Thursday, January 23, 2014




  1. Information in the slides is obtained from the module of TSL3107, for the use of students of PPG TESL Sem 4 Ambilan Khas Feb 2013, IPTHO

  2. TASK: Briefly describe a suitable activity that you have employed to develop sentence construction and paragraph writing skills among your pupils in the primary ESL classroom.

  3. Activity : The Choo Choo Train
    1. Divide pupils into groups.
    2.Give each group 5 wagon-shaped cards with words written on them.
    3. Pupils construct a sentence, placing each word in a wagon to form a 'Choo Choo Train '.
    4. The fastest group is declared the winner.
    5. After that, all pupils are asked to write down the five sentences that have been constructed by the groups.


    word on card : shirt

    sample sentence : Susan has a beautiful blue and pink shirt.

    1. I think this is an interesting activity for the pupils to do in the classroom and I want to try to do it with my Year 2 pupils because it is a simple activity. It can encourage the pupils to try to construct the sentences by filling the wagon with words. When planning to do this activity, I have to ensure that it can suit the pupil's level or ability.

      1- Each group will have their train with wagon.
      2- Teacher have already write the word/s on the wagon.
      ( 3 sets of wagon with different colour, means 3 sentences for each group. )
      3- Pupils will have to rearrange the wagon (words) into correct sentences.
      4- Pupils will paste the train with wagon on the board according to colour of the wagon.
      5- The group that finished first with correct sentences will be the winner.
      At the end of the lesson, pupils should copy the correct sentences into their exercise book in a simple paragraph.
      * copy the other group sentences also.

      example for group 1:
      1) blue wagon
      2) red wagon
      3) green wagon

      *Sample of simple paragraph.
      This is a bug.
      It is a red bug.
      The bug is small.

    2. Hi Azlima, here i would like to share how i teach the simple sentences to my students in the classroom.

      One of the first things I try to teach my students is to recognize sentences. They learn that sentences express a complete idea. Here are some exercises that will help them recognize sentences.

      Have each student make two cards (one will say SENTENCE and the other will say NOT A SENTENCE). The teacher then reads phrases aloud. If it's a sentence, then children must raise the correct card. If it is not a sentence, then they raise the other card.

      Sentence editing: Using spelling words, make pretend a student has written their spelling sentences and it is the class' job to correct them. Give each student a copy of the spelling sentences and a red pen (or have them use a red crayon). Students need to circle all the sentences that are not complete. Then, on the bottom, students need to complete the sentences they circled.

      On sentence strips, write phrases that are sentences and incomplete sentences. On the board or on a pocket chart, have two columns with the headings Sentence and Not a Sentence. Give each student a sentence strip. Have students place the strips under the correct heading. To extend the activity, as a class, complete the incomplete sentences together, emphasizing capitalization and punctuation.

      Subject and Predicates
      Most teachers use subject and predicate to teach the parts of sentences. Here are some activities using subject and predicate.

      Silly Sentences: Create packets with subject, verb, and predicates. EXAMPLE: The big butterfly flew in a jar of jelly. Have students choose one strip from each packet. Put the strips together to form a silly sentence. Have them draw an illustration and write the sentence underneath. Have them circle the subject and underline the predicate.

      Ganesan Veerappan
      PPG Tesl Sem 4

    3. Thank you for your kind reply dear sir.....
      As you explained your ways and techniques used in teaching your pupils to recognize a sentence as above I think you should acknowledge them about the items in making a sentence then only they can identify whether its a sentence or not a sentence. What I meant is the S.V.O'wh' format. I've been using the format in a table form and it works among those who are low achievers and boost those who are excellent. Its a basic knowledge to be taught in all English's classes. In fact, I informally taught a lots of vocabularies and nouns items to support the constructing of a sentence describing a picture.....
      Example :
      subject verb object (WH Questions)
      a boy is walking to school.

      A boy is walking to school.

      A smart-looking boy clags in school uniform is walking to his beautiful school.

