One of the most efficient ways to improve student writing is to write daily. To ensure writing occurs daily in my classroom I've implemented quickwrite strategies and collaborative writing activities.
A quickwrite is a literacy strategy that can be used across all subject areas to develop writing fluency and encourage students to reflect upon their learning or their lives. It takes 3–5 minutes and is often a response to an open-ended prompt.
A quickwrite is also a great tool for assessing what a student knows or is able to do. What follows are some quickwrite writing exercises you can use to begin class or transition to another part of your day:
Quickwrite Writing Prompts
Beginning of Class: Construct a writing prompt that reviews concepts or big ideas in the lesson. Students can write individually first then share with partners or with the whole class.
Middle of Class: Stop, Drop and Write! Have students pause in their learning and write about it. This could be a visual of their learning or a summary or a question. This is a great way to collect formative feedback on student learning!
End of Class: Ask students to summarize the day's learning or highlight one or two concepts from class that are solidified in the student's thinking. Reflection is another great way to collect formative feedback!
In addition to the quickwrite writing exercises, I like to include collaborative writing in my lesson plans multiple times throughout the week. What follows are some collaborative writing ideas my students have enjoyed:
Collaborative Writing Activities
Anchor Chart: Students can record their ideas about a topic on an anchor chart that can be hung in the classroom. This honors student work and provides a resource for future reference.
Silent Dialogue: This quiet activity can used as a response to a text or a question from the reading. Teachers pose the question or open-ended statement and students respond in writing. The writing is passed to another student who reads it and responds. This writing activity can be adjusted for time and can be passed to several or all classmates.
Shared Stories: Each student writes a beginning sentence to a narrative. The sentences are passed around the room and students add sentences to the ones already provided, creating a shared classroom story. To add an online element, students could use Google docs or another online collaborative writing tool to compose and publish their work.
Regardless of which subject area you teach, writing should be an integral part of your classroom lesson plans. Giving students the opportunity to write daily will not only make your students better learners, it will reap huge academic rewards!
If you want more strategies that will get students writing in the classroom every day, download the printables below: