The Knewton Blog

Our monthly newsletter features edtech and product updates, with a healthy dose of fun Knerd news.

5 Free Online Resources for Writing Lessons

Posted in Knerds on May 11, 2011 by

Are you a K-12 teacher looking for ways to increase engagement and incorporate technology into your writing lessons? Check out these 5 fun, easy ideas!


As any writer knows, brainstorming is a key part of the writing process. For young writers in particular, visually mapping out ideas can help them understand their own thought processes and the best way in which to structure and connect their points. is a free, easy to use brainstorming tool that allows users to embed your final product in a website or blog. Students can brainstorm independently or collectively with, and use it while planning out essays, presentations, creative writing stories, or history papers.

2. Wikispaces for Educators

Wikis — web sites that can created or edited by any user — have a number of classroom applications. Wikispaces, a popular provider of wikis, gives away “Plus” wiki accounts to any educator, and also has a number of awesome ideas about how to use wikis in the classroom. Check out this tutorial for ideas on how to use wikis to teach writing and many other subjects. A few ideas? Create a collaborative story, using new vocab words, or use the wiki to host an online writers’ workshop with comments and critiques added by other students. Wikis are perfect for any activity that emphasizes knowledge sharing and collaborative work.

3. Mixed Ink

Mixed Ink bills itself as a wiki, but better. The free platform does have some awesome features and allows teachers to make writing assignments collaborative and social. Mixed Ink automatically tracks authorship — each students’ individual work will be color-coded to ensure that proper credit is given. Like wikis, Mixed Ink is a great option for collaborative writing projects and for supporting skills in critical reading, writing, and analysis.

4. Blogs

Free sites like WordPress, Blogger, and Edublogs make creating student or class blogs easy to create. Allowing students to showcase their work on a blog is a great way to encourage them to take ownership of their work, and develop a sense of pride in their writing. You can post creative writing prompts on a classroom blog, or create a blog solely for your students to write book reviews. You could even create a literary magazine on your classroom blog. Blogs are a great way to encourage students to read and comment on their classmates’ work, and/or to share their work with their parents, friends, and family .  For more ideas, check out our 7 Step Plan for using Blogs in English Classes.

5. Read Write Think’s Classroom Resources

ReadWriteThink has a wide variety of classroom resources that can be used to help support writing lessons. Check out tools like: