San Jose City College
   Recommended Lab Practice for ESL 312

ESL 312L is a lab course designed to give ESL 312 students the individual practice and instructional assistance needed to excel in Introduction to the Essay. The programs and ESL Lab activities recommended below will advance your writing and grammar skills. Select the material that is right for you. In addition, your course instructor may recommend activities from this list or assign alternate activities, Internet exercises, or media materials that accompany course texts.


Focus on Grammar 4

Focus on Grammar 4 is an excellent integrated skills program that is highly recommended for ESL 312.

Frequently Asked Questions about this program
How will I know which Parts to study?
      Open the Contents of the program. Identify the elements of grammar you don't know well. Study the units that cover the grammar you need.
      Your ESL 312 instructor may assign Units that cover the grammar taught in class
      Challenge yourself to complete most of the units in the program, especially those that cover the grammar with which you are least familiar.

Which parts of each unit should I study?
You should do the activities under Practice (grammar exercises as needed) and the sections called Grammar Out of the Box, and From Grammar to Writing. (You will have a topic to write about; a lab instructor or your course instructor can comment on your submission.) Then do the Review Tests.

How will I know my scores?
The first time you use Focus on Grammar, create your profile by opening "Click here." After you create your user ID and password and type in your first and last names, the program will open. At the top of the page, click Profile. Then select the section of ESL 312 with your instructor's name. When you take the review tests, you can see your progress report, and your teacher can access it, too. Whether following your instructor's recommendations or identifying your own weaknesses in selecting the units to study, take at least 6 review tests over the course of the semester: weeks 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14.

Understanding and Using English Grammar

You or your instructor may choose units in UUEG that you have not covered in a previous semester. Use the same user information and directions for setting your profile that you used for FOG 4. In each unit, focus on the grammar sections and the review tests. Take at least 6 review tests over the course of the semester: weeks 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14. These tests may be a combination from FOG 4 and UUEG, but make sure they are on different grammar topics unless you did poorly on a review test in the alternate program.

Grammar Sense Interactive 3

Grammar Sense 3 is another interactive program that will help you improve your grammar and writing skills. The icon on the desktop says GSI3. The lessons under Practice Zone cover a lot of the grammar you need to learn in ESL 312. The Reference Zone explains the grammar of each lesson. Have fun and play games to remember the grammar under Game Zone. Be sure to take the TEST after each lesson. IF you take the tests on the same computer, it will track your scores. Otherwise, print your scores for each chapter you do. Turn in your score sheets to the Instructional Assistant in the Lab.

Writer's Resources (for lessons on essay development)

The contents of this interactive program consist of four sections: Witing Process Lessons; Writing Elements Lessons; Rhetorical Patterns Lessons; and Grammar | Punctuation | Mechanics Lessons. The Rhetorical Patterns section gives helpful examples of different types of essays: description, narration, example, process, cause/effect, etc. Helpful lessons on all of the elements of essays such as introductions, thesis statements, transitions, conclusions, etc., are very clear and instrumental in learning to write essays.


Conference with a lab instructor on writing assignments for ESL 312. The lab instructor may help you in the following ways:
      Discuss prewriting techniques such as listing, outlining, clustering, etc., to help you start creating and organizing your ideas.
      Use the Revising Checklist for Essays, to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your essay: introduction and thesis statement, body paragraphs, concluding paragraph.
      Suggest revision strategies for better content and organization.
      Suggest editing strategies to avoid and correct your most common grammar and word choice errors.
      Suggest a lab assignment to improve your grammar.

Please Note: The lab instructor will not correct your paper for you. The purpose of the conference is to help you become a better editor and enable you to make the necessary changes and corrections discussed with the lab instructor.

Impromptu lab workshops: Come to the lab with several classmates that are having the same difficulties you are and ask the lab instructor to work with your group. Explain the writing and/or grammar issues you are having and request a short workshop.

Use a software program listed above to practice the grammar you need to master.

Online Practice

Go to and open the Edit Grid on San Jose Writes. Identify the elements of writing with which you are having difficulty: Rhetorical Problems: Thesis, Topic Sentence, and coherence; Problems with Sentence Boundaries and Punctuation; Problems with Grammar, Syntax, and Connecting Clauses; and Problems with Lexical Choice. Open the teacher icon for lessons and interactive practice on your specific difficulty.

Go to and open the grammar or writing section for the ESL 310 series of courses. Select a topic you need to study.
Please Note: When studying online at home, keep track of your time on the lab timesheet and turn it in each time you have completed 4 hours. The last day to turn in a time sheet is 2:00 P.M. Friday of the 15th week (the week before final exams).

For help with the writing process, use these links:
      Graphic organizers
      The Writing Process and Types of Writing
      Evaluation checklist for essay writing
      Writing Den (Learn to write essays by reading essays on different topics.) Click Paragraphs to read the essay paragraph by paragraph. Pay attention to the margin notes. After reading, go back to the original page for the essay and click In-Brief to see how the writer mapped out the information presented in the essay. Don't miss this excellent site.

Check your Moodle page often. This is where your ESL 312 and 312L instructors will post your course assignments and information.

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