How to Use WriteLab in Your English Classroom
English teachers are constantly seeking classroom resources and tools that can enhance writing instruction, foster collaboration between students, and help students master learning and curriculum goals.
With WriteLab, English teachers get a tool that can do all of the above. So how can you make the best use of WriteLab’s benefits and features in your English classroom? Follow the ideas, tips, and strategies below for best results.
What is WriteLab?
WriteLab is a writing tool that can analyze any piece of writing within 15 seconds. Students upload a draft and immediately receive specific, actionable feedback related to Clarity, Concision, Logic, and Grammar. Feedback is provided in the form of both comments and questions that push students to think critically.
To encourage student independence and ownership, WriteLab allows students to dismiss comments as they see fit. Based on these comment dismissals, the software gradually adapts its feedback to the individual’s writing style.
Teachers can also provide feedback to their students through the app, and students can even share drafts with peers and receive additional comments.
Start by creating your teacher account. The process is fast, easy, and free. You can then set up courses, invite students, create assignments, and provide feedback to your students through the app.
Students can upload any piece of writing into WriteLab, so you aren’t required to create content or choose from a limited selection of prompts.
Using the WriteLab Editor
When students finish rough drafts of their work, you can have them upload their assignments to the WriteLab Editor. Students will instantly receive WriteLab’s comments and can accept or dismiss them as desired. Drafts can be revised an unlimited number of times.
Along with suggestions, WriteLab includes brief, simple explanations. Instead of merely correcting their drafts, students will also learn how to improve their writing, critical thinking, and grammar.
Providing feedback to students is a struggle common to English teachers, and WriteLab can help alleviate your workload. Here are a few ways you can use WriteLab’s feedback to complement your own feedback:
- Have students polish drafts using WriteLab’s feedback first. This way, you’ll have fewer comments and corrections to make when you review their work.
- In the computer lab or classroom, circulate and discuss drafts with students as they work on revising with WriteLab’s feedback.
- If some students are struggling more than others, you can conference with these students while others revise their drafts through the WriteLab Editor.
It’s also a good idea to encourage your students to use WriteLab for any writing assignment in any class. The more students view and use feedback, the more they’ll build skill and confidence as writers.
They’ll also work toward curriculum standards such as mastery of language conventions, appropriate word choice, providing specific evidence to support claims, and more. As your students practice consistently with WriteLab, you’ll begin to notice learning gains and improvement.
Using WriteLab Analytics
WriteLab provides you with data that you can use to drive your writing instruction. For each student, you’ll be able to view WriteLab’s comments, track progress on drafts, and see graphs showing the distribution of comments (between Concision, Clarity, Logic, and Grammar).
This distribution of comments provides insight into student strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps one class in particular struggles with clarity, so you may want to teach a lesson on this topic. Or you can differentiate instruction by grouping students within a class based on their areas of weakness.
However you decide to use WriteLab Analytics, the data can help you learn more about each student’s writing abilities, informing your planning and instruction.
WriteLab and Peer Review
WriteLab can also be used to facilitate peer review activities. Students can share drafts with their classmates, who can then provide comments of their own alongside WriteLab’s suggestions.
To encourage students to reflect on their own writing, you can have them leave notes for their reviewer, asking specific questions or drawing attention to areas of their paper that they feel could use improvement.
As students respond to one another’s drafts, they’ll gain insight into the qualities of a well-written paper.
Here are a few suggestions for using WriteLab’s peer review feature:
- Consider pairing a student who is particularly strong in one area (such as Concision) with a student who struggles in this area.
- Alternatively, you can pair students who struggle in the same area. This way, you can focus on each pair’s area of weakness as you circulate and discuss drafts with your students.
- If your students haven’t done much peer review in the past, you’ll want to provide guidelines for leaving comments. For example, students should be respectful, but they should also be helpful. Encourage students to leave feedback that goes beyond a simple, “Good!” What was good? Why was it good? How did it impact the overall draft? Questions like these get students thinking at an even deeper level about how to craft an excellent piece of writing.
Using WriteLab in your English classroom will create opportunities for instant sentence-level feedback on writing, collaboration between students, and data-driven instruction.
The software helps your students work toward mastery of key writing standards as they receive guidance on structure, tone, style, word choice, logic, grammar, and more. WriteLab helps your students become better, more confident writers.