Quick and Simple Writing Activities
by Sophia McMillan
(Shane Training Centre, Japan)
Writing is a complex process that encourages thinking and learning. Once learners realize that writing is a process that does not have to be right first time they are more willing to experiment, explore, revise and edit.
Activity 1: Simple Description with Visuals
Have learners examine a picture and ask them to identify the objects in it. Then have them write a paragraph to describe the picture.
Activity 2: Completing a Description Paragraph
Have learners examine a picture and complete a description paragraph. For example: Learners look at a picture and complete the following paragraph:
Mary lives in a very nice room. In her room, there is a ——, ——, and a ——. There are also several ——. There are no ——, but Mary does have some ——. She wants to get a —— for her wall and a —— for the desk this afternoon when she goes shopping.
Alternatively focus the learners on function words by having them complete the paragraph by supplying prepositions and/or expressions required by the context. EG:
This is a picture of Mary’s room. Her bed is —— the window. —— the bed and the window is a small chest of drawers. There is a bookcase —— her bed on the ——. She has a radio that is —— the book case, and she puts her books —— the book case —— three shelves. —— the room. She has a very nice desk where she prepares her work for school.
Activity 3: Writing a Description from Questions
Have learners examine a picture and use a set of questions as a guide to write a short description.
EG write a description of the picture using the questions below as a guide.
1. Does Mary have a nice room?
2. What kind of things does she have in the room?
3. What do you like in Mary’s room?
4. Do you have a room like Mary’s room? Describe your room in a few sentences.
Activity 4: Slash Sentences
Give learners a set of sentence cues and have them write a short narrative paragraph. EG:
1. The Smiths / Summer / in the country/ spend →The Smiths spend Summer in the country.
2. all / family / In the morning / to get up / arround / 8’oclock.
3. Mr. Smith / the kitchen / coffee / to prepare / to go down strairs.
4. his / wife / then / breakfast / to go outside / in / the garden.
Activity 5: Sentence Combining
Give learners a set of simple sentences (or words) and have them combine them into complete sentences:
1. The man is tall.
2. The man has dark hair.
3. The man is standing by the door.
4. The man looks suspicious
Activity 6: Composition based on oral interview.
Learners interview a partner and write a report about what they learned about the person they interviewed. Suggested topics:
1. Talk about yourself and your family (i.e., where are you from, where your family lives, your hobbies, etc…).
2. Talk about what you like and dislike about your school.
3. Describe a memorable event.
4. Describe your goals and future plans.
5. Describe a recent vacation.
Activity 7: 50 Word Sentences
Learners write about a set topic e.g. review etc in a single sentence of no more than 50 words. This task give maximizes the learners’ opportunities to learn and practice writing and critical skills while minimizing marking time.
Some other writing activities:
completing forms and questionnaires
writing articles for magazines, newspapers, newsletters, etc.
producing posters for display
writing reports, memoranda, etc.
making notes for future reference
taking down messages from dictation, etc.
creative and imaginative writing
writing personal or business letters, etc.