Prompt Planning

Have you ever introduced your students to quick writes or rocket writes?
What was the goal of these sessions?
And, more importantly, how did it pan out?

I’ve fallen into the trap of quick writes before, and I clearly wasn’t thinking!

“Ok class, in a moment, we are going to try and write as much as we can in 5 minutes on something we have never seen or talked about before. But don’t worry. It’s just for fun. Remember to do your best, try and be neat, don’t forget to punctuate, and see if you can WOW me. Are we ready?”

Gee that sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Most children feel the same pressures and anxieties during these quick-fire tasks as they would during testing. The cognitive overload would be overwhelming. 
So why do we ask them to do it?
Well if the goal was to encourage quick thinking, then you could see how that could reflect into a real-world skill. But this is not the task to build quick thinking skills.
As a whole, teachers are pretty creative. Coming up with things on the go is part of our jam- some even thrive on it. Sometimes we take that skill for granted, and we assume that everyone can do it. (Mind you, if this was a task in a staff meeting, I don’t think you would feel the same way. Especially if they told us we were all going to be sharing our writing out loud at the end, or worse, we were going to critique it!)
Quick-fire tasks in general, are not for everyone, just like creative writing is not for everyone. What is for everyone is the ability to communicate information. To consider your options, to problem solve, to share facts and opinions. All of these are part of everyday life and skills we all need to draw upon daily. 
Coming up with a story about a haunted house, not so much. 
We still need to develop quick-thinking, planning and problem-solving skills when it comes to writing, but there is a better (and more enjoyable) way to do it. 
Quick-fire oral language games like Think Quick and the 99 Oral-Language Warm-Up tasks are a great introduction into the classroom, as well as prompt planning and express editing.

So what is Prompt Planning?
When it comes to getting started, many students sit there tapping their pencil on the page or their fingers on the keys. Why? Because the ideas are not clear in their minds yet.
The scariest moment is just before you begin. – Stephen King

We need to help students to become quicker and clearer with their ideas, no matter what the text type, so they can begin writing.
Teaching students to plan effectively in 2, 5, or 10-minute blocks will help them become more confident in expressing themselves.

Prompt planning encourages students to investigate and identify their planning strengths and weaknesses.

If you want to know more about Prompt Planning and how to implement it in your classroom, join me in this pre-recorded webinar and together, we will teach the students to;
– Verbalise their ideas in pairs or threes.
– Practice paired planning.
– Play around with graphic organisers.
– Practice without organisers.
– Look for hints and tips in stimulus prompts.
– Borrow, build and begin writing.

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