Some ideas I hear and can incorporate the next day. Other ideas take awhile for me to work into my routine. I have already started my class with input, but the end of my class sometimes isn’t as important as the beginning. However, I know that the end of class is when students are likely to remember something. I had heard about write and discuss last summer, and I know that some people had incorporated it into their classes, but I never got around to including it. This year, it seemed natural to include it into my lesson plans (at the end!) I want to explain how I used it and why I think you should try it out this year, too!
Write and discuss is literally writing up on the board a summary of what you have discussed in class that day. It is a shift for students from a traditional classroom to a CI classroom. This helps students who need more concrete items. In Spanish III, we were doing card talk where students discussed their favorite moments last year and what they were looking forward to this year. At the end, I would start a sentence and ask questions to help students finish it. Since I am writing on the board, it slowed me down. That was all we did! The whole activity took about 5 minutes.
This weekend, I decided to watch a few more people try it to help. If you want two examples that I have used to figure it out, you can check out Mike Peto and Brett Chonko. For Brett, the write and discuss happens around the last 10 minutes of the video. Based on their videos, here are some of my take-aways:
- Some days, I will ask them to copy it down. I think this will have the same effect as dictations. Students can pay attention to specific grammar points, accent marks and spelling. Not everyone at my school teaches with a CI approach, so I want to make sure that I am helping support that transition.
- I like how both of them focus on proficiency. Mike points out how he makes complex sentences using a variety of rejoiners. Brett asks his class for a different way to state “mi postre favorito es…” These are important for written proficiency.
- An unrelated point to write and discuss, but I LOVED when a student asked how to say “you’re welcome” and Brett reassured her that it was completely normal and would continue to happen.
- I believe that this will help continue to facilitate pop-up grammar. Students will probably ask some questions about how the sentence functions and even if they don’t, you can point out some important features.
- Mike also notes that it helps students prepare for assessments. This will really help my level 1’s prepare for their first presentational writing.
Another positive is that you are able to do some reading extensions with the writing after you are done I took a picture of the board, and I typed them up and changed a few facts around. Then, boom! I had a quick activity that I could use at the beginning of class. If you have transitioned to CI, I highly encourage you to try write and discuss! I believe that it will markedly help my students this year.