List for Writers – ideas for creative writing


Age Scale: 10-adult

Device: iPhone, iPod, and iPad

Quick Line: A List of Lists

What Educators Need to Know:

My sixth graders surprised me today. We talked about how highly successful people set goals for themselves. We discussed how goals should be SMART.


And I sat back and let them generate four goals for themselves for the first quarter. I could not have been more pleased! Gone were the blatantly obvious “I want to be better in Reading class” goals. These kids gave careful consideration to what they thought were reasonable, reachable goals!

Even more impressive, some recognized writing as a weakness, and they sought help to generate phrases that would reflect exactly what they wanted to improve upon. A few mentioned making their writing more interesting.  I briefly suggested a newly downloaded app called List for Writers.

Since we are speaking of lists, I thought I’d give my reasons for supporting this app in (you got it!) list form.

Reasons I like List for Writers – ideas for creative writing

  1. It is simple and neat. As the title suggests, List is full of lists, including those relating to characters, personalities, plot, setting, and words. There are no graphics or anything else to distract you.
  2. It is comprehensive. Each list contains hundreds of suggestions for words you might need in each of many categories. For example, there is a list for first names (a list for both male and female), last names, occupations, clothing, people, and even body types!  The action verb and adjective lists would be particularly useful in narrative writing. I also really like the list of seven basic plots. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them laid out so plainly!
  3. With a simple tap, most words are defined by a built-in dictionary.
  4. You can copy and save your favorites to a notepad while you continue to generate ideas and formulate your ideas.
Options I Wish List for Writers Offered:
  1. One notepad might not be enough. It would be nice to be able to work on more than one story at a time.
  2. A favorites list might come in handy.
  3. Although the lists are extensive, a thesaurus option might be an easy addition.
  4. It would be nice to be able to add your own items to lists.
This app is currently $2.99 in the App Store. Some might find the price to be a bit steep for an intermediate school budget. But it is definitely something I would consider if I were a middle or high school writing teacher. Children WANT their writing to sound more mature and professional. List for Writers is certainly a tool that would easily aid them in achieving this goal!
Price: $2.99
Download by clicking here.


Age Scale: 8-14

Device: iPad, iPod, and iPhone

Quick Line: Destination:  Grammaropolis

What Educators Need to Know:

Grammaropolis is one destination that all kids need to visit!  In fact, depending on the learner, students could totally drive themselves and call me to check in once in a while!  I loved this app.  Mostly, I loved this app because I hate teaching grammar.  It is difficult for me to make grammar fun while also making it useful.  Having students apply grammar rules is RARELY exciting.  Using Grammaropolis could be a game changer.  The app directs students through a path of tutorials, videos, a book, and quizzes.  The music videos are especially catchy and entertaining.  I love how the students must apply what they’ve heard immediately after watching.  Of course, only one part of speech (nouns) is free.  Each additional part of speech is $1.99, or you can purchase the bundle of eight for $12.99.  Check out the link to Grammaropolis in iTunes for a list of awards earned by this terrific app.  Grammaropolis is also a web-based tutorial and game.  If funds are short, it would be terrific on the interactive whiteboard!  Visit for pricing.

Price: nouns are free!

Grammaropolis - Grammaropolis LLC

Shake a Phrase

Shake a Phrase

Age Scale:  8-14

Device:  iPod, iPhone, or iPad

Bottom Line:  Grammar Gone Good

What Educators Need to Know:

Shake a Phrase has three modes:  Shake It!, Quiz Me!, and Story Starter.  Shake It! provides a sentence that uses advance vocabulary.  Students can touch unknown words to uncover the part of speech and definition.  You can save and share your favorites.  I used this mode and had students rewrite the sentences using plain language.  The Story Starter mode produces a similar sentence without an ending.  Again, students can click on the words they don’t know to help them understand the sentence.  Then they would finish the sentence and write a story (which would prove they understood the words).  Quiz Me is just as it indicates:  a quiz.  Students are required to “Tap on the Nouns” or Verbs, or Adjectives.  The menu allows teachers to control which parts of speech to use on the quiz.  So, for example, if you were focusing on nouns in your lessons, you could turn Verbs and Adjectives to OFF.    Overall, Shake a Phrase is very simple, but you could use it to tier your lessons .   Some students could be practicing and learning with the Shake It feature.  You could assess with the Quiz Me mode.  You could extend learning with the Story Starter.

Price:  $.99 at the time of review

Shake-a-Phrase: Fun With Words and Sentences - Artgig Studio