How to teach "Writing things in a diary" in Form One

How to teach "Writing things in a diary" in Form One

Welcome to UNIT 22.3

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 22.2, we discussed about the various ways of teaching the sub topic "Filling in forms"  in Form One.                                                
IN THIS UNIT 22.3, we will cover the sub topic "Writing things in a diary" in Form One.
Sub Topic: Writing things in a diary
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form One
Writing is the habit that needs to be developed. Yes, it should be developed just like the reading habit. Like any other exercise, writing is an exercise that should be developed so that it becomes the daily habit of someone. No one can become a good athlete without continuously exercising. Even in writing, no one can be a good writer without continuously exercising writing.
In this sub topic/lesson, the student should be able to write things/notes in a diary. 
This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:
  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson; the teacher has to prepare the materials to brainstorm with students. These materials are like diaries as physical books/notebooks and samples of diary entries. If a teacher keeps a diary, he can show some of them to students. All these materials should be discussed together so that the students can get to understand them.
Also in this opening stage of the lesson, the teacher has to brainstorm and discuss with students on the terms like diary, diary entry, notebook, memoir, journal, and autobiography.
  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, a teacher will have to prepare a diary, diary calendar, and calendar together with a variety of texts on writing things in a diary. The teacher will have to produce as many diary samples and examples as possible because writing things, ideas, notes, facts, data and several information is the key to writing habit of a student. The real written diaries, empty diaries, samples of writer's diaries, samples of teacher's diaries, and other sample entries of diaries should be brought in the class for easy and effective learning.
  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, teacher will guide students to practice how to write things and events in a diary by using appropriate skills and language. The teacher should guide the students to practically apply things and steps taken when writing a diary entry. For instance, a diary entry is expected to include the following details:
Observation/the things writer wants to keep in the diary.
(The real task of keeping a diary)
Name/signature (though it's not necessary)
  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, in this context, the teacher will engage students in the situations of school and home. In this way, the students are encouraged to write things in a diary that are daily experienced at home or at school. To expand more contextual experiences, students are to be encouraged to write various things in their diaries including events, ceremonies, secrets, dreams, interesting street dialogues, sayings, other people's sayings as well other family stories.
  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson, the most commonly applied vocabularies are: today's plans, calendar, diary, appointment, reminder, cancel, postpone, enter, etc.
Guide the students to the full lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:
ACTIVITY ONE: Brainstorming. The teacher has to brainstorm with the students on the sub topic/lesson's aspects through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
In this activity, the teacher brainstorms with students on the key concepts and key terms on how to write things or entries in a diary. The teacher and students should discuss the following terms together:
Diary entry
The teacher and students should also brainstorm and discuss the uses of a diary. We can use Diaries to do the following things:
  • To record various things and events like, Dates of births, Birthday dates, Religious events, Dates of deaths, etc.
  • To record our trips, journeys and Travels
  • To record our Thoughts and other people's thoughts on various things and events
  • To record our own sayings
  • To record local, national and international events and other events
  • To record Historical events/dates
  • To keep our secrets
  • To record our dreams, etc
ACTIVITY TWO: Teacher's Demonstration. Teacher applies his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
In this activity, the teacher has to show the students a sample of a diary, notebook, and a diary entry. The teacher can guide students to discuss teacher's samples of diary entries like these below:
Daily Event:
Thursday, 22 June 2017 at noon, Mpanda, Katavi
Today I have to Regional library to search some English language and Literature materials. I have seen a lot of books here and I have really enjoyed them. It's cheap to come here and books are valuable.
Other People's Quotes
"No woman should die bringing another human being into this world" - H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Former President of Tanzania as he delivered a key note address at the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) in Toronto, Canada on Tuesday 20 June 2017.
"In all things that you do, consider the end" - Solon
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined" - Henry David Thoreau.
Things to consider when writing a diary
The teacher should also remind students on the things considered when writing things in a diary. Some of these things are:
*Consider the tense you use in a diary.
*Consider a time of the day.
*Say how you feel for the particular moment.
Use simple present tense if you are recording the event right now. Use past tense if you are recording past things, or use future tense if you are recording future events.
*Include anything in a Diary: Anything starting from normal events to secrets you wants to keep in your life.
*Say how you think of the issue/event you have recorded.
How to Write a Diary Entry:
*Start with the day, date, time of the day, the place, and then the event itself.
*Include the key event followed by the people involved in the particular event.
For example:
Wednesday 21st June 2018
Today World Cup Russia 2018 continues.
African team, Morocco has been beaten by Portugal by one to nil. Most of us were very disappointed. But some fans were supporting Portugal because they are the fans of Superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo.
ACTIVITY THREE: Students' Demonstration. Showing students how models like that of a teacher can be applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.
In this activity, the teacher will guide students to write/keep diaries for a given situation and period. The teacher should give as many samples of diary entries as possible and allow students to write diary entries of their own. The teacher has to supervise the students as they write diary entries for their own.
The teacher can ask students to buy diaries or notebooks. Those who have no diaries or notebooks can use their exercise books. The parents or guardians can be informed on this as they were informed on buying dictionaries and other study materials.
The students can write the following things in their diaries:
  • Their daily event
  • The school event
  • Their own sayings
  • Other people's sayings
  • Family things
  • Responses after reading a book, watching TV, or watching movie
  • And many more things
I keep diaries. I started keeping diaries since 2008. Until now I have a lot of diaries that I write every year. Here are some examples of diary entry from my own diary “My Dear Diary 2016”.
In the following diary entry I wrote on 13th April 2016, I use Kiswahili language to describe how people change after being satiated with what they want.

