Writing Resources 1

Websites

  • instaGrok is a fantastic, interactive search engine for researching a topic. It displays as an interactive concept map and can be adjusted for level of difficulty to meet the needs of a wide range of learners. This helps to foster critical thinking and research skills. There is an integrated journal for note taking or report writing.  You can set up a free account or get access to more features for $45 per year. This could be one of your new favorite tools!
  • Quill--A free, web-based tool that provides interactive writing and grammar activities. Students using Quill learn writing and grammar skills by writing sentences and proofreading passages. There are 150 lessons which cover Common Core topics that can be used by students in grades 1-8. Each lesson takes about 10-15 minutes, this could be a great beginning of class activity! 
  • MindMup--free, online mapping/organizing software that’s easy to use. This is  also available as a Chrome browser app.
  • Web 2.0 Tools: Cool Tools for Schools--There are several categories of learning web sites here including some suggestions for writing and organizing tools. 

Subscription Web Based Options

These are two great tools to help support writing, particularly for those students in middle and high school. 

Read&Write for Google--this is a package of all in one study tools for Google Docs that includes word prediction, text reader, highlighting tools, and also speech input. You can download it free for 30 days and then it is a subscription based app at a cost of $100 for a year’s access.  It could be well worth the price if it helps you to read, write and study smarter! Teachers can sign up for a free copy. 

Co:Writer Universal--this word prediction app gives you access to topic dictionaries or goes out to the web to create one on any topic that you may need to write about. When you buy this you have access to this across any devices you may own such as Chromebook, iPad, or your desktop computer. Wonderful spelling and grammar support.  This is subscription based at $89 per year for a single user. 

iPad Tools for Writing


Keeble and Keedogo--These keyboards have word prediction features built-in and kid friendly layouts to make typing on the iPad easier for your students. Keeble has features in the settings to help students with fine motor difficulties.

Apps for Organizing

popplet--there is a free version which allows you to make only one popplet. The full version is $4.99 and works on iPad or iPhone. Full version also allows you to make online Popplets that you can share with anyone and  they can be edited by other Popplet users.  The simple interface makes it very user friendly and easy for students to get started with. You tap anywhere to create a thought box and each box can contain text, a drawing, and a picture if you like. Sizes of the boxes are easily altered by pinching the edges of the box together or spreading them apart. Connect boxes by tapping the small circle next to each box.  Great for brainstorming, taking class notes, and planning projects!

Inspiration Maps-- If you like Inspiration software then this will be for you. You can create unlimited documents and save them in folders or in Dropbox. You can also transfer your “maps” to Inspiration 9.1 software and also to other iPad apps such as Pages. Easily switch back and forth between outline and diagram view, add hyperlinks, notes, and images. Share files with other apps such as Pages and maps can be shared with Dropbox. Dozens of templates are also included. 

Story Starter Apps
Things to Think About App--This free app was created by 2nd through 5th grade students in Jackson County here in Michigan. It offers 100 writing prompts with original artwork done by the students and a voice prompt read by a student. There are twelve categories  such as family, future, school, and feelings to name a few. A great way to get those students who always say “I don’t know what to write about!”

Write About This--Great writing app for the elementary grades. Kids love interesting pictures and this app has 125 pictures and 375 leveled writing prompts created by 
teachers.  This app asks students to provide their opinions about a variety of topics and provides a starting point for fiction and nonfiction narratives. Students can also add their own custom prompts.  You can email your stories, save them to the in-app gallery or add voice recordings and save to the camera roll.

Apps with Built-in supports

Clicker Docs--This great app is by the people from Crick Software who bring you Clicker 6 software for the computer. This word processor for elementary to middle school aged students is available for $30.99.  Clicker docs has word prediction and topic specific word banks that teachers can build easily to fit the needs of their individual students. There are also ready made word banks that can be downloaded from Clicker’s Learning Grids website. Word prediction choices have speech support and sentences are read aloud when ending punctuation is entered. This auditory support helps those students who have difficulty spelling and reading. Documents can be easily emailed as a text file, Clicker Doc or pasted text into the body of an email. 

Clicker Sentences--Understanding how to build sentences is an essential part of early literacy.  Students who struggle with word recognition and creating sentences will meet with success using this app.  You can easily personalize sentence grids for topics that interest your students or download free grids from the Clicker website.  Students can hear the words as they work and have their “story” read to them aloud at the end.  This is a worthwhile tool to use with emergent readers and writers.  $28.99


iReadWrite--This app comes from the TextHelp software company who specialize in software for students with learning challenges. This word processor is targeted more towards middle and high school students and sells for $19.99. There are a number of built-in powerful support features to assist struggling readers and writers such as:  contextual word prediction, talking dictionary with picture supports, a phonetic spell checker, and text to speech with dual color highlighting. 

Co:Writer--If you love Co:Writer software from Don Johnston for your students, then you will make an easy transition to this app. Co:Writer has the great feature of having topic dictionaries which provide an extra level of support and now you can make topic dictionaries “on the fly”. All you do is type in a subject and Co:Writer goes out to the web to bring in a web scraped topic dictionary--it’s way too easy! You can customize the size of the dictionary you  want the student to use, it reads words and sentences, and has many options for sharing your work including saving to Dropbox or your Google Drive. For students who need spelling and reading support this is a wonderful tool. Price is $19.99.

Book Creating Apps

My Story - Book Maker for Kids--This is a wonderful app for the classroom to encourage students’ to write their own stories. It is very easy to use and students will be able to do it independently in no time. My Story combines drawing, stickers, photos, text, and voice to promote creativity and literacy skills in ebook format. Student books can be shared via the web, social networks, email, or send directly to iBooks. Cost is $3.99.

Book Creator--Another terrific tool for students to create books. It is naturally intuitive and students will be writing their own tales in no time. You can quickly add photos from those on your iPad or from the web, import video or music, and record from within the app. Stories can be shared in  iBooks or Dropbox to name a few, exported as a PDF, or printed via Air Print. The app also has the ability to add hyperlinks to both text and images. Audio hotspots can also be created on your pages.  Price for this app is $4.99--try it out first in Book Creator Free which allows you to make one free book.

Little Story Creator--FREE! Simple and easy app for creating all kinds of personalized stories.  This is a wonderful way to make a social story, document a field trip or other class activity. Easy editing and video clips up to 30 seconds can also be used on your pages. If you want to email or share stories you can sign up for an account.


Contact Information

Consultant: Rosanne Burden
Tel: 269-471-7725 ext. 1197
Fax: 269-471-0314
rosanne.burden@berrienresa.org
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