So, the reason we might go from a Quick Write as a one-time deal to using it as more of a mentor text is if we feel the text has more to teach that can work across genres, or if most students are writing in that genre at the moment.
Planning your weekly pacing
*Note: This pacing is meant to be adaptable to your student needs. See these as components as decisions you can take to make a text more accessible without traditional scaffolds. The purpose of this approach is to bring students into the process of identifying and then figuring out what might be challenging for them in a text (language, syntax, cultural significance/meaning, or structure). We don’t want students to feel overwhelmed, but we don’t want to scaffold away the challenge in reading a mentor text because we take away opportunities for self-awareness/metacognition which is essential for building literate agency.
If you don’t want to incorporate the protocol, you can do the Quick Write like this: If your class is 45 minutes, estimate 10 for reading the text (a portion or short text), 10-15 for writing (watch the kids and extend time if they seem into this writing), and then students share what they wrote. Be flexible — maybe one group needs more time, so let the other groups do table shares instead.
If you do want to develop collaboration and agency with a protocol like ours, or use the same text for lessons throughout the week, you can plan like this:
- Students read in groups of 2-5 collaboratively annotating and discussing the text (see our protocol in the first post). About 10 minutes.
- As they do this, teacher listens in to groups, coaches as needed, focusing on being collaborative/actively annotating. I also use this time to observe what students are noticing about the text, help with any misconceptions due to things like idioms or cultural connotation of words tripping them up.
- Students select whatever inspired them and begin writing. About 10 minutes. Teacher can also begin writing (on the doc camera if you know it won’t distract them, or I just sit at a table to write collaboratively with students visibly struggling).
- Students share their writing and what inspired them (use the document camera if you have one for students to follow along).
- We look again at the text to discuss what parts inspired them and why, and I annotate on a copy of the text (for follow-up lessons).
Day 2: Teacher follows into what students noticed from the Quick Write Text to teach 1-2 techniques to model and students practice.
Day 3: Can repeat day 2 with something else to take from the text or you may feel 2 days was enough and you want to move onto another text or lesson. You can also do a lesson on how to use their quick writes to revise for a more polished piece.
I recommend that the next quick write text that follow should be similar in some way –something that bears repeating — but allow students to discover the overlaps.
Save these texts as a reference in either a digital archive of these mentors, a physical class binder accessible to all students, or requires students save their annotated copies in a folder. I had a digital archive on Google Classroom as well as laminated annotated copies on a wall. Moving Writers has a Google Drive they share publicly.