My 4th grade class is officially one week away from our state standardized testing for writing. From the beginning of the year my students have been great writers, but their organization and transitions have often been lacking to say the least.
I have always been a visual learner, and I know most of my students are as well. Recently, my class started using IBrainstorm to create thinking maps that outline the plot in the various chapter books they are reading. The app is so user friendly that most of my students have started using it during their spelling station when they play “guess my sort” with their spelling words, and now it has sneaked its way into our writing time as well.
My school uses a technique called the four square writing method. You can create a four square on the IBrainstorm app as well! The students draw in the boxes and write the topic sentence on the top of each box. Then, they write their supporting sentences on sticky notes within the app and place them in the appropriate topic sentence box. The best part of the whole process is when you have students pair up and discuss if any of the sentences are irrelevant or if they don’t make sense. Instead of hearing the question, “Do I have to erase it and start all over?” the student can simply delete the sticky note. I have noticed a significant shift in my students’ organization since we have used this app, and I am already penciling this strategy in next year’s plan book to use from the beginning of the year!
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