My teaching partner and I are always searching for ways to get our reluctant writers working. Most of the students in my class struggle with writing any sort of text – short, long and in between- so any writing task we give them is usually met with groans and half-hearted attempts. I’m sure we aren’t alone on this one. I’m sure there are plenty of teachers our there who feel the same discouragement when they have planned what seems to be an engaging task and it falls flatter than a pancake on the bottom of the stack.
I thought that a topic as rich as world travel would be enough to get my students churning out masterpieces, but alas, their sentences are dull and repetitive. They don’t seem motivated and their interest is far from sparky. After feeling quite down about it, I decided it was time to liven things up a little AND insist on some great writing every lesson. Here’s the plan.
1. At the beginning of every lesson, there will be an image on the screen (swings over the water in Bora Bora, running with the bulls in Pamplona, the underwater train in Venice ) or a travel related object (a suitcase, hiking boot, ear plugs, pair of socks, hat, sunglasses, camera, post card, passport, a coin) on the front desk. Here are some of the photos I’m planning to use. I found them all here.
2. The first writing tasks will ask students to list words, perhaps ask for verbs/ adjectives/ nouns, then use three of the words to write a sentence about the image or the object.
3. Next we will start asking for 3 nouns, 3 verbs and 3 adjectives that will then be used to write and 3 sentences.
4. Finally we will include Genre Requests:they might have written letters, story starters, travel blogs etc. But our assessment is for a persuasive travel text like a paragraph that would appear in a magazine or travel brochure. Our daily writing tasks will be related to convincing your parents to take you to the place shown or inviting a friend to come with you, or selling a day tour/ holiday package to the location.
That’s my plan, I will let you know how it goes. If you have any other suggestions, please share in the comments.