Cool Toys pics of the day: 750 Words


750 Words:

I remember a story about Colette, the famous French author, snapping
at a young writer who was complaining about writer’s block. She
snapped something very Yoda-like, if you remember when Yoda (Star
Wars, everyone) said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” She said
something like, “You say you are a writer? Then write! No one said it
was supposed to be fun.”

I remember all these teachers who tried and tried and tried to get
their students to write, with varying levels of success. It is amazing
how much people learn about themselves, the way they think, observing
how others use language — people who are actively writing on a regular
basis develop a completely different awareness of language and how it
is used. This awareness is fundamental to almost every kind of
academic endeavor as well as professional success and personal
success. Trust me, if you are trying to break up with someone or talk
yourself out of a bad situation or ask for a raise, strong
communication skills are definitely useful, and that is what happens
after the awareness of language step.

This website, 750 Words, is an interesting approach to that problem.
Of the many approaches teachers have tried to getting students to
write, there is never one things that works for everyone. What do you
do with students who are really struggling to get words down? Make it
a game. My son Luke is dyslexic, dysgraphic, and dyscalulic. It slows
you down a bit. Luckily for all of us, he is really social and
sometimes fearless in some kind of odd ways. He spent years avoiding
writing because it was so horribly hard for him, and then he
discovered social media and role playing games. Right now, he is in a
role play guild that requires that he contribute to the story on a
regular basis to maintain his standing in the guild. This is a
powerful motivator for him, and he is writing some amazing stuff. Here
is a sample.

“On the wall next to them, a shadow appered. it seemed to look like
[XXXXX] very much. his shadow however was dressed in a formal way. it
tiped it’s hat to kilala before giving a sidewaise smile.
“[color=indigo]the reason friends are in the darkness is cause they
will go to any length to make sure you are alright.[/color]” the
shadow then came off of the wall and became 3-D. the black then melted
away as [XXXXX] was where the shadow was once. “i understand if you
dont want people close to you to get hurt, i also understand if you
have been feared but not every living thing is the same. take me for
example, why do i continue to try to help you. you have said you hate
me, you are indeed like the black rose which you summon. uniqe,
beautiful, mysterious. but where a heart should be, thorn’s wait for
those many soul’s who are entransed by you. where blood should flow,
poisen made to put those in agony and whoe. a gentle hand will reach
around those thorns and safe will he be with his rose free to look and
appresiate it’s beauty. a stern cold hand will be pricked by the
thorns and sent into a pain like no other. in anger for the pain he
will stomp with rubber shoe, the only remaining question…” he began
to walk backwards as a portal of shadows arose from behind him. he
looked at all three of them and with cold eye’s and toneless voice
said, ” Is Which One Are You?” he walked into the portel as it
vanished with him.”

I am frankly in awe of the way my son’s writing abilities have
blossomed in this environment, and how powerfully motivated he is to
succeed. Collaborative writing projects is one of the more exciting
and successful approaches teachers have tried. Even that doesn’t work
for some students, especially those who are both struggling and
painfully shy. I’ve seen kids tear up excellent writing rather than
turn it in. They simply could not bear for anyone else to see it. That
is where 750 Words comes in.

750 Words has a simple idea. Write three pages a day, 750 words. But
it let’s you keep it all private. Not like a blog. Nowhere other folks
are commenting on it. Yes, it allows you to export. A lot of teachers
would love it if they could get their students to write 3 pages a day.
Oh, and the system yells at you if you cut and paste text, so to get
points you actually have to type things. So what if someone hand-types
some famous work. They will learn a lot from doing it. Some people
keep notes, shopping lists, write letters, whatever. It is just
getting writing. But if the students are keeping it private, how does
the teacher know they really did it? AHA!!! The writers get points.
And cute little graphics. They can compete like in a game. There is a
grid that shows how many points you’ve gotten during each month.

Worth a try, I think . 🙂 For some, anyway.


4 thoughts on “Cool Toys pics of the day: 750 Words

  1. Definitely not just for students. Some folks use this for shopping lists or to do lists or writing the great American novel … I am writing for and from education, so tend to slant things that direction.

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