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Making More Time for Independent Notebook Writing

My grade-level colleagues and I discussed ways to make more time for independent writing during our last common planning session. One thing that was mentioned was setting aside some time in-class, whether it’s during our separate from Writing Workshop, to give students an opportunity to do a Quick Write. It’s something I’ve never tried before (i.e., without having a minilesson come before the independent writing time). However, I had-a-go with it after lunch on Thursday and the results were amazing!

#1) My students came to the rug quickly with their notebooks.
#2) Once I explained that they’d have ten minutes to write about the topic of their choice, they asked if they could have 15 or 20. (I told them that perhaps we could eventually extend the time if they enjoyed Quick Writing.)
#3) I put about 15 of the Stories in Hand Sparks up in case kids needed something to spark their mind and get their writerly juices flowing. (After all, they just got back from lunch and this was a new concept for them.)
#4) Nearly every kid’s writing implement was moving for the entire ten minutes.
#5) At the end of the ten minutes, I was asked for more time.

Students shared with their writing partners. A couple kids also shared their Quick Writes with me. They were… incredible. I was so proud of them for running with a new challenge and pushing themselves to write with their minds on fire about one thing. It’s hard to focus right after lunch, but, as they often do, my students amazed me.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.

6 thoughts on “Making More Time for Independent Notebook Writing Leave a comment

  1. This is something I am looking forward to doing more of. I’m just curious – with your Quick writes do you allow students to write in any genre? Do the prompts/sparks lead studies to write in a variety of genres or just personal narrative?


  2. Does anyone have a rubric that they use for these quick writes? I have found that calling homework assignments Daily Quick Writes – triggers something in their brains and they actually do their homework now.


  3. This is something I will try this week. I used to do it all the time, but as I became more committed about writing being linked to the mini-lesson in Writing Workshop, I can see that moved too away from this. Thanks (again) for giving me something to think about.


  4. I use Quick Writes often with Jr High and Sr High. Donald Graves and Penny Kittle wrote a Quick Write book (published by Heinemann I think). It is awesome! It comes with a wonderful DVD!


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