Sunday, November 2, 2014

Social Media Inspired Writing Prompts

Recently, I have taken the plunge into my own form of blended learning. While my students have used Edmodo for social interactions and collaborative projects, I have also integrated Google Classroom with my 5th and 6th graders. Eventually, I want to utilize Google Classroom as our main LMS and Google Drive for eportfolios. For now, I am posting all writing prompts on either Edmodo (grades 2-4) and Google Classroom (grades 5-6). These platforms are ideal for our current writing unit, where my goal is to use a variety of social media inspired prompts to hook my students while showing them the more playful side of writing. Here are some of my favorites so far:

Dear Letters 

Skills/Focus: Multiple Perspectives,  Developing Voice,  Descriptive Writing 

To introduce this assignment I show the Dear Kitten Series by Buzzfeed. These immediately grab my students' attention and have been a favorite! After the video, we discuss point of view and the purpose behind the letters. Next, I challenge students to write their own letters. Here are the directions I give: 

  1. Pick an inanimate object or animal.
  2. Pick audience (who/what), Nontypical context (i.e. Instead of animal in the wild, what about animal in a zoo?)
  3. Write a letter giving advice to something else (point of view)
  4. Make the setting specific and interesting. (i.e. marker in PreK class on the 1st day of school)
  5. Select picture to capture the message/mood of letter. Use or

Here are few student examples: 

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Two Sentence Stories 

Skills/Focus: Storytelling, Vocabulary, Summarizing  
I modified this assignment based on the article, 20 terrifying Two-Sentence Stories. I came across this article on Facebook and shared only those samples that were school appropriate. Students created their own stories based on the following guidelines: 
1. Choose a genre (i.e. Adventure, Epic, Romantic, Mystery, Scary, etc.) 
2. Condense a story into two sentences. Choose your words wisely! 
3. Select a picture to use as an illustration or cover for your story. Use or

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 Scary Stories in 5 Words 

Skills/Focus: Storytelling, Vocabulary, Context 
This prompt was inspired by a Twitter hashtag. I found this humorous trend appear in my feed and thought why not use it to insert some humor into writing! I recommend to not use actual hashtags in the event that there are inappropriate examples. So to make this more school appropriate I selected a few samples to share.

The internet is down worldwide. 

Imagine a world without pizza. 

There is no wifi here.

Whatever you do, don't move. 

I am telling on you. 

Tips for Student Writing 

Although all final products are posted online, I encourage students to use whatever method works for them as they are brainstorming and writing their first draft. While some students choose to use a graphic organizer/thinking maps, others can doodle or take notes on a piece of paper. Most my students have chosen to draft using Google Docs, so I encourage the use of add ons and tools to assist them. I am moving towards collaborative editing "teams" where students will need to "hire/contract" their own peers to assist in the editing process. It is important that as a teacher I am not the only individual giving feedback for student writing. Finally, student work is displayed either on our class blog or class Twitter account to share with a global audience.