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Year 7 & 8 creative writers

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Started by Jane Marshall 15 Apr 2014 2:50pm () Replies (13)

What e- learning tools are there to strengthen the technical aspects of creative writing to develop fluency, that focus on developing cohesive links between paragraphs/flow and writing for a specific audience - for intermediate students? What digital apps / webtools support lifting students from NZC level 3A to 4A? Not reluctant writers in this case, they need to lift vocabulary richness and an awareness for those they are writing for. They are using Google docs in connection to teacher conferencing.


  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 15 Apr 2014 3:14pm ()

    Hi Jane,  inspiration and kidspiration are both fantastic thinking maps apps that you can use to clearly see how paragraphs fit together.  Aside from that authentic contexts that the students are really interested in bring out the best in my year 5/6 kids.  The most recent thing I have tried is using google docs collaboratively... each doc has about six kids working on it at the same time but doing their own individual work. They can all comment on each others work giving specific feedback of the learning intention and everyone can read and be inspired by each other, as well as looking at the other docs in the class.  Some outstanding writing resulting.  I overheard one student saying "this is cool aye it's just like being on facebook."

    The literacy learning shed has some great pics/clips etc for motivation too.

    What have you tried so far?

  • Kristin (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2014 1:37pm ()

    Hiya Tash,

    You mentioned you are using google docs collaboratively in writing.  Sounds fab.  When you say you have groups of children working on the same document but doing their own work, how does this look?  Are they writing the one piece togther or are they writing individual pieces but within the same doc?

    Would love to see this in action!

  • John O'Regan (View all users posts) 15 Apr 2014 4:28pm ()

    Over the past couple of weeks our class has been working on a project which has seen phenomenal engagement and collaboration in writing. We made a choose your own adventure type story using Google Presentation. Basically, the whole class wrote an introduction, then the reader is given 2 options. Half the class wrote one option, half the other, then we split again and so on until every child wrote their own ending to the story. Each option hyperlinked to the relevant slide. It was a bit of a mission to set up, and each slide was named with the relevant children so they knew they were writing in the right place.

    Much of the planning was done on paper before we even started. We had most of the story mapped out before we even started.

    I used comments to give feedback throughout the writing process. Interestingly, the kids started to leave their own feedback on other children's work, which was constructive and psitive. It was great to see this level of collaboration.

    The class are year 5 and 6. The theme they chose was based on an experience they had just had (class camp). Obviously some writers are stronger than others and the story reflects that, but I have been really impressed with the results. 

    Check out our story here

  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 15 Apr 2014 4:39pm ()

    What a fantastic idea, I love it!  The story is amazing I'm going to share it with my class tomorrow.  Maybe we could share a  google doc with your class where my class could all tell them how amazing they are and what they enjoyed about the story!! 

    Did you get the students offering constructive ideas for improvement as well?

  • John O'Regan (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2014 8:28am ()

    Yes, and it was totally initiated by them. They just started seeing my feedback and writing their own. I was well chuffed!

  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2014 12:49pm ()

    I shared your story with my year 5/6 class and another year 4/5 class today and they were totally entralled.  What a fantastic project!  My class are keen to share their writing with you now and also want to get help from them next term so we can write a pick a path story too!

    Here is the link to the comments they wrote for your class after reading the story.


  • John O'Regan (View all users posts) 17 Apr 2014 8:01am ()

    Fantastic, I'll share this doc with my kids so that they can see that their writing has an audience.

    Would be great to collaborate on some writing. I might send you guys something on how it all went together with some kid's reflections, too.

    Have a great Easter.

  • Mary-Anne Murphy (View all users posts) 15 Apr 2014 5:26pm ()

    Stunning learning for the students John!  The writing is exciting, and I can hear the excited student voice within it. 

    Love the idea of cross-school collaboration Tash... keep us posted on progress. Cool

    Adding comments from students on what they did well and next writing steps would take the learning in a cycle as Tash has mentioned. 

    Nick Rate (2010) spoke about the feedback loop, and this pertains to Assessment FOR Learning and Assessment AS Learning ideas.

    Feedback loop

  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2014 3:16pm ()

    image.jpg Hi Kristin

    Thanks for the interest.  My class has had such an exciting time burning down the walls of the classroom (metaphorically speaking).

    The writing we did on google docs was insprired by a picture I found in the Literacy Shed in the images shed in abandoned places


    We did a lot of brainstorming, researching and finally spotlight writing on the IWB and then launched into our google docs.  Each conference group (which are multi levelled) had a different doc to work on.  Each child within the doc was completing their own writing but able to read everything the others wrote to help with their own inspiration.  After writing for about 20 minutes I showed them how to comment about each others writing whilst being specific to our LI which was to use figurative language to enhance descriptive writing.  The feedback they gave each other was amazing and even though they are well practiced at buddy conferencing this forum took their feedback to another level - I overheard one student saying 'this is cool aye it's just like being on facebook. (giving me a gem of moment for a quick digital citizenship chat).

    Obviously there are a variety of levels in the class but I have shared their docs with you to have a look at.

    Incidentally no-one wanted to go to lunch yesterday they wanted to continue reading each others work and commenting. 


    I spent my time easily conferencing one student at a time, however in hindsight next time I will try just commenting to them about their work straight in the comments like the kids were doing and thus modelling feed forward to the masses.

    I have made the document able to be edited so it would be fantastic if some other kids out there could add their comments to the writing... especially after seeing the picture we were describing.


  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 16 Apr 2014 6:31pm ()

    Not quite sure why the picture has gone in twice?

  • John O'Regan (View all users posts) 17 Apr 2014 8:25am ()

    The Mysteries of Harris Burdick is also a great place to get inspiration. Really intriguing pictures that the kids can be really imaginative with.

  • Tash Jacobs (View all users posts) 22 Apr 2014 7:00pm ()

    Hi John

    I would love to look at collaborating to perhaps write a pick a path story with your class.  Not sure if they would enjoy doing another one but my idea was to skype together to write the first page then break away into two groups (half yours half mine) for the next paths using skype and so on... what do you think?  I'm thinking the first thing to check would be how many skype calls could we have running simultaneously and how can we use enough skype addresses (I'm thinking maybe using the other class skype accounts in our schools).

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