Category Archives: Opinion Writing

Writing Newspaper Articles

Have you ever considered having students create newspaper stories or articles?  Or even full newspapers?

Students will learn to choose descriptive concise language when writing an article.

Keep these in mind:

  1. Start with a lead which captures the audience
  2. Give important details and facts (who, what, where, when, why and how) which are necessary components of an article
  3. Follow up by talking more about the main facts
  4. Try to remain unbiased
  5. Write a conclusion which restates the important facts
  6. Use pictures and captions

The basics of an news article can be taught by having students create bogus stories. One of my favourite examples of a creative writing activity is to have students find a picture and create a headline and article which misleads the reader.

Example of bogus story

Websites

http://newspaper.jaguarpaw.co.uk/

Newspaper Article

http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/newspaper-generator.html

http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp

http://www.newspaperclub.com/make-a-newspaper-online

http://newspaper.jaguarpaw.co.uk/
http://newspaper.jaguarpaw.co.uk/

 

There are several online sites that allow the student to generate an article or newspaper.

http://www.newspaperclub.com/make-a-newspaper-online
http://www.newspaperclub.com/make-a-newspaper-online

Creating Comics on your iPad

Comics are very powerful pieces of writing.  Students enjoy reading and creating comics. Two apps on the iPad,, Comic Life and BookCreator, allow students to create their own comics. ComicLifeSample

One of the best ways to engage your students in a story writing dialogue activity, is to use Comics.   What better way is there to show how writing dialogue needs to appropriate, clear and effective?  If their characters’ dialogue does not drive the plot, then the audience cannot follow their story.

Students can use Comic Life or BookCreator  to display their understanding of any topic in their non-fiction writing:

  1. Autobiographies or Biographies
  2. Speech Plan
  3. Instructional/Procedural Write
  4. Travel Guide
  5. Poster

Comic Life and BookCreator have many unique comic features and the purpose for using these features needs to be explained to students.

  1. Panels and Pages
    • a panel is like a paragraph, with one main idea
    • size of panel shows time and importance
    • we read panels left to right, top to bottom
  2. Pictures
    • Background
      • shows us setting
      • develops mood
    • Foreground
      • Characters and important objects
  3. Text Features
    • Captions
      • carries the narrative of the story
      • tells us about setting
      • explains what happens between panels
    • Speech and Thought Bubble
      • displays characteristic of characters
      • Is often the core text feature, giving the most information
    • Lettering
      • Onomatopeias
      • Title
You can also have students explore App Smashing by:
  1. Adding themselves as characters on a background in PicCollage
  2. In Drawing Box, create their own drawings and add to their comic
  3. Create their own characters in Avatar Creator

Here is student instructions for using Comic Life

ComicLifeiPad

and Comics in BookCreator

BookCreatorComics

Collaborative Writes Benefit all Students

Collaborative Writes Benefit all Studentsstudents-148163_640

  1. Collaboration strengthens writing skills and improves Communication 
  2. Sense of Responsibility to complete a task improves growth in Personal Awareness
  3. Sharing of Ideas with a diversity of opinions and styles promotes Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
  4. Sharing of Expertise with Peer Editing develops Critical Thinking Skills

*Bolded Core Competencies 

Using the iPads, collaborative writing can happen easily in the Google Environment.

Students can use either Google Slide or Google Docs to create and share the writing assignment.


Forms of Writing

Persuasive Writing (debate) using Google Slides or Docs

  • A pair of students choose to debate a topic on the same document.
  • Give Topics such as “Every child should or should not have a tracking device placed on them” or “Curfews”, “Uniforms” etc.
  • One student creates the doc/slide and shares to partner
  • When completed the writing, the students would edit, giving a strong argument for one, or decide to let the reader choose (more of a editorial write)

Research Writing Using Google Slides

  • Students in pairs or triads, research a topic together dividing the topic  into subtopics
  • One Student creates a Google Slide and shares with group
  • Students are each responsible to present the information on their own Google Slide pages, within the original document
  • Remind students that this is an oral presentation, with visual cues
  • Show students how to turn on the speaker’s notes, where they can add script to refer to in presentation

Narrative Writing Using Google Document

  • Give students a genre of a traditional/parody story to rewrite (Fractured Fairy Tale,  Animal  Story, Fable)
  • Divide students into pairs or triads
  • One student creates the doc and shares with the group
  • Put a table on the document, so that each student has a place to write
  • The (2×6) table could include: Introduction, Setting, Protagonist, Antagonist,  Problem, Attempt to Solve 1, Attempt to Solve 2, Attempt to Solve, Solution, Conclusion
  • Students divide the task and write in their chosen cell
  • Completed text can be copied and pasted into another application

Poetry

  • Choose a poetry form with a distinctive form  such as sonnet
  • Discuss the characteristics of the poetry form
  • Sonnet 14 lines, 3 quatrains, 1 couplet,  each line 10 syllables, rhyming scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg
  • Divide students into groups
  • One student creates the document and shares
  • Create a table 2×14
  • Label  Column with rhyming scheme
  • Each Student completes their assigned line

 

Use Pic Collage to Make New Year’s Resolution

NewYearsResolution2Did you know that New Year’s Resolutions were started by the Babylonians about 4000 years ago.

  1. Think about personal and school related goals or resolutions.
  2. Find a blank scroll picture on internet and save to photos
  3. Open Pic Collage and + add a new collage
  4. Press the + and Add Photos, choose Camera Roll and scroll
  5. Double tap and Set as background. Trash smaller image by dragging to trash
  6. Press the + and Add text, stickers etc.
  7. Save to Library (now in your photos)
  8. Make your wallpaper

 

 

 

Using Word Clouds With iPads

What are WordClouds?

WordClouds are an application which deconstructs text and puts it into a visual representation.  In a nut shell, it takes your words and puts it into a picture.

Reasons to use Word Clouds:

  1. Pre-Reading:  Skimming through text looking for key words, headings and pictures is a great pre-reading strategy.  However if the text is dense, searching for keywords is difficult.  Students paste text into a Word Cloud, and the application will display more frequent words larger.
  2. Pre-Writing Strategy:  this is a great place for students to organize and brainstorm their ideas around writing.
  3. Post Reading:  Generating a list of words which summarizes the text and placing into a Word Cloud.
  4. During Writing: Students place their expository writing into a Word Cloud, and see if the main idea is apparent.
  5. Post Writing:  The word cloud, in itself, can be a visual representation about their ideas.

Several years ago, with the WWP program we started using word clouds in our classes.  Students access sites such as wordle.net or tagxedo.com to create word art.  As we have moved into using the iPads in our classes, some of the sites, we previously used, do not work with iPads.  Remember iPads do not run Flash or Silverlight.

So what can students use instead?

Word It Out:

 

  • WorditOutStudents can edit colour and text
  • no maximum on words added

 http://worditout.com/

 

 

Tagul:Cloud 2

  • requires students to sign up with an email account (use learn60 , but user name should not be their full name ie: ToniT14 or tthompson14)
  • can edit colour and text
  • can choose shape
  • more features available

https://tagul.com

FestisiteWaveWordCloud

  • limited words meant more for sentences
  • shapes are either spiral, heart or waves

http://www.festisite.com/text-layout/