Sunday, April 15, 2012

Use Writing to Spur Imagination (and thereby Boost Vocabulary Base)!

With spring break over, students will probably be still in vacation mode when they return. So what is a teacher to do in English class to motivate them to start writing again? How does a teacher show kids that writing can be fun and still boost academic skills in language structure and vocabulary? Imaginative writing assignments fit the bill:)

When teachers find and use in their classes fun assignments, such as many of the prompts in CREATIVE WRITING TOPICS, they will see more students being actively engaged in the task. The ideal setting is in small cooperative learning groups (4 per group). Here the ELL has an opportunity to "play" with language in working with his/her group. Since English is not the home language of the ELL, language skills are not as sharp as those of the English only student. The ELL often relies on overly simplistic vocabulary (nice, good, bad, was/were, etc.) and very basic sentence structure because of this. So, since the listening and speaking skills of ELLs are better than their reading and writing abilities, teachers should have ELLs approach writing and reading through their strongest skills of listening and speaking. Group work makes this possible with ease.

Using the material from this site, the ELL can share her/his thoughts and then take part in writing down the ideas of the group with peer support. An ELL could also be assigned a role as a proof reader with the rest of the group chiming in as needed. A teacher could have the ELL read the result of the group's collaborative efforts aloud to the class. One other option might be to have the students within groups create comic strips (or story boards) on their topic. Here the writing pressure is eased a bit, but the content remains the same---to address the prompt. As an ELL's confidence grows in writing so will quality in more traditional assignments improve.



P.S. This blog is a nominee for the MOST FASCINATING BLOG OF 2012. If you would like to vote for me, just click on the "VOTE FOR ME" badge on the right side of the blog just above my profile. Thanks:)

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