English 211 Macro-Skills Mind Project by Rhys Camacho

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English 211 Macro-Skills Mind Project by Rhys Camacho by Mind Map: English 211 Macro-Skills Mind Project by Rhys Camacho

1. How to Develop the Four Macro-skills

1.1. The Four Language Skills When we learn a language, there are four skills that we need for complete communication. When we learn our native language, we usually learn to listen first, then to speak, then to read, and finally to write. These are called the four "language skills": Listening Skill Speaking Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill

1.2. The four macro skills in communication or language are reading, writing, speaking and listening. These can be further divided into receptive (reading and listening) and productive skills (speaking and writing.)

1.2.1. The four language skills are related to each other in two ways: the direction of communication (in or out) the method of communication (spoken or written) Input is sometimes called "reception" and output is sometimes called "production". Spoken is also known as "oral". Note that these four language skills are sometimes called the "macro-skills". This is in contrast to the "micro-skills", which are things like grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. Listening Skill Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated. Listening is so important that many top employers provide listening skills training for their employees. This is not surprising when you consider that good listening skills can lead to: better customer satisfaction, greater productivity with fewer mistakes, increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work. Remember: Listening is not the same as Hearing! Hearing refers to the sounds that you hear, whereas listening requires more than that: it requires focus. Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages. Methods of Teaching Listening Skills Effective, modern methods of teaching listening skills encompass everything from interactive exercises to multimedia resources. Listening skills are best learned through simple, engaging activities that focus more on the learning process than on the final product. Whether you are working with a large group of students or a small one, you can use any of the following examples to develop your own methods for teaching students how to listen well 1. Interpersonal Activities One effective and nonthreatening way for students to develop stronger listening skills is through interpersonal activities, such as mock interviews and storytelling. Assign the students to small groups of two or three, and then give them a particular listening activity to accomplish. For example, you may have one student interview another for a job with a company or for an article in a newspaper. Even a storytelling activity, such as one that answers the question "What was your favorite movie from last year?" can give students the opportunity to ask one another questions and then to practice active listening skills. 2. Group Activities Larger group activities also serve as a helpful method for teaching listening skills to students. You can begin with a simple group activity. For the first part, divide students into groups of five or larger and instruct them to learn one hobby or interest of at least two other group members. Encourage them to ask clarifying questions during the activity, and you may allow them to take notes if helpful. However, as time passes and their skills grow, you should limit students to only writing notes after the completion of the first part of the group activity. For the second part, have the students sit in a large circle, and then have each individual student share the name and the hobby or interest of the group members that she or he met. This second part of the group activity can also lend itself to additional listening exercises. For example, you may ask students to name a number of the hobbies and interests identified during the sharing session. 3. Audio Segments/songs You can also teach listening skills through audio segments of radio programs, online podcast, instructional lectures and other audio messages. You should model this interactive listening process in class with your students, and then instruct them to repeat the exercise on their own. First, instruct students to prepare for listening by considering anything that they will want to learn from the content of the audio segment. Once they have written down or shared these ideas, then play the audio segment, allowing the students to take notes if helpful. Once they have gained confidence and experience, repeat this activity but instruct students to not take notes until the completion of the audio segment. You can use shorter or longer audio segments, and you can choose more accessible or more challenging material for this type of exercise. 4. Video Segments Another helpful resource for teaching listening skills are video segments, including short sketches, news programs, documentary films, interview segments, and dramatic and comedic material. As with audio segments, select the portion and length of the video segment based on the skill level of your students. With your students, first watch the segment without any sound and discuss it together. Encourage the students to identify what they think will be the content of the segment. Then, watch the segment again, this time with sound, allowing students to take notes if helpful for their skill level. After the completion of the video segment, you can have students write a brief summary of the segment, or you can take time to discuss as a group how the segment compares with the students' expectations. Instructional Tips Whatever method you use for teaching listening, keep a few key instructional tips in mind that will help both you and your students navigate the learning process. One, keep your expectations simple, as even the most experienced listener would be unable