Brain research proves that the more students interact with content, the better they learn it. There are many ways students can interact with new concepts. In some classes, students create drawings, paintings, or sculptures. Some dramatize the material, while others write lyrics or sing. Nearly every input of new learning involves reading of some type: articles, websites, textbooks, literature, or a student’s own notes. And nearly every interaction of learning involves writing of some type: note-taking, journaling, writing short responses, reflections, research papers, essays, and more. Across every class, every day, students are asked to write.
Writing in Math class? Yes. Explaining strategies in writing builds new learning for students.
Writing in Physical Education? Absolutely. Journaling about topics discussed in class can help students learn as well as create an avenue for the teacher to get to know the students better.
Writing in Science? For sure. Using the assigned vocabulary independently helps students master the large number of content specific words taught in science class.
As a fifth-grade teacher, I integrate writing throughout the day. In writing workshop, students learn about fiction and nonfiction structures to use across genres; in science class, students write explanations, descriptions, and lab reports. In social studies class, students write short answers to open-ended questions. In math class, students write strategy descriptions. I also encourage students to journal as a way to get to know them better, increase their writing fluency, and to help them brainstorm when writing.
One way I’ve been able to make writing tasks more interesting in my classroom is to use Boomwriter.com. This free online platform allows me to assign writing tasks to my students and allows them to write online in a new and interactive way.
In “WordWriter,” I can insert vocabulary words that I want the students to use in a short response and the website highlights each word as they use it. Students submit their work online, so I can read and grade it. I can write comments to them as well. There are several types of Common Core standards-based rubrics embedded in the tool, so it’s very easy for me to assess their writing and send it back to them. If revisions are needed, I can note that as well.
Also, on Boomwriter, I love to use “ProjectWriter” with my students. In this application, students create projects one section at a time. This tool helped my students organize the opinion essays they recently wrote. I chunked the work into five sections, one for each paragraph. This helped them to write the entire essay section by section, making it much less overwhelming. I can also give them a word bank in this application and I can choose from several different rubrics.
Boomwriter’s StoryWriter is a fun way to write fiction collaboratively. Each student can write a chapter and then vote on which chapter makes it into the finished book. The book can be published and purchased for only $9.99.
Of course, many students are reluctant writers. The expectation that students should write competently in all classes can discourage students. I love the way Boomwriter can make this easier for students and help alleviate their fears. After everyone finishes the assignment, I can open up the work for voting. Student names aren’t connected to the work, so authorship is anonymous. Students read each other’s work, which also reinforces their learning, and then they choose the piece they think is the best. This creates motivation to write the best response or essay possible and to read their classmates’ work.
Writing is not only an important skill to learn and practice, it also helps our students to learn and remember new vocabulary and concepts across subject areas. Boomwriter.com helps teachers like me make writing more accessible and exciting for our students. Check it out today.