ChatGPT Teacher Tips  Part 4 – Teacher Writing Assistant

[INTRO: A recent national report by the Watson Foundation found that teachers are using ChatGPT more than students and are using it to create new lesson ideas. To help out all of our teacher friends, we are offering a series of posts focused on practical ways that you can use ChatGPT to assist with own lesson design! (Check out our first tip here!) Each post will focus on a practical  strategy for using ChatGPT and will include ideas for both elementary and secondary school teachers. Here is the fourth part of our series:]

Why ChatGPT as a Teacher Writing Assistant?

ChatGPT is a particularly useful writing generator and can also save teachers much time. Teachers can use ChatGPT to assist them in the writing of (among other things): curriculum materials, feedback on student work, rubrics, discussions questions, grammar or vocabulary lessons, and a mindmap of a course. 

ChatGPT can also correct spelling, grammar, or formatting errors and suggest alternative sentence structures or phrasing. In addition, ChatGPT can write out directions for student assignments, create outlines for extended topics, and compose various correspondence to students and fellow educators. And ChatGPT provides human-like writing, so what it creates won’t sound robotic.

How to use ChatGPT as a Writing Assistant 

ChatGPT is a better writer when prompts are specific. So, it’s important to provide context in your prompt(s) so that ChatGPT can construct writing that is appropriate for the task at hand. Think about course-specific or student-level information that could be useful in constructing an effective prompt for ChatGPT. And be prepared to refine your prompts if the responses you receive are too general.

Also, upload any specific content you would like ChatGPT to use as the basis for its writing. For example, if you want ChatGPT to create a rubric for an assignment, provide ChatGPT with a list of any criteria you want included in the rubric.  Should you wish, you can upload the transcript of a podcast, lecture, or YouTube video to ChatGPT.

Teacher Writing Assistant Examples and Prompts

Here are several examples of ChatGPT as a writing assistant across primary and secondary classrooms. Each example includes a sample prompt: 

  1. Curriculum materials: A teacher could use ChatGPT to develop supplementary reading materials on a specific subject, such as short stories or articles that align with the curriculum.
    1. For a lesson on the life cycle of plants, ChatGPT could create a short, age-appropriate story that incorporates key concepts, such as seed germination, growth, and reproduction. This story could serve as a supplemental reading material to help students better understand the topic.
    2. Prompt:  “Create a short, age-appropriate story for primary students about the life cycle of plants, incorporating key concepts like seed germination, growth, and reproduction.”
  2. Feedback on student work: A teacher could use ChatGPT to provide initial feedback on student essays by uploading the text and asking for specific areas of improvement. The AI could then generate suggestions on structure, clarity, and grammar, which the teacher could then review and personalize before sharing with the student.
    1. For a personal narrative writing assignment, ChatGPT could help generate a rubric that assesses students on criteria like story organization, use of descriptive language, and proper punctuation. The teacher could then adapt the rubric to fit their specific grading expectations.
    2. “Generate a simple rubric for primary students’ personal narrative writing assignments, including criteria for story organization, use of descriptive language, and proper punctuation.”
  3. Creating discussion questions: A teacher could use ChatGPT to generate thought-provoking discussion questions related to a specific text or topic. These questions could be used during in-class discussions or as prompts for students to respond to in writing, encouraging critical thinking and engagement with the material.
    1. For a lesson on climate change, ChatGPT could generate discussion questions such as: “What are the most significant consequences of climate change on ecosystems?” or “How do the actions of individuals contribute to climate change, and what can be done to reduce our impact?”
    2. Prompt: “Generate three thought-provoking discussion questions for high school students related to the impact of climate change on ecosystems and human societies.”
  4. Enhancing vocabulary lessons: A teacher could use ChatGPT to create vocabulary lists and corresponding exercises that incorporate words in context, helping students understand and retain new vocabulary more effectively. The AI could generate sentences, paragraphs, or even short stories that use the target vocabulary in meaningful ways.
    1. For a lesson on Greek and Latin roots, ChatGPT could generate a list of words that share common roots, such as “telegraph,” “telescope,” and “television,” along with sentences that demonstrate their usage. This would help students see the connections between words and their meanings.
    2. “Generate a list of 10 words with common Greek and Latin roots, such as ‘telegraph,’ ‘telescope,’ and ‘television,’ along with example sentences demonstrating their usage in context for middle school students.”
  5. Mind-map: To generate a mind-map of a high school Geometry course using ChatGPT, you can provide a prompt that includes the main topics or units typically covered in such a course. Here’s an example of a suitable prompt:
    1. “Create a mind-map for a high school Geometry course that covers the following topics: Points, Lines, and Planes; Angles; Triangles; Quadrilaterals; Polygons; Circles; Transformations; and Coordinate Geometry. Organize the mind-map with subtopics and key concepts for each main topic.”

Remember, ChatGPT may not always respond exactly as you expect. However, with a bit of creativity and effective prompts, ChatGPT can be a useful and engaging tool for creating writing content for teachers!

–by Tom Daccord, with help from ChatGPT 

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