to completely and accurately recall the entirety of a message. Two, keep your directions accessible and build in opportunities for students not only to ask clarifying questions, but also to make mistakes. Three, help students navigate their communication anxiety by developing activities appropriate to their skill and confidence level, and then strengthen their confidence by celebrating the ways in which they do improve, no matter how small.http://classroom.synonym.com/modern-methods-teaching-listening-skills-2458.html Good listening lessons go beyond the listening task itself with related activities before and after the listening. Here is the basic structure: Before Listening Prepare your learners by introducing the topic and finding out what they already know about it. A good way to do this is to have a brainstorming session and some discussion questions related to the topic. Then provide any necessary background information and new vocabulary they will need for the listening activity. During Listening Be specific about what students need to listen for. They can listen for selective details or general content, or for an emotional tone such as happy, surprised, or angry. If they are not marking answers or otherwise responding while listening, tell them ahead of time what will be required afterward. After Listening Finish with an activity to extend the topic and help students remember new vocabulary. This could be a discussion group, craft project, writing task, game, etc.The following ideas will help make your listening activities successful. Noise Reduce distractions and noise during the listening segment. You may need to close doors or windows or ask children in the room to be quiet for a few minutes. Equipment  If you are using a CD-player, make sure it produces acceptable sound quality. Bring extra batteries or an extension cord with you. Repetition Read or play the text a total of 2-3 times. Tell students in advance you will repeat it. This will reduce their anxiety about not catching it all the first time. You can also ask them to listen for different information each time through. Content Unless your text is merely a list of items, talk about the content as well as specific language used. The material should be interesting and appropriate for your class level in topic, speed, and vocabulary. You may need to explain reductions (like 'gonna' for 'going to') and fillers (like 'um' or 'uh-huh'). Recording Your Own Tape Write appropriate text (or use something from your textbook) and have another English speaker read it onto tape. Copy the recording three times so you don't need to rewind. The reader should not simply read three times, because students want to hear exact repetition of the pronunciation, intonation, and pace, not just the words. Video You can play a video clip with the sound off and ask students to make predictions about what dialog is taking place. Then play it again with sound and discuss why they were right or wrong in their predictions. You can also play the sound without the video first, and show the video after students have guessed what is going on. Homework Give students a listening task to do between classes. Encourage them to listen to public announcements in airports, bus stations, supermarkets, etc. and try to write down what they heard. Tell them the telephone number of a cinema and ask them to write down the playing times of a specific movie. Give them a tape recording of yourself with questions, dictation, or a worksheet to complete. Activities to teach listening skills. 1. Dual dictation Ask students to get into pairs to write a dialogue. When student A is speaking, student B should write down what they are saying and vice verse. When they have finished the conversation, they should check what each other has written and put the two sides of the conversation together. You could then ask students to perform their dialogues again to the rest of the class, or to swap with other pairs. This activity works best if you give students a theme or role-play, e.g.  A conversation between friends about holidays An argument between siblings An interview with a famous person A scene from a film Class memory quiz Ask one student at a time to go to the front of the class. Ask the rest of the class to ask them any questions they like (as long as they are not too personal!),e.g. What is your favorite color/food/band?What did you have for lunch?Which country would you most like to visit? Try to make a note of some of the answers. When all of the students (or half of the students, if you have a large group) have been interviewed, explain that you are going to hold a quiz about the class. Get the students into small teams and ask them to put their hand up if they know the answer to a question, e.g.Which student likes Oasis?What is Marie's favorite food?Which two students would like to be famous actors?Award a point to the first team to answer correctly. This game can be a lot of fun, and encourages students to listen to each other. 2. Listen for lies Divide the class into two teams A and B. Ask one student at a time to come to the front of the class and read aloud a passage which you have chosen, e.g. a story or newspaper article. Then ask them to read it aloud again, but to make some changes. Each time a lie (or change) is read out, the students must stand up. The first team to stand up gets a point. This game requires students to listen carefully and encourages them to remember important information and details. Speaking Skill Speaking is "the process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal and non-verbal symbols, in a variety of contexts." It is a crucial part of second language learning and teaching. Despite its importance, for many years, teaching speaking has been undervalued and English language teachers have continued to teach speaking just as a repetition of drills or memorization of dialogues. However, today's world requires that the goal of teaching speaking should