Many of us have students for whom English is not their first language. Google Translate is a phenomenal resource, but it can leave students like they are constantly starting from scratch when they translate their entire essay into English and then have to start editing it.

I wanted to find a way for students to write to the translation sentence by sentence, or even word by word. Something that seemed less daunting for students, who often see a blank Google Doc and a blinking cursor and panic. How could I accommodate my ELL learners in a way that respected their home language, the writing process, and made it a bit easier for them to draft their essays by chunking it into bits?

Quickly, I put together this prototype Google Sheet that leverages a couple of different formulas. I call it a prototype only because it’s pretty basic looking. (Usually my templates have a little more polish to them.) But for what it’s worth my students were able to pick these up fairly quickly. As they type in their home languages, Google Sheets translates in the moment.

On the second tab “Whole Essay”, it pulls everything from the English columns on “Parts” into one big chunk of text for students to copy and paste into their Google Docs. “Whole Essay” tab is where you can really see the lack of polish, the formulas don’t transpose quite correctly and you end up having to hide rows 1-12.

So feel free to borrow this item, make it better, tweet at me how you use and improve it! @MrEichenser