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Process Writing Activity

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This is a fun process writing exercise. Process Writing, as we all know, is where ESL students learn that writing is process of creations and edits and no one (Not even me) sits down and writes wonderfully the first time thru. Heres how its done. You need some old slides and a slide projector. You announce to the class that you picked up your film yesterday and were given the WRONG film by mistake. You need the class to play detective and help you find out about this person.

Step 1: Show three slides. Ask the students to write (double spaced) what this person does for a living.

Step 2: Now the students must slide their papers to their partner on the right. Now the students must read what the other person wrote, and continue the story from there (after they get the next three slides).

Step 3: Show three slides. Ask the students to pick up where the orginal author left off and write what kind of person the photographer is.

Step 4: Ask the students to circle the adjectives. SURPRISE! Every time I've done this excercise, there are very few adjectives written. Have the students add adjectives. They can can write over others writing. After they finish writing, solict adjectives from them (if you do it before they finish writing, you might influence the others.

Step 5: switch papers, show three slides and ask for another attribute (i.e: Profession, Political Beliefs, etc...). Ask the students to circle another part of speech, such as the adverbs. Again , have them edit their papers, adding adverbs. Then solict r eponses.

There are alot of variations on this, and you really go far with this. Don't have a slide projector? No problem, get a collection of interesting things such as a Oil filter wrench which doesn't obviously convey its purpose and put them in a bag. Say you f ound the bag and are trying to find the owner. Please, don't be mediocre and just put in a banana and ask you students to write about a banana (I saw it done while I observed and nearly wretched). The FUn payoff: At the end, after they read the compositions, tell the students where you took the pictures and why you found the pictures interesting. I always show my photos from my travels in Europe and Japan, which gives away my real reason for being an ESL teacher: to have someone who will look at my vacation photos!!

Name: Heinrich H. Beck, Jr.
Email: heinrich@li.net
Location: Smithtown, NY USA

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