writing

Materials writing news and views, August 2020

*Opens hands expressively* Hello everyone, and welcome to this month’s update.

*Does cup holding/triangle hand thingy in front near belly* My name’s Pete, and today …

Ahhh you’ll get what I’m going on about in a minute.

New releases

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Finding work as a writer

I haven’t shared any tips for new writers for a while, not since my post on how to find commissioning editors. So, here it goes.

There’s nothing wrong with building connections at big publishers like Pearson, Macmillan, CUP, OUP, NGL (Cengage, whatever). It’s good to aim high and you might well get lucky. However, there are loads of other companies/organisations you can write for in ELT. If you aren’t getting much luck with the bigger publishers then why not look elsewhere?

Here’s a list of possible avenues for you to explore. Note:

  • this is not a list of endorsements
  • this is not comprehensive, it’s just some ideas to get you started

If you’d like to add any more ideas for fellow newbie writers then please do so in the comments.

The Content Station

‘Your trusted educational publishing team…’. This lot are easy to find on LinkedIn and active enough. The couple of times they’ve contacted me has been for editing rather than writing so if that’s your bag then maybe drop them a line.

Yeehoo Corporation

They produce a magazine called Phoenix English. They are often looking for copy – mostly churning out graded texts. The mag looks okay so this could be a good portfolio builder.

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Free lessons on Onestopenglish

Onestopenglish is still free at the moment. This is a great opportunity to make the most of their awesome resources. There’s so much available on the site: lesson plans, articles related to methodology, resources created by the Onestopenglish community… they’ve also been teaming up with institutions like NILE recently to provide tips for teachers.

I’ve written a few resources for site over the past year which I hope you will find interesting and useful. Most of them are for the Everyday Life series. They’re print-and-go adult General English resources, complete with teacher notes and student worksheets. These are often task-led and typically suit 1 – 1.5 hour lessons.

Everyday Life Lesson Topics:

Exercise

Minor illnesses

Typical dishes

Fake news

Superstitions

Star signs

Getting to work

Describing your neighbourhood

Article /resource for the Online Education series:

Parents as Temporary Teachers

Lesson Share Winning Resource:

Instant Coffee, a Black Mirror inspired short story with resources (for approximately three hours of class time)

Feedback on any of these resources is most welcome! I hope they come in handy for your own lessons.

Materials writing news and views, March 2020

One-year anniversary of these posts. Cool!

New releases

Congrats to Billie Jago, who has authored these practice tests for Cambridge C1 Advanced:

This is the first time I’ve come across the publisher Prosperity Education. Looks like they are mainly exam-focused, and they seem to like having smiley people on the front of their books.

Didn’t come across any other releases this month, feel free to add them in the comments.

Oh no, wait! I saw Bernardo Morales post on LinkedIn about ‘Practice and Pass A2 KEY for Schools’ (via Delta Publishing). Link to book here.

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Writing lesson: online dating profiles

This is a lesson based around authentic texts from the eHarmony website. It is aimed at adult pre-intermediate level plus, but these texts are full of rich language so it would ideally suit intermediate level students.

Aims: 

· Share personal experiences and attitudes towards online dating

· Identify key features of an online dating profile

· Create a short online dating profile for yourself or a friend

· Evaluate the effectiveness of other online profiles (more…)

How to annoy commissioning editors (and find work)

Another ‘how to become a materials writer’ article has popped up – Kirsten Holt’s article for ETPro  offers some more good advice for budding writers. Every time I read one of these posts I’m itching to chip in. I really want to help others get into materials writing. My advice is always the same:

  • It’s easier than you think.
  • As with most things, it requires effort at first (unless you’re lucky!).
  • There is something missing from lots of the advice already out there.

Read on, I’ll tell you what that is. (more…)

Materials writing news and views, September 2019

September already? It’ll soon be Xmas…

New releases

Deborah Hobbs (author) mentioned the release of ‘Open World’ (CUP). This is from the Cambridge English website:

Open World is an exciting new course from Cambridge which takes you further. Embark on a journey beyond the traditional boundaries between exam preparation and real-world language.

The book looks a bit Life-y based on that front cover.

Paul Ashe announced the release of New Hello! for the market in Egypt. If you’re interested about the context that this book will be used in then here’s a summary of ELT in Egypt from the British Council.

There are inspection copies out for C21 from Garnet Education. If I manage to get a copy I’ll review it. There’s an uber-positive review on their site about it, which was published in the EL Gazette.

Every publisher seems to be marketing books as developing ‘21st Century Skills’ these days. I’ve just googled a list of core ‘21st Century Skills’… eeek. I’m a crap leader, fairly unproductive, sometimes inflexible and not that creative. Send me the book Garnet, I can learn from it…

Emily Bryson has just written ’50 Ways to Teach Life Skills’ for Wayzgoose Press. (more…)

Lesson idea: Kahoot! for capitalisation and punctuation

A few months ago I mentioned word stress games using Kahoot! This app has also come in handy recently for practising punctuation/capitalisation. I just display a sentence with various errors in it– learners judge how many mistakes there are in the sentence. That’s it really. (more…)

Review: Great Writing

A couple of months ago we ran a two-week ‘Grammar and Writing’ course for teens (aged 14+). I was scheduled to teach these classes but, to be honest, the prospect didn’t fill me with excitement. I enjoy teaching teens in general, but it can be a real chore to motivate them at times. I couldn’t see developing writing skills being that inspiring, and grammar wasn’t exactly going to get them rocking up ten minutes before class in anticipation either. (more…)