improve students' communicative skills, because, only in that way, students can express themselves and learn how to follow the social and cultural rules in each communicative circumstance. In order to teach second language learners how to speak in the best way possible, some strategies and some speaking activities are provided below, that can be applied to ESL and EFL classroom settings, together with suggestions for teachers who teach oral language. Strategies for Developing Speaking Skills Before you decide to do activities intended to help students to develop the ability to speak in English, you have to be aware that students often think that the ability to speak a language is the product of language learning. We know that speaking is a crucial part of the language learning process. So it is very important to teach students some important speaking strategies that they can use to help themselves expand their knowledge of the language and their confidence in using it. You as a teacher help students to learn to speak so that the students can use speaking to learn. 1. Using minimal responses It is a good strategy that really works when we have learners who lack confidence in their ability to participate successfully in oral interaction often listen in silence while others do the talking. One way to encourage such learners to begin to participate is to help them build up a stock of minimal responses that they can use in different types of exchanges. Minimal responses are predictable, often idiomatic phrases that conversation participants use to indicate understanding, agreement, doubt, and other responses to what another speaker is saying. Having a stock of such responses enables a learner to focus on what the other participant is saying, without having to simultaneously plan a response. 2. Recognizing scripts Some communication situations are associated with a predictable set of spoken exchanges -- a script. Greetings, apologies, compliments, invitations, and other functions that are influenced by social and cultural norms often follow patterns or scripts. So do the transactional exchanges involved in activities such as obtaining information and making a purchase. In these scripts, the relationship between a speaker's turn and the one that follows it can often be anticipated. You can help students develop the speaking ability by making them aware of the scripts for different situations so that they can predict what they will hear and what they will need to say in response. 3. Using language to talk about language Language learners are often too embarrassed or shy to say anything when they do not understand another speaker or when they realize that a conversation partner has not understood them. in this cases, you can help students overcome this reticence by assuring them that misunderstanding and the need for clarification can occur in any type of interaction, whatever the participants' language skill levels. You can also give students strategies and phrases to use for clarification and comprehension check. Before we develop some activities with your students, you have to make emphasis on your students that the aim of the activity is not just to speak the more but to speak as much as it is possible and have a good pronunciation of the words. So this video will be really meaningful to help them to speak like a native speaker. Activities: What a life It is an activity that is developed in groups. First, you have to ask your students to write in some small cards some events or things that have happened to them in the past. Then each of them is going to have a turn to pick up a card and read it out to the rest of the group. After this, they have to make a different question to the reader of the card. Taboo It is a speaking game where students have to provide some words besides the ones that you have provided them in some slices of paper. What you have to do is to give students some words written in a sheet of paper. Then, you have to explain them that they have to write some others related with the ones that you have given them. The point is that per each word they have to write a certain numbers of words or adjectives that have relation with the provided. Consequence role play Here students have to take the role of another person Procedure Give each student a piece of paper. On this they must first write: The first name of their favorite movie star - male or female but of the opposite gender to themselves Student's favorite fruit. A number between 1 - 9 The names of vegetables - the same number of vegetables as the number given above A job they don't like Their favorite job they would like to do A description of their dream house; e.g. by the sea, in the mountains - using adjectives to describe this place Finally, they describe what country they would really like to live in. Now they are required to change character to the person they have described on the piece of paper. Here are what the points above mean: This is their husband's or wife's first name This is their family name. This indicates the number of children they have This indicates the children's names. This is their job. This is the their husband's or wife's job This describes the family house and tells the listener where it is located This last point tells us what country they come from. Fashion statements This is an activity were students have the opportunity to give their personal opinions of style and fashion. Procedure: Before doing this activity, give your students some statements on the board and ask them if they agree or disagree. Here are some example statements you can use: What you wear says a lot about your personality I love buying new clothes. I really do not care about what I wear. Second hand clothes can be cool. Then make pairs and ask them to discuss how much they agree or disagree with it. Food Flashcards This activity is really useful because just by having simple pictures on hand, students can get great results. It is a good