Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writing With Technology

As the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have arrived and teachers have begun rewriting pacing guides, unit plans, and lessons, I've been thinking about ways to increase the amount of writing students do in our classrooms. We've recently had an influx of technology in my district resulting in devices in students hands in most classrooms by the beginning of the 2014-15 school year. That being said, I began my search for ideas through my usual PLN channels. The very first link I was drawn towards was from +Shelly Sanchez Terrell  titled "15+ Resources to Inspire Writing with Digital Prompts" (cross posted at teacherrebootcamp.com). 

The link has a multitude of great ideas with associated resources. I paired it down a bit more and added some additional resources below. I'm going to be sharing with my staff through our technology integration plan and suggest you all do the same!

  • Notes for success
    • Vary the types of writing - different mediums, types, stories, etc
    • Allow students to be creative - don't restrict the topic (at least not all the time!)
      • Can writing be fun? Duh!
    • Timing - a whole class on expository writing = tough for most students to focus and "power through"
  • Resources
    • Blogger - obviously! We have student Google accounts so this would be seamless. The best attribute to blogging is at the end of the year, students have a chronological snapshot of their writings (hopefully with tags)
    • Make Beliefs Comix has over 350 free printables for teachers - sorted by topic, event, and holidays. Students can create their own comic with this tool in multiple languages.
    • Student choice of prompts - why not let students have some input and buy in?
    • Memes - who doesn't like memes (put your hand down, Johnny)? See this presentation for more info, with LOTS of ideas. If anything, click the link and laugh out loud on some of Shelley's examples.
    • Twitter - losing a bit of steam as of late, giving way to Instagram. However, still very valuable lesson on how to succinctly compose thoughts, 140 characters at a time.
    • Scholastic Story Starters- this is an interactive website where students write their names and fill out questions.
    • Plinky- a question appears and below the question students write their opinion. Great brainstorming starter. How about setting this as a routine, maybe prompting the beginning of class?