Writing Apps

Love of School

“I like that there’s no teacher breathing down your neck. At public schools, teachers feel like they own you when you’re in their class.” That’s what one of our Level 3 students told me when I asked him what he liked best about Alpha. This student transferred this year from a local public middle school. Over the course of three sessions, he demonstrated the massive upside to student-centered learning.

I remember feeling the same way; teachers would say, “Don’t waste my time – you’re in MY class.” At Alpha, students control the pace and direction of their work. Guides don’t ever talk about “their time.” Instead, we frame all work done in the classroom within the common mission. It’s on the guide to motivate students to get the most out of their time.

Simply reversing the direction of pressure pays off in spades. We’ve found that kids are willing to put in tons of effort when you put them in the driver’s seat.


2x Learning

Omit needless words.

Strunk and White famously prescribe the rule.

The Hemingway App judges writing for clarity. Hemingway lets students know where their writing is sloppy or confusing.

Have your students submit writing to the Hemingway App if you want them to clean up their prose.


Life Skills

We showed students this video of Kobe Bryant talking about his approach to practice and time management. Then we saw our most productive morning yet.

Everyone likes the idea of the competitive edge and elite performance because we are all, in some capacity, judged by our performance. Show your students high profile figures talking about what it takes to perform at the highest level under immense pressure. Students must have both a model of success AND a realistic sense of what it took to achieve that success.