Apps for Perfecting Prose in Your Classroom
It’s frustrating when a pupil has a struggle getting down onto paper the wonderfully imaginative writing that’s in their head. If it’s frustrating for us as teachers, it’s enough to turn pupils off writing if they feel unable to move forward because they are held back by the conventions of writing.
Apps and online resources offer a real solution to many children for whom the writing experience can be chaotic, and can help them produce writing that truly reflects the perfect prose inside their head. Although apps are not a quick fix, they offer a way for children to practise in a safe, fun and interactive way – often times self-correcting and learning from their mistakes. Whilst other apps can also provide a class-based tool for children who might otherwise find day-to-day writing a huge challenge.
Here are our top apps tips to achieve perfect prose (or certainly better prose!) from your little writers:
1) Spelling: in the same that we can (usually!) rely on spell check or predictive text facilities to double-check our spelling, so children should have a spelling aid to give them freedom to write. The Biff, Chip and Kipper Phonic Dictionary is a great resource linked to the extremely popular Oxford Reading series of books. The app is not only a dictionary of words but also contains within it the ability to test users on their spellings, create specific spelling lists and help young children continue to learn to read through synthetic phonics. Older children can use the amazing Dictionary Pro (on Android) which, as well as being a multi-lingual dictionary, is also an interactive thesaurus and encyclopaedia.
2) Vocabulary: Children love to extend their vocabulary and impress with their use of Wow Words! Word Haul is an app for multi-ages that aims to help extend the user’s word knowledge whilst also helping them to understand the meaning of certain key terms such as antonyms, synonyms as well as compounding their knowledge of comprehension. It’s useful to help extend pupils’ vocabulary in order to give them a wider range of high-level words for use in their writing and everyday language.
3) Punctuation: Apps are really well-placed to help children practise their use of punctuation through interactive activities. There are many great punctuations apps but one of the very best – and a must-have for class devices – is Punctuation by DayDream Education. It’s also a great one to recommended for home use too.
4) Handwriting: Based on the popular Handwriting Without Tears program, Handwriting Without Tears app is a great resource to aid handwriting. As part of its multi-sensory experience, the handwriting program also uses a chalkboard and the Wet-Dry-Try method to teach children how to write. This app is a virtual adaptation of this popular handwriting system and is a lovely app and a great resource for children who find hand-writing a challenge.
5) Text building: Clicker Connect and the other Clicker text-building resources are really fantastic for children who require extra support in producing written work. The Clickers apps aid with sentences construction and telling stories through the use of words, phrases and imagery and are useful for younger children and those with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
Good luck with perfecting prose in your classroom!