7–no 10–OK, 13 Skills I Teach With Blogging
Blogging has become de rigeur in the Grade 3-8 classroom. It is flexible, scalable, and encourages diversity in both learning and teaching. Handled right, blogs can be used for pretty much any need that arises in the classroom. It has the added benefit of being an activity that students want to do. They like that it’s online, with lots of multimedia options, and a focus not on writing but communication.
I decided to track the skills I teach through blogging. When I started, I had seven, but as I continued, it exploded to this long list that I’m adding to even as I write this post. Read through these, tell me other ways you use it in your class:
Students collaborate on blogs when they comment on the ideas of others. They can also take it a step further by collaborating on the blog itself. Be co-owners of the blog, themed to a particular topic, and work together to fulfill goals.
Developing a profile
Blog profiles must be pithy, concise, and clear. What a great way for students to think through what makes them who they are and share it in as few words as possible. I am constantly reworking my own as I figure out a better way to communicate the gist of who I am.
IB Extended Essay Tips
Many students dread IB essays. But with the right approach, you can make the procedure exciting. Read how to draft an IB extended essay below
Writing Strategies for an Extended Essay in the International Baccalaureate Program
IB is a rigorous two-year project for personal and academic development. In the end, you receive a globally recognized IB diploma. But like all educational qualifications, it involves various intricate processes. One of them is the extended essay. It is mandatory for all students and is an independent piece of research that culminates into a 4,000-word paper. The paper provides an opportunity to investigate a topic of interest. However, more importantly, it contributes to the overall diploma grade. Let us show you some tips to help you draft a well-written piece.
Understanding the Requirements as a Key to Success in IB Extended Essay Writing
One of the mistakes university students make is ignoring the extended essay brief or paying little attention to the requirement. It is worse for distance learning since no one is around to offer guidance. But even the pros and cons of remote learning are intertwined. So, right off the bat, avoid this pitfall. The IB sets criteria and guidelines for the write-up. The requirements guide discussions to ensure the article meets the standards for successful research. Some of them include citation guidelines, research question formulation, word count, etc.
Research Tips for Paper Writing
This post will introduce you to some quick tips for writing a research paper along with the importance of samples.
Simple Steps for Research Paper Writing and the Importance of Samples
Research papers are academic writings that offer rigorous analysis, evaluation, assessment, and interpretation of a specific topic. They are similar to essays but usually more detailed and longer. The primary purpose of encouraging students to jot down a research paper is to assess their writing and research skills.
Regardless of the course (science, history, or literature), every student has to prepare a research document at some point or the other. Looking for tips to prepare outstanding work? This post will take you through the writing process of a research paper and the importance of samples. Let’s dive into the details.
Main Tips for Research Paper Writing
25 Sites to Add Rigor and Authenticity to Word Study
Memorizing word lists and testing on them doesn’t really work very well. Here are lots of websites that will make student academic and domain-specific word study more relevant and sticky. I’ve collected them into various categories–pick what works for you:
- Context Clues Game
- Context Clues Millionaire
- Flashcard Stash–collect words, view sentences and images
- Friendly Letter Maker
- Main Idea Battleship
- The Patchworker
- Using a table of contents
- Web-based Mad Libs
- Word Balloons
- Word Central—Merriam Webster
- Word Games
How to Create a Handwriting Workbook to Help Improve Penmanship
One of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors use this to help her student improve their handwriting. This is a great way to incorporate journaling with handwriting skills for learning students. See if you agree:
Create a Handwriting Workbook to Improve Penmanship
It is no news that practice makes perfect, and this saying certainly applies if you want to improve your handwriting. Learning to modify your handwriting can be a challenge as a person’s writing style is mostly just muscle memory.
The reason you write a certain way is simple; you have always written like that. To improve penmanship, you must dedicate yourself to a process that takes both time and commitment.
On that note, here’s how to create a handwriting workbook to help improve penmanship.
Determine Your Goals
The first step to make before you start a handwriting workbook is to map out your goals.
4 Approaches to Detect AI Writing
AI-generated writing, currently centered around ChatGPT, already is a disruptive force in education. Check out these articles:
- How ChatGPT Can Improve Education, Not Threaten it–from Scientific American
- ChatGPT threatens education at all levels – here’s how it can be stopped–from Tech Radar
- ChatGPT: The Next Firestorm in Education–from AACSB
ChatGPT has this to say about itself being a threat to student writing skills:
Detecting AI writing can be a difficult task, as modern AI systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to produce human-like text. However, there are a few indicators that can help you identify whether a piece of writing has been generated by an AI system.
- Consistency: One of the most noticeable features of AI writing is its consistency. Unlike human writers, AI systems tend to produce text that is consistent in tone, style, and grammar throughout the entire piece.
- Repetition: AI systems often rely on pre-programmed templates and patterns to generate text, which can result in repetitive phrasing and wording.
- Unusual errors: While AI systems are generally quite accurate in their use of grammar and spelling, they can sometimes make unusual errors or produce awkward phrasing that is not typical of human writing.
- Lack of context: AI systems can struggle to understand the broader context of a piece of writing, which can lead to text that is disconnected or irrelevant to the topic at hand.
Pretty good? Or not? The problem is, because it’s not obviously incoherent, how do you tell it was written by an AI? Here’s what Jodi Williams, one of Ask a Tech Teacher’s tech experts suggests to help you decide:
4 Approaches to Detect AI Writing
Sometimes the use of technology can play a bad joke on us, especially when we turn to various AI-based tools that help to write things instead of ourselves. The practice shows that the AI Writing phenomenon contributes a lot to the cases of plagiarism and poses a severe problem for educators as they have to check assignments manually and spend more time evaluating the content. Still, it’s possible to detect the issue even when students use solutions like ChatGPT. The trick is to use analytical tools and evaluate the readability factor!
