Targeted Writing Activities for Grammar

My colleague Kathy Moulton and I were asked to present at the 2014 VATESOL Annual Conference at Longwood University in Farmville, VA on ways to implement targeted writing activities into an ESL grammar course or lesson. Even though we created these with English language learners in mind, many of these types of activities would be equally as useful in a K-12 classroom.

Old Dominion University English Language Center Teachers

The problem: Students can complete grammar worksheets and tasks in grammar textbooks, but they are unable to use structures effectively when writing at length. 

When I first started teaching, this always used to frustrate me. I would feel so confident after a lesson because the students seem to really “get it.” And then it came—a writing task. Within minutes of grading, I would be complaining to a colleague. “They must have forgotten everything!” or “They must have been rushing through their work.” In reality, I wasn’t creating tasks and assignments for my students that allowed them to use the structures I taught in a longer piece of writing.

What research says: 

Focused writing activities with timely feedback help students write more accurately (Polio, 2013).


Click on any of the categories below to see grammar exercises and activities for that grammar point.

Noun Clauses & Reported Speech

Below you will find activities that focus on noun clauses (i.e. nominal clauses). Typically, noun clauses are covered in advanced or high intermediate grammar courses. Reported Speech Using Movie Clips | In this activity, students watch a scene from a film without dialogue and imagine what is being said. Then, they are asked to tell their friends … Continue reading Noun Clauses & Reported Speech