Digital Tools for Young Writers


Today, writing doesn’t have to mean putting
pen to paper It can mean putting finger to screen. “T” for text. Springhill Lake was lucky enough to receive
a grant for iPads. We’ve been using the iPads a lot to organize
their thoughts and even different applications, or apps, in the content areas that just get
them excited to learn. So the use of the iPads has not only been
helpful for the students to acquire knowledge, but just as a general tool for engagement. Technology is an integrated part of the modern
classroom. And one of Ms. Sterkin’s goals is to show
her students how they can effect social change through their writing. Technology can help them craft and share their
ideas. and I’d like to share with you some really
cool ideas I found in this book. “If you want one year of prosperity, plant
corn. If you want ten years of prosperity, plant
trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity,
educate people.” What do you think that might mean? What do you think, Jasmine. Educate people. That means make people that they have to save
the earth and not pollute it. If I plant one little tree, that’s great,
right? What if I share that information with everybody
in this classroom. And then what if Jasmine and Mohammed and
Lavontay and Symiah and Dennilson and everybody else in this classroom — what if you all
told people to plant trees. Then what would happen? More. More trees. And say that again. And then they tell people. And the other people tell people and it goes
on and on. And then there would be more trees. And even when they cut it down we can plant
more and more. Exactly. There’ll be more and more and more. So if we keep teaching people these important
ideas, then everybody will learn what we really need to do to help our earth, won’t they? Ms. Sterkin’s students learned about natural
resources in science. Now she’s asking them to incorporate what
they learned into their fairy tale drafts. Once the students are immersed in content,
they have a lot more to say and they have a knowledge base to write. We’re always encouraging the students to integrate
the content and knowledge that they’ve gained in the classroom in to their own writing. All righty. We’re going to show you how to make a popplet,
which is a cool way to organize some of your ideas. And then you’re going to make a popplet… Like a web. Yes, like a web. That will help you with your fairy tale writing
and help you teach your readers… (cough) It’s okay. (laugh) About the environment. For writers, understanding the purpose and
audience of a piece is essential. If you don’t have a clear understanding of
why you’re writing and what your goals are and how those goals involve the reader — do
you want to effect their emotions? Do you want them to learn? — if you don’t
have a clear concept, you can’t set the goals that will guide you through the writing process
and the writing tasks in front of you. Okay. I want you to think back to your fairy tale. On your iPad, I’d like you to do a double-tap
two times and you should have your first popple come up. Push “t”. Say it again. Push “t”! Push “t” for text. In the middle of your popple, I’d like you
to type your natural resource. So if your natural resource was water, type
in water. If it was trees — your welcome — type
in trees. Ms. Schnupp and I made an example of what
yours will look like. And you notice that we have some special colors
here. You’re going to put some special colors on
your popples too. We have a natural resource and ours is oil. We have two blue boxes, because in those blue
boxes you’re going to write a cool fact about that natural resource. So a cool fact that I know about oil is that
oil is used to make plastic. So I would type in my box, for cool fact,
that oil is used to make plastic. I also have two red boxes. What word do you notice in the red box? Problem. Problem. We also know this word from when we write
a story. Our story has a problem. This is your chance to brainstorm some really
good problems in your story. Maybe in my story, somebody, maybe the villain,
spilled oil in the oceans. That would a problem. So I’m going to jot that down in my problem
box, “spill oil in the ocean.” Think about the cause and effect of what would
happen if we harmed those natural resources. In the green box, what special word do you
see here. Setting. Setting. And in this box we really what to know, where
is this natural resource in your setting. I know that Christian’s setting is on a pirate
ship in the Atlantic Ocean and his natural resource is air. Am I right? Yeah. Okay. When we’re planning the lessons we don’t focus
the lesson solely around using the iPad. We want to use that as a tool to enhance the
students’ learning. So when you’re done you’re going to have a
popple that’s actually not only going to have some cool science ideas on it about your natural
resources, but it’s also going to help you with your story writing. Because we’ll have some problems we can look
at to include your natural resource in the story. And you might also have some really cool facts
that you can include in your story as well. One way to think about the goals of writing
for young children is to think about it in terms of both the cognitive and the social. There’s the familiarity with language and
structure and parts of speech, but there’s also a social dimension of writing that we
really need to emphasize. Because why do children engage with writing? They engage with writing because it gives
them positive interactions with adults and with peers. So what else do you think is another problem
that we would have with our water natural resource? Um. It gets polluted. Okay. So how could water get polluted? By throwing trash in the water? Okay, so who might throw trash in the water
to pollute water? People. Okay. So people throw trash in to the water and
it pollutes the water. What is the effect of that? An animal would die. So animals could get harmed? Okay. Let me do that. The growth that the students have made this
year is just…it’s just so much to take in because they’re so proud of the work that
they’ve done. We’ve tried new things that I’ve never done
before and that they’ve never done before. And together we’re learning how all of these
pieces take shape.

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