Write Scripts, not Paragraphs

By: Mary Kienstra on: October 22, 2014  in: #tlap, Engagement

After a several days of researching, my students and I gathered together to talk about the next steps in their project.  They had enthusiastically found information about their favorite author and were buzzing about what they had learned.  I think they were secretly, or maybe not so secretly, dreading the next phase – writing the report.

I showed them a short video that I produced using the Tellagami app which featured an avatar I designed talking about the project.  When I announced that they would be producing a similar video, they cheered!  I told them that to make a video like that they would need to write a script  using the information from their research.  They RAN back to their desks to get started.  They focused intensely, writing with a real purpose.  As they finished, they were so proud to come and show me what they had written.  The writing was fabulous – better than any other writing assignment.

My students used their scripts to create engaging 30 second videos.  Then, they learned about all those other favorite authors as they watched each others’ videos. I’m not sure they would have been that interested in reading each others’ paragraphs.

I learned so much from this experience!  Students are very motivated by writing for a unique purpose like a video.  Producing a video gives students the audience they need to showcase their work.  Since that day, my students have written more scripts and created more videos.  Anything that can be written as a paragraph can be produced as a video with a script.  Why not make it more meaningful to kids by creating an experience and giving them a real audience for their work?

What have you changed that transformed your students’ engagement or motivation for writing?  Please share!

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