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.