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Session 4

Welcome to The Teachers’ Room. The show all about teaching practice. Grab a cup of coffee, pull up an armchair and relax. Learn something new, remember something fundamental or just have a giggle.

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

The Teachers' Room

Collaborative Writing 1: Planning

Dan and Sian talk about helping students plan their writing

Watch the video and complete the activity


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Collaborative Writing 1: Planning
Getting students to write collaboratively is a good way of getting them used to the writing process, helping them develop their techniques and building their confidence before they try it alone. It also allows for better generation of ideas since many students will be able to contribute.  

This is an old game and ends up with the basic structure for a narrative. Give the students a piece of paper and have them write the first piece of information from the list below. They then fold the paper forward so that their answer cannot be seen and pass it to the next student, who writes the next piece of information and folds. Keep going until the list is complete, then unfold and read. They must use all of this information to create a narrative. Here is a list of a typical game of consequences, though teachers may wish to add or change things to suit their purpose:
  1. The name of a character
  2. Their description
  3. The name of a second character
  4. Their description
  5. Where they met
  6. What he wore /carried
  7. What she wore / carried
  8. What character 1 said to character 2
  9. What character 2 said to character 1
10. The consequence (What happened after)

Layout and structure
This one helps students with planning and layout. Put students in groups and set up a writing style and topic, e.g. an essay on the pros and cons of tourism. Have students brainstorm as many ideas as possible regardless of whether they will actually be included or not. Once done, have them debate which points should be included or excluded and why and then the layout and order of the writing. To make things more physical, write their ideas on cards so they can physically move them around.

Questions round robin
Give students a piece of paper with the topic of their writing on it, e.g. Where I last went on holiday. This paper is stuck on the wall of the class. When all students are ready, have them walk around the class and look at each other’s topics. Get them to write one relevant question on each piece of paper. The question must not have appeared on that sheet before. When finished, the original students take the paper and use the questions as a writing structure answering each one at some point in their writing – they can decide the order though!

To do

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The Teachers' Room Quiz

4 Questions

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Get involved

Well, those were just a few ideas that we here at BBC Learning English had, but we know that you teachers out there have lots of fantastic ideas too, and we’d like you to share them with us and everybody else.

If you have a great tip or technique about teaching writing, or anything else, please email us at learningenglish@bbc.co.uk. Your email could be posted here on this page, or may even be mentioned in our show.

We are also looking for video tips to include in the programme. You could be rewarded with a T-shirt for your efforts.

End of Session 4

Next up is Learners' Questions. What will this week's Learner Question be? Whatever it is, Dan's here with the answer! Join us in Session 5 to find out.

Session Vocabulary

  • Collaborative Writing 1: Planning

    • Consequences
    • Layout and structure
    • Questions round robin