Ed Tech Tips with E. Mosier

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Enhance Writing with Write About!

What is Write About?

One of the greatest aspects of technology integration is that there are always new tools to learn about that aim to engage students even further. However, writing can be a tedious process if the students are not engaged. But, a tool I was recently introduced to is Write About. This is a site dedicated to writing and allowing students to open up a world of creativity that only writing can do, all with a collaborative audience.

Sign Up for Write About

Navigating Write About is extremely user-friendly and signing up is a breeze. As the teacher, you can Sign Up with Google and registration is almost done for you. Then, when the students go to sign up, their registration is just as easy. Each teacher that registers is given a 6-digit code that they use. Then, they too use their Google account to register. They then type in the teacher's code, and they're in! Teachers are allowed up to 250 students, which is a wonderful number to include all of your students.

Begin to Spark Student Writing with Ideas

A distinct feature of Write About is that it is not only a writing platform, but one with several thousand writing prompts! Ideas, on the site, are defined as "visual writing starters created by teachers. They can elicit specific responses or be open-ended." Students can then use one of those ideas that are already provided, or they can use one generated by their teacher. These are the starting points of each individual piece of writing, which is known as a Post.

Posts - Students can Write, Revise, and Publish

Posts are pieces created by students (or even teachers) for any purpose or genre. A neat option when students write a post is the ability to add a header image to their writing, such as you see at the top of a Google Classroom. Students can also give their piece a title. Then, as students are typing their draft, a subtle word count icon appears so they're aware of essay length. They then craft their essay in the Post box using the selected prompt.

Teacher Feedback to Student Writing

A wonderful option that teachers have is the ability to leave feedback for students, either written or verbally. To leave feedback, simply highlight a bit of text and the option appears. What's great about this is that the students can see the teacher feedback in real time, even as they are writing! On the flip side of feedback, you can leave a comment about the writing. But, know that it is public, whereas the feedback left is between the teacher and the student.

Community Writing Groups

The absolute coolest feature of Write About, in my mind, is the Community Writing Group. These are pages that bring writers together around themes and public projects.

The purpose is to help students find inspiration and identity for their writing as well as to connect them with other student writers so they can read and comment. If a student is interested in sports, video games, or changing the world, there's a Community Writing Group for that. This is a fantastic collaborative feature that allows students to connect with other students with similar writing interests.

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