Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Building an Online Writing Toolkit

Beth Goodwin, a special ed consultant and Cheryl Oakes did a presentation in January 2010, about how to blend the resources of Web 2.0 and the needs of their students. They took their idea from Karen Janowski and Joyce Valenza who create the UDL Tech Toolkit. The Universal Design for Learning states that to promote learning for all students teachers need to use these three methods:
  1. Representation
  2. Engagement
  3. Expression
Beth and Cheryl took ideas from UDL and created Writingtools4all to look at how the read-write web resources could help students become more independent writers. Teachers can create specific toolkits for use with their students and students can create toolkits to meet specific needs they have in writing. Since the resources Beth and Cheryl use for the toolkit are free, students would be able to use the toolkit at home or school.

Students can certainly build their own toolkits allowing them to differentiate for their needs or collaborate with other students while working on projects. By having access to these free tools at home students will extend their learning beyond the regular school day.

Here is a list of free tools that teachers and students can use to create toolkits:
  1. Photopeach- use images in a presentation, project or concept.
  2. Wordle – can capture vocabulary in a book, for pre-teaching and comprehension.
  3. What kind of learner are you? – students can find their learning style.
  4. Find a book at your Lexile – students check their Lexile reading level choices.
  5. Mad Libs – students can create their own Mad Libs.
  6. Library of Congress – great source of information for students and teachers.
  7. Ask.com – good place to begin a research project.
  8. Citation Machine – students learn to cite their sources.
  9. Graphic Organizers – place to find graphic organizers.
  10. Visual Thesaurus – place to look up words and see the word in a visual thinking map.
  11. Awesome adjectives and Sensory words – a guide to grammar, punctuation and style.
  12. Spell Checker – allows students to check spelling, grammar and use a thesaurus.
  13. Create your own checklist – create a personalized editing checklist.
  14. Listen to your work – the site will read text to the student.
What resources can you add to help students build an Online Writing Toolkit?
Here are a few resources that students at WSFCS have access to:
  1. NetTrekker – safe search engine that has read aloud and a section on writing.
  2. Curriculum Pathways – the Writing Reviser will analyze a student’s writing and provides information on how to construct a paper.
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