MORE BETTER WRITING: Novel Ideas for Writing Instruction

By Smith, Tara | Technology & Learning, April 2018 | Go to article overview

MORE BETTER WRITING: Novel Ideas for Writing Instruction


Smith, Tara, Technology & Learning


Edtech tools are helping educators everywhere discover new possibilities for writing instruction.

Teachers are happier. They're reading student work that's more thoughtful, properly revised, and well researched, and they're able to give efficient, effective feedback to each student. The teetering stacks of papers waiting to be graded are gone. Trees are happier. And writing students at every level who are inspired by engaging prompts and able to share, collaborate, and access support and informative texts are happier too.

OVER TWO MILLION WORDS IN FOUR WEEKS

At Milton (MA) Public Schools last February, 758 fourth- and fifth-grade students engaged in a four-week collaborative story writing experience. They wrote for a total of 78,873 minutes and produced 2,245,621 words. The first annual Boom Writer Writing Bee, in collaboration with Jeff Cohen (aka "Chunk" from the Goonies), coincided with standardized testing season. "We saw a huge improvement in our students' ability to write effectively and to type efficiently," says curriculum coordinator Amy Gale. "It was an authentic and fun way for students to prepare for the state tests without even realizing that they were!" Teachers reported that 100 percent of participating students were "engaged" or "extremely engaged." As a sequel to last year's success, students are busy completing a four-chapter book with Diary ofa Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney.

INVESTMENTS IN TEACHER TRAINING AND TECH

The key backstory here is Milton Public Schools' larger commitment to writing instruction across grade levels and subject areas. "All of our teachers have had ample professional development in writing process and pedagogy, which helps to provide a strong knowledge base around the most effective practices," says Gale. The district is seeing great results from its investment in technology-based tools and in training teachers to use them. Students are using Google Classroom, BoomWriter, Reach for Reading, and other tools across the curriculum. "Our goal is to provide ample opportunities for students to develop strong writing skills across genres, in response to reading and in on-demand tasks," Gale says.

Gale calls the online program BoomWriter "perhaps the most impactful technology-based tool that we've used to support writing instruction." Teachers in grades three through five utilize BoomWriter in math, science, ELA, and social studies, as it reinforces grade-level content, builds typing skills and stamina in revising and editing, and engages students. Boom Writer's rubrics and gradebook feature simplify the process of grading and tracking student growth, and its peer review component helps students to reflect on their work and to continually strive for quality.

IMMERSION IN THE GENRE

Stephen Samuels' fifth-grade ELA students at Mosaic Preparatory Academy in Manhattan (NY) benefit from a total-immersion experience in each genre--whether they're studying, reading, or writing narrative fiction or informative writing. "This provides a structural understanding of the genre and provides mentor texts that students can use as models for their own writing," Samuels says. With online reading resources (from myON, for example), he adds, teachers can devise complete research and writing assignments and students can access text and write on one device.

Samuels also teaches students how to dictate on Google Drive, which integrates with Lucy Calkins' Teachers College Reading and Writing Project "Writing in the Air" (rehearsing what you want to write by saying it out loud). "This process enables students to dictate their flash drafts, which are the most difficult part of writing," Samuels says. Once they have a draft, Samuels finds his emerging writers are more motivated and willing to make major revisions because online tools make revising so easy. Google Drive also enables Samuels to have more frequent and effective virtual conferences with every student. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

MORE BETTER WRITING: Novel Ideas for Writing Instruction
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.