activity to revise vocabulary or to generate discussion. These activities take little or no preparation. You can either cut pictures from magazines, or download them from the internet. Preparation Learners look at the pictures and try to name as many items as possible. Ask learners to describe the setting for the meal. There is a common saying "We are what we eat." Get the learners to try to describe the people who may be eating this meal. What can you guess about a person from the food they eat? Describe the person you think cooked the meal / will eat the meal? Where are the people now? You can get your learners' personal reactions to the pictures. Which meal would they most / least like to eat? What country does the food come from? Here you have a video about some recommendations on using flashcards Picture Dictation: this activity requires a low preparation and works well with large classes, especially with young learners and teens. All your students need is a blank piece of paper and all the teacher needs is a little bit of imagination. Procedure First of all explain to students that they are going to do a picture dictation, that you are going to describe a picture to them and that all they have to do is simply listen and draw what they hear you describe. When you are describing the picture, it is best to describe one object at a time slowly and to repeat each description two or three times. Make sure you give students enough time to finish drawing one object before you move onto the next object. Tip for making the activity work well Before starting the activity, you may elicit from the students vocabulary that they will need to know for the activity. Finally, they have to swap roles and then they have to compare the pictures they drew and pointing out some of the possible differences. True- False Story This speaking activity is very effective for practicing the telling of stories and for learning fascinating things about the students in the class. What you have to do is just to tell the students an interesting story about yourself, describing it in detail way; what happened. At the end of the story, give them an opportunity to ask you questions about the story. Finally, ask them to decide if they think the story is true or false. Then you tell students the answer and now it's the students' turn to make up stories. Put the students into groups of two or three members and tell them to prepare two stories for the class. Each student must have one story to tell. In a pair, one story must be true and one must be false. In a group of three you can have one true and two false, or two true and one false. The important thing is that the false stories must be realistic and the true stories must be unusual. When all the groups have finished their stories, conduct a feedback session and highlight the effective language that was used as well as the language that needs to be worked on. Finding the murderer This speaking activity gives student the chance to take roles and participate in different way in the performance of the activity. First, write on the board: Mr. Johnson was found dead in her house on Tuesday morning. You have to find who killed him and why. Explain to students that they are going to prepare a play and perform it (in groups). The objective is that the audience has to guess who the murderer is. Tell students that they are free to invent a story about why he is dead. They can choose their own personalities, and decide who will be the inspector as he or she prepares a few questions to interview the suspects. Or you can give them a hand by saying before some information of the dead. Such as if he had money, if he was famous, etc. Brain Storming On a given topic, students can produce ideas in a limited time. Depending on the context, either individual or group brainstorming is effective and learners generate ideas quickly and freely. The good characteristic of brainstorming is that the students are not criticized for their ideas so students will be open to sharing new ideas. Reporting Before coming to class, students are asked to read a newspaper or magazine and, in class, they report to their friends what they find as the most interesting news. Students can also talk about whether they have experienced anything worth telling their friends in their daily lives before class. Besides the previous activities, here you have this video with five successful activities to teach speaking. Reading Skill. "Reading" is the process of looking at a series of written symbols and getting meaning from them. When we read, we use our eyes to receive written symbols (letters, punctuation marks and spaces) and we use our brain to convert them into words, sentences and paragraphs that communicate something to us. Reading can be silent (in our head) or aloud (so that other people can hear). Reading is a receptive skill - through it, we receive information. But the complex process of reading also requires the skill of speaking, so that we can pronounce the words that we read. In this sense, reading is also a productive skill in that we are both receiving information and transmitting it (even if only to ourselves). Do we need to read in order to speak English? The short answer is no. Some native speakers cannot read or write but they speak English fluently. On the other hand, reading is something that you can do on your own and that greatly broadens your vocabulary, thus helping you in speaking (and in listening and writing). Reading is therefore a highly valuable skill and activity, and it is recommended that English learners try to read as much as possible in English. Important aspects students need to develop when improving reading skills. To develop word recognition, children need to learn: How to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words – this is phonemic awareness example: feet has three sounds: /f/, /e/, and /t/ Certain letters are used to represent certain sounds – this is the alphabetic principle