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EFL Net (University of Oregon)

(reviewed Fall 2008) 

Reviewer:  Yisha Yang Gao

Recommendation:  Not Recommended


This Web site is from the University of Oregon, American English Institute. The contact person is Leslie Opp-Beckman, an ESL instructor. This Web site describes itself as follows.

"PIZZAZ! is dedicated to providing simple creative writing and oral storytelling activities with copyable (yes, copyable!) handouts for use with students of all ages. Permission is given to use these resources for in-class, non-profit use only."


This Web site focuses on subcategories such as poetry, fiction, bag of tricks, more publishing opportunities, and other teacher resources. The Web site has a few lessons plans, icebreakers, fun activities in the bags of tricks. Many more sections are focused on poems. This Web site is aimed directly to teachers who may want to dive more into using poetry to teach ESL. A good number of the activities are aimed at high level learners since most of the fun ideas revolve around poetry and semi-complex writing structures or rules.

Each category lists only a few ideas for teaching (or poetry related lessons). The activities were long and descriptive. The links in the resource section is limited. The Web site is only one page long. The activities are interesting, but at initial glance it is not a Web site that would keep a person's attention for very long. The activities are interesting, but all fall under one link which takes you to a ONE LONG page description. However, the beginner activities are very short and less descriptive, so the activity directions are not as clear. There is no variety in colors or links locations or size of font. Many ideas are very useable, but still there are a limited number of ideas from this Web site. This is definitely not too good of a site to find further links or references to other ESL sites. The site was last updated in August 2003. Also, a couple of the main links did not work. Or some of the main links such as one called "Poessay" directs to a Japanese Web site which was difficult to understand. In addition to the above web link errors, some of the sub-links such as to clip art pages don't work either. Beside each link are only a few words to describe the type of activity, but the description did not always seem clear in meaning.

Overall, the Web site is not recommended, but is definitely a site that can be considered if time permits. A very FEW ideas are interesting in that they can help students to think more creatively with writing. If a teacher is interested in helping students express themselves through writing, poetry can help students to summarize their thoughts or feelings with very descriptive language. However, this site is not updated; it looks abandoned by the host.

Subject Headings:  ESL teachers, creative writing