FCE Writing – Informal Letter/ Email Checklists

 

Informal Letter / Email Check lists 

As I have mentioned in my previous post on writing essays (FCE), check lists work really well with students as they helped them to stay focus and complete the task correctly. So, I have decided to make some more check lists. smiley Hope you find them useful.

 
How to use Check lists at home :
 
  • Ask students to have the check lists right in front of them when writing the tasks and  to make sure that they go through the check lists.
  • Collect essays and mark them.
  • When giving the essays back encourage students to add missing points from the check lists.
 
In the classroom:
  • Before correcting the essay get students to swap letters.
  • Hand-out a new check lists handout and get students to read and tick the points used in the task.
  • Students get their writings back and add any missing point.
  • Teacher collects writing and marks them.
FCE Writing – Informal letter/ Email

Check lists: 

  • Divide your letter into short paragraphs.
  • Write about a different idea in each paragraph.
  • 1st paragraph: Greet your friend in the introduction.
  • 2nd paragraph: Refer to your reason for writing.
  • 3rd paragraph: Focus on the exam questions (for example: describe the event and say  what people did).
  • 4thparagraph: Say why this event was important for your country.
  • 5thparagraph: Ask your friend to write back.
  • 5thparagraph: Finish your letter in an informal way.
 

Check list (Useful Phrases):

Introduction
Thanks for your letter/email.                                                                          
It’s really nice to hear from you.
I hope you are well.
I’d love to help you with/ tell you more about.
 
Body of letter/email
I thought you might be interested to hear….                         
I’m going to tell you about….
Did you know….
As far as I know…..
I think / believe……..
 
Conclusion:
I hope this information is useful.
Write soon and tell me (about) …
I hope to hear from you soon.
Take care.
Best wishes/ regards.
 
If you have found this blogpost useful make sure to download the checklist on the essay too.
Click here for the checklist. More substantial post are coming up soon and if you’d like to check them out you can follow the blog😊😊😀.
 
 

Caterpillar sentences

 

CATERPILLAR SENTENCES 

 

I was thinking of a way to get my students (9-10 years old) to  formulate their own sentences and at same time have fun.  An then I came up with the idea of the caterpillar sentences and they absolutely loved it. 😀😘😎

How to use this idea: Get students to cut down and then stick the caterpillar in their notebooks. Then, get them to write a word and a sentence using the words from the caterpillar (as seen in the example).


DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHEET HERE

This is what my students have made! Isn't cute?

 
 

 

Best Friend’s Challenge


 

 

 BEST FRIEND'S CHALLENGE

 

I came up with the idea of using the 'Best Friends Challenge' (as seen in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallow) with my teens as they are all friends and they hang out together. I have to say that it worked really well and we had quite a lot of fun too 😁😃💛So here's how it works:



 

How to play: write the following questions in different cards and cut them down. Place them in a box. Student A draws a questions and tries to guess how Student B would have answered the question. Student A and B write the answer down and show their answers with the count of 3. If the answers match they get a point. 
 
1.   What’s my favourite colour?
2.   What are the place I would like to visit?
3.   What’s my favourite food?
4.   What’s the food I hate the most?
5.   How many minutes do I take to get dressed?
6.   What are the things I carry with me all the time?
7.   What my favourite subject at school?
8.   What my worst subject at school?
9.   What annoys me the most?
10. What’s my favourite sport?
11. What’s the craziest thing I have done?
12. What do I usually have for breakfast?
13. What my favourite song at the moment?
14. Where am I going on holiday this Christmas/Easter?
15. What’s my favourite TV show?
16. What do I do in my free time?
17. What’s my favourite kind of sweet?
18. Which is my favourite type of film? Horror, Comedy, Action etc..
19. If I could meet anyone, who would it be?
20. What would I do if I won the lottery?
21. What's my favourite kind of sandwich?
22. What's my favourite hobby?
23. How do I spend my free time? 
 
After finishing the game we worked on fluency. So I asked my students to answer the questions, expand their answers and I recorded them.  In that way, I had the chance to listen to the audio again and correct some basic mistakes.  To avoid making them feel embarrassed I gave them the corrections in handouts and we practised again. This activity is great for students preparing for exams. 
   You can also get your students to come up with more questions and play the game again 🙂
   

   Click here to download the handout with the questions. 
 
Hope you like it, let me know how it goes 🙂 

 

 

Academic challenge 1: Implementing the Lexical Approach (Notes 1)

Hey everyone. It's been so many years I wanted to read this book and I've finally started it this week. So here are my notes on Chapter one and some ideas on how to go about it.

 

Implementing the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis

Chapter 1:

What to remember about:

Collocations

  • Collocations is the phenomenon whereby certain words co-occur in natural text with great random frequency
  • Some collocations are more common and co-occur with the same words (fixed collocations) such as make/do a mistake, chase/ miss the bus e.t.c
  • Some others are not fully fixed but can be filled with a limited number of partner-words. 

 Fixed expressions and Semi-fixed expressions

Types to take into consideration.

