Guided writing: Writing an article using the OHP

In this activity students find out about another country and put together an article. It can be used with students at intermediate level and above and helps develop their fluency as well as their writing skills.

Alan Finch

Why does writing have to be such a lonely and time-consuming experience? In this activity students work together to produce one article, promoting team working and a sense of accomplishment.


Cut some OHTs (one per article) into strips (large enough for students to write a paragraph on, but not too many so you can’t put everything together on the OHP at the end) Photocopy the worksheet on to an OHT

Find out about useful websites, e.g. for Ireland:


  • Project the worksheet onto the board, ask students to copy the chart and in pairs write down in note form as much as they know about the country in the first column.
    Discuss findings together as a group and complete the chart on the board.
  • Tell the students they are going to find out more about the country and complete the second column, again in note form, with as much information as they can find. Give them the addresses of the useful websites and take the students to the computer room (or hand out the texts you have prepared).
  • When they have finished ask some students to report their findings to the class, complete the chart on the board and ask them to discuss what they thought the most interesting things were.
  • Write the following (suggested) headings on the board:
    • The Lie of the Land
    • How it all began
    • Hard Times
    • Words spoken
    • A Way of Life
    • A Sporting Nation
    • Food for Thought
    • Not Just Symbols
  • Put the students into pairs or groups, tell them they are going to write one paragraph of an article called ‘The Unknown (name of students’ country)’ and to select one topic to expand. Ask them to choose points that they can write about.
  • Hand out the strips of OHTs and OHP pens, and ask them to put together a paragraph about their chosen topic. Four or five topics is ideal and each group should have a separate topic; if you have a large class then you can split the class into two and prepare two articles.
  • Collect the paragraphs and arrange together on the OHP. I find it helps if you read the text aloud and the students follow.
  • Discuss with the students what you think they did well. If you want you can also analyse the texts for errors.


Students can write an article entitled ‘The Unknown (name of students’ country)' for homework


You could vary this theme to include other types of discovery and writing, e.g. biographies

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