Monday, 16 October 2017

10 Tools & Resources for Developing Writing Skills

Over the last couple of months I've found and written about a number of really great tools and resources to help improve our students' writing skills. This is a collection of links to reviews of ten of the best.

1. Free Reading Passages and Progress Tracking Tools
This site was designed to help grade K5 - K12 native speaker students develop their reading and comprehension skills, but can also be really useful for second language development. Students can choose from a range of graded texts and get a wide range of interactive activities and reading support. Teachers can also register on the site and assign specific texts to their students.
Read more

2. Using Image Prompts to Inspire Writing & Speaking Activities

As a teacher you can create classes and assign writing tasks to students. The students do their writing tasks within the platform and can publish and share them there. This is a little like posting to a blog, but within a safe environment.
Read more

3. Improve Writing Skills with Peer Evaluation
Getting students to peer evaluate can be a real organisational challenge in the classroom, but now it looks like there is a simple technological solution. Peergrade is a great tool to get students assessing each others’ work and giving each other feedback.Read more

4. Writing & Discussion Activities to Promote Awareness of Fake News
Newspaper Generator is a useful tool that enables you to create what looks like a newspaper front page. To do this you upload an image, select a title and a headline and then write in the details of the story. Then just click on 'Make it' and the site will produce a PDF that you can download
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5. Collaborative Story Writing for the BYOD Classroom

This app is based around a common classroom activity in which students write stories together by adding a sentence and passing it on to another writer. The next writer then adds a sentence and either passes it back or passes it to another student. The process continues until the story is finished.
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6. A Tool to Encourage Students to Self-Correct & Improve their Writing

SAS Writing Reviser is a really cleverly designed Chrome Add-on to get your students self-assessing and improving their own writing. Once installed you can open a document in Google Docs and then decide what aspects of your writing you would like to improve.Read more

7. Illustrate Poems & Create Short Image Based Narrative
This app is also social so users can comment on, follow and like each others creations.I used the app to create an illustration of a poem by Robert Frost - Fire & Ice. This would be nice activity to do with students, either selecting or letting them select a poem to illustrate.
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8. Creating Text Adventures to Develop Reading & Writing Skills
Text adventure games are a great way of really engaging students in reading. They get the chance to take some control of the narrative and find their own way through the story by making choices at various points in the narrative.
Read more

9. Get Teens Writing with Gamified Writing Activities
Story Wars is a great gamified way to make writing creative and competitive.
Students read short chapters of the beginnings of stories and then have to submit the next chapter for the story. The readers of the story can then vote for which new chapter they feel is the best continuation of the story. The one with the most votes becomes part of the story.
Read more

10. Give Young Learners Structured Writing Practice with WritingSparks
This is a great site for giving structure and adding an element of fun to writing activities, especially if you have a data projector so that students can see the prompts on the screen.
Read more

I hope you find these reviews useful and that they help you to choose the right tools and resources to help your students.

You can find links to many more tools like this and activities for the digital classroom in my ebooks at: https://peacheypublications.com/. All my ebooks are available for iOS and as PDF.

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Nik Peachey

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