Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2017
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Write About This

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Fun pictures and prompts are great for getting kids to start writing

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Teachers say (5 Reviews)
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Grades
Pre-K-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: It's great for getting students to start the writing process -- often the hardest part.

Cons: Revising and editing is possible but not as easy as in a fully functional word processor.

Bottom Line: The tool’s flexibility for many possible applications makes it an excellent bet.

Once you get your students writing and sharing, offer feedback and instruction on how to expand, polish, and revise written work. Have reluctant writers use the record feature to "write" their story orally, then transcribe it. This feature could also work well for pre-writers, who could record their stories rather than typing them.

Teachers may want to have students work through the writing process outside the app, then use the app to publish a final draft. You may also want to figure out a process for peer evaluation, and perhaps a centralized place for classes to share. The Write About This website has a page with ideas for teachers, but this is one of those tools with so many possible applications that you'll likely come up with plenty of great ideas for use on your own.

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Write About This is a writing prompts app that answers the question "What should I write about?" by giving students 125 images with 375 different writing topics to choose from. They can search by keyword or category, or just select a randomly generated image and writing prompt. Each picture has three prompt levels to challenge everyone, from early to advanced writers; the prompts encourage critical thinking, creativity, and description.

After composing, students can share work through email or by saving it to the device. Saved stories can be edited from the in-app gallery. There's also a voice-recording feature that allows students to narrate their stories so they can practice reading aloud. What's more, if they ever get tired of the prompts in the app, students can find their own images and create their own prompts.

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Write About This was created by a fourth-grade teacher, and every aspect of it is designed with students in mind -- from the easy-to-navigate icons to the kid-friendly privacy policy. Prompts and images are appropriate for students of many writing levels, with increasing depth and complexity at each level. Additionally, students (or teachers) can create new prompts using their own images and ideas. Work is composed and saved within the app; students can share their compositions with others via email. The prompts get students thinking creatively, and they can practice responding critically using arguments and details.

For a lot of students, just starting to write is the hardest part; the more they practice, the better they'll become. Write About This is great at getting them started. It's designed for classes with multiple students sharing a device, too. Students set up an author's profile to save their work to. They can set an email address (their own or a parent's or teacher's) with which they can easily share their writing.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Students are highly engaged with a lot of images and topic choices, and it's exciting for them to share work. Writing into a tablet is quite engaging; it can bring a sense of fun and challenge to everyday writing activities.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Prompts include fiction and nonfiction narratives and how-to, persuasive, and compare/contrast exercises. Three levels of prompts for each image engage varying degrees of writing ability.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

Navigation is clear and easy. Work saved to the camera roll, or to the in-app gallery, can be edited. Voice-recording options help meet the needs of learners with differing abilities.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Sherri C. , Other
Other
4
A great writing prompt app that allows images, writing and voice to come together!

We have used the free version, which works well as long as you have one child working at a time. We have had students who have gone through and written all of their work, and then went to record their voices to find out that they weren't able to because there was already another project in the app that was started. It would be nice to prevent the user from starting a prompt with the writing before deleting out the previous versions. This would make it easier for students to not have to copy and paste their work into another piece or having to start all over. The paid version of this app would be great to use if schools have the budget for it!

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