Empowering Writers

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 begin a whole new project, but too much time for kids to sit idle.

I always longed for a handy little teaching toolbox containing just the little brushstroke of an activity that would both fill an instructional need and a few spare minutes in a productive way.

I began to put together index cards that I called “Daily Quick Writes”. I began with grammar and mechanics – I’d post one sentence with some kind of common grammatical error, and engage the class in a game of “You be the Editor”. Once they got it correct we’d move to another sentence. Kids would take turns being the “editor” and it ran much like a spelling bee, with one exception – nobody was ever “out”. Instead, teams earned a point for each instance of accurate editing.

This took off like crazy, so I expanded our repertoire to include sentence construction, sentence combining, and parts of speech. Some colleagues, in a variety of different grades, joined the fun and we combined our efforts. We eventually upped the ante to vocabulary and word choice, then narrative and expository writer’s craft. Figurative language and verb tense followed, letter writing and point of view came in behind.

Interested in making the best use of those spare minutes here and there throughout the school day? Or perhaps you might like to create an independent learning station of “Daily Quick Writes”. For your convenience I divided them into broad categories.

Click the button below and you’ll find a variety of quick editing and revising challenges. Simply select the ones best suited to the grade you teach. And/or, create sets of your own. Invite your grade level colleagues to participate and you can double, triple, or quadruple the possibilities! Why shouldn’t editing and revising be fun?!

Quick Writes