Kids learning how to write often times have a hard time focusing long enough to get the words from their mind onto paper. One elementary school teacher in our region decided to try Dragon Dictation.
Dragon Dictation is a speech to text app, free for iPhone, iPod, and iPad. If you have Siri available, you can also use this same idea with a simple Notes app.
This first grade teacher had students work in pairs. It's near St. Patrick's Day so they had a poster with several words associated with this Holiday. Kids would speak a sentence using at least one of the these words into Dragon Dictation, then read to verify the sentence was translated correctly. Sentences end with punctuation, so they had to insert that themselves. Each student needed to speak two sentences, for a total of four.
Once four sentences were visible, then the students were to write their story on paper.
The extra learning taking place in this activity included seeing English Language Learners focus on their articulation so that Dragon Dictation translated correctly. As well as all the proof reading children were doing to validate the translation. Often times students would realize the sentence was incorrect and try again, or if the last word were incorrect they'd simply fix it on the ipod.
All children were free to use their entire vocabulary to write, without being concerned about spelling or getting lost between their thoughts and what ends up on paper.
Here is an example of a finished story.