  4. Activity :- The Five W's

    The five W's are Who, What, Where, When, and Why. I teach my students how to "diagram" sentences using the five W's. I have found that it helps students create better sentences.
    • Use a sentence with the five w's to show how to create these sentences. An example is The kids ran down the street today to see the parade.
    • Have students trace their hands on a piece of construction paper. On the palm of the hand have them write the title "Five W's". Use dot stickers and place on the tips of the construction paper fingers. On each dot write a W word. This will help students memorize the five w's.
    • If you require your students to write spelling sentences, have them use at least 3 w's to complete the sentences. Increase the required number as the months go by.
    • Have a contest that requires them to write the longest sentences they can using the 5 W's.

    Uma Mageswari D/O Balakrishnan

    1. Hi Uma, I agree with your opinion that you have mentioned here. Sometime I too used the same techniques in the classroom. But i would like to share with you some of the strategeis that can be used in teahing writing skills.

      1. Teach students one important rule relating to grammar or punctuation in each lecture or in each unit.

      2. Give students a course-related worksheet, have them write a précis of its content, and then ask them to critique each other's writing.

      3. Toward the end of a lecture, ask students to spend five minutes writing a summary of the content of the lecture. Next, have students critique each other's writing.

      4. Explain to students before they complete a writing assignment the most common writing errors made in the past as well as the rules the errors violate.

      5. Provide students with a list of poorly structured sentences from assignments of prior years. Ask the students to improve the sentences, and then discuss the improvements as a class.

      6. Praise students freely for excellent or improved writing.

      Ganesan Veerappan
      PPG Tesl Sem 4

  5. Activity: Whisper train
    Class: Year 2
    Teaching aids: a sentence,blackboard,chalk
    Sample sentence: Hafiz is wearing a blue shirt and black trousers.
    1) Teacher divide pupils into group.
    2) One leader for each group will read a short and simple sentence and he/she need to remember the sentence correctly. The leader need to whisper the sentence and continue with other member in group.
    3) The last member hear the whisper need to write on the blackboard.
    4) The correct sentence write on the blackboard is the winner.
    Maria bt Zainal
    Ppg Tesl 4

    1. Hi Maria, I think the whisper train activity may be taking time to write some sentences. This activity is not suitable for level 1 pupils especially year 2 pupils.

      Don't worry!! Grammatical structures can be taught and learnt. Simple, complex and compound structures can be taught, but it is a misconception if you think one can learn them without making mistakes. If U need some sort of prescription, I suggest the following steps:
      1) study the forms and structures in grammar and writing books. (you can refer Puan Adibah author of a very easy book in English essay writing. It is called "Step by Step of writing". In the first chapter of her book she explain how to write complex and compound structures.)

      2) write structures you have learnt in paragraphs and essays.

      3) Ask a more proficient one to correct the mistakes and discuss on the correct forms.

      Here i would like to share with you by making simple sentences using grammar.

      e.g. This is a busy school canteen.
      This is a crowded circus.

      e.g. The clown is smiling happily.
      The lion is jumping bravely through the fire ring.

      Write compound sentences
      e.g. There is a lion and a clown on the stage.
      There are many types of food and drinks at the canteen.

      Write complex sentences (if you can)
      e.g. The boy, who is carrying a basket of fruits, is helping the old lady to cross the road.

      The pupils, who are queuing at the counter, are buying something to eat.

      Ganesan Veerappan
      PPG Tesl Sem 4

    2. hi Maria,

      Very interesting activity that needs some preparation before the lesson. Its a Chinese whispers like activity. In will involve all the pupils in the classroom. Maybe I would suggest that this activity can be done by doing simple sentences at first. just to get the pupils in the game mood. as the activity goes on maybe you can make the sentence hard and harder so that in will challenge the pupils more.

      Mohd Nizam Mohamed
      PPG TESL Sem 4

  6. Topic: Home Alone
    Year : 4 Unique

    Teaching and Learning Strategies:
    1. Teacher asks pupils if they had ever stayed home alone in the past.
    2. Teacher calls out two pupils to share their experience.
    3. Teacher shares with pupils on his experience when he stayed home alone.

    4. Teacher alicits from pupils in what tense when he tell his story in.
    5. Teacher brings pupils attention and gives explanation on the usage of the simple past tense.

