Good News/Bad News

Purpose: This writing activity gives learners a built-in audience and a way to share personal experiences through writing.  It can be a fluency activity, so you won’t focus on grammar, syntax or spelling, and instead focus on meaning.  Or it can be an accuracy activity, with a focus on the past tense or other forms.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes to assemble materials, assuming you have everything on


Materials:  index cards, pens or pencils for writing, flip chart paper, tape, examples of

newsletters or newspapers


  • Put two flip chart sheets on a wall in the classroom.  At the top of one, write “Good News”.  On the top of the other, write “Bad News”.
  • Think about how you want to explain or demonstrate the idea of a newsletter or newspaper.
  • Decide on a piece of good or bad news from your past week that you wish to share with the class.  Write your good or bad news on an index card.
  • Decide on the purpose - is this going to be a fluency activity or an accuracy activity?  If it’s an accuracy activity, what form are you asking students to practice?  How did you model that in your own example?


I do it: 

1) Activate learners’ prior knowledge by finding out if they read newspapers and/or newsletters, which ones they read, and why.  Share some examples of newsletters. 

2) Explain that the purpose of today’s writing activity is to create a class newsletter.  Each person will share something good or something bad that happened to them in the past week.  Ask for some examples of good and bad news and point out the two flip charts and their headings.

3)  Clarify your expectation.  Do you want them to focus on using a particular form correctly or is it more important to express an idea?  Give examples.

4) Now show the class the index card on which you’ve written your good or bad news.  Read it aloud, check for comprehension, then ask the students where you should place the card.   Now tape the card to the appropriate flip chart on the wall.

We do it:

1) Ask for a volunteer to share a piece of good or bad news or give the class another example of your own. 

2) Using the board instead of an index card, ask the students to help you write the information.  If it’s a fluency activity, don’t focus too much on errors.  The goal is to convey a message.

3)  Any student who finishes his or her card(s) early (in the “You do it” section) can copy the news item from the board onto an index card and add it to the flip chart newsletter.

You do it:

1) Give each learner 2-3 cards and encourage them to write more than one piece of news.

2) The teacher or tutor circulates to assist as needed.

2) When everyone has taped his/her index card on the appropriate flip chart, give students time to read the news and ask each other questions.

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