writingWriting, Technology, & Differentiation

When you design writing experiences, are you considering the diverse needs of your students? Some students write well with paper and pencil, while others excel at using the keyboard. Some students need prompts while others prefer to be more creative. Outlines, mind maps, and oral brainstorming are different ways that students might plan for writing. Are you providing a variety of tools? Seek technology solutions to differentiate.

Let's explore three ways to think about writing, technology, and differentiation:

Writing Practice and Tools

writeMany online resources are available to stimulate writing ideas and practice writing skills. Seek out those that reinforce essential skills and expand thinking.

Let's say you want to practice sequencing or writing directions. Ask students to complete a virtual activity. Then write the steps they followed. Younger students could recreate the experience with sequencing cards or real objects while older students might write paragraphs.

Let's say you're looking for some quick extension activities that won't take much time. Use the following two web resources to stimulate writing.

Writing Tools

writing toolsOnline tools are particularly useful for students who have trouble getting started with a blank piece of paper. They provide scenarios, prompts, ideas, and other tools to guide the writing process.

As you explore online tools, consider what standards they will help you address. Also think about specific children in your classroom that might benefit from particular tools.


Garfield Comic Creator
Myths, Folktales & Fairy Tales from Scholastic
Tate Museum - Imaginary City


Book Report Sandwich Station from Scholastic
Edit Dan's Copy from Scholastic
Poetry Idea Engine from Scholastic
Spelling Wizard from Scholastic


Be A Reporter from Scholastic
- 100 Years of Flight
- Lewis and Clark
Book Report Sandwich Station from Scholastic
Poetry Idea Engine from Scholastic
Spelling Wizard from Scholastic
Writing with Scientists from Scholastic
Writing with Writers from Scholastic
Writing Workshop: Oral History from Scholastic
Writing Workshop: Persuasive Writing from Scholastic
Writing Workshop: Research Paper from Scholastic



ReadWriteThink tools
Teacher Tap: Magnet Poetry, Stories & Mad LibsReadWriteThink tools

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Authentic Audiences

writingDesign learning experiences that promote writing with a purpose.

  • Identify a real need, authentic audience, and reach beyond the classroom.
  • Use technology communication tools such as email, blogs, and websites.

Check out Mr. Riley's Kindergarten Molecules in Motion page. How could you get your students involved in class writing projects using a blog?

Check out the science author blog by an elementary class at Authorvisit. How could you connect with a member of the local, national, or international community?

Go to Colorado Wildlife. These children created a website of all the animals in Colorado. Could you develop one for Pennsylvania?

Go to Butterfly Garden. These children created a website on the topic of the Butterfly Garden. Could you create your own website related to a theme?

Explore the projects produced by Mr. Leahy's Fifth Grade Class. How could you share the work of your children?

Brainstorm ways to make connections with parents, the community, and children around the world through authentic writing activities. What's realistic? What tools do you have to produce web pages? Try Kidspiration!

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Developed by Annette Lamb, 3/06.