What Would You Do?

#sol21- November 23, 2021

When we returned to campus a few weeks after many months online I noticed that writing stamina was not all it could be. I also noticed that some students would benefit from conversational practice- enter quick writes. I have long been known as the teacher who… so gifts for me are pretty easy (anything connected to purple, writing, or reading is a guaranteed hit). At least three years ago (and maybe more) I was gifted with a small journal with a prompt on each page- called something like What Would You Do? (the journal is at school, so I cannot confirm the title) and over the summer when I was finally clearing out some piles I finally took it out of its plastic wrap and thought I could use it myself- I do love a good prompt some days.

When the need for some writing stamina/conversation starter practice came up I thought of this green journal on my bedside table and the 5 minute write was born. At least twice a week I choose the next question and students write based on the question (a recent one was “If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and why?” Well, actually the question asked which celebrity you would date, but I upgraded it for grade 5). They always have the option to choose their own subject too. Sometimes they share other times not.

I notice the knock-on effect of it as a conversation starter extending past the writing time. There is a small group of girls who have asked to borrow the book a few times during free time so that they can take it out in the hallways and discuss the prompts. Today I showed them the many spaces left blank at the back to write your won prompts and invited them to add their own ideas that we could use later. They came up with three so far- their favorite being “If you could have a day that was all day or all night, which would it be, and what would you do?” I love that they are taking this on as their own project.

Side note: Today when I gave the class 15 minutes to do whatever they wanted to do to take care of themselves this is what they did. A different group of six came together to plan a book they want to write together and a group of three took off to a corner to each start their own books they wanted to work on together. I think we may be working our way out of the writing stamina issue:)

8 thoughts on “What Would You Do?

  1. WOW!!! I agree. You are definitely working yourselves out of the writing slump. I love that you kept at it, tried just wiritng a little, quickly. And soon, the writing muscle is feeling stronger. Your slice shows the importance of a writing teacher being a writer herself. Because you have a writing practice, you could lean on this strategy that helps you write. Bravo!! Happy Thanksgiving from America.

  2. This is amazing! You noticed an issue, thought of a solution…and look what happened?!! I love that kids are finding joy in this work. I’m sure you will see the benefits spill across your day!

  3. Erika, sweet slice of your grade 5 students. I love the details you gave of how they are building up their stamina. I like that day or night question prompt they came up with. I bet it will be fun for the kids to write to, knowing their classmates created it.

  4. Oh, this is so wonderful! I love prompts for those days when the idea jar of the mind seems empty. And your young writers warm my heart. How lucky they are to have you as a teacher!

  5. Yay, Erika! One year I did a teacher research project on the effects of implementing the 5-minute quickwrite in my ESOL class of 4th-5th graders. We graphed our wordcount and all of the students in this ESOL group passed their writing SOL exam. They often asked for MORE time to write. It’s such an easy strategy to implement, but so powerful! I’m happy for you and your students!

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