Quick-Writes Are Magic (They Do Everything)

Quick-WritingThere are many possible ways to use Quick-Writes to support content:  

> Bell Ringer over something from the day before

> Ticket out the Door for something you covered that day

> Preview / Interest-Building Question (ex: You’re about to cover the Revolutionary War. Before you get to Lexington and Concord, you ask “What’s so important to you that you’d be willing to kill someone else for it?” etc.)

They make a good intro to some sort of 'research paper': 

> Quick-Write over a very general topic (“What’s one invention that’s changed the world?”) 

> Give limited time within the class period to research, discuss, or otherwise consider ways to narrow the scope. May have students create new prompt alone or in pairs. 

> Discuss new, narrower prompts (“How did barbed wire revolutionize the American west?”) 

> Quick-Write to new prompts 

> Explain that they’ve just done a research paper in less than a single class period – rough draft, research & refine, collaborate (maybe), write again. I like to make a big deal out of how much easier it will be when they have TWO FULL WEEKS and time in the library and they won’t be limited to 5 minutes but will have 1800 whole words with which to work, etc. The goal is to take the intimidation out of the idea – you would of course vary this as you like for your druthers and priorities. 

My personal favorite, however, is as a sort of combination 'Unit Review' and 'Assessment' - MUCH cooler than traditional quizzes. You can vary as you see fit, of course, but here's my typical breakdown:

> Quick-Write Instructions – 1 min to prepare, 5 to write, must write the entire time

> Prompt #1 – 1 min prepare, 5 mins write, 2 mins trade & discuss

> Prompt #2 – 1 min prepare, 5 mins write, 2 mins trade & discuss

> Prompt #3 – 1 min prepare, 5 mins write, 2 mins trade & discuss

> All 3 prompts displayed. I choose at time about 7 minutes before the end of class and write that time on the board. Students have the time remaining until then (usually 10-12 minutes) to use any resources at their disposal to prepare for the final prompt, which will be one of the 3 they’ve already seen. (Of course, I won’t tell them which one until it’s time to write.)

> The final Quick-Write should be on a new piece of paper, proper heading, etc. This is the one they’ll turn in and I’ll actually grade.

> At the designated time, I reveal the slide with the chosen prompt. They write for 5 mins and turn in.

The grading is usually very quick – most do well, the few that don’t really really don’t.  Strong students gain by writing out what they know and discussing with others and by explaining to peers as they go. Average students clarify what they do and don’t know and have a chance to strengthen weak areas. Clueless students have a hard time not learning SOMETHING as we go.

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