B2S Writing Idea and a GIVEAWAY!

Need some ideas to jazz up your Writing Workshop? Last year my kids LOVED these digital photos with writing prompt questions. Click the examples below to take you to the site that has many different examples:

Of course your students can record their thoughts in their writing journals and share with the class or small groups. However, my class had a ball virtually collaborating with each other through Today's Meet and Padlet.com. Today's Meet is a live streaming website that allows your students to post ideas and comments for others to read. It is very easy to use. Padlet is my favorite collaborative tool. You create a virtual wall that students post their responses to and can see everyone's work. Check these two examples of the same wall (you can see the variety of responses….):

When you sign into Padlet.com there is an option to sign in. You do not have to set up an account in order to use these virtual walls. Just click "Create a New Wall" and you are on your way! Walls can be customized by choosing different backgrounds, adding titles and choosing the layout. There are two different layout options: post it notes that appear randomly on the wall and the stream that adds posts below one another. They can be used interchangeably. Once your wall is created, you will see that it has its own link.
Give your students the link and it will take them straight to the Padlet wall you created. All they have to do is double click on the wall and their text box will pop up. They type their responses, click outside of the text box and BOOM, the response has been posted. In order to see everyone's responses, simply have them refresh the page. Both Today's Meet and Padlet become really "magical" when you have students working on computers in different rooms and yet they are still communicating with each other.

These Web 2.0 tools are very powerful when used correctly in the classroom. Students start to compare their responses to their peers' responses. They can easily tell who does the best job elaborating, answering the prompt questions and sticking to the conventions of writing. Looking at the wall above, "Sara" is every teacher's nightmare. No capitalization, doesn't address the prompt and doesn't put much thought into her response. Sara ends up being the one who is embarrased and wants to quickly re-do her piece of writing before others make comments. You, the teacher, didn't even have to say anything! Sit back and let nature take its course :) Will this always be the case? Probably not. However, I have seen it happen more often then not. Once the lesson ends, this wall becomes an excellent conversation topic. I never address the "weaker" posts. Instead, I point out the stronger posts and we all "Ooooo and Ahhhh" over the students' writing. You can guess what happens the next time we do a similar activity. EVERYONE wants to write a post that is later admired by the whole class :) 
I am so excited to announce that Classroom Friendly Supplies has come out with a PRECIOUS PINK Pencil Sharpener. Even more exciting is that they are giving me one to giveaway to one of YOU. Of course you can have your choice in color but this pink sharpener is pretty cool :P Also, Classroom Friendly Supplies will donate $1 to cancer charities for every sharpener that is purchased. Head on over to their website to purchase one today! Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to WIN:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Don't forget to keep registering to win a free iPad for you and a friend from Teacher Created Resources. Click  {HERE}.