Let’s talk about Quick Writes.

Quick Writes are exactly as they sound: quick invitations to write. And while they might be quite simple in their explanation, they offer such versatility to engage teachers in learning.

I especially like to use Quick Writes at the start of a professional learning session with teachers. They immediately get teachers involved, offer a low risk way to make initial thinking visible and can spark rich conversations. I usually give teachers anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes (depending on the topic and energy level of the group) to quickly jot their thinking and quick-write their way to the end of the time slot or a predetermined number of ideas. 

Here are my top ten ways to launch a session with quick writing, in no particular order:

  1. Write lists in response to the session’s topic, such as: 5 things I know about word walls or 3 questions I have about close reading.
  2. Write in response to a prompt to spark creativity, such as: 10 things a magical teaching wand would grant me.
  3. Write in response to an image or video related to your topic. Have teachers list multiple ways they can use this information in their classrooms tomorrow.
  4. Write in response to an image popular in the world from the New York Times Year of Picture Prompts.
  5. Write to brainstorm solutions to challenges, like helping students gain access to books while learning from home. 
  6. Write to begin from a place of gratitude: 3 students I’m thankful for today, 3 colleagues I’m thankful for today or thankful moments I’d like to hang onto. 
  7. Write in response to a mentor text. My favorites? Read The Big Orange Splot and then have teachers write about their dreams or craft a life or classroom mantra. Or, read Textbook: Amy Krouse Rosenthal and mine the pages for quick writes that spark reflection on life and living. 
  8. Write in response to a prompt. You’re sure to find one you love in these 50 Journaling Prompts for Teachers.
  9. Write using sparks we might give our own students. I love using sparks from Paula Borque’s Spark: Quite Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms.
  10. Write for plain-old fun: favorite words and phrases, most interesting and elaborate words or words that should be added to the dictionary. 

Now, while I love to launch sessions with quick writes, they are perfect to spark reflection and conversation at any time: after a burst of content, before a break, after a break, as an exit ticket and more. And not only that, they help us cultivate our own writing lives so we can better share them with our students. 

How have you used Quick Writes in your coaching? Share your ideas below!

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