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8 Classroom Tools to Encourage Creative Writing

8 Classroom Tools to Encourage Creative Writing

By Suzanne Hart

reading too much? Whooos ReadingVoltaire said, “Writing is the painting of the voice.”

Anne Frank said, “I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

In Texas, as in many other states, 4th grade is considered The Big Writing Year. We have our state test that requires students to write on two consecutive days for 4 hours each.

They are expected to write up to 27 lines of a personal narrative one day, and 27 lines in expository form the other. The prompts are given to them, all of which are realistic, no fantasy, or magic.

Guess what most of my kids love writing about on a daily basis: fantasy and magic, using their creativity and imagination.

What they write about during morning journal time and when using online storytelling tools is their choice—because it is their voice.

If our state could evaluate their chapter stories by the depth of character and emotions, the wild imaginative lands they travel to, and the conflicts, protagonists, foreshadowing and suspense, they would all receive top scores because this is what interests and inspires most of the 10 year olds in my classroom.

Writing about a time they were proud, or helped someone (former prompts) is not creative, inspiring or interesting to kids. There’s very little out-of the-box thinking when you are confined to write like this.

Because of this, while I do spend time going over format, each year we end up spending more and more time creating our own stories and less time focusing on the 27 lines that are required. I do this with a number of tools my students and I have come to learn and love.

My Favorite Creative Writing Tools

I am always looking for digital tools to enhance writing in the classroom. When choosing the ones I want to use, I keep the 4C’s of 21st Century learning in the forefront:

Collaboration | Creativity | Critical Thinking | Communication

I start the year with these beginner creative writing tools.

KidBlog

You can use this or any other blogging platform. I like this KidBlog because it’s the one Pernille Ripp uses. Ripp is an inspiring educator and I strongly suggest you follow her and read her advice on how to use a classroom blog.

Padlet

This is a great collaboration tool that students can use to share materials and responses with one another. It also has a Chrome Extension that’s easy use.

Lino

Lino is based on the same idea as Padlet. I don’t prefer one over the other, both are engaging and easy to use. My students and I have used these two tools to collaborate with other classrooms when responding to a read-aloud from the Global Read Aloud project this year. Both make it easy to have conversations and connect globally.

Google

I love everything Google makes for writing and collaborating, and their tools work well in my classroom because we are part of a GAFE district. My go-to experts for learning about Google tools are Kasey Bell at Shake Up Learning,  Alice Keeler and Tammy Tang.

Note that the following tools require more setup time than the first few I mentioned.

Learn2Earn: Whooo’s Reading

My students are hooked on this interactive reading and writing site. I love to see student reflections, connections and deep thinking about what they have been reading. With this tool, they’re free to write creatively because each comprehension question is open-ended.

Zooburst

Students use this creative writing tool to create 3D pop-up books where stories come to life. “Authors can arrange characters and props within a 3D world that can be customized using uploaded artwork or items found in a built-in database,” according to the Zooburst website.

Educational Technology Training Center

This tool has been around for quite a while and we use it for creating poetry. Recently, students to created a ChatterPix (IOS) underwater sea creature using the poetry and original artwork tools.

Storybird

“Free, unique illustrations spark creativity; book-building makes students of all ages feel like ‘real authors’,” according to the Storybird website. This is our latest obsession in class. The students create visual stories using beautiful artwork folders. For a small fee you can have your story printed.

With these creative writing tools, students find their voice by choice. In the end they become:

[info_box color=”blue” width=”100%” float=”center” text_align=” enter”]             Challenged | Confident | Committed | Caring | Connected | Captivated | Curious | Changed[/info_box]

My students came in as hungry caterpillars and have emerged as beautiful butterflies. It has been a joy to see each one spread their wings and fly.

 

creative writing tools_graphic

 

 

WRforSchools
View Comments (5)

5 Comments

  1. Jenny

    May 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Wow! You are an amazing writer and teacher!

  2. Ann

    May 19, 2015 at 6:59 am

    These words are a strong message that must to be voiced louder and louder from all 4th grade classrooms. To have the LOVE of writing is what is important. To keep the LOVE of learning alive is most vital. Way to go Suzanne!

  3. Pingback: Why Teachers Can’t Ignore STEM Skills Any Longer | Learn2Earn Blog

  4. Pingback: 3 Ways to Teach Digital Literacy With Multimodal Text | Learn2Earn Blog

  5. Hong Lee Chang

    July 18, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Thanks for posting this)) It is really helpful) Can you please recommend me some blogs where I can find more information about creative writing???

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