writing: do students really need to write one text each in a writing lesson?
How many books, articles, stories, novels, movies or songs can you think of that have been written by more than one person? So, why should we impose a one student, one text policy at all times? This is even more important when students are paired up to plan the content of their texts in preparation for writing, which they can then continually discuss and refine as they produce a text in pairs. It’s even possible to create texts in small groups – by providing students with a large template on A3 or A2, you can then assign different roles to the students so that they all contribute in some way to the production of the text.
When teaching writing, keep in mind the CLOGS analysis
We need to have an understanding of Content, Layout, Organisation, Grammar and lexis, and Style of a text in order to produce it according to the conventions of that genre. So, one student could be assigned the role of writer (or even two, by having them work on different parts of a text for example), one person could be responsible for the layout of the information on the page (where does the heading go, how big will the paragraphs be?), one student could be assigned the role of editor (check for use of target language highlighted on the board, is the vocabulary used appropriate to the style and tone of the text?) and one person could be assigned the role of content manager (which information need to be prioritized in the text, which information should come first?).
So with this in mind, hopefully you are starting to appreciate that writing lessons need not be isolated, dull experiences, and that when the time is used well, there is plenty of benefit to using class time for written work. At the end of the day, you need to remember that just because students are using a pen or pencil, it doesn’t mean they are practicing their writing skills. Writing skills development assumes that the students are working towards creating a text that approximates as closely as possible, the conventions of the genre (following the CLOGS analysis!).
But how do you stage a writing lesson? At the end of the day, if you want to teach writing, then you need to model effective writing for your students.
It’s one thing to analyse the text as a teacher, but it’s a whole other thing to get the students to pay attention and notice the language and textual features you’re hoping to work with.
So here are a few key ideas that will help bring your writing lessons to life.
As always with language teaching, context is everything . In communicative language teaching, this means establishing the who, what, where, why and how. You need to consider who the people are, what they’re trying to achieve, where they are, why they are communicating in this way and how they are doing so. Often, communication is seen a tool to solve problems or close the gap between speakers or writers. This means when we set the context of our lesson in the first stage of class, we need to give students a task to discuss, predict, identify, consider and apply to their own experiences.
So next time you plan your writing lessons, you could try these ideas:
Displaying a picture and asking students to predict what the problems is and how the people are feeling. You could extend and have students anticipate examples of language they might see or use in the text.
Giving students vocabulary, or features from the text and have them rank them. for example, students could be given a list of different ways of making complains and rank them according to appropriacy in different situations, or for different problems., presenting students with a problem (i.e. you bought a new toy but it doesn’t work) and have them brainstorm potential solutions., reading students a story and stop before the last page of the book. have them predict what comes next (and possibly write the final stages of the story)., 2) who is the text for.
A key determiner of a successful piece of writing is the writer’s ability to consider who they are writing to. This requires an understanding of the way culture governs relationships and sensitivity to the way language influences this. Perhaps one way of thinking about this is not to focus so much on what people need to say in their writing, but why they might choose one form of language over another.
You might like to incorporate this into your writing lessons by:
Adding preparation stages in which students first brainstorm, plan and discuss the content that they need to include in a text. Then, brainstorm features of the person they intend to give or send the text to. This might include having them write or map out a brief profile of their intended reader and include things like their name, their age, how they might feel after reading key parts of the text, what they might expect to find in the text they are reading, what their relationship is to the person writing the text, where and when they might be when they read the text.
Give students a negative example. this can be a fun way to demonstrate a task by showing the students what you don’t want them to do. after students read the bad model, guide them and have them discuss their own reactions as readers: how did you feel which part of the text seemed to be the least appropriate why did ____ make you feel this way would someone of a different age/culture/role/relationship respond in the same way what alternatives might the writer have to communicate the same idea, split your writing lessons into two groups, and have them write the same text to very different people. you might ask them to write an invitation to their teacher vs their cousin, or have them write a information brochure about a new service/activity group for a new students to the school vs. and existing student. this will give you a chance to examine and compare the differences in language choices each group makes, and consider which ones are more appropriate, and, importantly, why., 3) lift it off the page.
This is a mantra I’ve kept with me since my initial teacher training: lifting activities, tasks and words off the page can have a huge impact in contributing to the variety and pacing of a lesson. The good thing is, this can happen at almost any stage – and by giving students a chance to get up, move thing, move themselves, interact and share ideas, you may well be increasing the range of information and language students have at their disposal for later production stages in the lesson.
Some ways of doing this might include:
Pictures or visuals used to convey meaning key vocabulary. Students can then put them on the board in the order they encounter them in the text. Why not have students then create a similar task for vocabulary they use in their own written texts, and as students read each other’s work they have a mini-vocab task to accompany it!
Peer discussions – any response-to-text task lends itself well to group interaction. this could simply be a brief pair discussion, and then whole class task where students need to find how many of their classmates agreed with them., collaborative writing tasks. it amazes me how often this suggestion confuses people, in a way that seems to contradict many pre-conceived notions of what a writing task ought to be. so next time you have students complete a writing task, why not ask them to write one text between two or three this could be through assigning students different roles, as mentioned before, or simply having two students plan and produce a text together. you can increase collaboration by having students display, comment on and edit each other’s work – though be careful with this, as asking students to “read and check” is an unreasonable ask. give them specific things to look for, 4) give the students a chance to reply.
The right of reply is often overlooked in writing lessons, I suspect, because of a lack of time. But just as a speaking task is dependent on one person making a verbal contribution and the others in the group responding, allowing students to form written replies increases exposure to and processing of written conventions to the texts you work with, and it also reflects the way written communication works much of the time in authentic contexts. Think: emails, texts, facebook posts, blog comments, letters to the editor. These all require written, interactive communication to be sustained.
Some of the ways I encourage this in my class include:
Using templates. By printing off email templates, or facebook comment templates, it makes it easier for students to write back to their partner and display their responses in a clearer and organized way, especially when the written exchange is displayed in the classroom as the lesson progresses.
Asking questions. you can increase interactive written elements to process writing lessons by first, having students write their final texts using every second line (leaving plenty of space to add comments). students then use post-it notes to write three questions to their partner about the information in their text, and post the questions on their partners’ text. students then take back their original work and re-edit to incorporate some of the comments and questions they received. remember the questions need to be about content not just language accuracy. , do you have any ideas for making your lessons more interactive.
Considering a Trinity CertTESOL qualification? The introductory module of the CertTESOL course is now available as a standalone fully online course – the TESOL Starter course .
James worked at EfA as a CertTESOL and DipTESOL trainer and digital content manager. He holds a Cambridge DELTA, Trinity TYLEC and a postgraduate diploma in teaching (secondary). He has made multiple contributions to English language teaching publications, including the English Australia Journal, The British Council and the International House Journal of Education and Development, which you can read here .
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