Workflow in a Digital Non-Fiction Writing Unit

Currently our Grade 4's and 5's are both working on Non-Fiction writing units. The final product for G4's is an information book which the students can choose to publish either by hand or using a Pages template. The final product for the G5's is a feature article for which we are recommending a Pages template to publish. Sean and I have been discussing an efficient workflow which could be used within such units, where the end project is in a digital form.

Generating/Developing Ideas
This is best completed in the writing notebook.


Images: At this point, it is a good idea to collect research materials in a folder in their Google Drive. They could go on a scavenger hunt for useful images. By doing this at this stage in the writing process, the images can be a further scaffold when drafting. A useful Chrome Extension is 'Save to Google Drive'. If this is installed and you right click on an image, it will be saved directly to Google Drive.

Text: Useful web articles could also be saved within their Google Drive. The best way to do this is click Print and then Save as a PDF. As they save these pages they could copy and paste the URl into a Google Doc to start to form their bibliography.

Option A
The first quick draft is done on paper, giving the students an opportunity to plan out each section on a separate sheet of paper. This also allows students to outline the text features they will include alongside the text. Once this is completed the second draft could be done on a Google Doc.
Option B
Students do their first draft directly onto a Google doc.

Tips for Google Docs:

  • The focus is on the content of the writing, not layout/font size etc. 
  • Students should name their document appropriately ( their name, class and title of piece).
  • Students share their document with the teacher ( who can create a folder to store the class set for easy access) and their writing partner/ group. 
  • Students need to be taught expectations/procedures for providing useful feedback to each other using the 'Comments' feature. They should also be taught expectations for responding to comments.
  • Teachers can supplement their 1:1 conferences in class by reviewing and providing written advice using the 'Comments' feature. 

Using the collaborative features of Google Docs, the revision should be more comprehensive as students engage in an online discussion related to their writing.
A useful tool for editing is a Chrome Extension called 'Grammar and Spell Checker by Ginger' which is a free Extension ( not app) from the Chrome Web Store.

At the final stage, students are asked to publish using an appropriate Pages template ( An alternative for students who are slower to publish is to publish direct from Google Docs). They will copy and paste their text from the Google Doc and their chosen images into the template.
Our recommendations for templates are:

G4 Information Book - Reports -> School Report

Includes sections such as Table of Contents, Chapter Page, Bibliography which can be added by clicking on 'Sections' on the toolbar. 

G5 Feature Article - Newsletter -> Extreme Newsletter

Includes pages such as Cover, Magazine, Text Page, Back Page which can be added by clicking on 'Pages' on the toolbar.

Here is a link to Apple Pages Tutorials if you need more help in working with Templates

Please contact Sean or Helen if you need support with this.

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