Some children will spend so much time worrying about what lines they are writing in. Or if writing on blank paper, “are my letters formed correctly” or “where does the full stop go.” They often are not able to get their ideas onto the paper. When introduced to a creative writing topic, the children often initially respond with great enthusiasm. Their ideas are creative and their imaginations go wild. They are truly excited to write about their topic. They start by planning their work, focusing on the different aspects and laying out the key areas that they need to remember. By the end of this task, they often do not see the point of continuing, or they are tired and do not want to carry on. How can we blame them? That short period of concentration, just planning, requires a great deal of mental stimulation for a small child. Especially a child who is struggling to put their imagination onto paper with the many other things they need to be thinking about, like “Am I holding my pencil correctly?” “How do I write that letter?” “How do I spell this word?” Must I go on to the next line?” “Is this supposed to get a capital letter?” Just to name a few.
What if we could harness that excitement that they show when they are initially introduced to the topic. What if we can help them to relive that excitement over and over. Then their stories not only make it onto paper where their true imagination becomes evident, they are also better able to extend their stories and their sentence structure.
I have the privilege of working at a phenomenal school: Parklands College in Cape Town, South Africa; a Google Apps for Education and Apple Distinguished School where I am a Grade Two Educator and EdTech Innovation Leader for the Junior Preparatory. Each learner in my class has an iPad which has allowed them to transform their learning experience. Through the use of the iPad in creative writing, my learners have been able to harness their excitement in creative writing and improve their writing abilities.
Before beginning with the introduction of our creative writing lesson, I have my learners open a pre-made book from either Google Classroom or from a shared folder in Google Drive that was created using Book Creator. This process could be changed slightly where the ‘pre-made’ book could also be made as a whole class, acting as a form of modeled writing and planning. Upon completion, it to can be uploaded into Google Classroom or Google Drive where they are then able to open it into Book Creator on their own iPads. Below are two examples of pre-made books of creative writing pieces we have done recently titled, “The Old Lamp” and “The Day I Shrunk.”
The learners then take their iPads and find a spot where they can record themselves telling their stories, following a guideline. The great thing about using Book Creator for this task is the “Read to Me” function that has come with the new update. This update allows for those weaker readers to recap what it is they are needing to say for each section without having to ask me to come and read it for them, therefore, giving them greater independence and less frustrations where they can take the learning into their own hands.
The learners will then record each section of the story. During this recording process, you will often see their faces light up as they tell their story. They have so many expressions and their excitement is clear. They often feed off of hearing their peers telling their story which motivates them even more. Once completed they have to go back and listen to what they have said to make sure that they can hear what they are saying and that makes sense.
This activity takes a very short time for them to complete, shorter than trying to record it onto paper. However, having said that, recording on o paper is still a crucial skill to learn, and we do both planning on paper for some lessons through mind maps and keywords, as well as adding the iPad element. The combination of the two has allowed my learners to become more comfortable and confident in their own writing ability and to trust their imaginations.
Through using this combination of apps and the iPad, my learners feel empowered. This is an activity is something that is definitely worth giving a chance. If you do, I would love to hear how it went in the comments section.
Grade Two Educator
Ed Tech Innovation Leader:
GEG Leader for the
West Coast, South Africa
Google Certified Educator
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