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.

Experiential inquiry based learning

experiential learning – make it meaningful, robust to get engagement.

ask students to use their own voice

inquiry learning approach to challenging students

allow kids to fail as part of the learning process

ask students what they can do with the information that is all around them, how can they be critical of it, how can they compare it to what they already know

experiential learning – student voice – embracing failure

Experiential learning and integrated curriculum

Reading a lot about unschooling and the approach to learning in these families and communities I have noticed a common theme.  Learning through experience. In learning through experience children gain a greater level of understanding, they can make connections to things that they already know and can add value and meaning to what they are experiencing.

Experience, by nature, does not isolate curriculum areas, it integrates them.  All knowledge comes to play within one activity giving a rounded, more complete understanding.

Being somewhere where curriculum integration is the norm, is championed and celebrated gives me both opportunity and challenge when it comes to planning rich learning experiences for my class. We have the opportunity to follow a question, fully work through a cycle of enquiry with few limitations.  I have the challenge of planning for the unknown while still maintaining focus in the form of learning intentions and expected outcomes form my students.  A bonus in working this way is that activities and learning are differentiated through the nature of experiences and prior knowledge and the benefit for students is huge in terms of being able to access learning at their level within all classroom activities.

My challenge is to marry paper with practice.

I enjoy reading this blog and in particular this post that discuss the value of experiential learning.

Student blogging

Colin and I have discussed the possibility of setting up individual student blogs.

My students really enjoy our class blog and have enjoyed writing it together.  I am looking at more ways to give students the opportunity to write and to get feedback on their writing and am considering using kidblog to give each student their own online space to write.  This article gives great advice on how to get started and how to discuss online etiquette to really boost the quality of the writing being done online.

3 Tips for Successful Student Blogging

Ideally this could be linked to our class blog and be a way of collating student evidence as a type of portfolio.

Our class blog can be found here though what I find is that there is minimal engagement in the blog from class families.  By adding individual student blogs where parents are linked to their child’s work we may be able to increase traffic to the school blog/website and therefore their child’s learning.