The student above is engaged in evaluating her essay. One of the best ways to revise and edit writing is listening to your writing, reading it aloud. It isn't easy when there are 20 or more students in the classroom working together in groups. It can get noisy, and not to mention, we want to be sensitive that some students are shy about reading an unfinished piece of writing aloud in front of their peers. Read & Write, a Google extension, solved that problem for us. In the photo above, Read & Write is reading the girl's essay to her, allowing her to hear what she wrote privately. She pauses the reading to revise and edit as needed.
Those pesky punctuation marks like to take a vacation, so we found an app for that. Professional writers have editors, a fresh pair of eyes that provide great suggestions for improving sentence structure and grammar. The student above may not have a professional editor, but he does have GradeProof, a Google Docs extension, to help him polish up his grammar and spelling.
In Google Classroom, we have the ability to engage in online discussions. Lately, we have been reviewing grammar and discussing the rules and how to effectively break them. Who would have thought that grammar could inspire engaging discussions among preteens? Grammar discussion boards make a great sandbox for practicing online etiquette, so we don't unintentionally offend our classmates.
We also learned how to share online documents with our classmates, so they can provide constructive feedback, suggestions for improving a friend's writing.
Retaining vocabulary words to use them later is a common struggle. Students often learn them for the moment, to pass a quiz, but the knowledge slips away if they don't review. Now, we engage in friendly online competitions. Students eagerly study vocabulary words using Quizlet, an online app. Periodically, we meet in class and work in teams to race to the finish line using Quizlet.Live, a component of Quizlet.
Newslea is a library of newspaper articles, current and historical event, that integrate into all subject areas. We transfer our reading skills learned in class to digital reading. Students read online articles at their independent reading levels. We are fortunate to have this resource to meet the needs of all our students using this resource. The more informed our middle school students are of our world, the more motivated and engaged our classroom discussions become.