Showing posts with label Non Fiction writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Non Fiction writing. Show all posts

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

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Write an Essay, Win a Trip to Peru

National Geographic Kids, one of my favorite educational websites, is holding an essay contest. The contest requires students to write a 300 word essay about what they have discovered as a "hands-on" explorer of their world. The contest also requires an original photograph depicting the theme of the essay. The winner of the contest will join the National Geographic Kids expedition to Peru. You can read all of the contest rules and requirements here.

National Geographic Kids is also holding a contest for teachers through which they can also win a trip to Peru. In order to enter the contest teachers must conduct a lesson plan about Peru and write a 500 word essay about the best practices for teaching about Peru. Read all of the requirements for the teacher contest here.

Thanks to Karen at Teaching and Learning Spanish for the tip about this contest.

Applications for Education
Having your students write essays for this contest could be a good way to get students to explore the habit around them. Take your students for a walk outside around your school to let students make observations about their environment. Then bring them inside to work on writing a essay about their observations.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Google Docs Integrates a Thesaurus and More

Since the school resumed in August every new document that I have created has been created using Google Docs. (For the record, all of my slide shows are created on Zoho). I like a lot of things about Google Docs including the clean looking user interface and the ability to easily go back to view the revisions I've made. Today, Google announced a new batch of features for Google Docs that will make Google Docs an even better tool for students.

Highlighting the list of new features for Google Docs is an integrated thesaurus, dictionary, and encyclopedia tool. It is a simple tool to use. Simply highlight a word in your document then select "look up word" from the "tools" drop-down menu. From there you can find a synonym, a definition, or an Encyclopedia Britannica reference to your selected word. Also worth noting is a new search for images tool integrated into Google Docs. Just like using the thesaurus tool, simply highlight a word in your document then select "search for images" from the "tools" menu.
Here is a screen shot of what the thesaurus tool looks like when I highlighted the word "moxie" in a document.












Applications for Education
The integrated thesaurus and dictionary tools will be helpful to students for all of the same reasons that students need those resources when writing. The benefit for teachers is that by having those tool integrated into Google Docs students never have to take their attention away from their documents to search the Internet or go find a physical dictionary or thesaurus. Suggested synonyms and definitions appear in a pop-up window that floats over the document you're working on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Random Writing Prompts

Writing Fix is a comprehensive resource for writing teachers. Writing Fix features a random story prompt generator. What I like about about this particular prompt generator is that each prompt is created and submitted by real people and is reviewed by an educator before being included in the pool of prompts.

Writing Fix features so much more than just a random story prompt generator. Exploring the website a visitor will find ideas and plans for teaching all aspects of writing. Writing Fix offers a number of teaching strategies including a creative use of Post-It Notes which you can see by clicking here. And if you're looking for online learning activities for your students, Writing Fix has a nice collection in their classroom tools section.

A reader of this blog, Courtney Rudd, told me about Writing Fix and I'm glad she did because it is a great website.

Applications for Education
The human reviewed aspect of Writing Fix's prompt generator gives me a feeling of assurance that it could be used in any classroom without fearing that questionable content may appear. The collection of learning games and activities featured in the classroom tools section are great for students to learn and practice individually.