Julia Julia

Writing descriptive details
Upper intermediate level


In this lesson, students learn about - and practice using - descriptive detail in their writing, in the context of writing a review about their favourite restaurant. The lesson starts with a lead-in task in which students share with classmates what their favourite restaurant is and why. An analysis of two reviews about the same restaurant enables students to identify and understand the importance of descriptive detail when writing. Characteristics of descriptive language are covered, and meaning and form analysed, along with further analysis of the structure of the sample text. Students then put this learning into practice by writing their own review of their favourite restaurant. Finally, classmates peer review each others' writing pieces.


Abc Zoom

Main Aims

  • To enable students to practice using descriptive language for writing scene detail, in the context of a review of their favourite restaurant.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide practice in reading for gist and detail
  • To provide practice in critiquing other people's written work
  • To provide clarification and practice in using adjectives in the correct order


Warmer/Lead-in (4-5 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Instructions: Think about your favourite restaurant and what you like about it. I'll give you one minute to think, then three minutes in breakout rooms to share with your classmates. Teacher introduces the lesson, gives Ss 1 minute to gather their thoughts, then assigns Ss to BORs for 3 minutes. Teacher brings Ss back to the main room and elicits a few answers.

Exposure (7-8 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading and analysing a restaurant review

Task 1 instructions: I'm going to show you two reviews about the same cafe in Porto, Portugal. Read them quickly and decide which one sounds more interesting. You have two minutes for this task. ICQs: Are you reading fast or slow? (fast) How long do you have? (two minutes) Teacher gives instructions, shows the reviews, and gives students two minutes to skim read them. Teacher then asks students to share in the chatbox which one they found most interesting. Task 2 instructions: In breakout rooms, look in more detail at the reviews and discuss why review 2 is more interesting to read. What does it have that review 1 doesn't have? You have 4 minutes. Teacher gives instructions and allocates Ss to breakout rooms. Teacher monitors breakout rooms then brings Ss back to the main room and elicits answers, showing slides about descriptive language and added detail.

Useful Language and Structure (8-9 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language and structure for coming productive tasks

Meaning: Teacher shares slide with Ss showing that descriptive language often focuses on the five senses. Teacher shows examples from the text, asks CCQs to clarify meaning, and elicits which sense they are referring to. (3 minutes) Form: Teacher shows slide with examples from text of adjectives + noun and elicits form from students. Teacher shows slide with correct order of adjectives then allocates Ss to BORs for 3 minutes to discuss the order and whether the examples from the text follow that order. Teacher brings Ss back to main room and conducts OCFB. Structure: Teacher shows the text again and elicits how many paragraphs there are (3). Teacher shows options for the content of each paragraph and gives students 1 minute to match them. Ss then share their answers with each other in the group chat before Teacher elicits answers.

Productive Task(s) (15-16 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Instruction: Now it's your turn. You have 15 minutes to write a review about your favourite restaurant. Teacher shows Ss the layout they should follow and the feedback criteria, then demonstrates use of the padlet. Teacher asks ICQs: How long do you have? (15 minutes). What should you do if you need help? (send a private message to the teacher). Students then write their own reviews. Teacher monitors and provides guidance if necessary.

Feedback and Error Correction (6-7 minutes) • To provide feedback on students' production and use of language

Teacher reminds students of the rating criteria, then allocates pairs for peer review. Ss give a rating and write a comment on their partner's work, then if they have time left leave comments on other students' work (4 minutes). Teacher then conducts OCFB / recap (3 minutes).

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