In the second example of diary entry below, I used English language to write my opinions on how everyone in this world is special.

Students can be encouraged to write after watching these special examples from their own teacher.
ACTIVITY FOUR: More Students’ Activities. Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.
In this activity, the teacher has to guide and encourage students to write in their own personal diaries. The teacher should continue to engage students with various examples of diary entries so as to familiarise them writing things in a diary. These numerous examples help students to build the habit of writing every day. The teacher will continue guiding students to write their diary entries in the following situations:
  • Their daily event
  • The school event
  • Their own sayings
  • Other people's sayings
  • Family things
  • Responses after reading a book, watching TV, or watching movie.
  • And many more things.
ACTIVITY FIVE: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of ‘O’ Level English Blog! (OLE).
For more examples on various forms of diary entries, check out this short YouTube Video below:

If there are life skills to be well delivered to students, keeping diary should be one of them. This is because writing things in a diary is the way to learn how to organise things. Life is made successful with writing. We can't say other language skills are not important. No, but they are perfected by writing just as writing is perfected by other language skills.
Ask students how they keep things they wish to remember in the future. Ask them how they keep memos at home or at school. Actually, some students will say that they keep diaries for their family/home stuff. At school, some of them will say they keep some important notes from teachers, friends and from friends. This is how the events experienced in real life can be kept.
A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the student is able to write things/notes in a diary.
Assessment #01: Group work
In groups, students should discuss things to write in their diaries. Each group should write one diary entry and present before the class. The class should respond to each presentation made by each group.
Assessment #02: Pair works
In pairs, students should write one diary entry on any situation or event. Each member of one pair should write and another member should check it. In turn, the second member should write and the first member should check.
Assessment #03: Individual work
Individually, each student should write a single diary entry and submit to the teacher. In turn, the teacher should conclude by giving feedback to them and emphasizing important things when writing things in a diary.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.
Writing is an important productive skill. After learning all four language skills during teaching and learning processes, finally the students will have to sit down and write their ideas on the paper.
One important aspect every student and every diary writer/ diary keeper/diarist should know is that a diary is entirely a confidential writing. Every diarist should keep his/her diary out of anyone's reach, and those who are not diarists, should obey others' privacy by not meddling in their fellows' diaries. Another important aspect of diary writing/keeping is that it helps the diarist to be a good organiser in everything. The diary also helps the diarist to improve his/her writing skills and one day he/she cannot get any problems with writings like messages, cards, memos, letters, CVs, essays and other advanced writings like dissertation and creative works such as short stories, poems, plays, and novels.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.


Title: “Form One English Language Notes with Grammar, Exercises and Key Answers”
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Daily News Thursday June 22 2017.

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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