Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Writing Apps Wrap-up, Day #10--Top 10 Writing Apps

Starting from the top, writing apps take students and teachers from brainstorming, topic selection, thesis/topic statements, and citations to sharing and publishing. The writing process is no longer just limited to the walls of the classroom and the school community, but to a larger, global group.

In case you missed any of the daily features, you can catch them below.

Brainstorming: Wridea, Wallwisher, and Lino are my favorites; however, there are other sites that also enable students and educators to brainstorm and create concept maps.

  • site: Allows you to create your own bubble maps and share them with others. You can embed them, export them, and collaborate on them with others. 
  • Mind 42: This is another mind mapping software (free). Once again, you can share, collaborate with others, export the maps, and embed them into a Web interface. This tool allows for a lot of customization. 
  • Mind Meister: In addition to Mind 42's abilities, you can integrate a Skype video into the map. You can also import maps. However, you are limited to 6 free maps.
  • Mindomo: Like the others, this tool can share, collaborate, export, and import. And, it is far more detailed. You can also add it on as an extension to your Google Apps for Education account so everyone at your district can use it. 
  • Gliffy: Like Mindomo, it is also available through Google Apps

Topic Generators: Similar to brainstorming apps, these are great for thinking of ideas to construct.

  • Stumbleupon: This site generates random pages. These pages can be filtered by topic as to help students narrow down a broad interest they have. Just be sure they enter with a goal in order to avoid getting lost in the maze.
  • TDB Special Projects Generator: This generates random three-word phrases that can help spur ideas and thoughts. 
  • Random Quotations: Quotations are a great way to generate writing ideas. This site provides random quotations each day to provide students with writing topics. 
  • Wikipedia Random Page: Yes, this is Wikipedia. However, it's Wikipedia with a twist. Each time you press Alt+Shift+X, you'll have a new random Wikipedia page. Once again, these pages can give students topics to ponder. For instance, when I clicked on the link, I was directed to a page on Podocarpus milanjianus--a species of conifer. This can generate topics on plants or even plant locales. 
  • Google's Photo of the Day on iGoogle: This takes the traditional use of photographs to a new level.
  • Random Photo Browser: This gives you a random assortment of photos each day. 

Dictionaries and Vocab Builders: What would the writing process be without a little bit of grammar? These sites enable students to build their vocabulary as they construct writing pieces.

  • Lingro: Though this Website is mainly for translating all of the text on a Webpage and defining each translated word, it is still useful for giving definitions of a student's writing that he/she typed--it's a great proofreader. 
  • Merriam-Webster: This one goes without saying. The online version is more easily used by students as this is the format they are familiar with. 
  • Word Hippo: A translator/dictionary 
  • Your Dictionary: Build your own dictionary
  • Word-curious: This allows you to build your own glossary lists. Students can use this to build lists from what they write. 
  • Vocabahead: This one helps improve SAT vocab.
  • Got Brainy: This features different words with their definitions.
  • WordItOut: Transform text into word clouds
  • Wordia: Play games with sentences

Showing vs. Telling: These apps help students become more descriptive writers.

Thesis and Topic Statements:  These are divided by elementary and secondary grades to help in categorizing.

Citation/Bibliography Generators: Check out the links below for sites that will generate bibliographies and/or Works Cited pages.

  • Noodle Tools: This is designed for grades one-five. However, if you purchase subscriptions, you can have it feature more advanced grades. This is an online storage space/reference management system. 
  • BibMe: This site is more geared toward bibliographies and is, therefore, more suited for elementary grades. 
  • Son of Citation: This is, perhaps, one of the most well-known. It is user-friendly for grades five and up. It is compatible with MLA, APA, Turabian, and Chicago. even has it's own Facebook page!
  • Knight Cite: This site helps with MLA, APA, and Chicago.  It is part of the Herman Library at Calvin College.
  • Purdue OWL: Though not necessarily a citation creator, it does have valuable resources to guide students through creating a citation. 
  • eTurabian: This works for Chicago and MLA. 

Sharing and Collaborating: The following offer ways to share with others and give suggestions on how best to collaborate in a safe environment.

Publishing: These gems give students and educators tips and tricks for how and where to publish student writing.

  • Tips and Tricks:
    • Check out this Scholastic Article on how to effectively publish and share student works. 
    • The National Writing Project has a section on the teaching of writing--publishing, which gives links to a variety of articles on how to publish student writing. 
  • Publishing sites and tools: 
    • The National Writing Project has a multitude of resources and lists of sites for student publishing.
    • The Web English Teacher has a solid list of four-five sites for student publishing. 
    • Read Write Think has "student interactives" that feature different stages of the writing process. Browse through them to find the one geared toward publishing. 
  • The National Writing Project is a great project to join, so check for your local chapter. Within the Writing Project, you can find a plethora of writing tools. 
And, that wraps up the writing process. Stay tuned for the ten days of "taking science by storm" starting tomorrow!

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