Promoting Writing in the Classroom Through Technology

- handout highlighting some Web 2.0 tools for writing, focused on elementary

Comic Strips

Comic strip example

Cartoons from your Photos

  1. Convert images into a cartoon style using Save onto your computer.
  2. Save and insert into a Word template .
  3. Right-click on the shape - Format Shape. Select Fill Effects and choose Picture.
  4. Navigate to where you saved your image and click Insert. Your image will now fill the shape. If you don't like the BeFunky words on your image, crop the image beforehand (i.e. in or Picassa).
  5. Use the shape tools to draw speech bubbles and add captions.

storymyth.jpg Myths & Legends Story Creator - Create your own story - myths & legend using this highly interactive tool. Select between scenes, characters, speech bubbles, props, etc. Resize, re-order, rotate & flip objects. Can upload own images. Can save, print, etc.

Read*Write*Think Flipbooks - Create and print your own flip book, complete with text and images. Simple interface.
Make Belief Comics - Create your own comic strip using this interactive site. Fun for all ages. For integrative ideas, visit their Daily Comix
Kerpoof- Create your own story, selecting scenes & included props, create own objects, add text. Can save and print.
Comics Links- Collection of web links on comic creators, tools, and cartoons in education


PicLits - Drag & drop words (provided below) to accompany the site's many photos. You can also use your own words. Save, post online, etc.

Wordle - Transform text into design

Picture_1.jpgUse in education:

Language Arts

  • Compare themes in two pieces of literature, seeing what words emerge as most common
  • Paste the text from a book and do a "word walk." Analyze the vocabulary, predict what a new book is about just by the Wordle.
  • Make a Wordle of commonly misspelled words. Can make a new one monthly, etc. and analyze.
  • Create a Wordle of characters listing in a book. Take a screen shot and add an image of the book cover on the same page. You could also create a character analysis of a selected story character, ranking the top traits and repeating the trait to show prominence. Describing the setting can also be done in Wordle.
  • Use your linguistic skills to come up with different ways of saying the same thing - i.e. "please" in different languages.
  • Find or create an image reflecting a poem. Overlay a Wordle design of the poem on top. Use colors reflective of the poem and/or image.
  • Do some creative writing using words from the word cloud.
  • Predict what genre the source text is from based on the Wordle cloud and state your reasons why you made that choice.
  • Conduct a readability test of a book, typing in words from a page - if more than 5 words are unfamiliar to you, then it may be too hard.
  • Take selections of writing from an author to help determine the diction of an author's writing.

Social Studies/Humanities

  • Create a Wordle of a famous speech or writing (or even compare two speeches), analyzing the words that appear graphically.
  • Wordle the text from several news articles on a topic and evaluate for bias and content source
  • Conduct a "who am I?" hunt in which students try to guess which key historical figure matches the biography-generated Wordle.


  • Create a reflection on a piece of artwork (famous or student). Can focus on art appreciation, art elements & principles, etc.

Foreign Language & ESL

  • Create a wordle using words in a target language and their equivalents in English. Students find the matchmates.
  • Type topic vocabulary (including foreign language) with the topic word larger. Practice pronunciation.
  • Use for prompts for charades
  • Choose which words are appropriate for a certain writing task (i.e. formal vs. informal letter)
  • Include English and other language words - try to find the matches
  • Analyze a Wordle using words from a current or upcoming unit and find & look up unfamiliar words

Text Analysis

  • Copy and paste the first paragraph or two of some text and create a Wordle design from it. Try to see what the big ideas of the are.
  • Take a vocabulary word and write all the words the class associates with it. Can also use in place of a word wall, using vocabulary
  • Type in vocabulary related to a topic (i.e. parts of a heart, heart functions & diseases) and overlay (optional) on top of an image of that topic
  • Study a Wordle created from upcoming content as part of your KWL activity. Identify words you know and don't.

Speeches & Presentations

  • Use to introduce a topic, having the students guess what will be learning about
  • Use as a basis for delivering a presentation in lieu of presentation notes, PowerPoints, etc.
  • Paste text from your writing or speech notes and analyze for overused words {including transition choices), need for more descriptive, etc.
  • Summarize findings from a survey's text field entry
  • Use as a summary from the content of an essay or other piece of work to determine what the writing is about

Reflection, Goals

  • Have students brainstorm about an event, memories, field trip, etc. - or even things they appreciate/remember about their teacher. This can be printed as a poster, on a mug (take a screen shot), or other memento.
  • Use as a visual poll representation of favorite class colors, birthdays, favorite pet, etc.
  • Create an attribute poster for each child, using the written input of each classmate (duplicates = fine).
  • Create a customized greeting card, fabric printed T-shirt/tie, etc. for Mother's or Father's Day, using attributes of your parent.
  • Paste the text of your favorite poem or song as part of an introduction to who you are.
  • Write about your strengths, copy text to Wordle, and print your "About Me" poster
  • Create a Wordle from a student's dreams & aspirations writing. Repeat later in the year and compare.

