Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Phenomenal Communication

1) tweet: Before sitting down to write for any length of time, I often/always ___________________. // OR//, I think it's a good idea to________________because ______.

2) free writing for five minutes

If you want, you can start by answering one of these questions:

What are some of the most important things you've learned in this class about writing online?

Does technology help or hinder language learning?

What can you do with your blog in the future?


Writing for the Web

Your work may require you to write for a website as well as print on paper. In some

ways this is no different from writing print on paper: you follow the ________of

Orientation, Information, and Action just as you do in a business letter or _________.

But the Web is a different________ , and its _______ respond to it very differently from the

way they _________ to paper documents.






Why the Web is different

Use “blurbs” to describe what visitors will find when they _________on a link.

These help your visitors ________ what they're looking for.

Use lots of headings and subheads.

A _____ block of text is hard to read on screen, so keep paragraphs to three or four

sentences each, with space between them

Break up paragraphs.

If the print version of a brochure is 500 words long, try to condense the Web version to

250 words. Keep most sentences under 20 words long.

Write ___________

Given these qualities about the Web and Web ______, you will have to _______your


Please fill in the above blanks with a partner with the following words:







Read the three points below which are related to how writing for the web is different from writing in print. Together with your partner please rank the points in order of importance. Which is the most important idea? Write at least two sentences for each ranking to explain your rationale.

 Readers are impatient

That is, visitors can jump around from one page to another in any sequence they like.

This means every document should be able to stand on its own, without reference to

other documents. As a Web writer you should be able to create such stand-alone

documents, and to make it easy for your visitors to jump to other documents on your


Web text is hard to proofread.

Perhaps because of poor screen resolution, Web writers (like email writers) often miss

typos or grammatical errors in their own text. Website visitors, however, are likely to

spot those mistakes very quickly. They will gain a poor opinion of your professionalism

and attention to detail.

Web text is hard to read.

Computer screen resolution is not as sharp as print on paper, so we tend to read it

slowly—up to 25 percent more slowly than print.

If you'd like to read more you can go to...


5 keys to phenomenal communication (compliments of Ron)
1- STORIES (every day coming home, how was your day?) a) personal experiences (nobody can fight it) b) experiences of others
F amily
F riends
N eighbors
N ews
(in decreasing effect // the more controversial the higher up you want to be)
c) hypothetical: imagine... suppose.... picture this... what if...
The why behind the importance I stories is found behind 5Ds
the 5D generation divorce, debt, digitization (science, web, and media) downsizing and daycare
(divorce assumption (culture of distrust))

2- FACTS numbers stats
-specific and shocking
- PEA (phenylethylamine)

3. QUESTIONS - the person with the questions has the power

4. Use quotes and dialogue, credibility:
A) who's talking?
B) who's listening?
C) what's the topic?

- 5 senses, see, hear, smell, touch, and taste

(((Wisdom of ages is passed on through stories.)))

SIGs - poetry appreciation and creation (combined with technology)

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Most Important Class in you Life!

Well... maybe not the most important, but headlines, which is what we're focusing on today, are quite important in terms of grabbing a potential reader's attention. Today we're going to focus on headlines for posts or articles online. First of all, though, could you post something about your weekend on twitter. Think of creating a headline that summarizes your weekend! Remember, headlines need to grab a reader's attention. What's something about your weekend that might grab someone's interest?

How to Write Headlines That Work

Fill in the following blanks…

Your ______is the first, and perhaps only, ______you make on a prospective reader. Without a headline or post title that turns a _______into a_______, the rest of your words may as well not even exist.





But a headline can do more than simply ____ attention. A great headline can also ______a full message to its intended audience, and it absolutely must _____the reader into your body text.




At its essence, a compelling headline must promise some kind of benefit or reward for the reader, in trade for the valuable time it takes to read more.

In The Copywriter’s Handbook, copywriter Bob Bly sets forth eight time-tested headline categories that compel action and rake in sales:

  • ___________go straight to the heart of the matter, without any attempt at cleverness. Bly gives the example of Pure Silk Blouses – 30 Percent Off as a headline that states the selling proposition directly. A direct blog post title might read Free SEO E-book.

  • An ______________takes a more subtle approach. It uses curiosity to raise a question in the reader’s mind, which the body copy answers. Often a double meaning is utilized, which is useful online. An article might have the headline Fresh Bait Works Best and yet have nothing to do with fishing, because it’s actually about writing timely content that acts as link bait.

