Writing is one of life’s greatest challenges for our students and those who strive to make students better writers. Writing has become a lost art, and too often the death of writing is blamed on the birth of technology. However, it is my humble opinion that the failure to spark students’ interest in WHAT they are writing about that has provoked student apathy in regards to the written task. Kids love to write! Have you ever watched kids during their down time? What are they doing? Writing! Sending notes to their friends, typing emails, posting status updates on various social media tools, and texting one another. All of these various forms of writing are enjoyed because the students are engaged in the topics they are writing about and the tools with which they are writing.
To better engage our students and rebuild their love of writing, why not incorporate the tools they are using daily to write into your lessons? Want students to journal? Why not allow them to create blogs instead? Kidblog is an excellent site designed for middle and elementary school students and teachers who want to begin class blogs.
Do you have students who struggle to gather ideas to write about? Why not inspire them with pictures? Storybird is another great tool to use with young writers. This website allows teachers to create student accounts and assign their student writing prompts. Students create stories based on pictures. Students may search for pictures based on theme or artist. Students love this site!
Want a better way to model peer editing? Why not utilize a document camera to display a student’s written draft and allow the class to follow your editing directives while everyone is watching and participating? This will make those long, multi-step editing sheets much clearer and easier to understand.
Have you tried all these tools and want to experiment with new or different tools? CogDog offers 60+ tools for utilizing with student writers. Feel free to explore this writing wiki.