Journal writing is an activity that encourages students to become confident writers by giving students the opportunity to practice writing in safe environment without recrimination. Journaling enables all students to work at their own speed and at their own level. Digital writing journals are the new wave of integrating tech into daily classroom routines - and oh so much fun! Built-in features make digital journals instantly accessible for students who are visually impaired, blind and/or struggle with handwriting skills. Students who are braille readers can use a refreshable braille display paired with his/her tablet or computer to create his/her digital writing journal.
The Techie Teacher shares her motivating method of creating digital writing journals using Google Slides. Check out the teacher advantages of using Google Slides, in her post, 5 Reasons to use Digital Writing Journals.
Each slide is a page in the journal. The writing prompt and related image or emoji is at the top of the slide. The bottom portion of the slide is a textbox where students write their stories. Especially for budding writers, writing prompts and pictures will help unravel 'writers block' and get those creative writing juices flowing! In her post, Tips for Implementing Digital Writing in the Elementary Classroom, the Techie Teacher shares practical digital tips on how to help students improve their writing skills.
Teacher Hint: Summer is a great time to create a writing journal complete with writing prompts and images that will be shared with students when school resumes in the fall. You can create your own journal or simply purchase one from The Techie Teacher. Need help coming up with writing prompts? Do an Internet search for general writing prompt ideas or for prompts appropriate for a specific grade level.
If you are creating a writing journal, be sure that your Google Slides are accessible!
Accessible Google Slides
- Use predefined template (not the Blank template)
- Keep it simple!
- Use high-quality images, shapes and graphs
- Add alt Text descriptions to images
- Use high contrast colors
For general information about how someone with vision can create an accessible Google Slides presentation, go to Creating Accessible Google Slides.
For information on how to create and use Google Slides with a screen reader, go to Creating Google Slides with an iPad running VoiceOver. Addition information about using Google Slides with a screen reader on various devices is available on this website.
While this post is specifically about Journal Writing using Google Slides, the same general accessibity concepts apply to creating PowerPoint presentations. This post, Creating Accessible PowerPoint Presentation for Students with Visual Impairments and Blindness provides detailed information, including demonstrations of accessible and non-accessible presentations for students who have low vision.
If a Google Slides presentation is being shown to the class, use a screen sharing app so that a low vision student can access the presentation on his/her own device. (Join.Me is a popular screen sharing app.)