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Write With Joanna
By Joanna Van Raden on 4/30/2017 10:04 AM

Cant' find enough time to teach writing and meet with each student?  I can help! 

By Suzanne Klein on 10/26/2015 2:28 PM

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Take a look at the world around you today and compare it to twenty years ago. What do you notice? I notice how technology has changed so many aspects of our lives. Now, compare when you were first learning to write to present day students learning to write. How has technology affected student writing? Below I’ve outlined the pros and cons related to technology and the affect it has on student writing. 

The Pros

  • Tools such as the Internet, social media, and cell phones encourage personal expression and creativity. Writing has never been more prominent or significant.
  • Technologies are available that support writing development. These include:

o   Word processing and presentation programs, such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Prezi.

o   Online publishing programs for student work, such as Storybird and Wordfaire.

o   Speech-to-text and text-to-speech software. Check out our infographic, “From Symbols to Siri: Where is Writing Headed?”

o   Interactive whiteboard writing and grammar lessons, like our Engagers

  • Technology gives students the opportunity to share their writing with a large and more diverse audience. This encourages greater student investment in their work. Learn more from our post, K-5 Blogging to Publish Student Writing.
  • Technology allows students to incorporate visuals and multimedia into their writing, instead of allowing for just text-based writing.
  • When used the right way, technology can promote better collaboration among students and improve engagement. 
By Suzanne Klein on 8/21/2014 7:10 AM

How do you know that the tasks your students complete will meet the rigorous standards of the Common Core? How do you know they’re reWebb's DOK Graphic by Tracy Watanabeaching the level of thinking required for Common Core assessments and college and career readiness? You know by using a frame of reference called Depth of Knowledge. While Depth of Knowledge (DOK) is not a new concept, it is a new way of labeling the level of thinking required by a question or assignment in the Common Core.

If you’ve noticed the exit questions included in some of our closure activities, or if you have heard of Bloom’s taxonomy, you are familiar with the fact that some activities require deeper levels of thinking. This is the basis for the Depth of Knowledge labeling. The CCSS ELA standards require students to produce at a Depth of Knowledge 3 and 4. On-demand activities and assessments will not include DOK 4.

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By Suzanne Klein on 9/1/2013 2:13 PM











What are the differences and similarities between Smarter Balanced and PARCC? Since Common Core is a national curriculum, why aren’t states using one test? How does writing play a role in the tests?

I spoke with Arlynn King, WriteSteps Coaching Director, to answer these questions. We thought it would be valuable to share what we’ve learned about the Smarter Balanced and PARCC tests, and how writing is going to play an important role. Watch the vlog (video blog) below!

By Suzanne Klein on 6/20/2013 1:44 AM

We all need a superhero to swoop in once in a while to change the outcome of history and give us hope for a better and brighter future. On the last national writing assessment, less than a quarter of elementary students, and less than a third of 12th graders, could write proficiently. This is a terrible and disheartening statistic. American education needs a superhero right now. This superhero may not be dressed in blue and red, wear a cape, and have the ability to fly, but she does have a special super power that will change the world. Her name is Common Core Standards, and it is exactly what America needs to turn around writing in our schools.

By Suzanne Klein on 4/18/2013 10:29 PM
Do you want to know what I love the most when I meet teachers from around the country during my travels? That it gives me the opportunity hear how WriteSteps is making a positive impact in their classrooms. I also enjoy learning about writing apps teachers have discovered that inspire students to become better writers and make writing fun!

I love my iPad and am an advocate for combining education with the use of technology for the purpose of engaging and motivating students. The following apps are great for students to use outside of the classroom that reinforce their writing skills in a format that is fun and enjoyable! They cover a wide range of writing skills for all levels of writers. From apps that help beginning students just learning to write, to apps that help more advanced students organize their thinking prior to beginning a narrative, there is an app that will inspire any elementary school writer!
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