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Pictures Readings All language skills Teaching Practical Writing Controlled Writing
Prepared by: Aileen Geoffrey Maziziana Melanie Yohanieca


Controlled Writing


Techniques For Teaching Writing Skills

Teaching Practical Writing

All Language Skills


Why Pictures Can Be as Valuable Resources

A shared experience in the classroom A need for common language forms to use in the classroom A variety of tasks A focus of interest for students

General Strategies for Using Any Pictures

Whole-class Discussion
Generated by many types of pictures posters, textbook, pictures, magazine pictures.

Provide a student audience for student writers

Give half-picture and another half to students in pairs. Students can communicate and convey real information to each other.

Different pictures frees you from the necessity of obtaining the class a sets of them
Promote a real communicative task.

Real communicative tasks with students provide the pictures themselves

Teacher is relieved of the task of finding pictures Students have personal meaning for answering questions and writing about it in the classroom

Dont limit classroom work with what pupils can see in the pictures only
Students can make inferences, predictions, suppositions about the world beyond the picture so let them IMAGINE what happen before or after of the moment in the picture shown.

One Picture Many Different Techniques Maps


One Picture A Sequence of Tasks

Diagrams, Tables, Graphs & Charts

Picture Sets

One Picture Many Different Techniques

* This picture is based on a sketch of an American bedroom (you can, of course, vary the sketch or change the room)

Examples of Different Techniques

Draw the diagram (unlabeled) on the board. Students write down words that could be used to label the items in the room drawn. Do class discussion to discuss how to label the diagram. In small groups, students discuss other words & phrases they need in order to describe the room. E.g.: next to, on the left, etc. Teacher erases the diagram & students write description based on their memory. Students exchange papers & draw diagram of the room their partner has described.


Description, Comparison & Contrast

Divide class into pairs of students & give a picture to Student 1 of each pair, who writes a description of it. Students 2 tries to draw a sketch of the room described. While Student 1 is writing about the picture, Student 2 writes a description of a room that he knows well. S2 gives S1 the description, S1 tries to draw a labelled sketch of the room & furniture. Both students look at the two sketches & its descriptions. They make lists of similarities & differences between the two rooms. Together, they write a composition of these similarities & differences.

Paragraph Assembly

Prepare index cards with one sentence on each, which together form a paragraph about the picture. Hand out one index card to each pair or small group of students. The task for the whole class is to put the sentences on the cards in order so that they form a paragraph.

Sentence Combining

Index cards can be used, with the information on the cards separated so that each card contains a sentence that combines with another to make a new sentence. Each student finds a partner whose sentence will combine with the one he has. Partners consider the options of how to combine the two ideas to make one sentence. With the new sentences, they students can discuss how to organise those sentences to make a paragraph.

Paragraph Completion

Prepare a paragraph about the picture & write it on the board but omit the ending. Students discuss how to end the paragraph. Then they compare their versions with each others.

Controlled Composition

Students pretend to be an old lady (Maria) aged 60 years-old & is writing to a grandchild to describe her room in her old family house in Catskill. Students rewrite the paragraph using the past tense: My bedroom was small...

Guided Composition

Ask students to discus in small groups what they would write in a paragraph beginning with: Marias room in her home in Catskill is very colourful. Or... Marias room in her home in Catskill is very drab. They list all the details they would include, imagining the colours, curtains, ornaments, wall & floor coverings, & bed cover. In groups, students write a paragraph together, including details that develop the idea in the first sentence.


In pairs/groups, students imagine that the diagram shows a room at a summer sports camp. They are working for the camps advertising agency & have to prepare a brochure to attract young people to the summer sports camp. The brochure started with Every younger who comes to Waterside Camp has an extremely attractive private room. The students discuss what details should be included and write a paragraph. They read their own aloud to each other & discuss which one works the best, & why.

Questions & Answers Beyond the Picture

In groups of 4, give each student in the group a card with a word on it. Tell them that they have been invited to go to United States to live with the Johnson family in their private house in Catskill & they want to know about the room they will live in. The groups compile questions about the items on their cards. Collect questions & redistribute to different groups. Each group write a letter to Maria.

Students look at the plan of room & discuss about what other room in the house might look like. In groups, produce a plan and describe to a different room in the house. Together, these make up a description of a whole house.

