Online Student Journals




I have tried many ways to help my students improve their writing skills in order for them to present their work orally in class. Comic Life Magiq is a fun way to get students started in creative journal writing.  If your IT department has the funding to add a language based application into all their computers then I strongly suggest buying Comic Life Magiq. Comic Life Magiq produces comic strips for students to make various callouts for dialogue as well as, narrative boxes to tell their stories. Inserting images, photos, drawings are easy to do to make a narrative more colourful.


  • When dealing with beginner to intermediate second language learners, I found the application wonderful and problematic at first. Students are not necessarily ready to wield vocabulary at a level of writing consistent with their grade skills. Many have become addicted to online translators. I find it best to create a rubric with controlled vocabulary along with a specific theme in mind. For example, I prepared a vocabulary list for students to write a fairy tale. They are directed to use only vocabulary from the list. We also review the tense(s) required to produce their story. I also prepared a PowerPoint presentation for vocabulary practice as well as a couple of exercises on and vocab quizzes and sentence boxes. Rubric example --> rubricsOct2012-1
  • I reserved the computer lab two days a week and during the days in between, we read a simple fairy tale. We also practice and review particular parts of speech in order to prepare their stories in a target tense. Drills were instituted in the form of warm-ups and games to help retain vocabulary required for their tale. The project lasted three weeks. The students loved it and were very happy to present their story to the class.
  • The rubric that I created prepared students to view, listen and understand their peers’ comic tale because they were familiar with the vocabulary. This would not have been possible if they had used online translators.

 What is double correction?

  • Students are able to share their comic strips with me by attaching it through e-mail. I am a great believer in double correction. For those of you new to double correction—The instructor does not correct student errors, instead, the teacher highlights errors for students to review in order for them to figure out what they did improperly. Students are allowed to discuss specific errors with another student for feedback. Peer feedback creates a community-style environment similar to members of a community who teach each other through repetition at the learner level of speech until a member fully understands parts of speech.
  • By checking their work daily, I am able to identify problems with the language and provide feedback through new activities done in class the next day. This method produces ownership over their work. By understanding how parts of speech function, a student can improvise or become more creative with their sentences.

Alas! I movedGoogle-plus-tips-Jess-Green-Digital-Diva-Social-Media-Consultant

Unfortunately, moving to another school made me painfully aware that money was an issue for my techie teaching methodology.  Not all schools can afford this application. Finally I decided to use Word PowerPoint slides, and this worked quite well for double corrections because I could highlight errors and offer feedback at the bottom of each slide, such as wrong adjective or verb conjugation, just to mention a few. Students enjoyed similar benefits that they derived from Comic Life Magiq. Afterwards, our IT people introduced us to Google Documents and Presentations. Watch the tutorials below.

(You may skip description and go straight to Alexander Ansen's four part video series on how to use Google Documents to keep folders of your student's Google presentations

  1. Part One Tutorial
  2. Part Two Tutorial
  3. Part Three Tutorial
  4. Part Four Tutorial
  5. Folder Labels
  • Our school has an account with Google Mail where instructors have access to documents, file creation, presentations and various means of producing interactive communication with other teachers, administrators, students and their parents. As I was in the middle of preparing a research project proposal on PowerPoint Presentations for journaling, a colleague advised me to use Google Document Presentations instead.Google-Drive-desktop
  • This is similar to creating a PowerPoint Presentation. It is not as sophisticated, but it does the job for students because they are already online in order to find images for their journal project.

  • This opened a whole new world of goodies. Now my students produce online  PowerPoint-style presentation slides. They can share their work online with the instructor and with another collaborative, writing partner. Even better, Google Docs include interactive comment boxes for me to write double corrections, as well as, collect data to see how well my students are doing or what is needed for review. Students are also able to collaborate their work simultaneously with another student. Word of caution: always use a rubric for assignments.
  • If you are a language instructor who is looking for ways to improve student journaling or basic composition, then Google Documents have an excellent solution.  Many schools are now using Google Documents for sharing files, presentations and creating online forms and quizzes for students. I can’t say enough about this online wonder, I guess you can say I’ve turned into a Google junkie.
  • If you would like to review a slide presentation concerning our second language research for online journaling for our ULS 2012-13 French and Spanish Seniors, download the following PowerPoint Presentation: SLproject-1

Contact me for more rubrics: moc.l1506449283iamg@1506449283ppphc1506449283nerf1506449283

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