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Writing Practice Ideas for the Classroom Using ChatGPT

Writing Practice Ideas for the Classroom Using ChatGPT

Launched in November of 2022, ChatGPT is an OpenAI creation that utilizes the power of artificial intelligence to provide responses to human queries.

That makes it sound a lot like Google, but it's so much more.

ChatGPT utilizes a dialogue format that enables it to actually respond to queries in a conversational way. It can answer questions as if you were asking a living, breathing expert.

The trouble is it can do more than just spit out a simple response. It has the power to compare and contrast literary characters, create poetry, and even write long-form papers.

That doesn't sit right with a lot of teachers who fear their students will use it to complete their school work for them. And with its conversational responses, teachers may not be able to tell the difference between a paper a student worked hard on and one they printed straight from the internet.

Once you get past these surface-level fears, though, you will discover that ChatGPT can actually be used to enhance the learning experience.

Before we give you our ideas, check out how ChatGPT responds to the question:

Q: How can I enhance the learning experience with ChatGPT?

A: ChatGPT can be used to enhance the learning experience in a variety of ways. For example, you can use it to create interactive activities for students to engage with, such as having them create stories or conversations with the AI. You can also use it to create quizzes or polls to assess student understanding. Additionally, ChatGPT can be used to generate discussion topics or to provide students with personalized feedback on their work.

Create Examples for Students in Less Time

Teachers spend a lot of time trying to come up with examples to illustrate a concept they are teaching in class. You can save yourself time by using ChatGPT.

Do you need examples of how to use a comma in a sentence? Do you want to demonstrate the difference between complete and incomplete sentences for your students?

Simply type your query into ChatGPT, and it will come up with examples for you in seconds.

Human: Give me examples of how to use a comma in a sentence.

AI: Here are some examples of how to use a comma in a sentence:
1. When introducing a list of items, use a comma before each item (e.g., apples, oranges, and bananas).
2. Use a comma after conjunctions when they join two independent clauses (e.g., I bought a new car, but it needs repairs).
3. Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction when it separates two independent clauses (e.g., She wanted to go out, so she asked her friend).
4. Use commas to separate data when expressing numbers (e.g., 1,000).
5. Use a comma when citing the year after a name.

Let ChatGPT Provide Students with Preliminary Feedback

ChatGPT can write papers, but it can also provide feedback on papers that students have written themselves. All you have to do is type the content into the platform and ask!

Not only do some students feel more comfortable knowing that an AI program is correcting their work instead of a teacher or a classmate, but it also supports the development of deeper writing skills. When you aren't wasting time on the first round of edits, you have the time to work on second and even third rounds of edits more deeply.

Have Students Correct and Improve AI-Generated Writing

AI still has a way to go before it's "perfect." That means ChatGPT makes factual errors, and your students can learn from them.

Create AI-generated content for your class and have students work to prove aspects of the article wrong. Students are strangely attracted to proving someone (or something) wrong, so they will love this exercise. It will also demonstrate the shortcomings of ChatGPT, so they will think twice about using it to write a paper for them in the future.

Let Students Ask ChatGPT Questions

Students have a lot of questions. That's a good thing! You answer as many questions as you can, but with only so much time in the day, there are always going to be questions that are left unanswered. Not to mention the students who have questions but are too afraid to ask.

ChatGPT can answer any question a student can ask. Whether it's about punctuation, an important date in history, or a mathematical concept, this AI program can provide students with a quick answer without having to wait until you're free to help them.

It also frees up time so you can have more meaningful discussions. When you aren't answering so many individual questions about topics you have already covered, you have more time to teach and talk about new, more complex concepts.

Use ChatGPT to Brainstorm Ideas

Finding inspiration is one of the most difficult aspects of writing. It can be difficult for teachers to know exactly how to inspire their students too!

You can use ChatGPT to help students brainstorm ideas for a new story. For example, you could input something into ChatGPT like "Dragons can fly" and see what it comes up with. After reading the passage, students may be inspired to write a story of their own.

Students can use this AI program by themselves too. They can type in their own ideas at home or at school when they feel stuck and don't know what to write.

Tips for Success

Above and beyond the writing practice ideas listed above, there are some tips you can follow to make the most of ChatGPT in the classroom.

