Students Share Writing Process with AR

2014-11-14 10.31.45Bear with me while I get a little giddy about teaching. First of all, there’s really something magical about writing workshop. I find writing workshop to be a little scary at times. You demo strategies and then you send students off to try it out on their own. There’s little control in knowing what the outcome will be, but every time, I’m amazed at what students can do just by the explicit modeling you do during a mini lesson. We just finished up our poetry writing unit and some of them wrote poems that I could never have written in a million years. The ideas, the words they chose, the metaphors, the voice, just WOW!

Except, once a published piece is finished, all that’s left is the result. You don’t get to see the blood and sweat behind it. For instance, what inspired them? What changes or revisions did they make? What intentional decisions were made in the piece? As the teacher, I made sure to teach strategies that good poets use through each stage of the writing process. The final piece doesn’t tell me much of what they learned about the writing process. Will they be able to transfer these strategies on their own? Can they articulate their writing process?

2014-11-14 10.44.57Here’s when technology and augmented reality comes in and puts everyone else to shame. I thought about how nice it would be at a publishing party for any reader to hear the story behind a written piece of writing directly from the author. However, for each author to share and talk about their piece would take quite a while and you’d only be able to hear it once. I decided to created an augmented reality for our writing pieces so that our stories, our blood and sweat, lived forever on the published piece. That anyone, at anytime, could listen to the author reflect on their writing process and share the journey it took to get to the final piece they’re looking at.

All a reader would have to do is:

1. Open the free app, Aurasma (You don’t need an account! There’s other apps, but we’re using this one so kids can create auras on their own with their iPads)

2. Search for and JOIN our channel – abingdones (see photo below)

3. Go back to the scanner and hover over the writing piece.

Try it out with some of the poems below written by my fifth graders. Notice that some I’s are not capitalized, some words are spelled wrong. I’m not going to pick at every detail until it looks like an adult has written it. We’ll strengthen those conventions throughout the year. The attempt to start talking about their process though is much more of a priority to me than conventions. I learn so much more about them as writers and become much clearer on what was digested from this writing unit (and what was not). I would imagine that students listening to other young authors talk about their writing could be instruction which trumps any lesson I could teach them.2014-11-14 10.36.28

There’s so much out there about ways technology can be used to redefine what writing means such as blogging, multimedia compositions, or creating ebooks. I find great value in using technology tools that way, but what about the journey that took them to the finish line? Maybe it’s okay to sometimes simplify a product or publish fewer pieces and just let young writers ruminate on their journey. It’s quite difficult to talk about the “how” but I’m wondering if students are more likely to open writing notebooks and tackle the genre independently if they are able to articulate what they did the first time.

How do you help your students reflect on their writing process? How is technology used to support your writers? Please share!! Take a moment to read the poems my students wrote and then use Aurasma to learn more from the real authors themselves. 🙂


Student 1:

The Lonely Tree Camille


Student 2:

Rain Poem Natasha

Student 3:

Ian Poem


Student 4:



Student 5:

Flying  by Dylan