MAGIC of the twitisphere.... Making the writing programme fun
Making the writing
a crowd sourced, co-constructed presentation to
share our ideas...
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If I read a phrase or
words that make me go
tingly or I can really
FEEL the moment... I...
wait for it... dance on
my chair! Now that
sounds crazy I know, but
the kids love it and often
talk about who will get
me dancing, and it has
become a challenge and
Take a photo of something and use 10-12
words to describe it. Then overlays the
words on to the photo.
Can use to describe self, nature, items in
Brainstorms for a topic.
Use a range of writing inspiration...
My absolute favourite is
The Literacy Shed
I have used it with a range of levels and
abilities and the writing produced is
Inspire with props...
Make the inspiration as much fun as
possible by using a range of props, toys,
Act out - live the experience prior to
Use the digital camera on rotation...
Whoever has the camera for the session can
use it to photograph their written work at
times they choose to show progress and
increase in output (if that is a desired
Ensure learners are very clear of purpose
One of my favourite ways to showcase
writing is 100WC - absolutely sensational
for showcasing and feedback. A real
challenge for loquacious writers to trim to
100word, and a real challenge for those
who write a couple of sentences.. there is
also five sentence challenge
10 word stories
Making a writing task achievable but still
10 word stories.
Use video to inspire.
Access quality video online to inspire
Kiwi Kids News clips.
Nat Geo Kids clips.
Tag team writing
Start with a stem sentence on a page for
every student. Ring the bell or start the
music and they write the next sentence.
Fold the page and pass to the next person
around the room. They then read the story
and add the next sentence. After a few
times, tell them the next sentence needs to
end the story. Read out some of the stories
and get ready for the laughs.
Begin the day or block with speed writing to warm up to
literacy. Ensure the purpose and audience are identified
(by students or teacher. Coach the children through 15
minutes of writing, revising and proofreading. eg. To
expand vocabulary - Write a description using PicLits that
includes a selection of words/phrases to extend the
children. Coach the children to use the words as they
write.... The constant verbal coaching is invaluable.
Worksheets are dead - apply it to the kids’ own writing.
Idea borrowed from Austin Kleon’s work.
- Take a piece of newspaper or better yet a
page ripped from an old book. My kids
especially love this.
- Circle a select few words anywhere on the
page to create a poem.
- Blackout all other text using a sharpie.
- Voilà a poem! Share.
Merely passing on a great idea by
@mrwoodnz shared at #educampakl:
Shaun has created Pinterest boards for his
students to scaffold words from visuals.
Read his blog here:
(an idea from @DeputyMitchell, shared by @judykmck
Fullstop = 2 points
Comma = 1 point
Inverted commas = 3 points
Question mark = 5 points
Exclamation mark = 5 points
Colon = 3 points
Semi-colon = 3 points
Ellipses = 5 points
Hyphen = 5 points and Brackets = 3 points
for explanations I got some old
cameras from recycling centre and kids
pulled apart and wrote explanations.
LOTS of discussion...
Shadow Puppets/ Myths
Use cardboard shadow puppets at the
planning and publishing stage. Photograph
and use comic life for planning... I-Movie or
a presentation tool such as voicethread to
Drama is an amazing way of helping students to plan their
writing, develop rich vocabulary, and develop meaningful
There are various techniques e.g. freeze frame,
soundscapes, conscience alley etc. & Dorothy Heathcote’s
Mantle of the Expert.
For background reading try: “Oops! Helping children learn
accidentally” by Hywell Roberts.
Read the web page http://dramaresource.com/strategies
for an explanation of some drama techniques.
Use Chrome Extension- Webpage Screenshot to re-write
whole news stories
Proof reading with Counters
This is a very simple and easy way to make proof reading
more hands on and focused.
Each child needs a small pile of see through counters.
I use them by asking the children for example - put your
counters on all the full stops / on the speech marks /
It is then very obvious what skill has or hasn't been used
with each child.
Using Video to Teach Speech
Watch a short, known, clip with only 2 - 3
lines of speech.
Students add action and detail around the
speech to share the complete story.
Rugby World Cup
- Students take on the role of different
characters from one story and tell events
from their perspective.
- We put the stories all together on a
Read a paragraph of text to the students
and have them write down the keywords
Note down the class/group list of words and
discuss unknown words.
Have the students recraft the paragraph
using the keywords. (they get better the more they do it - first time is
Storybird provides online templates and artwork. Students can create the storybooks.
Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar
Our work on the barking fish
My Bright Idea
I found a notebook at the Warehouse that is
full of “My Bright Idea” starters e.g. My
bright idea for a flashmob,My awesome
idea for a rock band...
My kids love it and use them all the time
for writing inspiration.
Demonstrate your learning in class,
describe a person / book character / event,
insert photos and videos and print off or
embed into your blog.
Data Projector Writing
One student does their writing on my teacher
laptop projected onto the whiteboard then we
buddy (class) conference it at the end.
We can write corrections over their writing
directly on the whiteboard.
