Monday, 19 September 2011

Ten creative writing sites you don’t want to miss

Written by Fiona Beal
These days there are many wonderful,  free Web 2.0 interactive creative writing applications to use with your learners. What I like about these applications is the fact that even the reluctant writers get involved quite easily. The use of these Web 2 tools also open the door to many advantages. For example, stories can be shared with parents instead of being lost in a school classwork book or on a piece of paper.  They can also be shared with classes around the world if they are embedded on a blog or wiki. The writing process which is so important in writing can easily be incorporated into the lessons.

1. Write circle stories using Etherpad (http://ietherpad.com)

A circle story is a great way to use the writing process (write first draft – edit - write final draft) in class and it helps the reluctant writer or the writer lacking in confidence to feel part of the process.  A great application to use is Etherpad. Notice that the web address has an ‘i’ before etherpad.

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When I do circle stories in my computer class I divide the class into groups of four with each person in the group starting their own story. You’ll notice that ‘pad’ in Etherpad is given a code. Before I start I create all the pad and write down these codes so that the students have easy access.

etherpad

Please note that there are other Web 2.0 applications similar to Etherpad, such as Primary Pad.

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2. Story Jumper
(http://www.storyjumper.com)


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I love using Story Jumper in class because it enables you as a teacher to add your whole class and allocate them passwords and easy access. The application also provides a great selection of backgrounds, characters, props, text boxes and fonts for the students to choose from.

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The final story is presented in a flip flap e-book format.

3. Storybird
(http://storybird.com/)

This application has to be one of my favourites! Like Storyjumper it offers an on-line story book for students to create from scratch.  I found that even the students who are reluctant writer enjoy this programme because you start with the art. Once again you can create easy access for a whole class. The starting point is to choose a beautiful piece of art. Once that is done another batch of related art appears. Consequently the students are really helped to chose their story line from all the inspirational art. 

No Ordinary Day on Storybird
 

All of my crazy, weird ,stupid, at times annoying , loud and caring friends by ellvis7 on Storybird
The new kid on Storybird
The Pirate, Ravenue. on Storybird
4. Artisan’s picture books
(http://artisancam.org.uk)

This is a free online writing programme which is great for the younger learners.

artisan1

The themes are fairly limited but the younger learner love wild animals so this is no deterrent. The end result is a e-book. The application allows you to send an email link to whoever you would like to read your book.

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5. Kerpoof Studio
(http://www.kerpoof.com/)


kerpoof

This a kid-friendly, intuitive application where students can create fairy tales, realistic fiction etc. using illustrations  and writing for characters, setting, and plot. I haven’t yet used this application but I would love to try it out.

kerfoof

The books can be printed, too.

Sites using photos in a fun way

6. Photofunia
(http://photofunia.com)


photofunia
 
7. Picjoke
(http://www.picjoke.com)


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I have discovered that the older students love using sites that can include a photo of themselves. In these photo fun sites they can choose pictures that can tell a story, and then write about the picture.

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8. Piclits
(http://piclits.com)


piclits

What I like about this site is the way it provides a drag-n-drop feature which lists words that can be used. This helps the reluctant writers a great deal.The enthusiastic writers can choose the freestyle section. A selection of photos are provided for the background.  I usually ask the students to create poems when using piclits.com

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9. Young novelists’s workbook
(http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/workbooks)


novelist

If you are wanting your students to create a novel this site offers potential. It has workbooks that one can download for the students to use.  The opening blurb says, “Inside each workbook, you'll find worksheets and activities that will spark your imagination and guide you through your novelling…”

10. Write a script with Script Frenzy’s young writer’s programme:
(http://ywp.scriptfrenzy.org/educators


scriptfrenzy

This site provides you with free workbooks for the students to use (http://ywp.scriptfrenzy.org/files/scriptfrenzy-ywp/SF_Workbook_Elementary1.10.pdf)

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With all these lovely sites available to educators and students great writing can be accomplished even when budgets are very tight.


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