Empowering Writers

Toolbox: Quick Writes

Quick Writes


Teaching Grammar and Mechanics in those Extra Ten Minute Slots

You’ve just wrapped up a reading lesson, and in about ten minutes it’ll be time to head off to art. Or music. Or wherever. Or, it might be the interminable stretch of time between when the school buses line up, bus numbers are called, and the kids file out to board. Not enough time to […]


Quick Writes – Point of View / Tense

Click here to see all of our Quick Writes. Have you ever had a student begin a story in third person point of view (about a character they name, let’s say Jenny) and several sentences in revert to first person (I)? Makes a lot of sense for younger kids, as they craft their stories they […]


Quick Writes – Letter Writing

In this age of texts, tweets, and email, it might seem like letter writing is a dying art! However, there are times when Grandma deserves a thank you note, a convincing persuasive complaint letter to a company might score you some free stuff, or engaging a pen-pal from a faraway land can be gratifying for […]


Quick Writes – Taking Notes

Ask a group of fourth graders to “take notes” and you’re likely to get one of two responses – blank looks or anxious glances from kids trying to copy down every last word from a book in order to “capture” what they’re taking notes about. Note-taking is a kind of shorthand that requires critical thinking […]


Quick Writes – Figurative Language

My second grade class became obsessed with similes after reading Roald Dahl’s “The BFG”. He described one terrifying giant as having a nose “as sharp as a knife.” When my students drew their own fearsome giants and wrote vivid descriptions of their characters we had all kinds of sharp noses – sharp as a sword, […]


Quick Writes – Narrative Writers’ Craft

With so many different genres of writing that are required to meet the latest state standards, it’s hard to have kids remember it all! Once you’ve set narrative writing on the back burner and focus on expository writing, those narrative skills can get stale. In order to keep these skills fresh, all that’s sometimes needed […]


Quick Writes – Sentence Construction / Revision

One lament we hear from teachers is this: how in the world do we teach sentence structure? Kids learn through modeling, of course, but often that’s not enough. They need some solid strategies for sentence combining, adjusting run-ons, improving syntax and structure. Effective writers know that sentences are the building blocks of good writing! You […]


Quick Writes – Mechanics, Punctuation, Editing

Punctuation is a lot more than rules for writing. Punctuation and capitalization help the reader understand what the writer intended. Read the following unpunctuated sentence: katherine went to the beach with her little sister in her mouth she had a lollipop Did the author mean: Katherine went to the beach with her little sister in […]


Quick Writes – Parts of Speech

What’s the best way to get students to not only identify parts of speech, but to have them recognize why it’s important? How vivid verbs can create action and a sense of movement, how the right adjectives can bring a passage to life. Adverbs qualifying nouns, adding another layer of meaning. You can use these […]


Quick Writes – Vocabulary / Word Choice

Carpenters use wood, jewelers gold and silver, masons, stone. Writers use words, and the more precise the word, the more clear the meaning. Every writer should wrestle with this word or that, and benefits by building a wide repertoire of vocabulary. These Daily Quick Writes are all about word choice. Use them to help your […]