In Honor of Mom: A Mother’s Day Activity

As Mother’s Day approaches, you may want to start planning one or two holiday-related activities. Compositions are often a wonderful option because the students are able to find personal meaning in the holiday, though it may not be one that is celebrated in their home countries. As teachers, we are given the privilege of reading these personal forms of expression; students’ compositions allow us to learn more about the people we teach.

At the intermediate level and beyond, consider developing or reinforcing students’ awareness of paragraph structure through a series of writing tasks:

TASK 1 – Unity within a paragraph.

Write 7-8 sentences about your own mother or grandmother. Write them in random order, starting each sentence on a new line. Ask students to read silently and then decide with a partner which sentences could form a paragraph and which ones are off-topic. They should cross out the irrelevant sentences. Correct their work as a class. Model:

My mother had dark hair and green eyes.

My mother cooked special dishes for us, like green mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day.

My mother was a creative and caring woman.

My mother organized amazing birthday parties with fun games.

My mother enjoyed playing golf with my dad.

My mother was a nurse, but after she married my father, she stayed home to raise my brothers and me.

My mother took time to teach us things like how to dance and how to play the piano.

 

TASK 2 – Sequence of thoughts in a paragraph.

With their partners, the students must decide how best to sequence the remaining sentences from Task 1. Each student must then write the sentences in paragraph form. Model:

     My mother was a creative and caring woman. My mother was a nurse, but after she married my father, she stayed home to raise my brothers and me. My mother took time to teach us things like how to dance and how to play the piano. My mother cooked special dishes for us, like green mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day. My mother organized amazing birthday parties with fun games.

Correct their work as a class. The main goal is to see paragraph form and the right selection of a topic sentence.

TASK 3 – Seeing the paragraph as a whole.

Remind students that:

  • The paragraph is a group of sentences about one main idea. With a strong topic sentence, it’s not necessary to name the topic in every supporting sentence. Pronouns can be used. Have them change some direct references to pronouns (e.g. she, her).
  • The supporting points can be marked for clarity. Students can use sequence or addition markers:  first, also, besides that, etc. They can use phrases to introduce examples: for example, for instance, etc. Ask students to insert one or two markers or introductory phrases for examples.
  • A well-written paragraph has a strong ending. Have students work in pairs to add a concluding sentence to the model paragraph.

Discuss their changes as a class.

Model:

     My mother was a creative and caring woman. She was a nurse, but after she married my father, she stayed home to raise my brothers and me. My mother took time to teach us things like how to dance and how to play the piano. Also, she cooked special dishes for us, like green mashed potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day. Besides that, she organized amazing birthday parties with fun games. In short, she was pretty amazing herself.

TASK 4 – Composing a paragraph.

Encourage students to write a paragraph about their own mother or grandmother. They should follow the model. Provide a step-by-step checklist:

  1. Form ideas about your topic. Focus on writing clear sentences.
  2. Do all your sentences relate to a main idea? Cross out any that don’t belong.
  3. Sequence your sentences in a logical order.
  4. Write the sentences in paragraph form.
  5. Review your paragraph and consider your  use of pronouns, sequence and addition markers, and phrases to introduce examples.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Excellent teaching materials.

  2. kiran says:

    i love my mother

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