Reasons to Write

Do you have a toolbox at home? If so, when do you use it? The answer, when you have a reason. Hang a picture, fix a faucet or repair a bicycle, all reasons to get out the toolbox. The same holds true for any classroom toolkit. Students and teachers need a reason to use it. In Begin With ME!, we call these Reasons to Write.

Reasons to Write can be as simple as a walk around the school, a classroom fieldtrip, or something more interesting like a virtual field trip or a web based research project. These events provide students with an authentic, motivating reason to write and they provide teachers with a framework for integrating technology into instruction. One option we highly promote are virtual field trips. Following are a couple of excellent organizations who provide options for such trips along with a website to an online option.

Ideas for Reasons to Write - Virtual Field Trips

TWICE: Two Way Interactive connections in Education

TWICE promotes and supports collaborative connections using two way interactive video. It includes a searchable database of participant evaluations that let you see what others have said about the provider and their experience.

A very special project promoted by TWICE is called Read Around the Planet. This project connects children from around the world and it encourages them to read a play, poem, or even perform a skit for their authentic audience. A direct link to the site for more information click on:

TWICE's video conference database also includes many opportunities for free virtual field trips. In our last search we found over 300. To find out more go to their video conference database and in the field "Program Fee" choose "less than or equal to" and enter the number "0".

ASK: Author, Specialist, Knowledge

TWICE partners with various ISDs around Michigan to bring ASK Author videoconferences. ASK (“Authors Specialist and Knowledge”) is an organized process that provides students with the opportunity to interview an author or a subject specialist in the topic they are reading about in a novel. The program uses excellent literature, journal writing and interviewing to promote reading for understanding.

SBC Pacific Bell Education First Videoconferenceing Directory

"Looking for program providers or simply interested in connecting with another classroom? The AT&T Videoconferencing Directory is a free, searchable database of videoconferencing sites of interest to K-12 school, community college, and public library communities. Our directory includes contacts, program descriptions, and equipment information for over 1467 sites."

Favorite - Center for Puppetry Arts - Spiders

The Center for Puppetry Arts offers a nice variety of Distance Learning programming and were recipients of the 2006 & 2007 Teachers' Choice Award for Best Content Provider. A favorite program they offer is called Spiders. The program can be tailored for students from 1st – 6th grade. Students build a Spider Marionette while participating in learning activities about how spiders and insects differ, web vs. wandering spiders, and the lifecycle of a spider. The session also includes a downloadable study guide.

Online Projects


NASAexplores is a free site who's mission is to generate interest in and understanding of NASA's research. They want to inspire the educational community by using the Internet to provide timely, quality standards-based educational materials.

Each week two new articles are published about a current NASA Aerospace Technology or Space Flight project. NASAexplores educators adapt the articles for three grade levels: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Lesson plans/activities support the concepts raised by the articles.