Review by Kirstin Sobotka, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2016

Write the World

Global community helps young writers write, revise, think, and grow

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
8-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (0)
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Pros: Great prompts and a lively community connect teens from across the globe, fostering cultural awareness and a shared love for writing.

Cons: Public posts could potentially lead to online privacy and safety issues; monitor with care.

Bottom Line: With interest-based writing prompts and thoughtful feedback from peers and pros, this is a great tool for writing for authentic audiences.

Create a scavenger hunt for students to explore the website and its possibilities. It could help generate excitement about the type of online writing community students are about to join. It could also help your students learn about writing for specific prompts, composing annotated reviews, and maintaining appropriate digital citizenship. Once you've created your private group on the site, enroll students and begin assigning tasks so they can earn badges. Assign weekly Student Choice prompts that let students choose their writing task; require students to conduct peer reviews using the site’s annotated review process; then have students complete the writing process the following week with revisions and re-submissions. You might also establish your own class norms for the types of writing, revisions, re-submissions, and feedback that students post. 

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Write the World is a global online writing community that lets teens submit their own work and get feedback from peers, writing instructors, and professional writers. After creating a free account, students and teachers can join groups sorted by interests and genres, or students can join private groups generated by their teacher. There's an unlimited range of ways to write and things to write about here, from poetry and fan fiction (or "fanfic") to current events and college entrance essays. Users are guided by task-related rubrics (including rubrics for narrative and argumentative writing tasks), pointed research prompts, and annotated feedback from peers and professional writers.

Students can beef up their profiles by earning badges for following, writing, and providing feedback while potentially wining money through writing contests and sponsored review opportunities. Teachers can maintain student privacy through creating private groups and personalized tasks using the site's prompt template.

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This site is a game changer for a high school writing course. On Write the World, students can choose what they want to write about and how they'd like to structure their writing, and they can get detailed feedback throughout. It's also excellent that there's so much student choice involved: Students can choose their own writing prompts and choose how and to whom they give feedback, and -- if they want -- they can earn badges and compete for writing prizes, too. The whole process feels much more meaningful and urgent than assembling a writing portfolio that's only limited to your classroom. Through competitions and interest-based prompts, students encounter grade-appropriate genres, structures, and topics with the incentive to earn badges, publish work, and win money.

While the site doesn't provide any direct instruction or a tutorial for writing -- or for the digital citizenship norms it promotes -- it's still a great platform and resource for budding writers. Keep in mind that writing in the public forums is completely public: To protect your students' privacy, it may be best to create your own private group and make that your dedicated space for your students' writing. Overall, this is an excellent way to get your students writing for authentic audiences.

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Overall Rating

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

The site promotes purposeful, collaborative writing: Engaging prompts and incentive-based challenges sweep kids into a community that teems with on-point peer and expert feedback.

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

There isn't any direct instruction, but there's plenty of modeling of good writing practices and the potential for some solid mentoring, too.

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

Writing prompts feature links to background information and detailed, easy-to-understand rubrics to guide student writing.


Common Sense Reviewer
Kirstin Sobotka Classroom teacher

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