Writing correctly

I may have told you about this already, but I’m feeling very pleased with three sets of google docs today.

I want my students to have a solid written piece about themselves and their lives for any number of reasons. Recently a group applied to a summer program, and they needed to write a sample homestay letter. Having something already partially written was helpful. These “postings” are helpful when they need to write about a famous Russian figure, do a role play, or even for me, when I need CI readings.

But typing in Cyrillic is time-consuming. If kids are going to do the AP Russian exam, it’s necessary for them to become proficient, but not all will do that, so I hate to have them waste their time laboriously pecking away at unlabeled keys in one or another of the labs.

I also want them to read a bunch of samples. The way I solve this is by giving them an assignment to basically plagiarize from models I give them. They are to read what other students have written, correct the model to fit themselves, and then add information as needed or as I ask them to do so. That way, if we’ve talked about school, they can write about their schedules. If we’ve discussed families or movies or activities, they add that to a google doc.

This has been enormously successful. Kids can turn out a long piece very quickly. I can tell if they haven’t personalized, because I recognize the samples I’ve offered. I can also be much clearer about any illegal use of Google translate. It’s not part of the patterns I have offered. Finally, spelling is much better. I want these pieces to be easy for everyone involved.

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