Whether you teach in a classroom or online, Wacom pen tablets are a useful tool for modelled writing.
How often do you expect students to write something wonderful and feel downhearted by the results? You forget that learners aren’t mind readers. They don’t know what successful work looks like unless they’ve seen it being produced.
That’s where modelled writing comes in. Students watch you create an example of the outcome, and contribute ideas, before they’re expected to make their own. The result is a better piece of writing. It’s a win for everyone.
Here’s how you can use your Wacom pen tablet to support the process.
1: Build a piece of writing with students
If you’re using an overhead projector, or teaching live virtual lessons, you’ll know how tiresome it is to type student’s suggestions whilst teaching. There’s lots of deleting and retyping, and it seems disconnected from editing. Your students can’t relate this to creating their own work.
Using your pen tablet to handwrite models the process they’ll use in their exercise books. Show grammar and spelling corrections as you go. Change pen colour to show levels of editing or to keep track of different student contributions.
Take regular screen shots of the work in progress to add to lesson slides or print off copies for their books. Enlarge them to make wall displays as a useful support for struggling learners.
2: Observing you write
Have you heard of the ‘I do, We do, You do’ approach to writing? Students benefit from seeing a proficient writer build a piece of text before having to create one themselves. Verbalise your ideas. Let them see and hear you explain how to make changes to improve it.
Recording yourself using your pen tablet to create modelled writing makes for a perfect video to share. Use it as homework support, for virtual lessons, or to show non-specialist colleagues. Create a video for each genre or skill they must practise over the year. Add them to a shared resource bank and use them for years to come.
3: Break down the process
Students can feel overwhelmed by writing tasks. Where do they begin? They struggle with fear of the blank page and fail to see the structure underneath the writing.
Show them how they should organise sections using your pen tablet. Draw boxes around segments and highlight transitions to make them clear. Underline common paragraph starters and add annotations.
When modelling a task, there’s no need to do the complete piece in one sitting. Try creating one section, then asking students to write theirs. Then model the next section, and so on, until you have modelled the entire piece.
4: Edit an example text
Wacom makes it easy to edit texts because your pen tablet is compatible with all your favourite programs. You can write directly onto PowerPoints, Word documents and even PDFs.
Choose an example text to share with the class. Either find one online, write your own version, or use an example from a previous student. You don’t have to use a complete text unless it’s helpful. Select an extract to focus on a particular element of writing such as character and setting descriptions.
Use your pen tablet to underline words and sentences. The highlighting tool is particularly useful for bringing attention to repeated sentence starters. Write the edits directly onto the screen so students can see exactly where they can make changes.
Editing example texts with your pen tablet works particularly well for live or pre-recorded online lessons where students might struggle to see how to improve a piece of work.
5: Marking and feedback
Don’t just use modelled writing to show students example texts, it’s great for modelling marking and feedback too. Students often feel their first draft is a finished piece. Use your pen tablet to demonstrate how they can make improvements.
Traditionally feedback is written at the bottom of the page. But learners can’t see what part of their work you’re referring to. Writing onto the screen means you can draw their attention to the exact section you want them to improve. Write questions and comments close to the typed text to reduce cognitive load.
Use your pen tablet to highlight success and identify areas that need improving. Underline effective word choices and apply your school’s marking codes. Use red, amber, and green (RAG) rating to show them the extent to which they achieved the criteria.
6: Spelling and grammar checking
Adding purposeful errors to your modelled writing is a useful tool for teaching spelling patterns and grammar rules. Pick something you’ve noticed the entire class needs to improve and see if they spot your mistakes. They love catching their teacher getting things wrong!
Your students won’t automatically know how to check spelling and grammar. Use your modelled example to teach them how. Highlight words and sentences for them to check and show them how to proofread their work.
7: Confidence building
Using a pen tablet for writing lets your students see the editing that goes into a final piece. That’s useful for less confident writers who feel their work isn’t good enough. Showing them how you make changes will encourage them to be braver with their own writing.
Your modelled example provides a structure for less confident students to work from. At first, they’ll copy you. But with encouragement, they’ll use it as inspiration for their own ideas.
Often teachers are disappointed by the quality of work students produce. Modelled writing is an effective way to show them what you expect. It gives them something to refer to and leads to better outcomes.
Using a Wacom pen tablet lets you capture examples you lose when writing on paper or a whiteboard. It’s easy to save and add them to planning documents and shared resources. They make great learner guides and can be printed for student books or wall displays.
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