Quickwrites: Literacy Strategy #33

Whitney Austin

What is Quickwrites?

Quickwrites are unplanned writings that students use to show their thinking on a topic or question the teacher asks. They are similar to freewriting. Quickwrites usually take 5-10 minutes. This time is for students to write what their thoughts, feelings, or ideas without stopping. Grammar is not an important part of Quickwrites. The purpose of this is for students to get their ideas on paper and developing writing fluency. This assignment is a reflection. A teacher could use this after reading a book or in between chapters. The teacher can ask questions that relate to the book and make it relevant for the students. Peter Elbow developed the free writing strategy and he said that focusing on students' mechanics makes writing dead because it doesn't let the students voice shine.

How to use this Strategy in the Classroom

  1. Choose a topic. The teacher or student gets to choose question or topic to write about. it could be about a book they are reading in class. Write the topic at the top of the page.
  2. Write about the topic. The students write sentences and paragraphs to brainstorm some ideas about the topic. This usually takes 5-10 minutes. The students could write down ideas, connections, or reflect on their learning. Don't usually stop to correct mistakes.
  3. Read quick writes. The students will get together in groups and read their quickwrites to each other. Then each group picks one student to read their quickwrite to the class. That person needs to check for any errors or missing words.
  4. Share chosen quickwrites. Students that were chosen from their groups take turns reading them aloud to the class.
  5. Write a second time. Students will will expand on their quick write after hearing other classmates read their's aloud. They usually write this on the same piece of paper.

When to use this Strategy

  • this is great for ELL students because the writing becomes personal. They can draw pictures instead if they are struggling to write in english.
  • literature focus or thematic units.
  • warm up at beginning of a lesson.
  • reflection at the end of a lesson.
  • to brainstorm ideas for a paper.
  • prewriting strategy to see what how much they know about a topic.