One Picture A Sequence of Tasks

Examples of Tasks
Task 1: In groups, students discuss the answer to the question: What is happening in the picture?. They write down words & phrases that they use. The groups compare their results. Task 2: In groups, students discuss the answers to such questions:
How old are the two people getting married? Do their parents want them to get married? What jobs do the two people have? Will the couple have children? When? How many? Have you ever been to a wedding? Was it like this one?

The groups report the whole class the results of the discussion. Teacher writes necessary vocabulary words & idioms on the board.

Task 3: The class reads a paragraph describing Marias traditional reading. The students examine the paragraph & determine which sentence makes the main point. They list the details the writer includes to show the reader why he can make that point. Task 4: Students imagine that they are Maria, writing a letter to a friend abroad, six months before the wedding, telling her what the wedding will be like.

Task 5: In groups, students discuss and write a description of the wedding in the picture above for a local newspaper. Task 6: The students, after discussion, write to a group of American students to describe a typical traditional wedding in their country.

Picture Sets

Examples of Activities
Individually, students write a list of sentences about a picture sequence frame by frame. The whole class works with the picture sequence, but with the pictures out of order. In groups, the students discuss which order is correct for the pictures & why. Then, they write a story.

Give a different line diagram to each student in a pair. Each one writes instructions on how to draw the diagram.

Give each student in a pair a table. Students can make comparisons based on the tables given.

Give students a model of a family tree. Ask students to draw as much as they can of their family tree.

Students fill out the following chart about who does the jobs in their home. Then, they exchange charts with a partner & use the information on the new chart to write a paragraph. Ask the students to begin with a sentence that makes a generalisation about the details on the chart.


In pairs, given a map. One students write questions based on the map. The other students write the answers. Both partners roleplay the dialogue they have created.


React Examine Cohesive Links



Examine Punctuation & Grammar


Examine Sentence Arrangement


Frequently used with elementary-level students. Mastering what might be a new alphabet, moving the hand on the page from left to right & developing fluency of handwriting. Practice with the mechanics of:
Punctuation Spelling Capitalization Paragraph indention

Problem with copying : Can it be a meaningful technique for writing? In real world, we use to copy something such as an address, recipe, quotation, etc. We can ask our students to copy down some information that they will then really use. We can ask students to write out the passage for a partner.

Example 1: Based on discussion in groups, each student copies the answers assembling variety of ideas in their notebooks. Example 2: A good piece of writing is copied as a model can be referred for practicing in dictation or summary writing. Example 3: Teacher writes new vocabulary words students copy new words.


Discover the devices the writer has used to connect one sentence to another to make the text cohesive. Students need to learn about the devices that make a text cohesive:
Personal pronouns Adjectives Demonstrative pronouns Connecting words

Problem with connecting words: Students have no familiarity with the connecting words that are so necessary in a piece of writing. Examples of connecting words:

Add an idea: Also, In addition, Furthermore Show sequence: First, then, next, after that, finally Show result: Consequently, As a result, Therefore, So) Show Contrast but, however, nevertheless, on the other hand)


1)Students read a passage, circle all pronouns & possessive adjectives. Draw a line to connect the circled words.

2) Ask your students to find a reading passage in their textbook & copy it out but leave blanks for any connecting words Papers with blanks are passed on to other students who fill in the connecting words.


Discover the rules of punctuation & grammar that the writer employs. Can gain benefit form reading a text & identifying & describing the grammatical rules used. Helpful for students to examine where & how writers use commas, semicolons, colons, & exclamation marks & to derive rules.


1) Give students a passage with all the punctuation marks omitted. 2) Ask students to examine a piece of writing for any grammatical feature that they are having difficulty with.


Need to examine a text carefully to find out if the sentences hang together. Need to practice in making choices within a text between sentences that convey the same meaning as individual sentences, but are arranged differently.


Give students a sentence, followed by two sentences both with the same meaning that could follow it. The students discuss the alternatives & make a choice, explaining the reason for the choice.

Give students two sentences with a gap between them & a choice of sentences to fill in the gap.

Provide valuable practice in searching for meaning & communicating that meaning. Express the ideas in their own words. Ability of the language learner to understand concepts, process them, & restate them in his own words.

