Using My WriteSmart in Journeys

A crash course to help you learn to use myWriteSmart

Presented by Amy Leibel

Monday, Jan. 12th 2015 at 3:30-5:30pm

VCE Computer Lab

Ok we have the what?

As we move into the 2nd trimester, many of you have begun to feel comfortable enough with the "Must Do's" in the Journeys Program. We have all expressed a desire to have additional training on the online components of the program. This optional workshop will take place during the January Curriculum Meeting and is open to any teacher (Grades 3-5) who wants to learn more about My WriteSmart. We will use the extended meeting time, 3:30- 5:30, to assign students to your class roster, set up assignments, and begin to look at the usefulness and the components of the My WriteSmart program . Using this program will streamline the writing process for students and cut-down on the paperwork for you at the same time!


3:30-3:40- Welcome, refreshments, and log-In to Journeys Think Central

Teachers will be asked to log onto their Think Central Accounts. The majority of teachers have visited the site before so there is familiarity with the layout in the Dashboard view.

3:40-3:55-Overview of My WriteSmart

After logging into their specific grade level’s dashboard, an overview will be given on what the myWriteSmart program is and how it fits into the Journeys program. myWriteSmart is an interactive online writing and performance assessment tool designed to encourage the 21st-century skill of collaboration. Correlated to the CCSS and connected to the Student Book, it offers interactive writing support and performance tasks to further build conceptual knowledge.

· To open the myWriteSmart dashboard, click the icon in the resources panel. The dashboard shows a list of all assigned activities that have been turned in.

· To open an activity, click anywhere on the bar.

· Use settings to set a preference for student view of assignments you create. Here you can also batch score reports as either PDFs or Excel Spreadsheets.

I will give an overview of all of the “icon” features in the program and what they mean

Prompt- The prompt button allows you to edit and explain to students what they need to do to complete the activity. Teachers can even record their voice, so students can listen to the prompt. Teachers will have about two minutes to practice the record feature.

E-Book- Students have access to their Journeys E-textbook anytime they need to go back to find textual evidence to complete a writing prompt. On the teacher’s screen, they also are able to access the teacher’s guide using this icon

Resources- The resources tab allows students to view any rubrics you may have set up for assignments and ready-made proofreading checklist. This section also provides all the editable graphic organizers included in the Journeys program. I will show teachers how to create their own graphic organizer as well.

Rubrics- The rubric section, allows students to do a quick self-assessment. In the teacher’s view, this is where teachers will upload rubrics and assess student writing assignments based on created rubrics.

Messages-The messages provide a way for both the teacher and students to communicate. The messages section, allows teachers to provide feedback and comment on specific sections of the text. Teachers can also send a whole group message to every student in the class from the messages section.

Peer Review- For some assignments and activities, students may have an opportunity to PEER REVIEW. Students can add a message on other students work only if the teacher enables this feature for each individual assignment. The setting can be edited after assignment creation only up until the first student has started the activity.

Compare Versions-Teachers can see the difference between current and previous drafts submitted.

3:55-4:20-Creating Writing Assignments in my WriteSmart.

During this block, teachers will learn how to create assignments and assign resources to students. All teachers will create one open-ended question. This does not have to be academic. Using the share feature, this assignment will show up in everyone’s resource basket in myWriteSmart. I will show teacher how to create both formative assignments using the Reader’s and Writer’s notebook pages to monitor students’ progress and support their learning and how to assign Journeys assessments, making the assessments digital. You can use built-in assignment, create custom tests, and assign assignments to students in your class. Editing an assignment is very similar to creating one although for some of the built in assignment some fields cannot be edited. Teachers cannot edit an assignment once it has been given to students I will show them how to view assigned assignments and copy assignments to edit and to use them again. In addition, I will spend time showing teachers how they can also add outside websites, images, videos, and other resources students may need to complete the assignment from outside the program using the “attachment” feature.

· To create an assignment, click Assign on any resource in the Teacher’s Dashboard.

· During this part of the PD session, teachers will learn how to create assignments. The number below the the assignment title shows how many students have completed the assignment. It also shows the status of each assignment title.

4:20- 4:35-Adding Students to "Your Classes" in My WriteSmart

In this section, teachers will create their classes and add their students to their classes. This step must be completed before assignments can be created in myWriteSmart for students to view. This is a fairly straightforward step-by-step process. For any teacher who needs additional help or missed the workshop, hey can watch the following instructional screencast tutorial on this step:

Agenda Continued

4:35- 4:40


4:40- 4:50

Overview- how to create rubrics using My WriteSmart.

Next, we will look at the rubric generator feature on my WriteSmart. Teachers will have the opportunity to browse pre-made rubrics for the three types of writing and be shown how to create a rubric from scratch using the rubric generator feature.

4:50- 5:00

Grading- the VERY Basics.

Although this section will require additional time to truly understand and master the components, teachers will have an opportunity to examine how Think Central/ myWriteSmart can auto-grade multiple choice tests, and teachers can grade open responses for student work that has been submitted in myWriteSmart. Teachers can also provide feedback to students throughout the writing process and upon completion of their final assignments. Paperless grading is possible!


Break Out Session- Let's Try It! Independent Work with your grade level to create and assign your first MyWriteSmart assignment. Teachers will have the opportunity to work with their grade level teams to create their first assignment in myWriteSmart, so they can begin to implement the program immediately. I want teachers to be able to leave feeling like this is a tool which will make life easier for them instead of “just one more thing we have to do”.


Wrap Up, Reflections, Lingering Questions, Share.

Teachers will have the opportunity to fill out a Google Form to share their reflections, comments, and evaluation of the workshop. My hope is if they thought the workshop was helpful, we can do more. As stated on this flyer, this workshop is designed to be a quick overview!

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