Jean Piaget said it. Marie Montessori said it. Even Fred Rogers said it.
“Play is the work of childhood.”
As teachers we know how important play is to a child’s development, but we also know school is not an all day recess. So how do we incorporate more play into our students’ learning time? I believe quick writes throughout the school day allow children an opportunity to play on paper. They can play with ideas and play with ways to convey those ideas in writing.
What are quick writes? Short bursts of “thinking and inking” that are not evaluated or graded. They are invitations to explore thinking, feelings, and wonderings in whatever way speaks to them. In my book Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms I provide a variety of “sparks” to invite playful inquiry and reflection.
Just as there are “rules” for recess that are designed for students wellbeing, I have only a few “rules” for quick writes that support the wellbeing of the learner:
- Write the whole time-just let those ideas flow onto the paper without a filter
- Be kind when writing about others
- You don’t have to share if you don’t want to
- Have fun with it
I want them to see that writing is more than drafting stories or creating reports. Writing is a way to play on paper and find no judgements. I wish I’d had time like that as a student. I don’t think I would have found writing so intimidating or have been so reluctant to do it unless it was assigned.
I’ll be sharing some ideas and resources at NCTE 2019 in Baltimore this week to help create more PLAYGROUNDS for writers in our classrooms. I hope if you are going that you can join me, but I know many will not be able to attend so I’m happy to share my resources here as well. You can access the link to my slides below.
Here is a copy of my handout with QR codes to some of my resources as well.
You can find more ideas and resources for Quick Writes in my book SPARK! or you can connect with me anytime on social media @LitCoachLady on Twitter. Let’s bring more opportunities for purposeful play in our students’ day by creating Quick Write Playgrounds!
One More Off My TBR Stack
GIVE AND TAKE by Elly Swartz
Elly Swartz has written another compelling and compassionate middle grade novel that opens minds and hearts to some of the fierce challenges our children face. In Give and Take we meet 12 year old Maggie whose grandmother recently passed away from dementia, whose family is temporarily fostering a newborn about to be adopted, and whose friend is bumped from their all-girl trap shooting team. Seems like Maggie is has had to say goodbye so much that she finds she can’t let go of things and saving mementos turns into a problem with hoarding that she can’t control. Swartz’s background in psychology has helped her create characters that need to work through mental health challenges and allow readers some insights and empathy for the human condition while crafting engaging storylines that pull you in and have you turning pages long into the night.