  • A __________is pretty self-explanatory, as long as the news itself is actually, well… news. A product announcement, an improved version, or even a content scoop can be the basis of a compelling news headline. Think Introducing Flickr 2.0 or My Exclusive Interview With Steve Jobs.

  • The ____________is everywhere, online and off, for one reason only – it works like a charm. Bly says that “Many advertising writers claim if you begin with the words how to, you can’t write a bad headline.” An example would be, umm… oh yes… the title of this post.

  • A ________must do more than simply ask a question, it must be a question that, according to Bly, the reader can empathize with or would like to see answered. He gives this example from Psychology Today: Do You Close the Bathroom Door Even When You’re the Only One Home? Another example used way too much in Internet marketing guru-ville is Who Else Wants to Get Rich Online?

  • The ________boldly tells the prospect what he needs to do, such as Exxon’s old Put a Tiger in Your Tank campaign. Bly indicates that the first word should be a strong verb demanding action, such as Subscribe to Copyblogger Today!

  • Another effective technique is called the ____________Your body text consists of a numbered list of product features or tips, which you then incorporate into the headline, such as Two Hundred Reasons Why Open Source Software Beats Microsoft. It’s not even necessary to include the words “reasons why.” This technique is actually the underlying strategy behind the ubiquitous blogger “list” posts, such as 8 Ways to Build Blog Traffic.

  • Finally, we have the_________, which is highly effective because it presents outside proof that you offer great value. This entails taking what someone else has said about you, your product or service, and using their actual words in your headline. Quotation marks let the reader know that they are reading a testimonial, which will continue in the body copy. An example might be “I Read Copyblogger First Thing Each Morning,” admits Angelina Jolie.

Command Headline

Question Headline

Testimonial Headline

Reason Why Headline.

How to Headline

Direct Headlines

News Headline

Indirect Headline

PART B  Finding examples of the above headlines

In partners please find a good example and a bad example of five different kinds of headlines from the above list. You'll have twenty minutes to find your examples from articles on various websites. After you have found your headlines, you will show them to a new partner who will have to guess what kind of headline it is.  Have fun!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

On Websites and Blogs

You and your partner have five minutes to make a list of all the different kinds of places you can write online. The team with the longest list gets some cool prizes!You can make your list wherever you like.

What is the difference between a blog and a website?


a casual tone
easy to set up
more interative
updated daily


a formal tone
more difficult to set up
more official
more static (it doesn't change)

In partners find a blog and a website related to 1) Vancouver, 2) learning English, 3) food and 4) the topics of your blogs. How are they different? How are they the same? Post links to each and make your comparisons in twitter posts.

tips for professional online writing

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How Time Flies!

Good Afternoon!

 Today we're going to start with a short free writing assignment. After that we have short presentations about ways to increase traffic to your blog. Finally, we're going to start the last writing assignment for your blog. I want this class to be as useful to you as possible so for the third blog post, I'd like you to choose one of the following:

1) Interview a classmate on the topic of your blog. You must include at least ten questions and you are responsible for writing down his or her answers. For this assignment you will want to find out about their opinion regarding your topic. If your topic is movies, it will be easy to make questions about movies.

2) Find an expert and interview him or her. This will be more difficult and might require you to email or approach different people. You should ask at least five questions.

3) Give us the story of your life as it relates to your topic. You can make up parts of the story but basically you want to relate different parts of your life to your topic.

4) Any other suggestion.

Whatever topic you choose you need to include at least one link, one picture and one video that's related to your topic. Finally, your post should have three paragraphs for an interview and five if you're relating your life story. Most importantly, have fun!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Increasing traffic to your blog...

Today you'll research different ways to increase traffic to your blog. You'll have fifty minutes to do your write up (on a wiki, blog post, or some other online place)  and then you'll do a short presentation on three ways to increase blog traffic. Two things you need to do (and show us in your presentation) and the other way you only need to tell us about. You will have access to anything online so try to make your presentation as dynamic as possible. You can do your research at 19 tips to increasing blog traffic or 21 tactics to increasing blog traffic. The second reading is more difficult, but both readings will have new words and ideas in them. In your presentation, include three new words that you learned.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tuesday week three

A- five minute warm up - write about an experience that's related to your blog: You might write about the first time that you did something, the most difficult time you encountered your subject of interest or perhaps a time you helped someone else appreciate your topic.

