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Engaging students in Writing

Using Keynote, Powerpoint or Google Slides to make non-linear presentations in writing

Nonlinear PPT.jpg Keynote and Powerpoint don't just have to be used for making presentations.  They are great tools to engage reluctant writers.Watch this video of Jill Hammonds working with a group of year 5 & 6 students at Ashhurst Primary to engage them in the writing process.





Have you heard about "Storybird"?

Storybird.jpg Storybird is a wonderful e-Learning tool to support student writing, reading and other literacies.  It creates a level playing field for struggling writers who can now produce a book with pictures by real artists that looks fantastic and can be published on the web for others to read, downloaded as a pdf into iBooks, or for a few $US ($30-50 for softcover or hardcover), published and posted to you in soft or hard cover format to put into a school library or personal bookshelf.  Your kids will love it. Watch the videos of Jill working with a group of Year 3 & 4 children from Ashhurst Primary and then having a debrief session with the teachers.



Making your own eBooks with your own pictures and content

Storyjumper example Storybird is great for providing motivation and ideas for creating eBooks and produces a very professional look. However, if you want to create your eBook with your own content and your own pictures, there are other tools available.

Click on the book to find out about these tools and apps.







The recipe for writing using "Etherpad"


Author Phyllis Johnson worked with a group of students from Pirongia School in the Waikato to extend their writing ability.  Jill Hammonds was fortunate to be the teacher who was working to support her on the day, and thoroughly enjoyed the way Phyllis' work scaffolded children's ability to write.  This is what is so often missing in the teaching of writing in classrooms.  So much of teacher effort is focused around the surface features of writing and so have limited impact for those children who struggle to construct a story that will engage the reader.

The recipe provides step by step guidance about what to write and how to make it impact on the reader.  It also provides an opportunity for the teacher to model at each step.  To add into the opportunity of working in this way, Jill uses Etherpad as a collaborative writing space.  In this space children can see each others writing, which in itself provides a scaffold and support for struggling writers.

Before using the recipe, teachers need to engage with students to bring through the idea that in writing we are trying to share a message, a feeling or an experience with an audience - we are not writing for ourselves.  That may be the case with diary writing, but in few other instances.  We therefore need to consider how to "paint pictures in our reader's mind" and this is where modelling and scaffolding is so vital.

Watch Jill using the recipe and Etherpad with a Year 7 & 8 class at Ashhurst Primary followed by a debrief with teachers.  The recipes and how to use Etherpad are then available below.

Write About This iPad app (NZ version)

Write About This iPad App NZ version

Some of you may have seen the Write About This iPad app. Well now thanks to Allanah King and Monika Kern, there is a NZ version with NZ pictures and content.  This is a great tool for creating your own topic based writing activities with prompts at three levels (takes only a few minutes with your own graphic) or you can use the supplied topics and prompts to give a bit more boost to daily writing.



Using the Research Tool in Google Docs and Google Slides (also known as Google Presentation)

Did you know that Google has a Research tool that opens as a pane within Google Docs and Google Slides.  Here you students can find images, videos, information, vocabulary and ideas to assist them in their writing.  This is particularly valuable when writing across the curriculum as part of your inquiry, maths, phys-ed, art, music etc. 
Google Research Tool  

Engaging reluctant writers using e-learning tools.

Access Catriona Pene's Learning At School Roadshow workshop of working with reluctant writers through
e-Learning.  This has lots of strategies and e-Learning tool resources.

Catriona's presentation