I wanted to share my super successful writing lesson I had with my Gr. 4 students this week. I teach Gr. 4, but keep in mind that the kiddos are all diagnosed with learning disabilities, and they all seem to have an especially tricky time with written output. I have been trying ALL year to get the kids to successfully write full sentences on their own, but it sure has been a battle - editing their work tends to bring on negative reactions because it means *more* writing....
I tried out a website that I had heard about a while back called TodaysMeet. This is a site that is extremely easy to use, and is similar to twitter because there is a live feed that you can view as people submit a message. I like this site because you can set it up for a certain time frame - and then it is deleted. So, for the purpose of this assignment I set the site up for one day, then it would disappear along with all the written messages from my students at the end of the day.
I started with a discussion about internet safety, which the kids were really interested in (and took quite seriously!). Then, the kids logged on to the URL I gave them, and they were able to enter their initials so that we would know who was talking (but so that they didn't disclose their full names). I began by asking them a question through typing it into the live feed. As soon as it popped up, the kids began answering the question. As you could guess, most kids answered simply yes or no. It was great because as more kids answered, my question scrolled out of site on the page. I then asked the kids if they would be able to know what my question was, just based on their yes or no answers. They agreed that it was impossible to know my question unless you had read it already. So, I had them re-type their answers by using part of the question in their answer. I had the live feed up on the smart board as well, so I could see who needed support with their answers. By the end of the class, they were ALL answering full sentences, and most even used capitals and punctuation.
I bet you know what question I asked them!!? It was great because the kids didn't mind re-doing their sentences due to the excitement of it popping up in the live feed. Also, they could *easily* see other students' examples to learn from while writing.
This is a great website that you could use for so many different things. I am planning to use the site for spelling practice, story planning, among a few other things - not to mention it is great for typing practice, because the kids are motivated to keep writing messages.
The website is www.todaysmeet.com. Let me know what you think, and if you have any other great ideas that this site could be used for!