Christmas Concert Entry Level Functional English writing tasks

Three differentiated writing tasks / practice papers on the same theme. First, you apply to appear in a Christmas Concert at the village hall. Later, you hear you have got a place in the concert and write an email inviting your friends to come and watch.

I wrote these tasks as an informal summative assessment end-of-term activity for a mixed level E1-E3 group of 16-19 year-olds, but they are suitable for any age group.

Throughout the autumn term we had spent a lot of time working on form filling, capital letters and full stops, sentence structure, and using conjunctions (also paragraphs for E3 learners). These skills are emphasised in the tasks. The E2 and E3 tasks include boxes where learners must list the conjunctions they have used, and all three papers include basic form filling.

Fully mapped to the Functional Skills English writing criteria, each paper also includes a one page tutor marking sheet.

Physical format
1 x 4 pages, 1x 5 pages, 1 x 6 pages.
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Note: square brackets are additional comments from Maggie.

I just wanted to let you know how well the Entry 3 Christmas Concert exercise went last week. I started with a brief demo of Inspiration [this is a mindmapping application]. I also explained very carefully what was required as these students were new to me and we hadn’t completed any form filling or writing exercises before.

The students really got into the swing of it. For example, two girls worked together and created their own band – a drummer and a guitarist. At one point I asked how they would transport the instruments and, still in the mood, they organised a van and decided they would drive themselves (they are both 16!). Another student, was a bit stuck for ideas, so I asked if he could dance, turn cartwheels or juggle – he said no, so I suggested that he could include anything at all in his writing. [Yes, I did the E2 paper with some students and several boys came up with the idea of doing a “football skills” act – which was fine by me!]. At this point I was concerned that even I was starting to believe it was for a real concert…!

I haven’t marked the work yet but there was plenty of writing going on. Two students also insisted on preparing a plan/draft for the emails section too even though it was not required so I will remind them next session that it is best to follow the instructions on the exam paper.

I had kept copies of the Winter Solstice exercise on hand as an extra extension activity but they were so engrossed in the Christmas Concert that I have kept that ready for another time.

I finished off the session with a discussion based on the postal system – again from skillsworkshop – and used the prompt sheet to start them off. (I also threw in a few facts I had learned from a recent Breakfast TV show when there was an item on the Christmas post.).

It was a jolly good session and the students tackled every exercise with enthusiasm so THANK YOU and I hope you have a superb Christmas.