By Adeline Tham
I prefer to assign writing as homework. A series of cartoons or pictures can be a good trigger. Get them discussing what is happening in the picture, cover the vocabulary and then let them rip!
You could make the lessons more fun by using relay writing where you get one student(or group) to write a paragraph on a topic and then the next student or group to complete the next paragraph. (while correcting each other's writing) Another interesting activity is information gap. Students have one part of a story and have to dictate to each other the missing part.
Movies can be ok if you use them right, or else it could turn out to be passive aimless watching. Get them to watch specific shots in the movie, looking out for nuances and differences in culture or behaviour. Talk about social issues, love and relationships, then set the topic for them to write.