Super Writing!

It's time to talk my favorite subject...WRITING!!! It has been, and probably will always be my favorite subject! I remember as a beginning teacher not having a ton of guidance with teaching writing, so I was always on the lookout for activities to help my students WANT to write. When I was introduced to this activity, I felt like I hit the writing jackpot!
Super Writing is a weekly (or daily) writing activity that builds students' writing fluency skills, as well as increases their writing confidence. Once students have the hang of this activity, it can be done in ten minutes or less.

For this activity students will need:
1. A spiral notebook, a journal, or a piece of lined paper
2. A pencil
3. A colored pencil, crayon or a marker

For this activity the teacher will need:
1. A Super Writing recording sheet
2. A list of topics
3. A timer

Here's how the activity goes:

1. Students get their journal, a pencil and a marker ready. The teacher gives the class a topic (title) to write at the top of their page.
 2. The teacher then tells the students that they have one minute to "write as much as they can, as well as they can." Students are not allowed to ask questions during the one minute or raise their hand for anything except a broken pencil (I actually have my student raise their pencil if this happens so I can quickly replace for them).

3. The teacher sets the timer and gives students one minute to write. When the timer beeps, the teacher says, "pencils down." Students may only finish the last word (not sentence) they are writing and then drop their pencils.
4. Next, the students count how many words they wrote and record it in color (pencil, crayon, marker) inside of a circle at the end of their paragraph. If a students dropped their pencil mid-word, they can count that final half word in their total word count.
5. Once all students have their words counted, the teacher displays the Super Writing Record Sheet on the LCD screen to record students' total word counts. The quickest way to do this is to have students raise their hands for each category (i.e. "How many of had 0-4 words?" and "How many of had "5-10 words?"). The teacher tallies the totals in each row under "Round One." If you are using this in kindergarten or first grade, it's best to do it in a small guided writing group.
6. Once the totals are all tallied, you can do a round two, three, etc.. I recommend at least doing three rounds per session, so students can really challenge themselves to write more!
Most students will improve their total word count within three levels. It's fun for them to challenge themselves and watch their own growth (almost immediately). Super Writing makes the perfect warm-up activity to Writer's Workshop, too.

So what now? Students finish three rounds of Super Writing and have these short little paragraphs in their journals. Well, my favorite thing to do is to let students circle their favorite "Super Write" of the day and actually develop that into a final draft of writing (it can be in paragraph form, topic for a friendly letter, a poem, etc..).  Students can also do a quick edit/revise activity where they go through their three (or four) Super Writes and check their conventions and improve sentence structure, word choice, etc..
Another benefit of having a Super Write journal is that it becomes a bank of ideas for students. When students say, "I don't know what to write about?" the teacher can easily tell them to choose a topic from their Super Writing journal.

I hope you will give this activity a try in your classroom! Here's a free recording sheet for you to try with your students.

I also have available a complete Super Writing Pack that includes five different leveled recording sheets, recommending starting levels, a master topic list, as well as monthly topic lists to guide your Super Writing for the year!

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