B- swap your story with a classmate and write down three questions that the piece of writing leaves you with (5Ws)

C- After you get the three questions from your classmate, rewrite your story with the answers.

D - General Questions that Can Be Answered at the End of a Narrative:

Why was your experience significant? What aspects of your interest were highlighted by your experience? (i.e. Going to a Canuck's game helped me understand hockey better in three main ways. First of all... Secondly... Finally.... ) How did it change your understudying of your interest? (to broaden your appreciation of sth, to deepen your understanding of sth or to help you understand sth better)

Using Narrative to Strengthen your Writing


today's class:
1) present blogs to your classmates
2) new students today or tomorrow:
Does anyone want to help a classmate set up a blog? They can also write a post about their new classmate based on the "getting to know you" questions. How do their classmates interests connect to their own?
3) short fiction

What's another word for narrative?

A In partners write a short-short story - it must have a beginning, middle and end, and shouldn't be any longer than 140 characters. After I have checked your story, tweet about it online.

4) What is a story? It's something that hooks people's interest. It's a good frame for your topic.

5) The specifics of a story:

Thursday, May 31, 2012


1. writing warm up: What comes to mind when you see this picture? Please "free write" for five minutes based on this image or anything else that you have on your mind. The goal is to not stop typing. This is a great writing warm up. Go!

2. What are five types of connections that you can make online? In partners please tweet me your answers:
i.e. You can connect your _____________ with your ______________.

You can connect your friends with your personal updates.

You can connect songs with their lyrics.

connect your blog with your twitter account Connect your blog with videos, pictures, press articles, audio file ...

3. Please write a three "paragraph" post about some website or blog that is connected to your main interest. In the first paragraph write about how the website/blog looks visually (i.e. How atttractive are the images? Are there any videos? etc), then in the next paragraph write about the content (How often is new information posted? How long are the posts? What's a new word you've learned from the site?), and finally write about the overall connectivity of the site (i.e. How many links are there on the site? What do they link to? How useful are the links?)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What is good writing?

I've been interested in writing ever since I was five years old. I remember very clearly holding a pencil in my hand as I played at being a great writer. I sat at a small table in my bedroom and covered an entire page in loops that resembled - to my five-year-old eyes - cursive. As I "wrote" blue loops on the pages, I felt as important as an adult with great thoughts to share with the world. I imagined thousands of people reading my insightful prose.

At the time I had one thought: writing is a way to communicate with a wide audience.

These days I write on a daily basis. I write poems and short stories. In a year I hope to have a book published. It's taken me almost forty years to work towards my goal of communicating with a wider audience, but it's been worth it.

What do you think good writing is? Let's brainstorm as a group.

correct grammar
formal writing (when you need to be formal)
clear / clarity //
A variety of sentence lengths and structures.

Writing in clear and simple sentences results in excellent writing.

Good writing is a series of sentences that build towards a strong paragraph.

We need a specific topic and a wealth of detail for writing to be interesting.

You are a good writer when you can understand your audience.

In our opinion, coherence is the most important thing for writing and the topic has to be attractive for the readers.

How does writing for the web differ from writing in a diary? Please work in partners and tweet me your suggestions...

When you write in you diary, it's private, but when you write on the web, everybody can read it.

Please read through your partners' first post. Send him/her any corrections on twitter and then finish with three questions you have about his/her experience.

B. Find one other blog that's similar to your own and respond to a post. Do you agree or disagree with the content? How does it make you feel?

C. Writing involves change. When you read something you expect to be changed in some way and when you write you also want to learn something new about the process of writing. For blog post#2 find two pictures that show two very different attitudes people have about your topic. You will write a five paragraph article that explains the change from one attitude to another. It might be about how your attitude changed towards your topic or someone else.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thanks for being Awesome!

Today is our last class and I wanted to thank all of you for your contributions and enormous efforts. I've seen everyone put a great deal of work into their writing and it's resulted in improvements all around. Well done! Give yourself a pat on the back.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Fat Tuesday!

class overview

1) tweet: Before sitting down to write for any length of time, I often/always ___________________. // , I think it's a good idea to________________. or While writing essays, ________________________.

2) review points from Monday and complete scrambled sentences from rest of document?

