Part 2: Resource-Rich Class, Session 8

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Session 8, RealPlayer
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Creating a Resource-Rich Classroom

Session 8 – July 14, 2006

Focus on Writing

Cindy Kieffer, University of Oregon
Linguistics Department, American English Institute
Email: or use Contact web page.

Leslie Opp-Beckman, University of Oregon
Linguistics Department, American English Institute
Email: or use the Contact web page.

About the Speakers

Cynthia Kieffer is the Director of Academic Programs and Research at the American English Institute, University of Oregon. She has many years of experience teaching in classrooms with students of all ages, as well as ongoing administrative experience as a supervisor and trainer for English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) educators.

Leslie Opp-Beckman is a Senior Instructor in the MA Language Teaching Specialization program for the Linguistics Department at the University of Oregon. She also develops online training, teaches courses, and acts as Technology Coordinator for the American English Institute.


This is the eighth session in the 2005-06 professional development series for English as a Foreign Language (EFL) educators in Thailand. It is the third of five sessions in Part II on “Creating a Resource-Rich Classroom.” University of Oregon is partnering with the US Embassy in Bangkok, the Royal Thai Distance Learning Foundation, the Ministry of Education, colleagues at Chulalongkorn University, and at ThaiTESOL on this innovative and exciting project.

This session features ideas for creating writing and integrating different forms of “writing for fun” activities in the classroom (advice columns, student newsletters, interactive bulletin boards or posters, chain stories, graffiti walls, “continuous comment” collages, etc.).

Online Teacher Resources

The goal of these activities is to develop writing fluency and to creative positive, motivating experiences with writing.

  1. PIZZAZ, Creative Writing for ESOL
    Semi-structured poetry offers a good writing tie-in to thematic and experiential learning activities. This session includes practice with diamante poem writing, for example.
  2. PIZZAZ also offers simple fiction writing ideas such as the chain story activity for small groups of students. It. too, is a good fit for students of all ages and abilities.
  3. Class-authored poems such as the example “I Saw, I Heard, I Am…” do not require a lot of time and allow everyone to participate. This, and other forms of student writing, can be enhanced with drawings, images, collages, etc.
  4. The Story Starter offers 98,889,336 ideas for getting started writing mysteries, tales of horror, science fiction adventures, and humorous stories.
  5. Other examples of online, interactive sites include Wacky Web Tales (low level English), Seventh Sanctum’s Quick Story Generator (intermediate level English)–try 5 or more stories at once, and online fairy tale generator (advanced English).
  6. Teacher Vision offers a simple creative writing rubric if you’d like to give students some general feedback on the stories they’ve written.

Review: Discussion Questions and Classroom Applications

  1. Using a topic or theme from your curriculum, choose one of the above techniques and identify a set of resources with which you can use it.
  2. As with the previous session, please bring multiple sets of materials if you would like to participate in the materials “swap” or exchange.