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Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

8 Great Sites for Reluctant Writers

1. Storyjumper

Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create.

2. Read Write Think Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing.

3. Kerpoof

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles, and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account and assign usernames and passwords for each student to have their own individual accounts. There are no ads or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.

4. Story Starters

Story Starters is a fun activity to inspire students to write. They first spin the story starter wheel (they can then spin individual wheels to adjust their story starter), choose a format (notebook, letter, newspaper, postcard) and then begin writing. There are options to print and draw a picture as well. There is a nice teacher section that lists objectives for the lesson as well as several ideas for integrating the activity into your current RLA focus. Being that students can’t save their work, I often just have them spin the wheels to create a starter and then simply have them write their stories in Word.  This would also be a good site to have projected on the screen (or on a classroom computer station) first thing in the morning. Each day a new student can spin the wheel and you could have a quick morning creative writing session, comparing and sharing stories.

5. My StoryMaker

My Storymaker allows students to create a story book with fun characters and settings. When complete, you can print, or save to the public gallery which allows you to download the file as a pdf. I recently introduced this to a 5th grade class and it went extremely well. The students created epic and creative stories and had a really fun time writing! The one drawback I found is that there is no option to save and come back to edit, so students have to start and complete their story within one class period. One idea I’ve come up with is to have the first session be an explore session where the students learn about the site, the characters, setting, etc. Then, they can write out a rough draft before the second session so that when they access the site the second time, they are ready to roll, and time is not as much of a factor.

6. Writing With Writers

Part of the larger Scholastic site, Writing With Writers provides an excellent resource for writing. There is an excellent section for kids called, Computer Lab Favorites (Teacher View Here |Student View Here), that has a variety of writing tools like Story StartersMyth Brainstorming Machine, and Poetry Idea Engine; as well as learning games like, It’s Greek to Me (great for Real Spelling connections), and Fish Up Word EndingsAlong with all the great writing tools and activities, there are also sections for MathScienceSocial Studies, and Spanish that require no prep and can be completed in 15-30 minutes.

7. Zoo Burst

Zoo Burst is a digital storytelling tool that allows you to create lively 3-d pop-up books with sounds and actual pop-up effects when you turn the page.  You first create a free account, and then use the simple interface and tools to begin creating your book.

8. Bitstrips

My favorite comic creator, Bitstrips allows students to create fun comics on any topic of their (or your) choice. Students can use Bitstrips for free, but the $78 annual subscription allows teachers to create a classroom with individual student accounts and create assignments that students submit to you when they are finished.

EdTechIdeas: These sites can be great tools to help struggling writers, as well as kids who love to write.  I’ve seen my students so excited about story writing with StoryJumper and Kerpoof. The Printing Press makes it quick and easy for elementary kids to create nice looking publications. Story Starters is a quick go-to tool when you’re in need of prompts.

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15 responses to “8 Great Sites for Reluctant Writers

  1. angelle perryman February 11, 2014 at 2:17 am

    This is a wonderful list of resources. I’ll be using it. Thanks!

  2. Pingback: Technology Bits Bytes & Nibbles | 8 Great Sites for Reluctant Writers

  3. matt sutton April 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Reblogged this on Digital: Divide and Conquer and commented:
    This is a great resource for assisting students with writing, which can be one of the toughest areas to get kids motivated.

  4. Rob April 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    These are great! Am I too old to re-enroll in grade school?

    • @k_ferrell April 24, 2012 at 7:28 am

      I always wonder the same thing Rob! Thanks for stopping by EdTechIdeas! Remember to like us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/EdTechIdeas

  5. Tom Jacobs February 24, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I would add toontastic and puppet pals. They both involve verbal input, but I would have student storyboard the dialog and write out scenes.

  6. RField February 24, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I would also add Little Bird Tales too!

  7. aziz February 23, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    This what I am looking for, I have tried to improve my student’s writing skill but don’t have much resources. Thanks

    • @k_ferrell February 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Glad you found some tools here that you like. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Jill February 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I also like Storybird.

  9. kellyharmon February 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Reblogged this on Kelly Harmon's Homeroom and commented:
    This is a great list of sites. I’ve used many of them to motivate young writers.

  10. kathbc February 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    I would add http://storybird.com/ as another tool that will help reluctant writers. The art is fun, we use it a lot for poetry. Can be emailed.

    • @k_ferrell February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks kathbc,
      Yes, Storybird is a great site with amazing artwork that kids simply love!

  11. Alan Stange February 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m involved with a team project exploring integrating technology into creating, collaborating, and sharing their stories. I look forward to sharing this with them.

    • @k_ferrell February 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing Alan. I’m glad you find it useful.

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