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10 Creative ESL Writing Activities For Young Students

By VIPKid  |  February 7, 2018

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ESL Writing Activities

If you are an ESL teacher on VIPKID then you must consider the following things before selecting ESL Writing Activities for your students;

  • You must choose the activities that can easily be done online because communication between you and your students will be done using VIPKID’s online video chatting software. Therefore, games that require outdoor activities may not work that well.
  • You must avoid picking group activities because each of your online classes will consist of one student only. If you pick games that require more than one student, it is quite possible that you may end up confusing your students instead of helping them develop their writing skills.
  • VIPKID provides the teachers with its own teaching material; therefore, the games you pick for your students must be relevant to the material you are given otherwise you may not be able to achieve any progress.
  • The ESL Writing Activities you pick must be age-appropriate, which means you should pick games according to the age of your students. For your younger students, you need to choose easier to understand activities that teach English writing at the most basic level. Older students who understand English a bit may benefit from slightly more complex games.
  • You must include ESL Writing Activities both in-class lessons and your students’ homework. This will allow them to practice more, which will help them develop and improve their writing skills.

The key to using writing activities as a teaching tool for your ESL students is to know which activities will help achieve your lesson’s learning objectives. If you use activities that are all fun and games, then your students may not learn anything useful from them.  

ESL writing activities are important because they teach students to express their thoughts and use arguments so they can support their points of view in English. Therefore, it is important to do ESL writing exercises not only as homework but also as a classroom activity. In this article, we will outline some interesting ESL writing activities that are suitable for interactive work in a classroom or while teaching ESL online.

These are some of the best 10 ESL writing activities

Writing Tweets

esl writing

Most of your students should be familiar with Twitter and tweets, so it can be a good starting point for an ESL writing exercise. Encourage students to write short tweets on the given ESL writing topic. You can even create a Twitter account for your class where the learners can share their thoughts. By the way, recently Twitter has exceeded the number of characters per post from 140 to 280, but still you can stick to the old 140-character format and maintain the conciseness.

Writing Emails

Emails are the main source of communication between people around the world, and that’s why email writing is a key to effective communication. Explain to your students the difference between formal and informal emails, outline the structure and vocabulary, and encourage the students to write their own emails. They can write emails to each other based on a specified topic, such as organizing a surprise party for a friend’s birthday.

Writing Ads and TV Commercials

Advertisements and commercials are a great example of creative writing, so they can be used as writing activities for ESL students. Give your learners some sample ads as well as typical expressions that are used in advertising, and then ask the learners to create their own ads. You can bring some familiar objects to the classroom and tell the learners to advertise them. The students can work solo, in pairs, or in groups. For even greater creativity, encourage them to support their ads with images. For example, they can cut out those images out of newspapers or magazines, or print them from the web. Bonus points go to teachers who have their students present them as pitches for an extra speaking activity.

Error Correction

esl writing activities

This ESOL writing exercise focuses on the ability to detect and correct mistakes in an already written text. One of example is to give the students a letter from an “imaginary friend” who does not speak English very well and has asked you to correct his or her letter. Each line of the letter should contain at least one mistake, which the students should identify and correct.

Collaborative ESL Writing Activity

Ask your students to write a story together. Each student should write a sentence and pass on the sheet to another student, who should continue the story. In the end, someone can read the story aloud. Such activity can both train the writing skills and spice up your ESL writing lessons, making them more fun and exciting. If you’re Teaching English as a Second Language online, you can go back and forth with the student and drive the story toward the vocabulary you’re focusing on.

Don’t forget to check our article about Teaching English as A Second Language.

Association game

Play an association game with your students: tell them a word and ask them to create an association chain for it, i.e. to name the association with each next word. For example, airport – travel – holidays – fun – party – night – moon – space, and so on. When the association chain is ready, ask the students to write a story by using all of these words.

Structural Writing

During this ESL writing game, you should write an essay together with your students, but in a slow-paced manner, sentence by sentence. When writing, you will teach them the typical essay structure, such as introductory, supporting, and concluding sentences. As a result, your students will not be afraid of long essays, as they can easily break down the essay structure into smaller chunks.

Image-Based Story Writing

For this ESOL writing practice, you should mix up cards with various images in a bag or basket, and then ask each student to take three random images. Then the most interesting part starts: the students should write stories that involve each of the three depicted objects.

How-To Instructions Writing

During this ESL writing exercise, you should ask your students to describe how something works in the form of a step-by-step procedure. Of course, they should describe the functioning of simple objects from daily life, for example, a toaster. Another option is to write a recipe for a simple dish, such as scrambled eggs or cornflakes with milk.

Shortening The Texts

Give your students a bulky text overloaded with long expressions and ask them to shorten the text and remove everything that seems odd, thus making the text clear and concise. You can shorten one of the texts together with the students and then have them work in groups or pairs.

We hope that our examples of writing exercises for ESL students will help you liven up the writing activities and turn them into an exciting adventure. Good luck with the next lesson plan!

ESL Writing

Benefits of ESL Writing

Here are some of the benefits of ESL writing activities:

They help to improve writing skills – Yes, this is an obvious benefit. Writing is an important part of learning English as a Second Language, especially if you are teaching adults who are looking for job opportunities or applying to universities for higher studies in native-English speaking countries. You will have to make sure that they know the basic knowledge of how to compose emails, take notes, prepare assignments and communicate with their peers and colleagues.

They help you build your vocabulary – ESL write up activities are a great way to build your students’ vocabulary. Not only do they learn new words, but they will also know how to use them in different sentences.

They help students understand the English language better – When you write a sentence you learn new words, you learn how to use them and how to build content around them. This can be a great way to improve your students’ comprehension, which can help them with their fluency in the language and play a role in developing their communication skills.

Remember, in order to make sure that your students benefit from writing, you should select exercises that are age-appropriate, related to your lesson, and easy to understand.

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