They love having a direct audience watching
them write and are really supportive at
Great book to inspire writing...
Includes things like If cats had wings...
Love this website and this is just one of a number of examples that I have used. Have fun
Some useful sites
Pick a number write to the prompt
Pinterest story prompts
Pinterest has lots of great images for
provoking student writing
60 seconds to write about one word
Don’t think....just write...
Popplet.com for Mindmapping
My most favourite tool in all sorts of writing
contexts: Structure a story, extend
vocabulary, word families etc. etc.
Especially successful when used with photo
or video prompt as inspiration for a story
(via Jill Hammonds :D)
Padlet.com (formerly wallwisher)
Organise ideas / thoughts, collect opinions,
sort spelling words etc. - especially
powerful when students can access this at
the same time and see their contribution
appear on the IWB or through the
Putting up pictures of things that very few
students would know what they are, eg a
capybara. Then getting students to write
about what they think this animal might
sound like, smell like or what it might eat.
Where does it live (using clues in the
picture). How big is it? Dangerous or not?
Once upon a Slime
45 fun ways to get writing fast..
Written by Andy
- great ideas for
Engaging reluctant writers with
Motivational and engaging activities at
Discovery Time provide rich language
experiences and are a fantastic catalyst for
Capturing images from Youtube clips or
short videos inspire children to write ‘what
next?’ For example, ‘What’s this cat
Have 2-3 students per week share their writing
with pals via Skype and GoogleDocs.
They can also email each other.
The children love finding out all about others
favourite sports, toys, books and more!
Describe It - Quick Write
Idea from The Writing Book
- Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey
Put up a picture and children have set amount
of time to write down ideas about it.
I have used this as a stand-alone, and as an
introduction into a piece of descriptive
Describe a Whatsit in exactly 73 words.
Using Art to Improve Writing
Video Explanation of Monster Match
@roxy17nz - original share through #UDLchat
Excellent strategies and resources in Jill Hammonds’ ‘Blended e-Learning
Literacy’ group in the VLN: http://www.vln.school.
On the back of an inspirational visit to our
school from Paula Green today - author
visits to schools are great motivation for
the childrens writing! New Zealand Book
Have a look at her blog - NZ Poetry for
Challenge students to use Twitter to write
a story. Each student has to complete each
part in 140 characters. (Great way to focus
on vocabulary choice and development and it’s a fun challenge!)
Google Docs for Shared Writing
● Focusing on rich text and vocabulary
development to create vivid images in the
● Collaborative / shared writing that really
fosters the whole concept of the ZPD.
● Sharing completed writing with other
students, classes, schools, families etc both
locally and globally - and inviting them to
collaborate on other writing.
Wikis and Blogs for Global
● Share the love of writing by collaborating
and sharing writing globally with the bonus
of having a strong purpose and audience for
● Fantastic opportunity to teach about
effective feedback and to practise giving
and receiving effective feedback.
● What Is Effective Feedback in Writing?
Ideas and inspiration for writing and all
sorts of things...
Teachers Pet Ideas
Adapt this idea for children story writing combine writing with visual language children have to match their emotions etc
in the photo to the story on the whiteboard
Use Class Pages to Source
This is a great use of digital communication
and collaboration to encourage working
with other class pages/students.
Have at a look from 2012 of our students
working with @annekenn
Science and Writing
● Descriptive writing or recounts of
● doing an experiment and then writing
instructions and sharing with another
class to see if instructions work.
Using Philip Clairmont Art for
We used Philip Clairmont art to
demonstrate imagery. We did our own
pastel armchair then wrote descriptive
pieces focusing on imagery/personification.
Has been very successful! www.
100 Word Recount
Spice up the “What I did in the holidays”
recount by limiting it to 100 words. Here’s
a model. Make the timeframe of the
modelled experience (about 2 mins of my
holiday) explicit to the children.
Identify language features (e.g. rich
vocabulary, metaphor, simile) used.
Children write their own two minute 100
word recount based on an emotional
(see next slides - email@example.com)
Create play and share text adventure
Build Your Wild Self
Students are able to build their
own characters and add animal
features as a motivation for
describe your character
where it lives
what it eats
does it have friends /
Scholastic Story Starters
Your students ‘never know what to write
about’? Try http://www.scholastic.
for engaging ideas as well as a choice
formats for them to complete their writing
in (e.g. newspaper article etc.)
For a change present your writing as
poster. Use text, photos, stickers and print
off or save and share per email, on blog etc
(similar to PicCollage on the iPad)
Signed up teachers (free) can create a
project name for their students to simplify
Let them write what they know!
Many children have a favourite book series i.e
Let them write their own story using the formulaic style of
that series. Get them to take note of how the mood is
established in the books, what the characters are like and
even how it is punctuated. This takes away some of the
pressure children often feel when they have to plan a
story from scratch.
Empowering with Edmodo!
I really love ‘Edmodo’ www.edmodo.com
For engaging with reluctant writers in
senior primary - especially boys! It looks
just like Facebook, and the kids really love
it. Here are a couple of screen shots to