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BBC Skillswise English: Planning Your Writing

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer(s), Internet access, projector

Activity Description

In this unit on planning your writing, students learn why it is important to plan their writing; how to plan with spidergrams, lists, sticky/post-it notes, mind maps, flow charts, mind diagrams, vertical charts, writing frames, and bulleted lists; as well as how to identify the purpose of their writing and their audience. This unit is divided into 3 levels (titled Entry 1 & 2, Entry 3, and Level 1) and downloadable/printable fact sheets and worksheets are provided for each lesson and level. An online and printable quiz is provided for each level.


  1. Review the materials contained in each level (under "Start learning") and select the levels that are appropriate for your students.
  2. Review and print the video transcript(s), fact sheets and worksheets for those levels.
  3. Be sure to check that your students can access the quizzes from their computers (Java script must be enabled and Flash must be installed).
  4. Download and print quiz questions if the online quiz is not accessible.


  1. Introduce topic. Have students identify why it might be helpful to plan before they start writing. List these reasons on board.
  2. Show the one-minute video [www] and compare the list the students came up with to the reasons provided in the video. Add to the list on the board, if necessary. You may want to provide the transcript for your students to help them understand the British English.
  3. Distribute copies of the fact sheets for the level you are teaching. Select the "View as popout" icon to display each fact sheet using the projector as you explain the information.
  4. Have students work on the worksheets in pairs or small groups and review the answers as a class.
  5. When you have completed a level, direct students to the online quiz (or provide printed copies if online quizzes are not accessible).
    Entry 1 & 2 [www]
    Entry 3 [www]
    Level 1 [www]
  6. Have students show you their scores upon completion of the quiz.

Teacher Tips

  • This is a resource of the BBC and uses British English. Preview to make sure your students can understand and be prepared to explain differences in spelling and vocabulary.
  • You may want to print transcripts (when available) for the videos.

More Ways

This site offers short videos and accompanying games and quizzes for a variety of levels on other writing-related topics including handwriting, typing, filling out a form, writing a letter, format and style, building up paragraphs, and editing and proofreading. The same materials are also provided for a variety of topics related to reading, spelling, word grammar, sentence grammar, speaking, and listening.


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.