The Future of ChatGPT and AI in the ELA Classroom


The future of ChatGPT in the ELA Classroom

By Tracee Orman

We all know students cheat. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be sites like Turnitin to catch them. But with the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) writing generators like ChatGPT, students have an even easier way to cheat. A student can type in ANY prompt or question and it will generate a pretty good response. It will even write a short story or a poem using exact parameters. 

I asked it to write a poem about love using iambic pentameter. Here’s what it came up with:

Poem written by ChatGPT

Not bad, huh? And if you ask it to generate another prompt with the exact same parameters, it will come up with another completely unique response.

So what are we, as English teachers, to do? Is creativity dead? 

I don't think so. Just like the internet transformed our teaching, so will AI writing generators.

I know not everyone wants to incorporate this technology, nor has the means to do so in class. So this post has two parts: one for those who want to avoid it and one for those who wish to embrace it.

First, for those wanting to steer clear of using sites like ChatGPT in class, here are a few strategies and ideas you can use:

1. Assign all writing to be done IN CLASS. Yes, I know this is hard. It’s hard to fit in both instruction and time to write in a short class period. But if you want to ensure your students are not using AI writing generators outside of class, you’ll need to observe them writing in class. One of my favorite resources for writing practice in class is my Daily Journal Prompts. It is a great way to incorporate writing in class.

2. Go old school and ditch the laptops/tablets/computers, as well as access to the internet. Have students write with paper and pencil. This may not be 100% effective if you are assigning outside work since students could still copy from the website.

3. Meet with each student after they write their pieces and have them explain and defend it to you. For example, ask them how they came up with each point, what was their reasoning behind it, etc.

4. Use AI detecting websites when grading students’ writing. Here are a few that will help you decipher whether the piece was written by a human or AI:

GPTZero: This site attempts to judge whether the text was written by AI or a human.

However, I only had about a 30% success rate for it and it did NOT detect any of the 

poems I entered. This free detector can only do 1500 characters at a time and, once again, 

did NOT detect any of the poems I entered as AI.

Content at Scale: Again, this one found about a third of the AI content but did not 

detect any of the poems. This site is brought to you by the people at CommonLit.or and and boasts that it is 80-90% accurate. Bad news, though: it also thought all the 

poems were written by humans.

Doing a quick search in Google for free AI detectors will summon numerous results. I 

tried several others and NONE could detect the poems. Therefore, if you are teaching 

poetry and having students write their own poems, I highly recommend my Poetry Unit 

in which students create the poems with you IN CLASS. Everything is presentation and 

in-class generated.

If you don’t wish to try those and want to embrace the new technology, here are some tips and ideas:

1. Have students generate an AI response with a writing prompt. Ask them to IMPROVE the AI’s response. Have them make it better by adding their own opinions and research to it.

2. Have students copy their first draft into ChatGPT and ask for grammar and writing tips. It can give feedback about improving sentence structure, spelling, grammar, and consistency.

3. Use ChatGPT to generate mentor texts. It loves to use the five-paragraph essay format. But you can direct it to write in any style you wish. 

4. Save time and have it write your lesson plans! Complete with objectives, it will do this busy work for you. 

5. Generate multiple-choice questions for pop quizzes or tests. You can even have it generate these for Kahoot (or similar) games.

6. Write letters home or letters of recommendation for students. Just tell it what you want to write and it generates it for you!

7. Write example sentences for vocabulary words. It can also help students understand new words beyond what a dictionary can tell them.

I am sure there are numerous other ideas for using AI writing generators in your classroom. The possibilities are probably endless. And because it isn’t going anywhere, we should adapt to this new tool and try to take advantage of it.

Check out these great resources from my fellow bloggers:

Five Ways to Use Chat GPT by The Daring English Teacher

Personal Narrative Writing by Presto Plans

What Can English Teachers Do About ChatGPT? By Room 213

Back to Top