clock_decentralised teaching


This is a simple activity that aims to do three things:


  • Break the ice
  • Get learners talking about a specific topic
  • Introduce Present Perfect/ Past Simple together and show how they are different (encourage noticing)


It works well for lower level learners and would make a good activity for  CELTA or TESOL candidates.

This activity can also be ‘hacked’ for your own learners. For example, with Business English learners you could change the activity to ‘write about a meeting you had in the last few days, weeks or months’.

Uber-busy teachers can download the free lesson plan here. OneMinuteWriting.pdf (172 downloads)


1) Ask learners to think for a moment of one thing that happened to them in the last few days, last week, or last month. It must be something real.

Tell learners you want them to write for one minute about this thing.

*If your learners really have no ideas then model an example from your own life but BEWARE – they might just ‘copy’ your model.

2) Tell them that they only have 1 minute to write – so they have to write very quickly!

3) Say ‘GO!’ and after a minute, stop them writing.

4) Say ‘Ask the person next to you about their writing’. They can do this in pairs or groups. Monitor and notice the language they use.

5) Point out examples of good use and errors. Then write on the whiteboard the following questions:

    What did you write?

    What have you written?


Go over pronunciation features i.e. connection of ‘what’ and ‘did’, weak form of ‘you’.

6) Teach them the difference between the two questions!

     How would you do this?


Answers on a postcard please.


Droste Clock. Jlhopgood on flickr. CC license 2.0.


2 thoughts on “10 Minute Warmer (10): One minute writing

  1. Hi Glenys,

    Thanks for commenting. I like the exercises and some of the other posts on your blog–the post about ‘forcing awareness’ is especially interesting.

    I don’t know much about Silent Way teaching, but if you a) would like to write a guest post here on this site or b) have a story you’d like to share on another project I’m running–Teacher Stories–then feel free to get in touch!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.