A Solution for Reluctant Writers

This year our district began to implement the Daily 5.  I particularly was looking for something to use during the Work on Writing rotation.  I tried a number of things and many things were a success, but it wasn’t until my students were introduced to Night Zookeeper, that I felt that I found a resource that we could not do without!

What it is:

Night Zookeeper is an online reading and writing tool. It is a magical story that is centered around the adventures of a Night Zookeeper and the animals that he meets on his nightly rounds.

Students invent their own magical animals and bring them to life using illustrations and stories. They battle, share their creatures, and can interact with each other.

For the Students

Students are provided with options. First, they may create their own animal by illustrating it. Then, they are expected to write about their animal. They can write freely, or use the prompt that is provided to guide what they write. A word bank is also provided for students to use. Students may not move on until they have named their animal and have written about it.

Students are also given multiple writing options beyond creating an animal. Students can produce the following types of writing:

  • Free write
  • Story
  • Newspaper Article
  • Report
  • Poem
  • Instructions
  • Letter Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Diary Entry
  • Explanation
  • Playscript
  • Recount
  • Biography

As with writing a report about the animal that they created, students are provided with a word bank and a suggested writing prompt.

I asked my students what their favorite part about Night Zookeeper was and here are some of their responses:

I like to make animals, write about them, steal them, and do battles.  – Ben

I like that I can write different types of writing like playscripts and that I can free write.  -Loren

I like that I can create animals that are not real, write about them, and give them names.  -Luke

I like to use my imagination and write, so it’s a game for me!  – Carter

For the Teacher

Are you working on How-to writing? Do you want students to focus on commas in a series? You, as the teacher, have the ability to create lessons and/or assignments for students to complete within the Lesson Hive.

You can monitor each and every student and the writing that they produce. You can assess them using rubrics provided within Night Zoopkeeper. You can also comment on each students’ writing to encourage/require students to write more, or simply provide positive feedback.

I really like having the ability to read and assess my students’ writing from anywhere!  If I don’t get to it at school, I simply login at home and I have their writing right in front of me.  There is no more making copies or carrying home notebooks or loose papers.

I have truly been amazed at the response that I have received from my students. They are excited about writing, it’s their favorite part of they day! In my 14-years of teaching, I have yet to see that happen until now!  My most reluctant writers are now begging to write!

I have simply touched the surface of all the things that Night Zookeeper has to offer!  There is much more!  To learn more about Night Zookeeper and sign up for a free two-week trial, click HERE!

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