There are many reasons to begin class with a writing moment, not the least of which is to provide a quiet yet productive few minutes for students, allowing the teacher to take care of the annoying but necessary bookkeeping chores (attendance, make-up work, late students, etc.) A word limit or time limit would insure the students continue to be actively involved in writing.
The story starters and other prewriting or freewriting exercises in this teacher reference can be adjusted to meet instructional goals as well. Students are practicing paragraph skills when a requirement is added to a freewriting assignment that stipulates the addition of a topic or concluding sentence or perhaps a list of supporting details or reasons or examples. You might also emphasize elements of literature by choosing starters with a focus on point of view, character, setting, etc.
Try distributing a list of suggestions from this resource to the students. They can then choose a different topic each time a writing moment is assigned. You may want to choose selections to share with the class later to stimulate discussion. Students might keep all writings in a file or notebook. They could then be selected later for a more in-depth writing assignment.
But above all, writing moments at the beginning of class keep students writing, the only way to refine students’ skills in this important area.
A WRITING MOMENT
This page provides a list of writing topics based on the literary elements. They could be used for writing moments which highlight particular sections of the curriculum on literature. The teacher assigns particular items as they become appropriate.
THE DESCRIPTION IS IN THE DETAILS
Details form the focus of this list of situations. Items from this list are appropriate for assignment at any time. This page could be distributed to the students to form the basis for a writing folder. Students could then choose a different situation to write about each time a writing moment is assigned.
Assignments from this list provide the first sentences of a writing. Students would continue the writing with their own thoughts. This page could be distributed to the students to form the basis for a writing folder. Students could then choose a different sentence to write about each time a writing moment is assigned.
NOW FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT
The last three pages in this teacher resource include pictures for students to study. They would then create stories which could explain what they see in the picture.
Another handy addition to our new series: Write On! an organizational approach to critical writing preparation. From CK Teaching Aids, of course.