Using for a Writing Class



Over the last couple of years I have been using materials in my own writing classes.  It’s fun to see how can be put to use in a classroom for writing or speaking as well as reading.  Actually, you could really use the materials on the website to build a lesson for any kind of class.

Here’s how I’m using the site currently to help my students improve their writing skills:

1.  Introduce a topic based on one of the readings (fish and chips, for example, could be used to introduce a unit about food).  My aim is to get the students to research about a food they enjoy and write a short (100 – 150 word) paragraph about it for next class.

2.  Have the students read the fish & chips article and find any new words that they haven’t encountered before and then discuss this in pairs.

3.  Students then talk to each other about the article’s contents and have a conversation about the article.  For example, if you’re teaching about food by using the fish & chips article, you could have them discuss these questions in pairs:

  • Have you ever eaten fish & chips?

  • Were you surprised by anything you learned in the article?  Did you learn anything new?

  • Would you like to try fish & chips?  Why or why not?

4.  The students then write a short summary of the article and their discussion with their partner in a short journal entry.

5.  Students read their writing to each other in pairs and note any differences or write down any key ideas they may have missed.

6.  The students are assigned to write about a food of their own choice and to use the article from to help them structure it and brainstorm ideas for what they will write about.  For example, the fish & chips article talks about how the food is cooked, where it’s from, and the ingredients.  These are all excellent areas for a student to write about when they are drafting an article about a food of their choice.

The readings from are essentially used as a “jumping off point” where learners can discuss and develop their own ideas about what to write about and what kinds of words can normally be found when writing about food.  The important thing for any teacher is to incorporate discussion among students about the article in order to give the students the chance to see how the reading can be used this way.  Also, by using speaking activities in class, you’re giving students some practice in another skill and making the activities more interesting and interactive.  Writing can be a lonely task so anything you can do in the pre-writing stage to stimulate students to think and plan carefully about their own writing can only help them.

I hope this offers teachers a chance to see that our site can be used for so much more than reading practice.  Have a great day!