Encourage Writing Through Media Production

Getting many students to write is typically not a huge problem.  For some students however it is a significant challenge.  Teachers have often used publishing on websites, and teacher made books, and other places to get the students excited about writing.  I have found a publishing method that is fairly effective to get even the most reluctant writers excited about writing.  The use of video production has been used for a while in some tech savvy classrooms and always gets the kids excited.  The big change now is that new software and hardware makes this process super easy for even non-techy teachers.  

A great example of this is an iPad app called ToonTastic.  I had the students write scripts, on a story board format that matched the ToonTastic story format.  By the way, when you have a student who you can barely get a few sentences out of in normal situations asks if they can stay in from recess to work on a script, you know you have a great assignment.  With the script in hand and no experience my fourth grade students were able to produce a 5 minute animated video, with great story lines in about 20-30 minutes on the iPad.   This simple tool got some of my most reluctant writers excited about writing.   

This is just one little example of how production could enhance writing.  I think I would get just as much excitement if students were just animating a Poem or a short story rather than a traditional script.  The key is giving them a new, fun, and interesting way to make the presentation of their work exciting.  In the next several articles I will share with you some of the great tools I have found to make this possible.