What is the intention for writing: to learn, deepen our understanding, emphasize skills and strategies, to deepen thinking, look for clarity of ideas, and a tool box for our thinking. Writing is utilized to focus our investigations of what I think I know, what I want to know, to state a hypothesis, accumulate evidence, and help us prepare for conversations and discussions. Writing connects new understanding to larger issues in the world and reflect on how it changes our understanding.
All teachers are responsible for being teachers of reading and writing. Here are five Google Chrome extensions that support and transform writing to increase student engagement and communication skills.
Form Publisher – When my colleague, Jules Csillag (@julesteaches) showed me how she uses Form Publisher to scaffold writing for her special ed students I immediately began adding it to my Google Forms. Some students may need scaffolds during the writing process to support their thinking. These scaffolds may include graphic organizers, revising and editing checklists, sentence starters, lists of transition words and phrases, and vocabulary lists. With Form Publisher you can convert a graphic organizer into a Google Form scaffolding the elements of the writing task. Then, the Form Publisher lets you generate files to present your data in a more suitable way i.e. a paragraph or constructed response. Using this add on breaks down the writing process for struggling writers into a manageable and less daunting task.
Citthisforme – Writing a research paper or including testimony and evidence from other sources, this citation generator is easy to use and offers APA and MLA citations for a footnote or bibliography. Whenever you are on a page you wish to use as a source, simply click the Cite This For Me extension button to generate a citation for it. It’s quick, easy, and free.
Grammarly and NoRedInk– When it come to grammar, these Chrome extensions use artificial intelligence to help students compose bold, clear, mistake-free writing. NoRedInk helps students improve their grammar and writing by adapting to their abilities with instant feedback and actionable performance data. Students can edit their work before they submit it for evaluation. Think of these extensions as a virtual peer editor.
Speakit and Announcify– I always tell my students to read aloud their writing before submitting it for evaluation. When we read aloud our writing we are able to hear our mistakes. Both these extensions will read back your writing and help students catch any errors during the editing and revision process. Announcify will read aloud any webpage in your browser with a single click.
WriQ – A new product from Texthelp, WriQ boasts, “WriQ is an extension for Google Docs that automatically grades papers digitally. It’s faster, more accurate and consistent then traditional manual and subjective grading.” Now, for any ELA teacher with a mountain of essays to grade, this sounds like a dream. Actually, the teacher is not off the hook to completely leave grading to a computer algorithm. What WriQ actually does is help students meet learning targets and offer guidance where they can improve with their writing before a final submission. WriQ will assess for students their vocabulary, spelling, sentence length, grammar and punctuation correctness. Students can see when they overuse a word or if their word choice is below grade level. Students have the option of revising their writing for a stronger outcome. WriQ provides rubrics alongside of the student writing to help students improve their writing in real time. These rubrics are based on the student’s grade level and the genre of writing, measuring everything from plot, narrative techniques, language and more. In turn, this extension can accelerate writing proficiency and provide a consistent benchmark for fair grading.