Click to Write!
This space is dedicated to resources to help with creating interesting, authentic writing opportunities within the classroom.
Noisli: Start with the writing environment! Noisli is a white sound application to provide productivity or relaxation sounds that can increase your classroom focus; students could use on individual devices selecting their own combination of sounds, or you could use in the classroom. There's also a timer! Amazing!
Kaizena: Kaizena is a site that allows teachers to give very personal feedback on a document in multiple formats: voice or text. Quickly share a voice comment at any place within a student's document for them to play, and hear your thoughts. So much faster than typing! But, if you prefer text, you can do that, too. Students can respond as well for two-way communication. Finally, and this is wonderful, you can attach a lesson that you have already taught--perhaps one about writing a fantastic lead--to the document for a student to revisit. In addition, you can rank skills that students should be practicing so that they know how well they are understanding, and using, a skill to enhance their writing. Check it out and see if it is for you, and for your students! (Thanks Mary Lou Turnbull for sharing with me!)
Stoybird: Storybird is a creative website where writers select artwork, and use the artwork as inspiration to write a story. Teachers create accounts (but there is a limit to the number of students in each "class" so create separate classes if you teach more than one section.) Teachers can create assignments and students turn in assignments to you so that they are all organized and easy to find. You can offer comments/feedback and even grade on the site so that communication is two-way. For example, after teaching figurative language, I asked students to write a story, and to make sure that they had a metaphor, simile, alliteration, etc., in the story. Students can also choose to write a poem, but then, students must use the set of words that accompany the selected artwork (think magnet words since that is what they look like.)
Kidblog: Kidblog is an easy-to-use blogging site. I know there are other sites out there, but I have used Kidblog for 2 years now and love its ease-of-use both from a teacher and a student perspective. It is safe, simple, and provides students with authentic opportunities to write. I have used it for many purposes, but last year, I had students blog about their independent reading books. I found students talking about books that other students had written about, and ultimately, making connections and recommendations. Students started posting where other students could find the books they were reading (classroom, bin #, genre, etc.). So many uses for this fantastic site. Enjoy!
Little Bird Tales: This website provides students with a similar experiences to Storybird, however, artwork is much more expansive and individual. Students can upload photos, draw and paint their own illustrations. The process is fun for students of all ages, including adults! There is a free and premium version. Teachers from special needs classrooms to general education classrooms will enjoy unique options such as the ability to listen to verbal instructions, record voice and verbal responses, or using the traditional keyboard. The site also offers pre-designed lessons to integrate or inspire classroom lessons.
Jelly Bean Scoop: This website offers articles for students to read complete with vocabulary activities and comprehension tests. Teachers sign up and indicate number of students. Articles are individually leveled, but are not multi-leveled; in other words, each article stands on its own at a particular level (emerging, beginning, intermediate and advanced levels). The site indicates it is for students in elementary to middle school. The writing component is fun as students can write either picture books or "chapter" books, and add their own images. Students can download and print their books. There is a family sign up option too. Finally, there are fun brain games to explore.
WriteAbout: WriteAbout is a newer site that offers students a digital platform to write and publish for an authentic audience. Teachers can offer feedback, too. Teachers can create specific groups, and students can respond to one another. My students would often ask if they could go "write" on "WriteAbout" when they had finished other assignments. Sure! :)
Pen Pal Schools: Pen Pal Schools offers teachers a way for students to connect with other students around the globe. Pre-designed units are 6 weeks and targeted toward students who are ages 9 and up. Each week students work on a new module and answer questions that their pen pal can read and respond to; in addition, students can write their own questions and ideas, too. Excellent opportunity for authentic communication. Students are linked to teacher accounts so teachers can see what students are writing and guide ideas, conversations or reflect on shared perspectives. Social Studies and Language Arts together!
ReadWriteThink: This NCTE-affiliated website offer students SO MANY classroom resources. You will get lost here. There are lesson plans complete with links and resources. Every grade level is represented. The search option is extremely helpful in finding what you need. I can only sing this websites praises.
Google Story Builder: Google Story Builder is a very basic story making tool. It looks like, feels like, and acts like a google document. You add "character" names and then write a story. No pictures or illustrations are able to be uploaded into this. It is straight text, but you can add some music at the end, and then have the story play back in a video format. Below, watch the Youtube video. Thought the idea of using it for students to identify parts of speech, figurative language, etc., could be exciting. Also saw a video where someone created math story problems...could be interesting to do with students!
PDF Mergy is an app that you can obtain from the Google Play store and perfect if you use Google Classroom. It allows you to select all of your students' writing and merge all documents into one PDF document that you can then seamlessly print for conferences or to share in school hallways, and more.
Here are some websites with argumentative writing resources:
Here are some websites with argumentative writing resources:
iCivics website is a site with more than writing information available! It is interesting to
From Smekens Education Solutions, Inc, is an excellent comparative chart to help students understand the continuum between opinion, persuasive and argumentative writing. The button provides a link to this chart, too:
Prompts for Argumentative writing:
Students write, cite sources to support their arguments, and then highlight the text that shows belief statement, argument, and counterargument.