    6. Teacher divides pupils into groups of six.
    7. Teacher now asks pupils to imagine that yesterday they were staying alone at home and a burglar tried to brake into their house.
    8. Teacher pastes a set of 12 verb cards.
    9. Teacher explains and demonstrates that the pupils in each group should discuss together and come up with a sentence based on one of the verbs on the board.
    10. Each group should take turns to say a sentence using the verb cards and build up an imaginary account of what happened yesterday when they were home alone and their house got burgled. If a pupil wants to use different verb from the ones that are pasted, their group should request for one of the blank cards.
    11. Teaher jots down each group's sentences on a mahjong paper.
    12. Once the story completed, the teacher and pupils loo for ways they can modify the story by combining sentences and using additional words to make the acounts interesting.

    13. Teacher asks pupils to write don the modified version in their exercise book.

    14. Teacher sings "Home Alone" song following the "Jingle Bell" tune.

    Ganesan Veerappan
    SEM 4

  7. Activity : The Busy Bee.

    1) Teacher divides pupils into group of 5.
    2) A leader will be selected for each group.
    3) Three of the member will have the ‘wh’ questions in order example;
    - who
    - what (verb)
    - where
    4) Teacher distributes a picture to each group in front of the class.
    5) Pupils take turn to look at the picture along with their ‘wh’ question.
    6) As an example, the first pupils will circle and identify the answer for ‘who’ ( a girl ). Then let the other group members know his / her answer.
    7) The second pupils will have to look at the picture, and identify the answer for ‘what’ ( watering flowers ).
    8) Third pupils will search the answer for ‘where’ ( in front of the house ).
    9) Fourth pupils will have to write each answer that are given by his / her group members in the paper provided by the teacher. In groups, the pupils discuss the correct sentences. ( a girl - watering flowers - in front of the house )
    10) Fifth pupils write the correct sentence on the board. ( A girl is watering the flowers in front of the house in the evening. )
    11) The first group that managed to finish all 5 sentences correctly or with minor mistake will be the winner.
    12) At the end of the lesson, pupils also have to copy the sentences in their exercise book.

    *While using this activity, as a teacher I can help the weaker pupils to be more confident in the learning process and using English. They can work together to make sure that they can construct the correct sentences. Teacher also can give simple rewards to the winner to attract the pupils.

    1. Hi Herda, I read up your techniques how to make simple sentences that you have done in the classroom. I have some ideas and I would like to share my experience with you.

      For Sentence Construction, I have drilled my pupils with some simple sentence patterns since January, in order to help them to have some ideas on how to construct sentences based on the picture given. I think most Year 6 teachers already know that the candidates do not have to use all the 10 words given. Because my pupils are very weak, I encourage them to concentrate on the picture instead of the words. My rationale? My pupils tend to use words that they do not know and so most of the time would come up with annoying sentences that do not have any meaning.

      My objective: to help my pupils to write sentences, however simple, that would at least make some sense. Heheh! Okay, so this is the method that I use. I give each and every pupil a card (I call it the 'SC' Card 1) that contains some guidelines for writing sentences, like this:

      Place / Location / Event

      This is a (name of place / location / event).

      e.g. This is Royal Paris Circus.

      This is a school canteen.

      People / Animals / Things / Plants

      There is a (singular noun).

      There are (plural noun).

      e.g. There is a lion on the stage.

      There are several pupils at the school canteen.


      (Singular subject) is (verb + ing).

      (Plural subject) are (verb + ing).

      e.g. The clown is holding the fire ring.

      The pupils are queuing at the counter.

      Adjectives (Feelings / Look)

      (Singular subject) is (adjectives).

      (Plural subject) are (adjectives).

      e.g. The lion is brave.

      The canteen workers are busy.

      My pupils would bring the card everywhere, and every time I give them the Sentence Construction exercises, I would encourage them to refer to the card as guidance. Some hardcore markers might complain that this is actually 'template writing', but I beg to differ. My pupils have very little if no basic in English whatsoever. I spend almost a year to teach these kids whatever I can manage on Singular and Plural Nouns, Verbs and Adjectives. A year ago I had to start with zero. Applying this method enable me to help my pupils to write grammatically correct simple sentences, and I am floating on air now. We have been doing this since January, and not only can the children write simple sentences on their own, in the process they acquire a lot of new vocabulary because in order to complete the Section A task, they need to identify the location and the activities in the picture, as well as the appropriate adjectives that are related to the picture given.

