Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TOEFL iBT Webinar: Writing

Dear all,
I’ve just attended a TOEFL iBT Teacher Webinar (web seminar) on the Writing Section offered by ETS. The presentation focused especially on the Integrated task and reviewed its main features as well as general strategies, classroom activities and useful resources that can help students improve their writing performance.

As you already know, the TOEFL Writing section includes:

1 Integrated Task in which you’ll have to synthesize the information from a reading passage and a lecture in a written response. Time: 20 minutes Length: (150 -225 words)

1 Independent Task in which you’ll have to express and support an opinion in the form of a written essay. Time: 30 minutes Length (250-300 words)

Each task is rated on a 0-5 scale. The average score is based on the two tasks and then converted to 0-30 scale.

You can find the recommended resources on our Class WIKI (link on the sidebar).

Next month we will be focusing on the Integrated Writing and we’ll discuss some strategies that can help you excel in this new task.

Enjoy the resources!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Independent Writing: Brainstorming

Today we went over the main steps of the writing process:

-Brainstorming: generating ideas
-Planning: organizing ideas
-Drafting: writing several versions of the essay
-Editing: Correcting mistakes in content, organization, grammar, vocabulary and mechanics(spelling, punctuation, capitalization)

This week we are going to brainstorm ideas on a new topic:

The Best Source of News
“Due to the development of new technology such as satellite communication and the Internet, we can get updates on the latest breaking stories as soon as they happen. However, some people argue that these sources mainly report unconnected events while newspapers or weekly magazines provide a deeper and contextualized analysis of the news, helping us understand what those events mean.”

What do you think? What is the best source of news (newspaper, cable TV, the Internet, magazines, the radio)?

Let's brainstorm the pros and cons of the different sources!

Need some help to get started? Listen to six people from different countries talk about where they get their news from.

Remember we are going to use your contributions to start working on the essay next week!