1) In groups, give each group different reading passage each group writes a summary of their passage for another group. The students within group, discuss their summaries & choose the best one to give to another group. 2) Students read a short newspaper article, & asked to express the main idea since they had little space in the paper for only a few sentences.

Discern the original writers purpose, audience, & personal style & pay attention to those in the completed version. Put themselves in the position of the writer & ten tone, style, & organisation.

1) Give article with first @ last sentence missing or both. Students write sentences which might be appropriate to complete the paragraph. 2) Give a passage to read which stops at words like however, and so, or and then: students discuss what might come next.

Involves thinking beyond the given text. Speculative questions open up opportunities for both discussion & writing. Giving tasks to encourage students to speculate about the text itself, about its content, context, organisation, & the writers choices of words & syntax.

1) Students read an article. They make list of the characters reactions. They write a letter as response to the character(s). 2) Students read only the first paragraph of a reading passage. Teacher gives them a choice of three sentences that might begin the second paragraph. Students discuss which sentence would fit the content, logic, organisation, & grammar of the passage & what the paragraph might contain.

Bring up the subject matter. Get students interested in controversial issues, connect stories with personal experiences, & explore the worlds of interest. We can ask students to read their opinions based on what they have read.

1) Students read an article about fire. Students discuss a fire they have seen, make a list of things that could start a fire, make a poster for the school warning about fire, and write on the first three objects they would save and state the reasons. 2) React to a piece of writing by actually doing something reads instructions of how to produce diagram, etc.


Brainstorming Guided Discussion







Lets students to work together. Teacher does not have to monitor grammar @ pronunciation, except when the speaker cannot be understood. After orally brainstorming, students can write down their ideas.

1) Brainstorm session addressing a specific question, e.g.: Why did the Razki decide to become a teacher?. The students write down their ideas as quickly as they can. Compare ideas & develop them into a list. 2) Use brainstorming technique to help find a topic or direction. E.g.: Journal on students activities during leisure times.

Provide guidelines for groups or whole-class discussion. Students ideas within the established guidelines are, however, entirely their own. Teacher provides guidelines advantage of letting him to help the students beforehand with the vocabulary & sentence forms they might need in their discussion.


1) Give specific directions that will guide the groups in preparation for writing. E.g. of guidelines: Discuss & write down conversation between Razki & Teo.
Greetings Request to play Acceptance with Questions about An invitation to football pleasure skills begin the game

Make review on the forms of greetings, requests, invitations & questions. 2) Classroom group work controlled writing exercise.

For students & teacher to get to know each other. Convey genuine information when students write the record of an interview.

1) In pairs, students conduct an interview with each other. They write their answers in complete sentences. Later, they arrange their sentences in a paragraph. 2) Students write their own questions. Write a report based on their findings.

Students are assigned with roles. Writing comes as outside reports or summary of what was said & done.

1) In groups, write a dialog between a brother and a sister who plan to celebrate their mothers birthday. The groups, then carry out a simple skit. 2) Students engaged in a skit developed from an event reported in the local paper. Each role needs to write out their outcomes based on their characters.
E.g.: An accident happened between a car & bicycle:
S1: Policeman write report on the account of the accident. S2: Car driver Write a letter to insurance company claiming for money for the damage S3: Cyclist - Write a letter to insurance company claiming for money for the damage

Teacher reads a passage through once, reads slowly, broke into short, meaningful segments STUDENTS WRITE IT DOWN teacher reads it through once more. Give practice in listening & paying full attention. Teacher reinforces the vocabulary & grammar.

1) Teacher pretends to be telephoning & giving directions to get from one place to another. Teacher does not give punctuation or capitals. The students write based on what they have listened to and compare their results. 2) The teacher asks a student to read out a corrected piece of his own writing for dictation. 3) Teacher dictates a poem that he wants the students to learn.

Impossible to write down every word we hear. We write only the information needed. Teaching aids that can be used : Tape recorder, radio.

1) Read aloud a passage relates to school subject or event. Students take notes. In groups, compare their answers. 2) Students go out on the street or watch an event together. They take notes of what they observe. They write an account of what they saw from their notes. Read their accounts aloud.

Young learners like stories. When we hear or read a good story, we cant wait to know what will happen next The natural curiosity to find out what happens in a story can be a good use in a language classroom.