      After several months of doing this, I notice that a few of my pupils have the potential to do more.

      I think that is all there is to it, on Sentence Construction. Hope this helps.

      Ganesan Veerappan
      PPG Tesl Sem 4

  8. Activity: Sentence Rush
    Class: Year 4
    Focus : irregular verbs ( the simple past tense)

    Step 1:

    1. Teacher explain the irregular verbs (simple past tense) to the pupils.
    2. Teacher gives examples of irregular verbs and the sentence.


    1. Teacher asks pupils to sit in group of four.
    2. Teacher pastes word cards containing verbs (present tense).
    3. Teacher asks pupils to change the verbs past tense (irregular verbs). The fastest
    group gets the marks.
    4. Teacher asks pupils to create a sentence and send their group representative to
    write the sentence on the blackboard within the time given.
    5. The fastest group with the correct sentence win.
    6. Teacher gives marks and goes on to second round.

    step 3:

    1. Pupils will copy the verbs and sentence in their exercise book.

    Although this activity is fast, still the pupils will enjoy it so much because it is really competitive. Teacher must aware of the pupils ability by mixing the good and the weak pupils in the same group. Every group also must sent different representative so that every group members will involve in this activity.


    Put a sentence in an envelope.Ask the children to look at the words -E.g the ball, dog, The, played, with.
    Explain that they are going to become detectives and help to piece together the sentence so that it makes sense. Ask the children to cut out their own magnifying glass.
    Ask the children to arrange the sentence in the correct order. Show them how to find clues such as the capital letter and full stop.
    The fastest group with the correct sentence will be the winner.
    Pupils will write the sentence in their excercise book

  10. 1. Teacher shows a series of picture with sentence strips (jumble up)
    2. From the picture, pupils have to number the sentences correctly in sequence.
    The pictures given are steps to make a rabbit mask. Complete the sentences with the given phrases.

    -To the large part of the plate
    -and staple a piece of elastic band to the mask to keep it in place
    -and cut out a wedge of it
    -and cut the paper plate in half
    -and decorate the mask with crayons or colour pencils

    then after they have number the sentences correctly, pupils will have to copy them in a paragraph


    1. Teacher distributes the worksheet to the pupils which has a picture and five words.
    2. From the picture of worksheet, pupils have to construct sentences based on the words given then write into a paragraph.
    3. Teacher guides the weak pupils to write the simple sentences according to the picture.

    Rosnita Ab. Rahman
    Sem : 4

  12. avtivity for paragraph writing
    a. write a simple paragraph using the subsitution table.
    example :

    1. This / is / my mother.
    my brother.
    She /works / as a teacher.
    as a doctor.
    3. His hobby
    Her hobby / is / to play badminton.

    This activity can be done individually or in group. for me, this activity is very good as the starter to the pupils to contruct sentences as can guided them to write a paragraph. subtitution table is very good method when you want to teach the pupils in writing.

    Activity for sentence contruction
    a. rearrange these words to form correct sentence.
    example :

    1. is This mother. my
    2. eat likes Fadli to Nasi Lemak.

    This avctivity can be done by group or individual. when they have done, the teacher will do some discussion with the pupils to check their work. I like to apply this activity in my class as for me it is good to attract the pupils attention in contructing sentences because most of my pupils like this activity.

  13. i do agree with fazira,i often use substitution table to teach my pupils to do paragraph writing.A first this activity might confused them,after several time...this substitution table helped them lot..

  14. Hi friends,these are the activities I always used in the classroom to develop pupils sentence construction and paragraph writing.

    Sentence writing.
    1.Teacher prepares pupils with set of question.
    2.Pupils fill in the blanks with the answers.

    paragraph writing.
    teacher prepares pupils with the paragraph.Pupils fill the blanks with the suitable words based the picture given.Or pupils replace the pictures with the the end,pupils rewrite the paragraph.

    The method that I used are not the same thing..sometimes I used games also so that pupils are not bored and feel motivated in the class.