13 Technology Based Lessons to WOW Your Writing Students in 2013

Access an "Electronic Tri-Fold" of the lessons by clicking the image of the tri-fold below.

 (Note: Access the link to each lesson by “clicking” the mouse on the respective underlined titles.)

Morph Man


1.      Superheroes for Sentence Punctuation Instruction.


The lesson employs YouTube and smart-phones in a collaborative lesson – Statistical evaluation of test results and student assessment examination were exceptionally helpful in determining student appreciation of collaborative lessons.



  1. Animated Creature as a Descriptive Writing Lesson

This technology lesson uses an  instructor created video animation for a descriptive paragraph lesson. An endearing animated entity named DEERMAN was fashioned with the SPORE creature-creator software.  Students examine DEERMAN’S characteristics and animation via smart phones, lab computers, or the classroom digital projector.

  1. Dragon Voice to Text Free App Lesson for composing error-free email grammar

Perhaps, the most beneficial, grammar-wise, of the 13 lessons, the student dictates an informational narrative into a class smart phone with the free Dragon app installed.  Dragon converts the message to text which the student edits into a narrative paragraph and sends the corrected message to the instructor for grading.  Watch this demonstration video on how the application might be used in the classroom. Many instructional benefits emerged using the Dragon-email process. Click here for a video describing the lesson.

  1. Rube Goldberg Process Paper Writing Lesson Video

A free animation of a Rube Goldberg invention is played on the student’s work station, smart phone or the lab digital computer.  Using the capability of the video player to stop action, either the student or instructor pauses the animation for the student to record steps in a process which leads to a concluding event.

5. Interactive Read-Write Exploration Lesson

Answering grammar questions correctly navigates student to the lesson treasure/prize, an “A” for the day.  The path is prescribed by progress html links to subsequent questions.  The questions are custom tailored to both the students and the lesson content.    The linking features of Microsoft Word allow custom hunts to be readily created.                             

  1. Word Definition/Spelling Puzzle Creator

This is a collaborative lesson where students are paired in crafting from a crossword puzzle software program a puzzle that is given other students as a daily quiz.

7. Clicking here will download a zipped file of the application "Motion Planning" on your computer. To unzip the program, click first on the file "motionplanning.exe" then follow the unzipping instructions to install the program.

The lesson employs a simple public domain computer game called MOTION PLANNING.  It is used by NASA to teach principles of robotics.  Its timing clock feature  can be used to grade students’ ability to follow instructions. a list of instructions, Grades are determined by the time needed to drive the instructed destination.  As a corollary, the student can author instructions to arrive at the desired destination.

8. On-line Author-Written Short Stories with Comprehension Questions and Word Lists

These short-stories are available to educators free of charge, included  is an audio reading of each story in dramatized fashion.  Comprehension tests are given after sight reading and audio listening to the stories to compare results.   The authors disseminate the lessons to students via Internet and DVD technology.

9. Interactive Grammar Scavenger Hunt

The lesson employ the author(s) created DVD and website as the scavenger-universe so that Internet access is not needed.  However, the lesson can be done using smart phone web browsers because the scavenger-universe is on-line at the authors’ website.          

10. Watch-It/Read It Lesson with Public Domain Video and Book

By depositing on a public domain website several public domain movies with their corresponding novels, the authors are able to conduct class lessons on comparing the written account with the cinema version as a narrative exercise. A brief portion of the movie and book is compared. An example is a video clip from The Hoosier School Boy. The text corresponding to the clip is accessed from the novel.  The student, as a “screen-writer”, finds the clip (movie elapsed time) which portrays a chapter in the text (page number) and lists additions and omissions in the movie version. 

11. Student Essay Readability Calculator Lesson

(only works on desktop computers)

Students grade a selected passage’s readability score using a public domain readability calculator. Subsequently, students write a one page narrative and compute its readability. Lastly, students: 1) Shorten sentences 2) Select synonyms for multi-syllable words and re-calculate the readability of their narrative to judge improvement.  An example of this process using a prompt about tattoos is accessed by clicking here. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.) There is an excellent readability website at: http://www.read-able.com which compares favorably with the Flesh Readability Calculator.       (If no computer exists, the students use an arithmetic calculation to compute readability.)

12. Anti-plagiarism Lesson Using Microsoft Word Editing Software

Students edit selected copyrighted text in a Word file.  Without printing the text, students substitute synonyms from an on-line dictionary, restructures types of sentences, alternates clauses, etc., in order to create an un-plagiarized version of the original content.  The instructor and class work through an example in order for the students to understand the process.  (An alternative lesson is to adapt Jules Verne’s archaic English in FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON into contemporary prose.) 

13. Comparing Amelia Earhart and Christa McAuliffe with YouTube

Watching YouTube video biographies, students take notes on the lives of Amelia and Christa and compose a comparison narrative.

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