example: s and h make the /sh/ sound How to apply their knowledge of letter-sound relationships to sound out words that are new to them – this is decoding example: ssssspppoooon – spoon! How to analyze words and spelling patterns in order to become more efficient at reading words – this is word study example: Bookworm has two words I know: book and worm. To expand the number of words they can identify automatically, called their sight vocabulary example: Oh, I know that word – the! To develop comprehension, children need to develop: Background knowledge about many topics example: This book is about zoos – that's where lots of animals live. Extensive oral and print vocabularies example: Look at my trucks – I have a tractor, and a fire engine, and a bulldozer. Understandings about how the English language works example: We say she went home, not she goed home. Understandings about how print works example: reading goes from left to right Knowledge of various kinds of texts example: I bet they live happily ever after. Various purposes for reading example: I want to know what ladybugs eat. Strategies for constructing meaning from text, and for problem solving when meaning breaks down example: This isn't making sense. Let me go back and reread it. To develop fluency, children need to: Develop a high level of accuracy in word recognition Maintain a rate of reading brisk enough to facilitate comprehension Use phrasing and expression so that oral reading sounds like speech Transform deliberate strategies for word recognition and comprehension into automatic skills But if reading isn't pleasurable or fulfilling, children won't choose to read, and they won't get the practice they need to become fluent readers. Therefore, reading also means developing and maintaining the motivation to read. Reading is an active process of constructing meaning? The key word here is active. To develop and maintain the motivation to read, children need to: Appreciate the pleasures of reading View reading as a social act, to be shared with others See reading as an opportunity to explore their interests Read widely for a variety of purposes, from enjoyment to gathering information Become comfortable with a variety of different written forms and genres Reading Strategies Here are some strategies for improving your comprehension skills. 1. Skimming Skimming is used to quickly gather the most important information, or 'gist'. Run your eyes over the text, noting important information. Use skimming to quickly get up to speed on a current business situation. It's not essential to understand each word when skimming. Examples of Skimming: The Newspaper (quickly to get the general news of the day) Magazines (quickly to discover which articles you would like to read in more detail) Business and Travel Brochures (quickly to get informed) 2. Scanning Scanning is used to find a particular piece of information. Run your eyes over the text looking for the specific piece of information you need. Use scanning on schedules, meeting plans, etc. in order to find the specific details you require. If you see words or phrases that you don't understand, don't worry when scanning. Examples of Scanning The "What's on TV" section of your newspaper. A train / airplane schedule A conference guide This lesson plan focusing on scanning reading skills can be of help in practicing these skills on your own or in printed out for in-class use. Skimming and Scanning Video: 3. Extensive reading Extensive reading is used to obtain a general understanding of a subject and includes reading longer texts for pleasure, as well as business books. Use extensive reading skills to improve your general knowledge of business procedures. Do not worry if you understand each word. Examples of Extensive Reading The latest marketing strategy book A novel you read before going to bed Magazine articles that interest you This lesson focusing on improving vocabulary through extensive reading can be of help putting these skills into practice. 4. Intensive reading Intensive reading is used on shorter texts in order to extract specific information. It includes very close accurate reading for detail. Use intensive reading skills to grasp the details of a specific situation. In this case, it is important that you understand each word, number or fact. Examples of Intensive Reading A bookkeeping report An insurance claim A contract Other strategies: Skip: if you don't understand a word or section, keep reading ahead. Come back to the section or word again and try to figure out the meaning. Use a dictionary if necessary. Look for headings, subtitles and keywords. Read out loud: children read out loud when they first start reading. You can too. Get comfortable hearing your English voice. Create timelines or charts: reorganize what you read in a different format. Rewrite in a different tense. Rewrite in a different format: for example, rewrite an article in letter or list form. Illustrate: if you think you're a visual learner, sketch images or an infographic related to what you read. Write the questions: as you read, think about which questions you might find on a test or quiz. Write them down and answer them, or quiz a friend. Summarize or retell: you can do this by writing a letter to a friend, writing a blog post, making a web cam video, or just starting a conversation on this topic. Keep a vocabulary journal. Use a pen or ruler: some people find it is easier to read with a pacer. A pen, ruler or fingertip can help you keep your place and prevent your eyes from wandering off. This may not be suitable if you are reading on a computer or mobile device. Adjust the screen to a larger size if necessary. More info. Activities to improve Reading skill. 1. Read an answer the questions. The teacher provides a sheet of paper with a paragraph to the students; the students read it until they retain the information and later, they have to answer certain questions about the paragraph. 