Monday, October 7, 2013

What Should I Write About? Write About This!

To some kids, a blank page is an exciting opportunity. They love the freedom of a wide-open writing assignment. They’re eager to let their imaginations run wild and seem to overflow with ideas before the tip of their pencil even hits the paper.

For other kids, nothing could be more intimidating than facing a blank page. For them, a writing assignment without parameters is a nightmare. Their minds seem to freeze. They wrinkle their foreheads and look desperately around the room for inspiration. If only someone would give them just the smallest shred of an idea…

A fourth grade teacher named Brad has a great solution. Brad noticed that his students loved to make up stories and poems based on photographs, and so he developed an app called Write About This to make inspiration easy for any elementary school child with access to an iDevice. Write About This is home to hundreds of interesting, idea-sparking photographs arranged by curriculum, season, and theme. Adults can choose whether kids see just the picture for an open-ended response, or whether a prompt is displayed (the level of complexity is customizable) along with the picture. For example, an image of a bike entirely covered with mud has prompts like “What is the messiest you've ever been? Tell about where you were and how you felt” and “How would you explain this to your parents without getting in trouble?”

The app is a handy source of inspiration, and a single image can be shown to a small group or a whole classroom full of students with paper and pencils. But it becomes even more valuable if individual kids can get their hands on the iPad with the app. This way, they can type their writing directly into the app, record their voices as they read it aloud, and publish it with a single click. And students and teachers can import their own pictures and prompts – as written phrases or recorded audio messages – into the app, making it almost endlessly adaptable.

Write About This is a simple idea with powerful possibilities. It is available through the iTunes store.

Watch a video about Write About This below:

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