A New Approach to Learning Through ChatGPT, AI Tools
In case you are not familiar with neural networks or have not used AI-based tools, you will be surprised to learn that solutions like ChatGPT tend to use the principles of transformer architecture. The core idea is an analysis of the lengthy bits of text where the system analyzes the keywords and sequences used to create a natural language flow. It also makes learning through ChatGPT and similar tools suitable for learning purposes and even works with autistic and dyslexic students who require more profound assistance with memorization, spelling, and pronunciation training. What makes it truly different is the level of customization and flexibility that becomes possible with the latest version builds.
Ask a Tech Teacher contributor, Jodi Williams, discusses:
A New Approach to Learning Through AI Tools
- New Approach to Customer Assistance.
Although the use of Chat GPT and similar offerings are best known for their use as an intelligent chatbot implementation, it is way more than that! It is also a great way to learn about the demands of the customers, keep track of things, and keep them engaged while you seek information or choose the best products by looking through the database. The most important is to input correct information and keep things at a conversational level. If you want to explore things deeper, consider custom research paper writing help and see what phrases and linguistic constructions will work best for your needs.
How Minecraft Teaches Reading, Writing and Problem Solving
A while ago, Scientific American declared “…“not only is Minecraft immersive and creative, but it is an excellent platform for making almost any subject area more engaging.” A nod from a top science magazine to the game many parents wish their kids had never heard of should catch the attention of teachers. This follows Common Sense Media’s seal of approval. On the surface, it’s not so surprising. Something like 80% of five-to-eight year-olds play games and 97% of teens. Early simulations like Reader Rabbit are still used in classrooms to drill reading and math skills.
But Minecraft, a blocky retro role-playing simulation that’s more Lego than svelte hi-tech wizardry, isn’t just the game du jour. Kids would skip dinner to play it if parents allowed. Minecraft is role playing and so much more.
Let me back up a moment. Most simulation games–where players role-play life in a pretend world–aren’t so much Make Your Own Adventure as See If You Survive Ours. Players are a passenger in a hero’s journey, solving riddles, advancing through levels and unlocking prizes. That’s not Minecraft. Here, they create the world. Nothing happens without their decision–not surroundings or characters or buildings rising or holes being dug. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. There’s merely what You decide and where those decisions land You. Players have one goal: To survive. Prevail. They solve problems or cease to exist. If the teacher wants to use games to learn history, Minecraft won’t throw students into a fully fleshed simulation of the American Revolution. It’ll start with a plot of land and students will write the story, cast the characters, create the entire 1776 world. Again, think Legos.
My students hang my picture in the Teacher Hall of Fame every time I let them play Minecraft–which I do regularly. Of course, I provide guidelines. Which they love. It’s fascinating that today’s game playing youth want a set of rules they must beat, parameters they must meet, levels (read: standards) they must achieve, and a Big Goal (think: graduation) they can only reach after a lot of hard work, intense thinking, and mountains of problems. Look into the eyes of a fifth grader who just solved the unsolvable–something most adults s/he knows can’t do. You’ll remember why you’re a teacher.
A note: Any time students use the internet, start with a discussion on how to use it safely. This is especially important with multi-player games like Minecraft (you will close the system at school, but that may not be the case in the student’s home). It is fairly easy for students to create their own servers (requires no hardware, just a bit of coding) and invite friends into their Minecraft world. Encourage this rather than entering an unknown server-world.
In case you must ‘sell’ this idea to your administration, here are three great reasons why students should use Minecraft in school: Reading, Writing, and Problem Solving.
An Update on Digital Storytelling
A great article from Edutopia:
An Exercise in Digital Storytelling
To engage my 11th-grade English students during the 2020–21 school year, I created a digital storytelling unit. Whether they attended school in person or remotely, it was a success. Students were able to explore various frames of reference, identify a personal story to share using digital media, and experience empathy throughout the process. Digital storytelling has a permanent place in my classroom.
We’ve written several articles on digital storytelling that can extend your understanding of this tool|
Best-in-Class Digital Storytelling Tools
10 Tips for Digital Storytelling You Don’t Want to Miss
And, here are some webtools you may find useful:
Comics–an underused tool to boost SEL skills
Comics have long been considered not just to gamify education but to teach writing skills that are challenging for some students. SmartBrief Education tells Dan Ryder’s story,
How comics curriculum boosts SEL
Dan Ryder, a learning facilitator at Community Regional Charter School in Skowhegan, Maine, says he uses comics to support students’ social and emotional learning. In this blog post, Ryder shares several ways he will use comics in the classroom during the first weeks of school, including to help foster discussion about choices and different perspectives on social issues.
You can create comics in dedicated webtools or with tools you probably already have, like Google Drawings:
For excellent online comic creator tools, check this list:
- Book Creator–(iOS/Android) templates to create digital comic books and graphic novels.
- Canva–excellent comic templates you can use from an individual or education account
- Friendstrip–use their library of pieces; create/publish/share
- MakeBeliefsComix–simple comic creation
- Marvel– create comic strips and books with Marvel characters.
- Pixton.com–offers a comic builder to simplify the process
- PlayComic–English or Spanish
- PowToon–try free, then fee
- Storyboard That!–the gold standard for comics; free or fee