They include:

  • Teach writing - don't just assign it
  • Teach the purpose of writing
  • Incorporate more handwriting in your classroom
  • Prioritize the editing process

Teach writing-don't just assign it

These two phrases may seem like the same thing on the surface, but there is a difference between teaching writing and assigning writing. The trick to preventing kids from using ChatGPT to cheat is to teach writing in your classroom without assigning it as a solitary homework activity students are supposed to do alone.

When you work on the mechanics of writing, character development, and other aspects of the writing process in class with your students, ChatGPT becomes a resource. It's a tool students can learn to use as you help them navigate the writing process.

If you assign writing as a task students must complete on their own, that's when ChatGPT will go from being a useful tool to a resource students can use to complete the work for them.

Teach the purpose of writing

At its core, what is the purpose of writing?

Contrary to what some students believe, it's not a way for their teachers to torture them! Instead, it's a way to make what we think visible and accessible. Whether it's a story we have contrived about unique characters, or it's a report on the Revolutionary War, writing is all about expressing our thoughts.

It's important to teach this concept, even to very young children, because it completely negates the point of using ChatGPT to write an entire paper. It's your ideas that matter, and practicing the skill of transferring those thoughts onto paper is the point of writing.

When this concept is internalized, students will be a lot less likely to use ChatGPT for the wrong reasons.

Finally, let's ask the AI what it thinks the purpose is.

Q: What is the purpose of writing?

A: The purpose of writing is to communicate ideas, thoughts, and feelings in a clear and effective manner. Writing can also be used to inform, persuade, entertain, and express oneself.

Incorporate more handwriting in your classroom

Still feeling a little uncomfortable about ChatGPT? That's okay! No matter how you use this program in your classroom and how much you try to share your passion for the purpose of writing with your class, there will always be students who will want to use it to do the work so they don't have to.

Minimize the ability for students to use ChatGPT, as well as other digital ways to plagiarize, by incorporating more handwriting into your classroom.

Have them brainstorm their ideas on paper. Ask them to outline their story by hand before typing it up. Let them write down the questions they want to input into ChatGPT about their latest writing assignment.

It's a lot harder to cheat when assignments are required to be handwritten, especially in the classroom. Not to mention, writing by hand comes with a lot of benefits that can make the kids in your class smarter.

Prioritize the editing process

Even after all that, students may still use ChatGPT to cheat. But educators have an ace up their sleeve if they want to use it.

Make time for plenty of editing in your classroom. That way, even if students use ChatGPT to write a story or a paper for them, they will still be required to edit it, rewrite it, and add to it in class. When the process is over, they will end up with a paper they basically wrote anyway, even if AI wrote the first draft.

ChatGPT is going to cause some problems in the classroom, but it has the potential to solve problems too. When you show students different ways to use this AI program, they are more likely to harness its power for good, ultimately making them better writers.

Teachers, Have Fun with It!

Q: How can I keep students interested?

A: Keeping students interested in the material can be a challenge, but there are a few strategies that can help. First, make sure the material is relevant and engaging. Incorporate activities and discussions into the lesson to keep students engaged. Also, use technology to make the material more interactive and interesting. Finally, make sure to provide feedback and recognition to students for their efforts. This will help motivate them to stay engaged and interested in the material.

Q: How can I make sure students understand the content as I teach?

A: To ensure that students understand the content as you teach, it is important to use a variety of teaching methods. For example, you can use visual aids such as diagrams, charts, and videos to help explain concepts. You can also use hands-on activities and demonstrations to help students better understand the material. Additionally, you can ask questions throughout the lesson to check for understanding and provide feedback to students to help them stay on track.

Q: Why do my students talk so much?

A: Students talk a lot for a variety of reasons. It could be because they are excited to share their ideas, they are trying to get attention, they are bored, or they are trying to connect with their peers. It is important to understand why your students are talking and to create an environment that encourages meaningful conversations.

Q: Why is teaching the best job in the world?

A: Teaching is the best job in the world because it allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of others. As a teacher, you have the opportunity to shape the minds of young people and help them reach their full potential. You also get to work with a variety of people, from students to colleagues, and build meaningful relationships. Teaching is also a rewarding job, as you get to witness the progress of your students and see them grow and succeed.