2. Fill in the blanks The students are provided a series of sentences in which a word or a phrase is missing; they have to write down, in the blanks, the missing information which can be given in disorder in a word box, or can be add by the students according to a topic previously studied. 3. True of false. The students read a paragraph about a certain topic; the teacher assigns a period of time so that the students understand the information. Then, a series of statements are given and the students are able to look for specific information and decide whether the statement is true or false. Writing Skill What Is Writing? "Writing" is the process of using symbols (letters of the alphabet, punctuation and spaces) to communicate thoughts and ideas in a readable form. "Writing" can also refer to the work/career of an author, as in: "Shakespeare didn't make much money from writing." Generally, we write using a pen/pencil (handwriting) or a keyboard (typing). With a pen/pencil we usually write on a surface such as paper or whiteboard. A keyboard is normally attached to a typewriter, computer or mobile device. Voice recognition programs allow those who can't see or use their hands to have their thoughts transcribed. Writing is the fourth of the four language skills, which are: Listening Speaking Reading Writing In our own language, writing is usually the fourth language skill that we learn. To write clearly it is essential to understand the basic system of a language. In English this includes knowledge of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Vocabulary is also necessary, as is correct spelling and formatting. A writer may write for personal enjoyment or use, or for an audience of one person or more. The audience may be known (targeted) or unknown. Taking notes for study purposes is an example of writing for one's self. Blogging publicly is an example of writing for an unknown audience. A letter to a friend is an example of writing for a targeted audience. As with speaking, it is important to consider your audience when writing. There are many different styles of writing, from informal to formal.  7 Writing Tasks for Young ESL Learners: 1. Word Jumble This activity is useful for those who have just started writing in English. Since writing whole sentences on their own can be rather challenging, this activity can help students understand word order, and yet, it gives them the support they need. Divide students into small groups of three or four, or into pairs. Give each group a set of cards containing words that can be used to form a sentence. These words are clearly jumbled, in other words, in the wrong order. Students have to put them in order to make the sentence, and then copy the sentence onto their notebook or separate worksheet. You may be tempted to give them a worksheet with a list of sentences where the words are in the wrong order, but with very young learners, it is essential for them to have cards they can manipulate and move around. 2. What Happens Next? Give students the first sentence or beginning of a story, and ask them to complete the story. To make it fun, they can be given funny or even ridiculous sentences/situations (It was a clear, starry night when the cow jumped over the moon or Michael opened his sock drawer, and all his socks had disappeared.) This helps students use their creativity and understand how sentences relate to one another to make a cohesive text. 3. What is Happening in This Picture? This is a simple writing activity where you show students an illustration and ask them to write about what they see. illustrations that show a lot of things happening at the same time are great for this activity; students can choose or even create a small story that revolves around the whole scene. Most often, if we ask students to “write” they have no idea where to begin. You can give them a visual prompt to get them started and to guide them in terms of content so that they won’t stray too far from the topic. 4. Story with a Twist This is a great post-reading writing activity. After the reading, ask your students to change the ending. You can read a well-known classic or a story that is completely new to them. They can change a few details or change the outcome altogether. They will need to get creative here but they will be using a story they are familiar with and have that extra, needed support. 5. Let’s Write Together This is a classic writing activity when you have a large group of young ESL students who don’t feel confident enough to write an entire story on their own.One student writes a sentence (or you can get the ball rolling yourself), and the next has to write the sentence that follows and so on till the story is complete. And it doesn’t have to be a “story”; they can write a news article or a journal entry. This is a great task to promote cooperation and collaboration among students. Also, since each one will be completing a part of the text, they will have to make choices regarding text structure, i.e, decide if they need to start a new paragraph. 6. Yummy Writing Give or show students a series of pictures that illustrate how a dish is prepared.The pictures should show the series of steps involved in a recipe but students have to write the instructions that go with each picture. This is a great activity to practice imperatives and also how to give instructions. 7. What’s Missing? Give students a text; it can be an e-mail, a report, a newspaper article or even a story. A part is taken out and students have to complete it with the missing information. Of course, they will completely make up what is missing. The important thing is not for the information to be accurate (for example, the time or day something happened) but coherent with the rest of the text. Writing can be hard for young ESL learners – it’s hard enough in their native language. But don’t make the mistake of discounting it as “too hard”. Instead, give them a nudge, a prompt and a little support, whether it is through the first words or images that go with the text. You will boost their confidence and make them happy little writers!   