Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Trying to Make Writing Easier

This term I am playing around with how I do writing in my class. I want to make it easier for me and for my students.

For Students

I used to share a writing motivation for the students - this could be a picture, article, video etc - and then they used to write down all their 'wonderings' in their book. Once they had written down these they had to list all the possible ways they could write from their wonderings. The problem with this was all this information stayed with that student.

What about the student that can't come up with something?
How can everyone else's wonderings and possible ways of writing help the whole class?
What if someone else's ideas motivate me more to write?

Taking these questions into considerations I decided to create a Google Form, which I have shared on my class site, that the kids can see the writing motivation on. They then complete their wonderings and possible writing - see pictures below.

On the same page of my site I have embedded the response sheet (Google Sheet) so when they complete the Form their responses are displayed straight away. Now all students can see straight away what each other has come up with for wonderings and ways to write.

For Students and Me

I have shared something along this line before but am sharing again. 

At the end of each writing session I get my students to complete a 'Teacher Help Form'. This helps me prepare for my next session. They need to tick one of the following boxes:
  • Happy with where I am at
  • Have started but have hit a speed bump - need you to swing by my table for a quick chat
  • A little bit lost - can I have a conference please?
  • Totally lost - HELP ME!!!
  • Finished draft, proof read and edited - conference please

For example, today after I have worked with one of my writing groups I know I have to swing by 6 students desks to have a quick chat. The students like this as they have asked for help without anyone seeing they are - which can be a issue for some students. Also - if I have any other time in class I can check in with the students that have asked for help.

How it looks on my site:

Click on links below to make a copy:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Post Comment Template in Blogger

In my class we have a blog where we share writing with each other, and we are now starting to look into peer feedback (this is part of my teacher inquiry). My students were struggling with what to write or how to start their feedback so I have added a selection of sentence starters that pops up when they comment in blogger. See below:

This is pretty easy to do. Just see the image below and follow these simple instructions:

1. Go to blogger
2. Click on 'Settings'
3. Click on 'Posts, comments and sharing'
4. Add what you want to put in the .Comment Form Message'
Click 'Save'

Sentence Starters:

I really liked . . . because . . .
I really liked the way you . . .
I enjoyed reading this because . . .
It was especially good when you . . . because . . .

I think you need to . . . because . . .
Next time you write . . .
Think about adding . . .
Have you thought about . . .
To improve your . . . try . . .
Perhaps you could . . .

Friday, 28 July 2017

Homophone Worksheets made by Students

Today in class I taught my students how to make 'Self Marking Forms' after getting them to complete the one I shared earlier last week. It was pretty successful and they have done a pretty good job. These will be put on our class site where students will be able to access and complete when they have finished spelling and writing work. I plan to keep adding so there are lots of options for them. These ones are only homophone sheets but hopefully we will get creative and make a whole range over the term. Click on the links to make a copy if you want.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Teacher Help - Writing

I love teaching writing but I get frustrated when so many kids need help and there is only one of me to go round. This term I am going to trial a Teacher Help Form. At the end of writing sessions I will get the kids to complete the form - you can make a copy below. It will ask the following: 

Teacher Assistance 

I will then be able to make a plan of attack for the next day. I am thinking I will be able to catch up with kids who need help if I have any other 'free' time in class. This could be after a reading session, before school, or if I some how manage to find a few free minutes during the day.

Keeping track of this will also help me see what kids are always asking for feedback and help me keep track of who I have seen as in the Google Sheet I will be able to make notes.  Fingers crossed it will make giving feedback in writing easier.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

EasyBib Bibliography Creator

Easybib Bibliography Creator is an add on for Google Docs and Slides and is an automatic bibliography citation generator. It is easy to use and will get students into the habit of citing work correctly, something they will need to do later in life.

If I had this tool when I was at university it would have saved me hours! Type in the name of the book, article or website you have been using, click search and then add to bibliography. It really is that easy.

Watch the short video for instructions.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Using Forms to Create Self Marking Worksheets

An idea I have been playing around with is using Forms for worksheets, flipped learning or reinforcement activities. This is one I have created that I will trial with my students in the first week on homophones. You can make Forms into quizzes so as soon as the students have completed it they can get instant feedback and see what they got right and wrong. You can also embed YouTube Videos, pictures and links. My goal (if it works with the students) would be to create a whole folder of these on different things. I will also get my higher groups to create Forms for other students. This could range from punctuation, spelling rules - the list is endless. 

You can use Flubaroo to mark Forms so I will be trialing this over the next few weeks also to see what works best with my class. I will follow up on that in the next few weeks. 

** Create a copy here** There, their and they're Form

Friday, 14 July 2017

Force Copy

When I share some a Google Form, Doc, Slide or Sheet with colleagues or fellow teachers you will normally see this screen:

This means I am forcing people to make a copy so I don't have to share it with them. This is easy to do and means you don't have to share, risk them making unwanted changes or give access to lots of people. Below is a very short video showing you how to do this.
**You will need to change the sharing settings I think for anyone with the link before you do what I show you in the video**