The Common Core State Standards for Language Arts state that media skills should be blended throughout the reading and writing standards. Wixie provides a powerful platform for students in the middle grades to “employ technology thoughtfully to enhance their reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language use.”
In middle grades, students are transitioning from thinking like a child to thinking like an adult. They are capable of dealing with conflict and complexity, and should be asked to write for a purpose beyond the academic. Writing to entertain others, raise awareness and change minds can help these writers explore the new boundaries of their thinking.
Students can use Wixie to both organize their ideas and research, as well as share writing to impact the world around them. Here's how.
Organizing ideas during the writing process
Wixie makes a great digital canvas for student writing, and can also help students organize their ideas and thinking during the writing process.
Many Wixie templates, like plot diagrams, are most often used to assess student comprehension of a story, but make great supports to help students write their own narrative fiction.
Getting students to write their own stories generally means encouraging them to find their voice and to learn how to give voice to the characters in their stories. Ask older students to write in a range of narrative forms such as historical fiction, personification, letter writing, and poetry.
You can pair writing with reading, as well as connect students more deeply to literature by asking them to adapt or modernize the stories they are reading.
The Common Core State Standards include a renewed focus on informational text. The writing standards even have an entire section dedicated to research skills for building and presenting knowledge. Students can use Wixie to create and share their own informational texts and eBooks.
Research reports don’t have to be the only expository writing students author. There are lots of ways to change the product students create to help them move from copy and paste to high-level thinking projects. For example, students can create more exciting information products like:
- Diaries and journals
Middle school students tend to have strong opinions. Teaching them how to support their claims with evidence empowers them to enter the adult world with confidence. Begin with a simple project like a movie-style book trailer that persuades other students to choose a specific title for their next read.
You can also tap into their passion and idealism by asking students to create public service announcements for issues they care about. A public service announcement, or PSA, is a type of advertising designed to inform viewers about an issue or persuade them to change their behavior.
Combining Writing Types
Appendix A of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts states, "skilled writers many times use a blend of these three text types to accomplish their purposes." Some of the most enjoyable student projects require this combination. While many digital storytelling projects are personal narratives, digital stories that take the form of documentaries, video biographies and fictional news reports make informational writing fun and entertaining through narrative tone.
Digital storytelling is not just creating a video about something. Digital storytelling showcases the author's perspective about an event or idea. This validates what a learner is thinking and prompts them to reflect on content.
Wixie helps you engage writers with a digital approach
A digital approach to writing can help us connect with learners in ways that are relevant, authentic, and meaningful. Whether students are organizing notes about a topic, exploring vocabulary, drafting how-to instructions, reporting data and evidence, or working to persuade others, they can use Wixie as a digital notebook to make their thinking visible as well as publish in a range of formats for authentic purposes.