An Observation

Each morning, my seventh graders begin their day with at least ten minutes of writing in their journals. We’ve been using those black-and-white composition notebooks as our journals this year. Enter the iPad. Yesterday they asked if they could start writing their journals on the iPad. I was actually a bit hesitant to say “yes.” I know it’s old-fashioned, but I love the idea of being able to look back through a journal, flipping the pages and seeing all of that wonderful writing. But I told my students I’d let them decide for themselves.

All but one or two flipped open their iPads and began typing.

Now, normally when students write in their journals I’ll see some who get right to it. They’re happy to be writing and will often have half a page filled within a few minutes. I’ll see some who take a few minutes to get started and they’ll wind up only writing three or four sentences. And then there are those who will stare off into space and need prompting from the teacher to get writing.

This was not the case yesterday. As soon as they flipped open their iPads everyone started writing…and didn’t stop until I asked them to. And that was only after 30 minutes! We usually only write for ten minutes, as I said earlier. But I just wanted to see what would happen if I let them go. Thirty minutes! And as I walked around the room I noticed that everyone had written at least one long paragraph (and in seventh grade a paragraph needs to be six to eight sentences long).

I was thrilled! But it’s also important for students to see the difference in their writing, so I asked them for a show of hands. “How many people felt they wrote a lot more using the iPad?” Almost every hand went up into the air. “And why do you think that is?” Answers to this second question ranged from “It’s new and exciting to use the iPad,” to “It’s so much easier to write everything down quickly when you’re typing.”

I love it!

One of my goals for my seventh graders this year is to work really hard on writing. The iPad is going to be a tremendous help in achieving that goal!

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