Remove the fear of writing for all of your students
"It helps get ideas out of my head"
G4 student in Milford MA, June 2018
Check out this video for a student's view of the program.
THE WRITING CYCLE
What is Topical Storm?
Topical Storm is a free online program that helps your students prepare to write complete narratives and opinion essays with minimal support. An engaging prewriting tool, it emulates your one-on-one sessions with students by prompting them through an in-depth interview process, adjusting its questions to their individual interests while making sure all of the necessary components of an essay are included.
What problems does it solve?
For students, the problem is that writing is scary. An automated interview welcomes your students and relieves their anxiety by getting them past writer's block. It responds to and supports their ideas, asking them to think more, and displays their progress back to them. See the "Motivation" page.
Teachers face the challenge of having enough time to give students the individual help they need.
While students begin by working independently, you can rely on the program to call your attention to a student who is stuck. You can then help them by sending a private note during their writing session.
Your rubric assessments and their student self-assessments are completed with a few clicks and you can produce a progress report on demand for each student. You can track their growth in individual skills throughout the year.
Who is it for?
Topical Storm can support any curriculum at any grade level but has been used most recently in Grade 3-5 classrooms. We often build new lessons specific to your topic needs and you can modify the questions. Created in 2015, the program has been piloted in over a dozen classrooms for personal narratives, arguments, informative essays, and short stories. (See "Testimonials")
Its scaffolding includes voice dictation, text-to-speech (lets students hear the computer's questions and their own work), sentence starters and a long list of other supports.
Student privacy is protected because student logins are anonymous and there is no connection to school databases. We abide by the Massachusetts Student Data Privacy Alliance and individual Data Privacy Agreements with school districts.
What do students think?
Students respond to the thought-provoking questions and enjoy how it organizes their answers into well-structured essay drafts in real time: