Category Archives: Writing

Collaborative writing tools

Wow, I’m really excited this week because not only did I get the chance to start writing a story but I also got the chance to collaborate with other classmates (teachers) on writing a story together! I have added a few tools to my livebinders (see bottom right) on Collaborative writing tools. I wrote a story with 2 other teachers (Mercedes and Mrs Bozic) using Entri . It was extremely fun and easy. You just need to type your lines and share it with other people. They can sign in on their Entri account (you can use twitter if you wish to do this) and you can start editing your document. Obviously there are other tools (such as the well-known Google docs) but if you need to edit a document with your twitter friends, I would recommend this one. What I really like is that it also saves your changes every minute or so. Very clever!

My piece of collaborative writing can be accessed here: http://entri.co/fWPgKT

I also noticed not all tools are suitable for all tasks/ text types. That’s why in my Livebinder I have included a brief title that describe what type of text/task each tool is suitable for.

 

Apart from collaborative writing, I have also found you can use a trick on Google docs to annotate a text. See this blog http://nctesecondary.blogspot.com.au/2010/03/annotating-text-using-google-docs.html

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Creative writing tools

This week we are exploring some creative writing tools. To start with, this is a short story started I created for our course.

The 3 pictures I chose for my story-starter

It was a calm Sunday morning. I was enjoying my breakfast in bed when I heard a scratchy noise on my door. “Jack” I shrieked “not today mate, I’m relaxing”. He didn’t relent though. Stretching, I slowly got out of bed and opened the door. He jumped at me. “OK, OK, we’ll go for a walk today”. Next thing I knew, I was crossing the main road with an over-excited dog barking around. You see, Jack is not your usual dog. Though he enjoys his walks, he barks at anything (and anyone!) who is just walking lazily around. We soon arrived to Bondi Beach, which is usually busy on a Sunday, but as it was quite early, there were only a couple of oldies enjoying their beach walk. I never let Jack out of the leash, because I cannot muster the strength to have to do CPR on someone if he bites them on the wrong spot! He is quite friendly though, considering he’s a German pastor and barks frantically about scaring the living daylights out of people.  As I was trying to get him to walk more of less straight, I suddenly spotted a wonderful sight: Dolphins! I couldn’t believe my eyes (or luck) because I’ve only seen whales once in my life and not at Bondi. I wonder what strange marine even could ever attract dolphins to visit Bondi. Maybe they knew it was Australia Day!…

I have explored a couple of tools and I liked “Five card”

1- Because I had never heard of it before.

2- Because I found it exciting for me and my students. It allows students to develop visual thinking as images are randomly generated and students need to pick ONLY 5 to make up their own story. When they do so, they get a permalink to their story that obviously can be added to their blog or any other platform to share with an authentic audience.

Pros: Practice creative writing in a certain context. They could pick pictures that deal with the English area of study (Belonging)

Cons: It can be a con if the teacher is quite rigorous on what she wants since this activity is quite free and allows students who might be struggling to come up with ideas to enjoy the art of creative writing.

I also liked Scholastic’s “Story starters” but obviously this is suitable for Primary students only. It would also aid students who might be  struggling for ideas. However, explicit teaching of grammar, vocabulary, syntactic structures, etc would also help students writing their work effortlessly (or at least “more easily”). 🙂