Andrew's Writing Beast

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



15 thoughts on “Andrew's Writing Beast”

  1. To clarify on #5 above, I wrote out the L1 sentences on a piece of paper before class with the intent to write the L2 translations on it under the doc camera. I quickly realized that was inefficient b/c my hand was in the way. So, I just projected the piece of paper onto my dry erase board and wrote the L2 translations on that. It was a good move because I could turn off the projector and all that was visible on the board were the L2 sentences.
    In regards to the issue of this being output…I didn’t make them translate from L1 to L2 because that would’ve been impossible for the very reason I tried this out. There were some critical words that they just didn’t know. I just said, “write what I’m saying” and then went on from there. That is where my concern lies. It was all done in reverse. They got L1 first. It ended up functioning sort of like an embedded reading which I really liked, but I don’t know enough about teaching, let alone teaching with CI yet, to know if this is an acceptable way to deal with a reading that is above the students’ level. Like you said, it might be a bust. But, maybe it can be tweaked over time.

  2. OK I get it. Nice! Very nice! I love elegance and simplicity in the use of technology.
    Yeah and now I get the L1 to L2 thing. I did wonder about that. “Write what I am saying.” Isn’t that the way people learn how to paint? En imitant les Grands? Hell yeah.
    These two points complete the picture for me. I will make the necessary changes.
    And when you say you don’t know enough about teaching yet, I disagree. This pattern that you laid out is, in my view, indicative of a creative teacher, to say the least. Can’t wait to try it out next week. And all I have to do is refer to the above post when I am trying it out!

  3. Yes, yes!!! Jody for ACTFL teacher of the year. The problem is that she is such an honest and quality person, she would abhor the politics of the whole thing! For sure, we are lucky to have her input and I feel truly blessed to call her “friend”!

  4. I love the idea of this writing beast, but I am still not clear on the L1 to L2 process. Sorry. I am feeling a bit dense today. So “write what I say” means I say a sentence in English, like “Fama doesn’t understand why Debbie is so mean to her.” Then kids write that in French. Won’t the kids just “code” this in L2? Or is it that they will remember how to say it bc of the circling? Really sorry. I am trying hard to picture this. I guess my bigger question is about the writing process in terms of “writing in L2” without the English piece. Is there any danger here that they will depend on the English “thought” in order to write? I am probably missing something, so I will read all the comments again.
    Oh, wait, I just read it again and I didn’t realize that the condensed version of the text is written in English? So you write up the “English spark note version” and translate with the class (step 2) ??? Steps 3 and on are clear, but just the very beginning is murky to me.

  5. We write the English of the targeted sentences, the essential sentences, on the paper under the doc camera, as I understand it, and they simply copy on their papers at their desks the L2 that we write on the board. Once the L2 version is on the board, we turn off the camera and we PQA etc. the L2 version, and that leads to them being able to read the text later. It’s like backwards planning with writing thrown in. I’ve never done it and will see if it works tomorrow. That is how I learn and apparently how Andrew learns. We try shit and maybe it might work. Sharing the ideas here is key, and without you we would never have one of the biggest breakthroughs in comprehension based instruction that is right up there with Circling, namely jGR. We messed around with that from Robert’s test tube for a really long time, but look what we got out of it. I think it’s time for some serious collaboration now on writing. We need better stuff bc a lot of us are growing some pretty tall CI trained talent in our students this year and we have to address the upper levels, and to me that means writing. If the kids weren’t going to be tested, I wouldn’t even care about that bc I know how long it takes for output to emerge.

      1. Keep bugging me to respond bc I got into a big thing about toilets in France today and never got to it (aWB). Next week maybe. This is great. I just updated my weekly schedule for 2013 (it’s a category now) where the big change is cutting down on Thursday embedded readings of the class story and moving some of the stuff scheduled for Friday up to Thursday. Now I have try to fit in aWB, Textivating, and Essential Sentences. Remember when, before we landed on this planet, we wondered half way through class how we were going to make it to the end of the period? Now the classes go by in what seems like ten or fifteen minutes sometimes. I guess if teachers like that feeling of being in a slow moving capsule of sadness as it moves its way through space (teaching from the book), they shouldn’t explore what we are doing. You know what they say about time!

  6. Oh hell yeah: “We try shit and maybe it might work.” That would be me. I would love to publish the list of “shit I’ve tried.” Just for fun. Dontcha think it would be a hoot to have a “wall of shame?” Just for fun (ie, not truly “shame” ya know?!)
    Thanks for clarifying. I wanna try it for sure. Just wanted to appear as if I have a clue 😉

  7. Thanks for sharing this Andrew. So we have aWB, jGR….I need to come up with something cool that will have an acronym. What are some things we need so that I can get to the drawing board?

  8. We need ideas about reading novels, upper level ideas, RT and that is about all I can think of. What we have done in the past year and a half here is beyond my belief. If we shut this site down now we have more than met the goals I had for it in many different areas. If anyone has any ideas for Chris, so he can have his own funky acronym, send them in as comments below. Chris, you pretty much kick ass with networking for our cause in Ohio, maybe something connected to administrator education.

  9. Hi Everyone,
    Sorry to drag this older post up from the depths but I have a quick question about aWB: Does it work best with a text that includes previously introduced structures but unfamiliar vocabulary or can it work with unfamiliar structures as well?
    I have 1 reading passage and 1 listening passage that the system requires me to administer to my older kids (9th-10th grade) as unit tests. They do my head in sometimes. Right now next year’s plan is to spend 1-2 months going through the backwards planned structures for the listening passage then doing the same for the reading passage. I’m hoping to find more efficient ways of getting through the required assessment prep so I can just hang out and chat with my kids. I’d rather laugh at a Simon’s Cat video than get them ready to answer questions about how Donald likes to sing in the local choir on Thursday evenings… Would aWB help blaze through them?
    Thanks as always. 🙂

    1. This aWB makes me think about ways to prep for some R&D of a novel. Sounds like it could also suit your purposes very well, Jason. Sorry, I got nothing more.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben