Apps to support writing

I have been working with a target group of students and out local RTLit to explore a variety of ways to engage and motivate them during writing time.

We are using Book Creator to record learning and as a tool to write with.  I enjoy using book creator as it allows for students to import photos and videos and record their voice when reading or when getting ideas for writing.  It has been a great motivator for most of our target group and they love to share their books with others.

What I don’t like about Book Creator is that it is a work in progress until published which means that on a bad day, things can be changed and deleted from previous lessons.  We have created some rules around the use of the books, when and where and who can access them.  This then limits their use to time spent with a teacher and takes some of the ownership away from the writer.  I am using it as a type of modelling book with examples of the students work recorded along with anecdotal notes written by me.  The advantage of pen and paper here is that it can be readily accessed by the student without fear of things going missing.

I found this article informative when looking for other options.


12 August 2016 – I am revisiting this blog post as I reflect on my teaching of writing in my new room with a different set of students but with two students who I would like to accelerate.  I am looking at what worked from my practice in the past and looking to bring this back into my program successfully.

iPads are a tool, and one that I should use more of in order to motivate and engage reluctant writers.  I have seen it work successfully with book creator with students developing a real care and ownership of their work.  For students who do not normally have work published – due to time, quantity, focus etc. have work ‘published’ in this digital format during each mini lesson.  The can use their need for colour and order at times to produce work to be proud of and want to do more of.

I need to invest the time to teach my newer students how to use the iPad as a tool as the time it takes to teach should payback with an increase in quality of work produced.



Group reading

Empowering students to lead their own discussion about what they have read.  Give students responsibility/leadership/tasks.

Helps to improve comprehension by increasing engagement.

Use cards as prompts to help with confidence in deeper thinking.

Use during reading as well as after reading.


Particularly interested in FORI, fluency orientated reading instruction.

students read the same passage of text throughout the week developing fluency.  Extension tasks, specific focus addressed throughout the week so students have an in depth understanding of what they are reading and can use the text to practice other reading strategies.

Will try with MG and SS groups this week in form of journal contracts, supported by me during reading time.

Enviroschools Workshop Thames

What a great day!

I was able to attend the Enviroschools workshop held in Thames today and have a fantastic time exploring community gardens, community orchards and planting, adobe buildings and discussing this years focus ‘Global Problems, Local Solutions’.

Brightsmile Garden Thames

Great inspiration for our community garden creation.  Effectively managed beds in the shape of a mandala.  Areas dedicated to tropical plants and protected/sheltered by feijoas and citrus.

Garden beds managed with a permaculture focus using chop and drop method for weeds to feed the soil with hot compost being created directly onto garden beds.

The outdoor area including an earth built shed gave great inspiration for our outdoor classroom plan at school.

This would be a great place for our students to visit.


Child’s views on learning

Some holiday reading that is written in kids speak, using child’s language and giving their views on classrooms, teaching and learning.

Holmes, J (1999) Learn, Think, Live – Mike Scadden’s amazing new method of learning.

I’m wondering whether I know this about the students I teach? Have I ever asked them what they think of our classroom environment, how they like to learn or how they’d like to be taught?

In most cases I make a judgement about their style of learning as I get to know them, I observe them in different situations and adjust my program and classroom in response.

What sticks out for me is the highlights for students, the things that I didn’t expect and the things that I would only know about my day, lesson, classroom etc. by asking.

I would like to read this with my class to prompt discussion and to them confidence in their responses.