Using Writelike in the classroom
This page will give you a quick overview of Writelike's features and how you might use them in the classroom. For a more detailed explanation of individual features and discussion of classroom practice, check out our onboarding lesson Teaching with Writelike.
The core learning mechanic of Writelike is the scaffolded rewrite. It works like this:
- Provide a snippet of authentic text
- Highlight useful patterns
- Show worked examples using the same patterns applied to different content
- Get students to write their own versions
This activity works on students' sentence- and paragraph-level writing skills, developing fluency and craft.
Most Writelike lessons are a series of scaffolded rewrites. Sometimes these rewrites build upon each other to help students create a longer piece of text (see Lesson types below).
Other activity types we have are:
Expansion blocks – hide and reveal the extra details, circumstances, clarification, and elaborating action in a passage to understand the impact these additions have.
Memory drills – retype the text from a snippet within 2 minutes and 10 peeks. A fun way to practise keyboarding skills.
Proofing drills – correct the scrambled words and punctuation in a snippet within 2 minutes. Great for practising spelling and punctuation.
Sorting activity – sort the sentences from a long snippet into the correct order. This activity is useful for discussing structure and flow.
A lesson is a group of activities organised around a central idea, genre, or even a single snippet of text. Broadly, we have three lesson types:
- Introductions collect snippets from a variety of texts to introduce students to topics such as characters in narrative, the expressive function of semicolons, or nominalisation in history and social science writing.
- Detailed practice lessons focus on one snippet and model the creation of a longer piece of text, such as writing an exciting getaway scene, ramping up the intensity in a high-concept narrative, or capturing the collective character and individual details of a crowd. These lessons tend to be challenging, but can result in high quality writing.
- Remix lessons simply provide a set of snippets and stimulus images with prompts on how to recombine them. Examples include the Mixed Remix series of lessons, or the Snippet-a-day series on fictional narrative or memoir. These lessons are relatively light and fun, and are good for regular practice or a class warm-up activity.
The type of writing students do in Writelike is complex and open ended, so feedback needs to be given by their teachers and peers. Our feedback tools support teachers to monitor student work and provide targeted support to students who might be struggling. We also have options for eliciting peer feedback that range from fun and casual to more structured and analytical.
Teachers can see how their students are progressing in the group moderator view. You can check where students are up to in the dashboard and read their responses to see if they are grasping the key techniques of the lesson and identify where more in-class support is needed.
Portfolio pieces are Writelike's version of a summative assessment, pulling together all the concepts in a lesson. Feedback on portfolio pieces is also the most structured way to provide feedback in Writelike, with a loose grading system and a place to enter commentary.
If peer review is enabled, students are shown anonymised portfolio pieces from others in the group and are asked to assess how well those responses fit the pattern, as well as provide commentary.
Writing is a social activity. The response feeds included in the lessons offer a way for students to casually react to and comment on each other's work as they progress. While not as rigorous as the feedback for portfolio pieces, this kind of social feedback can be highly motivating.
Need a peer feedback tool that's a bit more formalised than the response feed, but more fun than the portfolio peer review module? Give Wrotevote a go! In Wrotevote, students are presented with random anonymous responses from 2 of their peers, then vote on which they like best, with the opportunity to react and comment on the one they liked. Students then get to see which of their responses performed best and whether they placed in the top 10/25/50%, as well as the overall top responses from the group. Wrotevote emphasises positive reinforcement, capturing some of the benefits of competition while minimising the harms.
What does Writelike look like in a classroom?
One of the benefits of Writelike is that it's not just a generic "homework add-on". The content is rich, and can be folded into your unit plans and lessons. We aim to save you time in planning and lesson material creation so that you can spend it in discussion and feedback activities with your students.
Our lessons include instructions that support self-directed and teacher-led learning. If you plan to use Writelike as primarily self-directed, we still suggest dedicating a couple of hours of in class time to introduce the tool and how you want your students to use it. Keep learning social by using Wrotevote or peer review, and host in class discussions for students to share their work and check understanding.
The Teaching with Writelike lesson goes into more detail, with practical tips on topics like how to introduce your class to the tool, or how to select an appropriate lesson, as well as more philosophical ideas around where Writelike fits in literacy education and the theories that support it.