ESL Writing Activity – Quick Writes

Duration: 5 Minutes

Type: Individual

This activity comes from the one and only Tan Huynh. You can learn more about Tan on his ESL Teaching Hero Spotlight page

What you will need:

  • Paper & Pencils (I suppose you know that ?)
  • Question or Prompt


Students are given opportunities throughout the class to quickly reflect, summarize, or respond to questions or prompts. There are no right or wrong answers and responses do not need to be corrected.

How to Organize:

  1. Provide students with a question or prompt.
    1. What is the most interesting thing you learned on this page?
    2. Now that we have discussed the word persuade, write down one situation where you would need to persuade someone.
    3. Write down 1 or 2 sentences summarizing what happened at the beginning of the story.
  2. Students respond in writing to the response. 
  3. Monitor what students are writing by walking around the room. You can jot down some quick notes about issues you see that you may want to focus on in the future.
  4. Afterward, you can put students in pairs to process, or you can have a few students share with the class, or you can just move on.
  5. Tan Huynh recommends writing down the date on the page in which they are writing so that they can see their progress over time.


  • This activity takes a lot of the pressure off of writing while also giving students lots of opportunities to write.
  • All students are participating during this activity. No one is waiting around.
  • You can gather some informal data on what students need to focus on in their writing for future classes.

You can read more about this activity on Tan Huynh’s blog by clicking here.

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