Class - Miscellaneous

  • Create a class sign using the names of your students
  • Analyze/summarize a course syllabus, course description, or standards met in an activity.
  • Create a word cloud of your class rules or expectations
  • Summarize the results of a survey response. This can be particularly useful if you use Google docs to collect your survey information – just copy and paste into Wordle.

Forty Interesting Ways to use Wordle in the Classroom

Using Wordle in the Classroom

Creating Word Clouds with Wordle - short video tutorial
  • The more often the word is typed, the larger it will appear
  • Put a tilde (~) between two words to keep them together.
Putting Images into your Wordle - step by step how to transform your text Wordle to include images

Alternatives to Wordle

Tagcrowd - similar to Wordle, but can also get text from imported files
ToCloud - Word cloud generator (static or dynamic) that can take text from a website or pasted/typed text. Many options for display and included text. Recognizes phrases better than most.
Tagxedo - Similar to Wordle, but can create fancy shapes. Export function.
ABCya - Simplified word cloud generator, great for young students
Word Mosaic - Includes ability to select from a small variety of shapes

Writing - General

  • Scholastic Story Starters - Generate fun story prompts by pulling levers. Write in several formats (newspaper, notecard, postcard). Also includes drawing tools.
  • Writing Fix for Kids - Choose one of 14 interactive word games (i.e. crazy animals, colored animals) and click on the buttons until you're inspired to start your story.
  • Ideas for Inspiring Writing in the Classroom - Over 30 ideas presented in this SlideShare
  • Build Your Wild Self- After creating your wild character using the site, proceed to use descriptive words (vocabulary, similes, metaphors), special abilities, or fun adventures it has
    • Can create your own kids/characters for use in your PowerPoint or Notebook presentations, or even an avatar (using screen capture tool)
  • Get your kids to have more practice writing more descriptive, expanded sentences by using premade phrases at Telescopic Textor your own at Basseq.
  • Write a poem, using lots of descriptive imagery. Select corresponding image using Flickr Storm. Select a word(s) from your poem using Spell With Flickr to create a unique image word, where each letter is an image. Combine images & text in PhotoStory or PowerPoint for a visual poem.
  • EtherPad - Write collaboratively (up to 8 people at a time) using this free tool
  • Google Translate - Type up a document in Google Docs and go to the Tools menu - Translate, selecting the new language for the text to be translated in.
  • Retell tales, writing the script and rehearsing narration. Upload text to, choose from cartoon sets & actors, and make your animated movie online. Can be embedded into your blog, etc.
    • Xtranormal, with its animated output, can be a motivating tool for kids who struggle with writing
Go Beyond the Book Report
  • Design a movie poster using page layout programs (i.e. Publisher) or multimedia (i.e. Glogster)
  • Create a multimedia collage about a book, incorporating text, videos (including trailers if book has been turned into a movie), links, audio, and images (drawn, scanned, or photos) using Glogster.
  • Create an "Interview with the author." Could be in the form of a Podcast.
  • Pretend that you are a newscaster covering an event(s) in the story
  • Retell the story through the perspective of another character in the book
  • Redesign the book's cover
  • Create a quiz show such as Jeopardy! based on the book's content. Use templates already made for PowerPoint, SmartBoard Notebook, or online at Super Teacher Tools
  • Rewrite the ending of the book or another part of the book
  • Use an advice column as a medium - write as a character giving advice or as an advice columnist giving advice to a character
  • Create a photo album using PhotoStory or VoiceThread
  • Recreate a chapter of the book in a simple play
  • Create a book trailer trying to convince people to read the book. Post on the Book Trailers for Readers wiki. (How-to posted here). Use Animoto or video editing software to create.
  • Create stop-motion or animated videos about the book's plot. Use MeeMov to create animated video or visit this tutorial on how to create stop motion videos.
  • Recreate the travels of a character using Google Maps or Google Earth. Google LitTrips has examples of students using Google Earth for this.
  • Create 3-d augmented reality book reviews using ZooBurst.
  • For more ideas, visit 41 Ways to Go Beyond the Book Report