Home > No. 7 Writing

No. 7 Writing (2005年07月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Welcome back everyone. This month we complete our look at sites that can
be used to develop the four skills of English: listening, reading,
speaking, and writing. This month we’ll look at writing. Some of the
sites listed in last month’s column on speaking can also be used for
writing assignments. The web is a great place to turn to find things to
write about and the sites I introduced last month can help with that.
But the Internet also offers new options for the teaching of writing,
options that can make writing more interactive, meaningful, and much
more exciting.

First, let’s start with the basics. The Capital Guide to Grammar and
Writing is a wonderful site maintained by Charles Darling who teaches
writing and literature courses at Capital Community College in Hartford,
Connecticut, in the US. This is a large and very user-friendly site that
contains just about everything connected to writing. As it is intended
for native speakers sometimes the level is a little high, but the large
selection of activities and interactive quizzes make it a very nice
resource. I especially liked the sentence combining activities and other
activities that are more than simple fill-in-the-blank exercises.

The Internet TESL Journal people have a collection of interactive
quizzes for students to take to build grammar and vocabulary skills.
They are made by teachers (mostly in Japan) and so are appropriate for
students here. They are also organized by level. http://a4esl.org/

Many writing teachers use journals to get students to practice writing.
I have an ongoing debate with a fellow teacher about whether we should
ask students to type their journals or write them by hand. In this age
of computer literacy, typing is a skill students need to have. For that
reason, my colleague prefers to have students type journals. Maybe I’m
old-fashioned, but I feel there is something special that happens when a
student puts a pencil to a sheet of paper. Certainly, though, through
typing, new possibilities for sharing writing come about and any writing
course should try to make use of some of these. Blogs, forums and e-mail
exchanges with keypals (penfriends) are things that can be easily used
with classes.

Blogs (a word created from web logs or journals) are personalized web
sites that allow users to post their writing (and images) and write
comments about postings. Making a class blog or individual blogs for
students is an interesting way to have students practice writing and
read each other’s writing. http://www.blogger.com/start is a part of
the Google group and a place where anyone can set up their own blog for

Dave’s ESL Cafe( http://www.eslcafe.com/ ) has been an online resource
for years. It has a place where students can participate in writing
forums on various topics. This can be a great opportunity for students
to practice writing with students from other countries. One of the
forums is called Making Friends. It is a place where students can go to
find keypals (from the main page select “Forums” from the menu for
students and then select “Making Friends” from the dropdown menu).

This week’s Treasure Hunt.

This week’s site is Dave’s ESL Cafe. It has a lot of interesting
features and I thought we could use the treasure hunt to get to know
some of them. Happy hunting!

Here’s the site: http://www.eslcafe.com/
Here are the questions:

1. Which of the following is not a forum topic? Health, Computers,
Nature, or Music?
2. What does the idiom “catch some Zs” mean? What does the slang
phrase “get plastered” mean?