Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Writing: Keynote

One of my favorite things about the new Common Core English Language Arts standards is the range of writing standards (W.10). What it basically says is that students will be expected to develop writing fluency; that is, they'll be able to write in many different contexts and subjects, for different audiences, purposes, and effects, and with long and short pieces. I love to teach writing, so I'm excited that it will finally be emphasized more broadly.

This year, one of my favorite apps to use with my students for short writing pieces has been Keynote. Traditionally, I thought of Keynote as the Mac equivalent to PowerPoint, and it can certainly serve that purpose. But Keynote can also be a good tool to use when you want students to write a very short piece or synthesize information and maybe incorporate a picture or two.

A couple of weeks ago in Social Studies, we were studying the invention of the telegraph and how it impacted society. We read a few different articles about it, and then I asked students to synthesize the information by creating an award for the telegraph. They had to create one slide using both pictures and text that said, for example, "Award for Best Communication Device of the 1800s" or something like that. They then had to describe why the telegraph was deserving of that award, and I let them include a message in Morse Code at the end. Here are a couple of examples:

I love how they connect the invention to emailing. I'm sure the concept makes more sense to them that way, but it's funny because there were so many inventions and innovations that had to happen after the invention of the telegraph before we could get to email. But alas...

This project took less than an hour from start to finish, and that includes the time it took to read the articles. We frequently use Keynote for these one-page type projects, so the students are very knowledgeable in how to use the app. 

This is just one example of how we use Keynote to build writing into our daily routines. What kinds of writing have you been doing in the classroom lately? Please share in the comments section!

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