3) thesis statements:

History of CG techniques through movies.
The benefits of positive thinking coz it can release ur stress, make u be fascinated, and create ur self.

Women around the world have been denied certain rights.

4) make five questions for your classmates about your topic

5) in writing an answer be sure to answer some of these questions, also include an image, a link (to put sth in context) sub-headings. Before you start writing please fill in the following outline:


attention grabber-

introductory points


main points


main points


main points

Thursday, February 16, 2012

connections (part two)


1) tweet:  After a __________, I'm _____________________.

2) read through writing for the web

3) blog - easiest ways to put up links, HTML or Link button after highlighting the word

assignment #1 add a video, image and hyperlink to a website to one of your blog posts

4) putting up backgrounds

5) remembering to cross your Ts and dot your Is : grammar points from perdu -   http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/3/5

6) assignment is to write up a short post of no more than four sentences that summarize the important points in writing for the web. Include at least three new words and include links to help other ESL students understand those words.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Online Writing

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

In partners find a blog and a website related to 1) Vancouver, 2) learning English, 3) food and 4) the topics of your blogs. How are the blogs and websites different? How are they the same? Post links to each and make your comparison in twitter posts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

20 Tips to Connecting with the World

Good afternoon! Could you please tweet your answer to the following question: What are your thoughts on Valentine's day? How does your blog topic relate to Valentine's day?

Today's Assignment:

In partners research six of the points from "19 tips for driving traffic to your blog" and find examples of each way of increasing traffic to your blog. At 2:10 each group will have five minutes to present their findings. Please be sure to both speak loud and clearly in front of the class.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursday! the Week is Almost Through

Today's class will happen in real time, right in front of your faces. If you're reading this and thinking, "Well, that doesn't help me, I'd like to know more about writing on the web." Sorry, you'll just have to sign up for the class.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hump Day Almost Done

Good Afternoon,

Today we're going to focus on creating a post about a site that interests you. In order to write as effectively as possible, we'll first need to read an article about developing your online style: http://marianlibrarian.com/2010/04/the-secret-of-a-successful-blog-develop-a-writing-style/


Blog about an English site that's related to one of your interests, (an interest that's stated in your bio) In a three paragraph post answer the following questions:

First, however, share your site of interest with your partner. Ask each other the following questions:

paragraph one:
Who is behind the site? Is there one person or many people behind this blog? What do you know about them? What can you find out about them on google? How long has the blog been around?

paragraph two:
What is the tone of the site? (informal or formal) Why is the site engaging? What emotions or ideas does it provoke? What is it about the overall design and content that might keep people coming back again and again? Are there a lot of links on the site? What questions does the blog ask?

paragraph three:
What can be done to improve the site? What would you do differently? (be sure to write all this in a positive tone)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tuesday's Class: How to Create Great Content

Please go to this link: http://slodive.com/web-development/how-to-create-great-blog-content/


A. vocabulary: (please write one word answers on your screens)

1. Find another word for "spreading", as in "spreading news". (para1)
2. What's an adjective that means "very recent"? (para2)
3. What's another word for "uniquely specialized"?(para3)
4. What's another word for "possible to imagine"? What's the opposite? (hint: you can make opposite by adding "in")(para3)
5. What's a verb that is often paired with (or a collocation with) "niche"? (para3)
6. What's another word for the world of blogs?(para3)
7. Find another word for "an enormous amount".(para3)
8. What's another word for "using"? (DefineyrAudience)
9. Find another word for "token" (DefineyrAudience)
10. What's an expression for "not succeed"? (DefineyrAudience)

B. meaning - please discuss the following questions in partners:

1. What is the example of a niche topic given in the article? Can you think of three other equally niche topics?
2. What kind of tone does your blog take?
3. What is bot fly extraction? What emotion can your blog provoke?
4. Why do people like answering questions? What questions can your blog ask?
5. How can you make yourself an authority source?

Monday, February 6, 2012

New "Writing for the Web" Class

Welcome to the 21st Century Classroom! This is our second week studying various forms of writing on the web. Over the next three weeks, we're going to study different kinds of blogs, Wikis, Ezines, newsletters and ad copy. My name is Kevin Spenst, I work at ILSC Vancouver and I'm looking forward to applying my fourteen years of teaching experience to the subject and process of online writing.

Here are some of my students speaking no evil, hearing no evil and seeing no evil at the appropriate links.