Quill: Writing Tools For Students

WHO: Teachers looking for an easy-to-use tool to help students become better writers.
 
HOW: Head over to https://www.quill.org/, sign-up as an educator using Google, Clever, or manual entry, and get started.  Teachers can import classes from Google Classroom or create their own in the system.  Once a class is in place, a diagnostic test can be assigned.  Information from this assessment will give recommendations on activities for each student. There are four main options for student use in Quill:
 
Connect – Practice combining fragments into complex and well-structured sentences.
 
Diagnostic – Allows teachers to find out where students need to focus.
 
Proofreader – Students learn editing skills.  Passages are supplied with errors allowing students to practice grammar.
 
Grammar – Sentence writing activities for students to practice grammar.
 
WHEN: The majority of these activities are 5-10 min so they function well as bell-ringers or closing reinforcements.  These could also be used for enrichment work for students to extend their learning when they have finished regular classwork.

SAS Writing Reviser: Proof Reading Tool for Writing Assignments

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WHO: Teachers and students looking for tools to help with proof reading.

HOW: Create a document in Google Docs, Select Add-ons, Get Add-ons, search for “writing reviser”.  You will need to create a free account with SAS Curriculum Pathways.  There are many other tools available at this website as well.  There are many writing tools built in to this add-on.  Be sure to check out the video from SAS Curriculum Pathways below.

WHEN: This tool is very beneficial for anyone who needs help with writing.  It is listed for grades 6-12, but it would be great for college students as well.

 

#TWIMA Project – The World Is My Audience

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Who: Teachers looking to engage students with writing by taking part in a worldwide project.  Jon Smith (@theipodteacher) is looking for classes across the globe to take part in the second iteration of collaboration to create an iBook/ePub of student writing.  The theme for #TWIMA2 is The World Is My Audience 2: Dreams Around The World

How: (Copied from http://thetwimaproject.weebly.com/about.html)

Below are the general guidelines for the project along with time frames.  We are going to focus on dreams in this version of #twima.  We will be using iBooks Author this time to increase the interactivity and ease of transferring your  work to the book.

Part 1:
Have your class discuss dreams.  The dreams they write about could be personal dreams, actual night dreams, dreams for the world, dreams of their culture or dreams that relate to academic areas they currently are part of (I can envision students writing about dreams of solving problems or placing themselves in historical events).

1. Have your class discuss dreams.  The dreams they write about could be personal dreams, actual night dreams, dreams for the world, dreams of their culture or dreams that relate to academic areas they currently are part of (I can envision students writing about dreams of solving problems or placing themselves in historical events).

2. Submit these written dreams to me via google drive, word document or pages document.

3. These written dreams may include artwork or photos your students create if they wish.  Please make sure students use their own artwork and photos.  I would like to avoid any copyright issues.  If they choose photos from the internet, please make sure they are acceptable and copyright free.

Part 2:

Once the dreams are submitted, we will pass the written work on to another group of teachers and students who will take those written dreams and turn them into multimedia for the iBook.  This media could be videos, photos, widgets and much, much more.  The sky is truly the limit.

Part 3:

The final piece of this project will be taking all the written dreams and multimedia pieces and weaving them into one big story.  Justin and his students have agreed to make the larger story based on the dreams your students develop.  Don’t worry!  Your student work will not be changed in any way.  Their work will simply be woven into a larger story.

 

When: #TWIMA2 started March 1, so now is the time to get involved!  Visit http://thetwimaproject.weebly.com/ for more information, contact info, and how to join!

 

I love the idea of this project.  It combines writing, technology, and dreaming!  Let’s help Jon reach his goal of representing each state in the #TWIMA2 iBook! You can also visit #TWIMA on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/twima

Hemingway App – Drafting tool for any writing assignment

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WHO: Teachers looking to have students pre-draft writing before sending to peer/teacher edits.
HOW: HemingwayApp.com is a website designed to help with editing writing assignments. After pasting in their writing sample, HemingwayApp identifies areas for potential improvement. Examples of these areas are hard to read sentences, use of adverbs and use of passive voice. It also identifies the number of paragraphs, sentences, words and character. Identified areas for correction are color coded for easy recognition. By moving your cursor over there error, the program gives suggestions for revision to the user. The program also gives the user an identified grade level readability to assist with your target audience.
When: Regardless of the assignment type, this free tool helps students to build their writing skills.

I have used this tool many times and found it to be useful. Hemingway App may not pick up on spelling mistakes and incorrect uses of words (their, there, they’re). However, it is still a powerful tool for teachers and students both. Use it yourself for classroom communications, or checking readability of assignments.

LINK: http://www.hemingwayapp.com/

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Would You Rather? Writing Prompts for Math Class

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Who: Teachers looking to incorporate writing and critical thinking skills in their math classrooms.

How: This blog posts new writing prompts on a regular basis. Teachers can use a variety of writing techniques with their students to make this usable in many grade levels.

When: Teachers can use these as a major writing assignment, a weekly journal, or even as a thought provoking question of the day.

One of the things I have heard from math teachers over the years is “How do I incorporate writing into my Math classes”. This website creates a great opportunity to incorporate writing in this content area. While working on their math skill sets and critical thinking, students can see math in daily life. Whether you decide to use it for a weekly, quarterly, or daily assignment, Would You Rather Math is a fantastic tool.

Link: https://wyrmath.wordpress.com/