There are more options to teaching writing than just free writes. We have Textivate and Robert gave us his Essential Sentences idea, and then we have Bob Patrick’s OWI idea, and of course we have good old dictee, and there is also this writing idea from Andrew. His idea for combining teaching writing with doing backwards planning for a novel has great potential – it could even be a beast.
Problem: Needing the kids to become familiar with two pages of unfamiliar vocabulary in Pobre Ana.
Andrew’s suggested steps to a solution:
1. First the teacher breaks down text into two shorter versions of the two pages – each version consists of 6 sentences.
2. Next, the teacher projects the piece of paper with the 12 sentences (or however many he has targeted for the reading passage in question) onto the dry erase board and writes the L2 translations directly on the board. He writes slowly and reads the words out loud, while the kids write out the correct L2 version on their papers, following his lead, just copying.
3. Then the teacher turns off the projector and all that is left visible on the board are the L2 sentences. He tries to get the students to focus on what the L2 phrases sound like and look like, just working with the L2 sentences on the board as an sculptor works with clay. He goes through and circles the new vocabulary, asking for quick L1 translations and gestures, letting the PQA flow.
4. Then this backwards planning activity moves from visual work to auditory work. Certain key structures can be gestured and used in PQA in the same way that we do that with story scripts structures.
5. When the PQA starts to lose its energy, the final step is opening the book and, instead of moving into a story from the PQA, just going to some nice R and D. It works this time because of all the backward planning done in steps 1 through 6.