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Write & Discuss example

As I was preparing a video session for Scott Benedict’s online conference I looked through some old class footage to see if I could caption a good example of a typical Write & Discuss (W & D) session. This is the activity that I recommend any CI teacher end their class with, regardless of what was being done in class. It is surprising to me that many CI teachers do not end their classes with a quick W & D… whether you have spent the class interviewing a student, chatting about the weekend or even watching youtube videos, W & D is an excellent way to get one last repetition of the input by summarizing the class period and getting that information into their notebooks. The W & D texts are a great answer when parents ask what their children are supposed to study for midterm or final exams.

To be clear, W & D is a short end of class routine that lasts from 5 to 10 minutes. Here is a typical 55 minute lesson that I might have planned (or just performed off the cuff):

The following example of Write & Discuss came after creating a class story like in the first lesson plan, but it could have easily focused on the chat about after school plans, or both. Here is the video:

16 thoughts on “Write & Discuss example

  1. Thanks for posting this video! So helpful. Again, to be clear, while you are doing this, the students don’t have to write along with you? I’m wondering what they are doing with the notebooks open. I’m afraid some would start drawing.

    1. This particular time I had students copy as I wrote, but normally they keep their notebooks under their chairs the entire time and at the end of the activity I decide whether they copy and translate the text depending upon the amount of class time left. Several times per week they do copy and translate. Sometimes (perhaps once per week) I collect the translation for a grade which keeps them alert, but I often want this to be part of their notebooks so that when parents ask what their children should study at home, I tell them to have their kids orally translate the writing in their notebooks from L2 to L1. The grade, when I collect it, is based on a brief glance looking for completion. If they were paying attention during the class then they should be able to translate it all fairly quickly and get an A.

      1. Hola…do you a story every day? Is a story that they make up with you or is it your own?

      2. We create a text everyday. It might not be a story… that would be exhausting. I might find out that a student has to cut the grass after school and ask a few questions about that. At the end of class during W & D we discover that was the most interesting thing we came up with that day, so we do the W & D about that student (perhaps asking a few more questions and adding to it). The next day during calendar talk we realize that there is a production of a school play, so we interview a student in the play about the preparation. That is an easy W & D topic. I like making One Word Images, and I think that is a crucial part of my classes from level 1 to AP, but “stories” are not the only kinds of texts created in my classes.

  2. […] Year. I began a whole-class “Write and Discuss.” Mike Peto also talks a lot about this on his blog. I wrote the name “Captain Pulcher” (the superhero in the movie) on the board, and then I […]

  3. Loved the write and discuss!!. I have often ended my lessons with a verbal review and maybe an exit ticket so I was looking for something a little different. This was so simple yet so effective. I loved how you included the video. A picture is worth so much. Thanks for sharing.
    Also I noticed that the student guides for GH are no longer available at TPT. My kids are so into it and it is such a great resource. Are you able to share?

    1. Hi Nancy,

      The license holder for GH and Internado (Atresmedia) has asked me and other teachers to stop distributing those guides. I am looking into this and if there is a change then I will make those guides available again on my website, but until then I have decided to remove the GH and Internado content from my site.

  4. When you say Write and Discuss, the writing is you writing on the board and discussing with the class as you go? Is that correct?

    1. That is how I do it, a process in which both write and discuss happen at the same time to encourage a more interactive, student-produced product. I think the name originally referred to two activities, write and then a separate discussion, but I have been advocating for this change so that the final product truly reflects student comprehension and I think that actively creating the written product together in this way is so much more engaging.

      1. Thanks so much! Do you feel like you could do this activity with any input? For example, could I do a Write and Discuss after talking about Advantages & Disadvantages of being a bullfighter (a recent discussion in our class)….

      2. OMG YES! That would be awesome. In the past I was more likely to make a Venn Diagram for compare and contrast activities, but I realized that writing lists of words and phrases was not nearly as effective as writing out full sentences with transitions and all. The key, of course, is to make sure that students continue to process while you are writing, that it is not just “down time” for them. That is why I have a more interactive approach and occasionally have them copy and do a follow-up activity such as translate or take an exit quiz.

  5. […] have been reading a lot about write and discuss, and I feel more motivated to try it after Mike’s […]

  6. Appreciate the post and video, Mike! Bought your new book too and looking forward to reading it when it arrives. Any accountability for the W&D? Or do Ss see that it helps them and all do so it’s part of class culture? Just curious.

    1. We often end with an exit quiz, even if it is a choral response. Sometimes we will choral translate, or if I have more time than I thought then I will ask them to do a written translation. Sometimes I ask them to pass in the written translation and I give them a completion grade, that is rare but effective if someone is not actually doing the class work. That helps develop a class culture… you only have to do that a couple of times in September and students are trained to follow through for the rest of the year.

  7. Thanks for the video! I’ve been doing W&D but I think I’ve been drawing it out much too long. What do your exit quizzes look like typically? Do you have a student quiz writer or do you come up with the questions on the fly?

    1. Typically really easy. I am not organized enough to have a quiz writer, but when I ask questions I often try to sense whether students think the question is fair. I don’t tell them that I am going to do this, but often if a kid expresses confusion I will say “just kidding” and give them a different question. If I see someone cheating then suddenly I get serious and ask a more difficult question or promise a real quiz tomorrow, but as long as they are processing the input and putting in a good faith effort then the quizzes are a joke, just an excuse to get one last push of input into the class.

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