Review by Stacy Zeiger, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013
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Prompts

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Creative tool gives students something to write about

Common Sense says
Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
5-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Multiple sentence starters give writers plenty of creative topics, and suggestions help students get out of a writing rut.

Cons: Younger writers and reluctant writers may not understand all of the suggestions offered. Typing lengthy pieces using a smartphone or tablet keyboard can be frustrating.

Bottom Line: Prompts is a good tool to help get students writing, but reluctant writers may need additional encouragement.

In order to become better writers, students have to write. Teachers can use this app to help students get in some creative writing practice. It works well as a bell-ringer or end-of-class activity, where teachers give students 5-10 minutes to write. Teachers may also find it useful as a way to get students to write outside of the classroom, having them choose a sentence starter and write a few paragraphs as homework or work on a new piece each week to add to their writing portfolios.

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When it comes to creative writing, one of the most common excuses students give is "I don't know what to write about!" Prompts helps solve that problem by giving students something to write about. They can tap through the sentence starters until they find one they like and then start writing directly in the app. Sentence starters include:

  • The one thing I wouldn't want people to know about me is...
  • My superpower is...
  • On the night of the full moon, we...
  • It had been four years since I had seen her...

Students can use the story starter to write a true story or make one up. The goal of the app is to get them to write. When they get stuck, the app is there to help, offering suggestions such as:

  • Make it absurd
  • Who wasn't there?
  • How can you make it mysterious?
  • Make a quick outline.

Once they've finished their writing, students can share it through multiple methods or save it to add to it later.

 

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Students who like writing will also like Prompts because it gives them an excuse to write more, and it can help them develop their creative writing skills. Younger writers may be confused by some of suggestions the app offers, such as "offer a lesser perspective," but older students who understand some of the narrative techniques will find themselves taking their writing to new, unpredictable levels. For students who don't like writing, the app provides a way in to writing by giving them something to write about, but it may not hold their attention beyond a few sentences.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Although the simplicity of the app appeals to those who simply want to focus on writing, it does not make writing seem more exciting for reluctant writers.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

The app empowers young writers to take their writing further and build their creative skills. The skills they can develop with this app are valuable ones they'll use throughout their schooling.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Kids must figure out what tools are available, as the app only tells them where to tap to start an entry. The prompts within the app, however, are accessible to writers at a variety of age levels.


Common Sense Reviewer
Stacy Zeiger Homeschooling parent

Teacher Reviews

4
(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Matthew C. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Oakland High School
Murfreesboro, TN
4
Prompts leads my students to connect their thoughts.

This program provides many of the same types of prompts that teachers would give students, but it effectively assists students by guiding them through steps without having to have the teacher by their sides at all times. Also, since the prompts come from a program and not from a teacher, some students are more willing to consider the advice! Nice to have some validation. :)

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