Showing posts with label Essay Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Essay Writing. Show all posts

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 Tips for Writing DBQ Essays

Keith Hughes, history teacher extraordinaire and producer of the excellent Hip Hughes History videos, recently published a new video for students who need to write document based question (DBQ) essays. In DBQ Essays for Dummies Keith offers five helpful essay writing tips for students.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Compare & Contrast Map - A Writing Template

Read Write Think is a good source of interactive writing templates. I've previously featured a handful of their templates including this one and this one. Today, I would like to draw your attention to Read Write Think's Compare & Contrast Map.

The Compare & Contrast Map is a template for creating a comparative essay. Using the template students are guided through writing three styles of comparison essays. To get started students identify two things that they wish to compare and or contrast. Then they choose if they want to write a "whole to whole" essay, a "similarities to differences" essay, or a "point to point" essay. Whichever essay type they choose, students are guided through the types of information they should put in each part of their essays. When their essays are complete students can share them via email or print them.

Applications for Education
For younger students who need help formatting an essay, the Read Write Think templates can be very helpful.   If you haven't spent much time exploring the resources on Read Write Think's classroom resources page, I encourage you to do so.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Plagiarisma - A Plagiarism Checker

Plagiarism, as teachers we see it a lot. Sometimes it's done intentionally, sometimes it's done accidentally. Either way we can't allow our students to plagiarize other people's works. Plagiarisma is a free tool that teachers and students can use to detect possible cases of plagiarism.

There are a few ways that you can use Plagiarisma. The easiest way to use Plagiarisma is to copy and paste a chunk of text into the Plagiarisma search box. You can also upload documents (RTF, Doc, PDF, HTML, ODT) to be scanned by Plagiarisma. The third option is to type a url into the search box to have Plagiarisma scan for possible cases of plagiarism. Whichever option you use, Plagiarisma will return a list of urls containing possible plagiarism matches.

Applications for Education
Plagiarism isn't always intentional on the part of students. Sometimes they honestly don't realize that they're doing it. Having students use Plagiarisma to scan their documents before submitting them for a grade, could help them identify flaws in their works and change them before it's too late.

Here are seven other tools for detecting and preventing plagiarism.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Future Me - Send a Letter to Your Future Self

Future Me is a neat service that lets you write an email to your future self and have it delivered to your email inbox at a time that you schedule. It's easy to use Future Me. To use Future Me just type your email, select the date you want it to be delivered on, and then enter your email address. You can choose to keep your letter private (default setting) or make your letter public (anonymously) and placed in the gallery of letters.

Applications for Education
When I learned about Future Me my first thought was that it would be great to have students use Future Me at the beginning of a school year. Students could write about what they hope to learn that year, what they do or don't like about school, and goals that they have for themselves. Then at the end of the school year students can read their letters and see how they've changed over the year.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Profile in Courage Essay Contest

The JFK Library is once again hosting a Profile in Courage Essay Contest. The contest asks US high school students (grades 9-12) to write a 1,000 word essay profiling the political courage of an elected official between 1956 and now. The profile can be of an elected official at any level from local to national government. The contest winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 John Hancock Freedom 529 College Savings Plan. The second place writer will receive $1,000 cash and five finalists will receive $500 cash prizes. The deadline for submissions is January 8, 2011. You can find all of the contest rules and requirements here.

Applications for Education
If you're a teacher of US History who already has your students research important figures of the second half of the 20th Century, having those students write for this contest could make a nice incentive for your students to put in a little extra effort.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Magic Grade - This is Unbelievable!

Magic Grade is a new service that is simply magical! Magic Grade takes the tedium out of grading essays. Here's how it works, students create their essays just as they always do using any word processing platform of their choice. When they've completed their essays, they simply upload their essays to your classroom Magic Grade account. Magic Grade then analyzes the essays based on the criteria you've outlined in your account preferences and assigns each essay a grade. This should revolutionize the way we grade essays.

Applications for Education
Magic Grade will give teachers their nights and weekends back while providing students with nearly instant feedback about their writing.

Here is a related item that may be of interest to you:
History of April Fool's Day

Monday, January 4, 2010

WordCounter - Identify Frequently Used Words

WordCounter is a simple tool that writers can use to identify the words that they use most frequently in their text. To use WordCounter simply copy and paste text into Wordcounter then select how many words should appear in your "frequently used" list. To improve the utility of your "frequently used words" list you can tell Wordcounter to ignore small words (like it or the) and to use only root words.

Applications for Education
WordCounter could be useful for student writers who fall into the trap of starting all of their sentences or paragraphs with the same word stucture.


Google Docs has a similar function that you can read about here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Inventor's Digest Essay Contest for Grades 7-12

It's kind of an odd time to hold an essay contest, but Inventors Digest is holding an essay contest during the month of August for middle school and high school students. The contest asks students to write a 500 word essay about how their visions of the world in 2059. Specifically, students should address how technology will shape our lives in 2059. The winning essays will receive a new laptop, publication of their essay in Inventors Digest and an assortment of other prizes. You can read all of the contest requirements here.

Applications for Education
This contest is being held at a time when a lot of US schools are still on summer break. For those students who are in school in August, this could be a fun essay topic to explore. Even if you're not in school in August, keep the essay topic in mind as the topic itself could be a good beginning-of-the-year essay topic for students in computer classes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Animated and Narrated Grammar Glossary

Great Source iWrite from the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt company features an awesome animated and narrated glossary of grammar terms. In this glossary you will find animated, narrated videos explaining the use of punctuation. You will find the same type of video explaining the parts of speech and mechanics of writing.

Thanks to Diana Dell for this awesome resource that she posted on Twitter tonight.

Applications for Education
If you require students to do any type of formal writing, the Great Source iWrite glossary of grammar terms is a great reference to link to your class blog or website.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Play Mad Libs Online
Grammar Ninja - A Fun Grammar Game
Five Great Grammar Resources

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Essay Map - Step by Step Help Constructing Essays

Essay Map is a handy tool from the folks at Read Write Think. Essay Map provides students with step by step guidance in the construction of an informational essay. Some of my students seem to struggle most with constructing an introduction and conclusion to their essays. Essay Map is particularly good for helping students visualize the steps needed to construct good introductory and conclusion paragraphs.

After students complete all of the steps in their Essay Map, they can print their essay outline. I have included a blank Essay Map outline in the image below.


















Applications for Education
Essay Map is a convenient tool for anyone that teaches writing informational essays. Essay Map is probably too basic for most high school students, but it is definitely a good tool for middle school and elementary school students.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Autobiographical Mapping
Imagination Prompt
Reflective Journal Forms

Save 20% on all books & DVDs from National Geographic!