Saturday, 3 October 2015

BoomWriter

BoomWriter is an incredible tool for story writing.



At a teacher you can pick form one of the main StoryStarts, which are fantastic opening chapters of books,t hat are designed to hook you in. You can even search through the available chapters by level and genre (so it can fit perfectly when you are doing a certain unit, like a sci-fi unit). You can also write your own opening chapters, which is something we did for the ESOL class. Although the only opening chapters available are English, you can obviously upload your own in any language.


After students read the first chapter, usually as a group and with a class discussion, each student writes their own second chapter. Teachers can add guiding notes, for example 'use the vocabulary list from class' and they can review each student's second chapter, either approving it, or giving it feedback for improving it. Once everyone has written their chapter, you host a voting session! Here students get the chance to read four of their peers chapters, (though they don't know who authored what they are reading) and they also get a chance to vote. It is very clever and makes sure all chapters are read an equal number and that no one reads there own. Once you close voting, the chapter which receives the most votes becomes the chapter two for the book!


With BoomWriter you are able to select how many chapters you want total, how many days you want them to write and vote and you can add in guiding notes to support the students. You can do it so that all chapters get approved, and you just give feedback to the winning chapters, or you can go through each draft and give them feedback. It just depends how much time you want to spend on it. You can easily use it for a summative assessment, grading each chapter, or you can have a hands off approach and just use it to foster the love of writing.



When the book is complete you get given a link and can order physical copies, (your first book is free), you can also pass this on to parents to buy! Also throughout the writing process students get given 'Boomer Bucks' when they write and vote, which they can use to customize their 'Boomer'.

The students we have used this with love it, and put a huge amount of time and effort into their chapters, because they know their peers will read them and because they want to have a chapter in the final, published book. You could even buy a copy of each book for the classroom and for the school library. I have been popping into the English classes that I set this up in, to support the teachers, and when the students see me they get really excited because they know it is BoomWriter Day!


BoomWriter set up is easy for both students and staff, and I am excited to see more and more classes using it at my school. I can not recommend BoomWriter enough, and seeing how much joy it gives the students is wonderful. I am very excited to start using this with older students, to see if they respond in the same way.

Over the last few weeks I have introduced BoomWriter to our Grade 6 English classes and on Grade 7/8 ESOL class.