I’ve been using diaries for students at summer school for years, but this is the first time I’ve used them with a year-round class. The big difference is that there’s a lot more time when students are writing them over the course of 9 months. This allows them to really think about what they’re writing and for me to give a proper response.
I ask for the diaries once a week and they can write as much as they want (minimum half a page).
I chose one class to use them with this year and (most of) the students have really got into it… They’re 14-15 years old mixed boys and girls.
I’ve had lots of interesting stories and pictures and it’s really let me get to know the students better.
The focus is not on accuracy at all, but it does give me a good idea of recurring errors that we need to focus on.
It’s great free practice for writing, with each student challenging themself as much as they can or want to. Your replies can also help to push them to use language that they’ve met in class.