Getting your students to write confidently and accurately can be difficult. Here are a few great writing activities that will keep your students enthusiastic and excited about writing:
1. Chinese Whispers
This activity is sometimes known as "Consequences", but it is also a version of "Chinese Whispers".
The teacher writes a sentence and secretly shows it to student A in the class. For example: "The cat climbed onto the table."
Student A has to draw it.
Student A gives their drawing to Student B who looks at the picture and writes their own description of what they see.
Student B gives their written description to Student C who draws it and so on.
Now do feedback and see how far from the original sentence your learners have come.
Tip- Depending on the size of your class you could put your learners into small groups of four or five.
2. Making sentences
Print small cards with the following words on for each group of students (pairs work well for this activity)
Pronouns: I , he, me, we, it
Past tense verbs: sent, took, said, met, spoke, wrote
Plural Nouns: letters, flowers, parks
Stative Verbs: remember, love
Prepositions: to, in
Past Auxiliary Verbs: was
Other useful words: never, how
The students must take their cards and arrange them into five sentences that make sense. They can only use each card once. These are some examples: I remember how we met; He sent me flowers.
Tip- Remember to do feedback with the class looking at all the work your learners have done.
3. Running dictation
Write or type a list of sentences on sheets of paper and place it in different places of the classroom on the wall.
Put your learners into pairs and make sure they have a blank sheet of paper and a pen or a pencil between them. Now get them to decide who will be the first "Writer" and who will be the first "Runner".
One student from each team will run to the paper and look at the first sentence and memorize it. They then return to their partner and whisper the sentence to him or her, who writes it down. When finished, the writer becomes the runner and the runner the writer until all the sentences have been transferred from your sheet of paper to the pad on which your learners are writing.
Tip- Write sentences using different tenses. After the running dictation activity, your learners can work with a partner and decide which tense is being used.
4. Creating stories
Read a text to your students, then ask groups of students to select certain words from the text. When they have finished, go around the class and swap the lists of words produced by groups sitting next to each other. Individual groups must then create a story containing the words from the list.
Tip- One person from each group should read their story to the rest of the class, then you can turn this into a competition as you can get each student to vote for their favourite story.
This game practises the formulation of sentences. You will need pens and paper. Players must begin by writing a male name at the top of the paper, then folding it down so the next player cannot see it. The paper is passed on, and the next player will write a female name. The paper is passed around again until a story unfolds. The classic pattern is as follows:
A boy (name 1) met a girl (name 2) in/at (place).
He said to her (sentence 1) so she said to him (sentence 2).
So he (action 1) and she (action 2).
The consequence was (consequence).
On completing the game, the unfolded papers are read out by the students in turn. Resulting stories are invariably funny, and students enjoy this activity.
Tip- Once students have written their story, ask them to switch it from the past to the future tense. Silly stories get even sillier when you’re predicting what will happen!