  • Fixed expressions are rare and many are short, verbless expression in everyday situation Not too bad, thanks
  • Almost fixed expressions, which permits minimal variation It's/That's not my fault. 
  • Spoken sentences with a simple slot: Could you pass…….. please?
  • Expressions with a slot which must be filled with a particular kind of slot-filler. Hello. Nice to see you. I haven't seen you + time expression with for or since.
  • Sentence heads which can be completed in many ways. What was really interesting/ surprising/annoying was. . . .
  • More extended frames such as those for a formal letter or the opening paragraphs of an academic paper. For example, There are broadly speaking two views of. . . . 

(See page 11)

 The significance of Lexis 

' Language consists of grammaticalised lexis, not lexicalised grammar' Raf Erzeel, review VVLE Newsletter 3/96

Checklist of some changes in content and methodology:

More attention will be paid to:

  • Lexis- different kinds of multi-word chunks
  • Specific language areas not previously standard in many EFL texts
  • Listening (at lower levels) and reading (at higher levels)
  • Activities based on L1/L2 comparisons and translations 
  • The use of the dictionary as a resource for active learning
  • Probable rather than possible English
  • Organizing learners' notebooks to reveal patterns and aid retrieval  
  • The language which learners may meet outside the classroom 
  • Preparing learners to get maximum benefits from text. 

My reaction and how to go about it. 

I decided to set the next academic goal and implement this approach in my teaching. First I will draw my students' attention to chunks and also find ways to help learners achieve the three highlighted above (A) talk about what is probable in English and not what is possible (B) organize their notebooks (C) and get maximum benefits from texts. 

(A) Organised notebooks:

  • Encourage learners to write down chunks  and avoid writing single words. Example: Instead of writing down the word 'lack', write 'lack of' and common words that follow 'lack of food', lack of money' e.t.c. 
  • The lexical Notebook should be personalised, learners should free to write down lexis that are particularly helpful to them.  
  • Train students to use a dictionary and look up more expressions related with the target word. For example, as seen in Oxford Advance Dictionary, Idioms with lack – not for want/ lack of trying. 
  •  Ask them to formulate their own example, it can be personal or something they made up.
  • Get them to find more examples at home (using the web) or write down more examples. 
  • Give students pre-designed pages to encourage the recording of particular patterns. I am planning to start with the following:  

 

 

(B) Probable English than possible English:

  • Take notes when students are speaking; write down common expressions students usually translate from their L1  but don't sound natural in English.
  • To encourage them do that I adapted the 'Thought-Speech-Bubble from the book (as seen in page 82).   

    
Download the document here  

(C) Get maximum benefit from the texts:

  •  Start of with a discussion related to the topic, a debate or a role play. Write down interesting words,expression or collocations on the whiteboard. Students schematic knowledge will be activate and students learn from one another.
  •  After reading, get students notice patterns, collocations and expression and WRITE them down in their notebook. 
  • Another activity is 'Find the expression that means…..' from the reading texts. In this activity ss work on synonyms and scan the texts to find the answer.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF RECORDING AND REVISITING

New lexical items should be recycled by students.We therefore, have to encourage ss to look back and do something with the language they recorded. Make sure you ask questions such as:
– What was the word you recorded for……?
– Can you put three expression you put in your notebook last week?  

 To be continued :D………..

 

Writing: First Certificate Essay Part1 – Check list

 

Are your students lay back and quite lazy? Well, mine are. So after thinking of an idea to get them spend more time when writing essays I came up with this Check-list to help them make the most of their writing. 

 DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLISTS HERE

Check-list

Once you are done with your essay, re-read and make sure you have done the following:

ESSAY-CHECK LIST

  •   1st paragraph: re-write the topic sentences by rephrasing it (writing it with your own words, or by changing it a bit)

  •  1st paragraph: say why is important or mention both opinions (Many people believe….. Others, however….)

  •  2nd paragraph: develop the points given in the question. – Include relevant details to support the main idea: these might include examples, rhetorical question or surprising statements… 

  •   3rd Add your own idea (ALWAYS a different idea). Don't forget to give an example.  If you include a drawback, give a possible solution. 

  • 4th Summarise and give your personal opinion

Also remember to:

  • Use a semi-formal tone.

  • Use linking adverbials or expressions to link ideas.

  • Organise your writing clearly into paragraphs.  

 How to use a Check-lists 

IN CLASS
1. After collecting the essay and before doing any corrections get students to swap writings. 
2. Hand-out a checklist sheet and get students to read and tick.
3. Then ask them to take back their writing and help them edit and add the missing points.

HOMEWORK
1. Hand-out the checklist sheet and assign homework
2. Remind SS to check the list while writing the essay
3. Collect essays, correct and check if students have used all points.
4. Give essays back and encourage students to add missing points. 

I hope you've found this idea helpful. Give it a go and let me know how it goes. Also, if you have more ideas on how to get them revisit and spend more time on writing please feel free to comment below 🙂