Try These 12 Simple Tricks to Make Writing Fun Use Stickers You don’t have to limit your sticker use to marking a job well done. Use stickers to inspire your students to write while they have fun decorating the page. Gather a variety of stickers – people, animals, places, props, etc. – and cut them into individual pieces. Then throw all the stickers in a bag and shake it up. Let your students choose between three and five stickers (depending on their language level – more stickers for more advanced writers) and then have them incorporate those people or objects into a story of their own creation. Do It as a Class Do write communal stories with your ESL students? If not, you should. Working together gets individual creativity flowing, and what we create with others is often far more than we could do ourselves. There are lots of ways to write with other people. Put several notebooks in a writing center. Have one person start a story or start it yourself, and then allow your students to add to a story of their choosing during free learning periods. Have one student choose the characters and another student the conflict, and then have them work together to write the final piece. Have one student write a sentence on a piece of paper and pass it to the person next to him. Then that person adds a sentence. Continue until everyone in class has had a chance to add their own line to the story. Read Reading is one of the greatest way to inspire writers in your class. Choose a poem or a short piece of literature to read as a class. Then have students use that selection as a model for their own compositions. They can either follow the structure and style of what you read or just write about the same content. Either way, the great writers will come out among you when you give them great things to read. Give Creative Inspiration When you take time and effort to inspire your writers, it is sure to show in their writing. Create a scene, draw a picture, collect interesting photos, or teach them appealing vocabulary. Then ask your students to use what you have prepared as inspiration for their own compositions. If you have never tried setting up a classroom crime scene to inspire your students, you might want to give it a try. Then let your students write and see how the creativity flows. Let Mistakes Go Letting students make mistakes and not correcting them may go against the nature of the ESL teacher, but sometimes not saying something is the best policy.When students are over-corrected, they can become discouraged or fearful of writing. Try some free-writing or give your students permission to write freely in a journal. Make sure they know you won’t be correcting for grammar or spelling. Then have students use what they wrote as a starting point for a more formal piece of writing which you will then correct. Show Them Off Recognize good writing in your students in front of their peers to inspire the writers among you. You might want to read particularly good writing to the rest of the class (with the author’s permission, of course). Try “publishing” books of your students’ writing and then putting them on display in your classroom. Your bragging might be something as simple as stapling what your students have written to a bulletin board in your class, or displaying them in the hallway of your school. When your students feel proud of what they have written, it will inspire and encourage them to write more. Give Them Inspiring Tools Did you ever have a pen that wrote in four different colors? If you had one as a kid, you might have done what just about every other kid did. Write one line with each of the colors and rotate through the page. You can give your students creative inspiration in a writing center of your classroom even if you don’t have four-colored pens for the entire class. On a spare desk, set out several different colors and types of paper with colored pens and pencils. Include pencils and markers that are scented as well. You may find that your students write just so they can use a different type of paper or color pen. Illustrate Some students become discouraged when they write because they just can’t get their ideas across. Give them another avenue to communicate by asking them to illustrate their story or nonfiction piece. When students know they can include a picture to share their thoughts, their inability to express exactly what they want in writing becomes less of an obstacle. Your struggling writers know that they can include important information in their picture, and it won’t be a total loss if they can’t find the right words to put their ideas into writing. Make it Real Life Some students get frustrated when they are writing for writing’s sake. Help these students by giving them a purpose for what they are writing. Have them write letters, thank you cards, e-mails, or other pieces they will have a use for in real life. If you like, let them “mail” the letters and cards to their classmates in a classroom mail center or through the U.S. mail. Be a Model If you want your students to have fun while writing, be sure to model your own writing for them. Let them see you write while they do, and share what you have written with them. Students who write well usually have teachers who write well, also. Keep a Writer’s Notebook A writer’s notebook is a great place for your students to collect ideas and get creative. You can direct students to particular exercises in their writer’s notebook or let them come up with the ideas on their own. Then, when it’s time to write, students will have a notebook full of ideas from which they can draw ideas and inspiration. Have Fun Teaching Writing The most effective tool you have for bringing fun to writing for your students is to have fun while teaching it. If you appreciate the value of what you are teaching and are enthusiastic about it, your students will be, too.