Monday, December 3, 2007

Web based technology to Support Writing in the Content Areas

Teachers, time, assessment and technology. It often seems that teachers never have enough time, and way too many assessments to do! However technology can be a way for teachers to maximize time and manage assessments. Judy Richardson (among others) discusses this in her article from Reading Online. Many technology supports exist for teachers on the web, indeed it seems new websites are launched daily. There is such a wealth of resources out on the web to support students writing in the content areas, that one blog post can't do justice to them all. However, I did want to highlight some of my favorites and some new ones that I have come across lately. These are listed in no particular order.


Brainpop.com---This subscription based site has a free 30 day trial and some of the features are always available for free. Brainpop (and its offshoot for younger students, Brainpop Jr.) is great for building background knowledge in any content area and for providing writing prompts. There are also online quizzes available. It is also available in Spanish.

ReadWriteThink is a fabulous site from the National Association of Teachers of English and the International Reading Council. While there is a big focus on the Reading/Language Arts curriculum, there are many cross curricular tools within the website, making it of value for students and teachers across content areas. Within the website some of my favorite activities include:
The Acrostic Poem Maker
Compare and Contrast Map

http://www.diigo.com/--diigo is a social annotation and bookmarking tool--much like del.icio.us on steroids. One of the coolest things that diigo can do is to create sticky notes and annotations right on websites. This can be invaluable for students doing research on any subject and as a pre-writing strategy. Watch a video about diigo on YouTube.

Merriam Webster's Word Central is a great dictionary and word finding resource. There is an online dictionary, thesaurus, rhyming dictionary, as well as word games and a create your own dictionary where students can add new words that they have come up with and want to share with others.

There are so many more resources, so as I find outstanding ones, I will add posts to highlight them. Please let me know your favorites, too!