1) Read aloud a story (dictation can be used). The students continue the storywriting.

2) Play a game which a student begins to tell a story and another continue the story. All the students write down what they can remember of the story they have made together.






Daily Notes Lists

Useful to be able to fill out a form in another language. Opportunity to transfer information from one format to another. Varying the form allows for practice in forming & re-forming concepts in the new language.

1) Forms & Interviews
In pairs, they interview each other & then transfer the information they receive onto a form.

2) Forms & readings 3) Survey forms

Based on a reading passage, students extract the necessary information to fill out a form.
In small groups, students discuss & draw up a questionnaire that aims at discovering attitudes other students might have towards controversial issues.

Letters are one of the most widespread forms of written communication. A chance to deal with a variety of forms & functions that are an essential part of language mastery. Purposes of writing letters:
To To To To To To To To To To To invite explain apologize commiserate congratulate complain inquire order apply acknowledge thank

1) Letters & forms
Present a situation to the class looking for a job through an agency. Show sample of advertisement for a job.

Write a letter of application for the job.

In pairs, give each pair an advertisement for a job. One student writes his/her own letter of application as the other fills out a registration form.

2) Informal letters

3) Business letters

Students are to invite another student to a party. Students write informal notes to each other. Students are encouraged to make real requests & ask real questions. Once students know the form of a business, they can be given communicative writing task that lead them to practice this useful form. Let students to correspond with a class in another country.

4) Pen pals

People write lists to help them remember what to do. Examples of lists:
Shopping lists Lists of invited people Lists of things to do tomorrow

1) Students brainstorm & write down what they would take for hiking in the mountains.

2) Ask students what they have to buy in the next day for a camping.

Many people keep daily notebooks @ journals. Students write record of the events of the day @ ideas about those events. Increase their fluency.


1) Ask students to keep special notebook & write in English. Check periodically to see that the students are doing it. Ask students to choose one of their personal writing to develop into a composition. 2) Ask students to write a summary of what happened in the class in their notebooks. 3) In 10 minutes, let students write on any topic. Encourage them to read aloud. Begins with an emphasis on writing for communication of ideas.

We write instructions to:
Tell friends how to find our house How to water our plants Feed our goldfish A recipe for a friend How to avoid being homesick

1) Interview each other to find out what the other person knows how to do. The other person writes the steps/procedures then write the instructions in full sentences. 2) Students write instructions for each other as how to get form the school to their home.


Provide pupils practice in writing error-free sentences @ paragraphs Can be almost controlled @ completely controlled writing tasks Maximal T(teacher)-input & minimal S(students)-input


First step towards writing composition Encouraging writing among beginners/pupils with relatively little knowledge of English & vocabulary Help pupils to gain mastery of sentence patterns


Outdated, dull creates boredom How to overcome:
Use relevant & interesting subject matter Appropriate teaching aids:
Pictures Brochures Audio Video recordings

Substitution tables


Parallel Writing

Sentence Combining

Questions & Answers

Using substitution tables

Ahmad Razki Teo Hock Bing is a teacher watchman clerk

in a car He goes to work by bus by bicycle on foot

Parallel Writing
At the simplest level, pupils need only replace selected word (e.g nouns and adjectives) At the advance level, making one change may necessitate other changes to make the text coherent. At more advance level, students study a model and then write on a similar theme using the sentence structure of the model text as a guide.

Question & Answer Technique

This writing activity can range from very controlled to almost free writing. Pupils are given notes or a text to read, and then they are asked to write amswers to a series of questions.

Sentence Combining
Sentence combining gets the students involved in just what the name implies; sentence combining. This can be tweaked by picking certain types of sentences to be combined or having them combine a certain number of sentences. Thus even in something seemingly straightforward there are still possibilities for diversity. This is often a way of converting the simpler even incomplete forms of speaking into the more complex forms of writing

A useful techniques to provide models of sentence structures and text organization that are commonly used in writing. Allows pupils to practice spelling and pronunciation as well. A suitable activity for pupils at various levels so song as the text for dictation is carefully selected.

Factors to consider when selecting texts for dictation: 1. Length 2. Level of difficulty 3. Types of text 4. The text, if possible, should have a thematic relationship to something already read or discussed.