Friday, November 07, 2008

A Structured Writing Tool - Writing Fun

Writing presents a significant challenge for many students. The act of writing incorporates many individual components necessary for writing success. Students need to be able to hold a writing instrument, form letters legibly, space between words, spell accurately, generate ideas, organize their thinking, hold onto a sequence of words and get the picture. There is a significant physical, motoric, visual processing, memory, and cognitive load. The breakdown for writing success can be anywhere.

For students who benefit from external structure and prompts to help them organize their thinking and approach to written expression, there is an online tool that provides this. It's called Writing Fun and the site has been developed by Jenny Eather.

Although the opening screen is visually overwhelming and complex, you must check out the text categories on the right side of the screen - Narrative, Discussion, Poetry, Procedure, Informative, Recount, Explanation, Persuasion and Description.

When you click on a category, you are taken to a new Text Organizer screen which breaks down the writing tasks into parts. At the bottom of the screen are examples; on the right side, links will connect to color coded text that connect to the examples.

Watch this quick screen cast I created using Jing, a free screen capture tool to help you better understand the possibilities.

Try it out, let your students try it out and ask them for feedback. What do they think? Does it help them improve their writing? If they think it does, encourage them to use this tool during writing assignments. Give them the choice and let them decide.

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