The “digital writer’s notebook” is a simple, two-tool system developed by Kaizena teacher, Gerard:
It’s important that all of the writing goes into one Google Doc because this makes seeing progress and improvement faster and easier for both the teacher and students. Plus, it allows students to use the feedback they’ve received on a previous draft to help them write an upcoming draft.
This technique has helped Gerard’s students develop stamina and confidence in their writing, plus he’s been able to provide them with feedback in a way that puts them in charge of improving their writing.
So here’s how he does it:
He starts the year with giving students a writing requirement of 250 words per week. This is much less than what most students can do comfortably, so meeting the goal is easy. This helps students develop momentum and confidence in their writing - once they realize they can write 250 words with ease, they’re more likely to rise to the challenge once the word count is increased.
Throughout this process, Gerard uses Kaizena to give short, focused and actionable feedback. He describes the resource feature as a “force multiplier of his time”, because it allows him to quickly share a website or video with students. The students can then read the comments on their own time and apply it to their writing. Although Gerard admits that this doesn’t always happen, he knows that when it works out, it works out beautifully, as students are leading their learning far more than if they were simply retyping an essay by fixing the spelling errors he’s identified.
By using this method to have students practice writing and receive feedback through Kaizena, Gerard can:
Basically, the digital writer’s notebook is a paperless way that Gerard has developed to have students practice writing, get feedback, and make consistent progress.
Click here for Gerard’s original blog post, titled “Scaffold the writing process with the digital writer’s notebook”, which goes into more detail about how he uses this process in his classroom.
Natalie has been using Kaizena to help prepare her ELL students for the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC), a required state test for students whose primary language is not English.
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