Rapid Fire Writing is an activity that gets students thinking. This handout is adaptable and can be used with any prompt. Rapid Fire Writing gets ALL students writing. Not just those kids who are always game to write, but also your students who are usually hesitant, defiant, or lack confidence. The activity is timed, so students know the hard effort will only last for 3 minutes or less with each section.
You provide the prompt or objective, then you take students through the Rapid Fire Writing procedure below.
1. Give students a prompt, and answer any clarifying questions about the prompt. Then, set a timer for 3 minutes, and inform students that they have to get as many thoughts out in 3 minutes as possible. They can't stop writing until the 3 minutes are up.
2. Once the 3 minutes are up, give students 1 minute on the timer to circle words or phrases from their own response which they think represent the main idea of what they had to say.
3. Set the timer for 2 minutes, and have students EXPAND on the ideas that they circled, digging deeper into them. No stopping!
4. Set the timer for 1 minute, and have students put a box around the ONE word or phrase they think represents the heart of their ideas.
5. Finally, set the timer for one minute, and have students use the boxed word/phrase that they identified as the heart of their thinking to write a single statement that accurately and succinctly shows their ideas.
This activity asks students to dig deep in order to find out what the core of their thoughts are on a given topic, essay prompt, social issue, etc.
1. Students will often end up with something that looks like a thesis statement. This can then be edited and used to write an open response or an essay.
2. Students could also use the statements they came up with to begin a debate on the topic of the prompt.
For a twist on the original activity, have students sit in groups of four. Each student would write the 3 minute response, then pass their paper to the left in a circle. The student who receives the paper would circle 3 things that they think were most important in their classmate's response, then pass the paper again. Student 3 would look at the 3 things that student 2 circled, and expand on them (but with a fresh perspective!). Then the paper would be passed again, and student 4 would put a box around what they think is the heart of the response. Finally, the paper is passed back to its original owner, who is now able to use their own thinking, and the thinking of 3 of their peers, to write a final statement.