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:
Start with a lead which captures the audience
Give important details and facts (who, what, where, when, why and how) which are necessary components of an article
Follow up by talking more about the main facts
Try to remain unbiased
Write a conclusion which restates the important facts
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.
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.
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:
Autobiographies or Biographies
Comic Life and BookCreator have many unique comic features and the purpose for using these features needs to be explained to students.
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
shows us setting
Characters and important objects
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
You can also have students explore App Smashingby:
Adding themselves as characters on a background in PicCollage
In Drawing Box, create their own drawings and add to their comic
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:
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.
Pre-Writing Strategy: this is a great place for students to organize and brainstorm their ideas around writing.
Post Reading: Generating a list of words which summarizes the text and placing into a Word Cloud.
During Writing: Students place their expository writing into a Word Cloud, and see if the main idea is apparent.
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.