More and more we hear about the importance of writing fluency. Kids need to be able to write to a topic, forming strong sentences. This is an important skill for all students, including those reluctant writers. Can’t Stop Writing provides kids the opportunity to build writing fluency in a low-risk and fun way. At the same time, you’ll learn so much about your students as people.
In this packet, there are more than 365 writing prompts: one for every day of the year, including holidays, plus some for special days, including field trips, sub days, first and last days of school, assemblies, test day, and the 100th Day. Prompts include lists, opinion and persuasive paragraphs, sequence of steps/events, and just fun stuff. They were designed to make students think, but accessible enough for a quick response. There are dates are on each slide, but there’s no reason you can’t rearrange them for your own special school or classroom days. My students loved this activity, groaning when the timer goes off each morning. I display the prompt on my SMARTBoard but must screen it because they are so eager to see what the topic of the day is.
Here’s how it works in my classroom.
We have a dedicated notebook just for this activity. Composition notebooks have worked great for my kids. They loved the novelty of them.
Step 1 Each morning, I introduce a prompt for students to write about.
I set a timer for a period of time. For younger students, about a minute is appropriate to start. As their stamina grows, so does the length of writing time.
Step 2 Everyone writes to the topic until it goes off. If they can’t think of
anything to write or run out of ideas, they write “I can’t think of anything else
to write.” over and over until they think of something or hear the timer.
Step 3 When the timer beeps, they may finish their sentence. I have my
students share with a partner and then choose 2-3 kids to read their writing
to the class. Those who don’t get to share but want me to see their writing put
theirs on a table for me to take a look at later.
Step 4 Gradually increase the writing time until your students are comfortably
writing for whatever amount of time is developmentally appropriate.
Some teachers have their students count the number of words they
wrote, and some even graph it. I found that my kids naturally begin to write
more and more over time.
You may choose to use the kids’ products for editing, but I wouldn’t
edit every single one. Perhaps have the kids select one each week to
edit for a specific skill. This is your call, of course!
This year I’ve linked a few Youtube videos to build some background knowledge and add a little fun! Most are just a couple of minutes long.
A Little Success Story…
The first year I implemented this, a child receiving intensive support for his emotional needs joined our class. Talk about a reluctant writer! He
didn’t refuse to write, he simply went out of his way to avoid it. As we approached the end of the semester, he asked to see the nurse. As he walked out the door, he turned and said, “Don’t do Can’t Stop Writing until I get back!” Of course we waited!
Note on range and content in student writing to build a foundation for college and career readiness, students need to learn to use writing as a way of offering and supporting opinions, demonstrating understanding of the subjects they are studying, and conveying real and imagined experiences and events. They learn to appreciate that a key purpose
of writing is to communicate clearly to an external, sometimes unfamiliar audience, and they begin to adapt the form and content of their writing to accomplish a particular task and purpose. They
develop the capacity to build knowledge on a subject through research projects and to respond analytically to literary and informational sources. To meet these goals, students must devote significant time and effort to writing, producing numerous pieces over short and extended time frames throughout the year.
Production and Distribution of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, andstyle are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Range of Writing:
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range oftasks, purposes, and audiences.