The One-Minute Paper

A popular off-shoot of the standard quickwrite, the One-Minute Paper can be used at the beginning of a class to help students focus on the matter at hand and get them thinking. You might ask them to summarize the main point of the last class (providing a bridge to the current lesson) or summarize a reading. The point is to get them writing immediately. You might have them exchange their One-Minute Papers with a partner and ask for a follow-up quickwrite that synthesizes the views. Or perhaps ask for a few randomly-selected samples and discuss them. Look for accuracy, precise language, and conciseness. Tell students constantly to ask themselves: What do I mean? Am I saying what I mean? Will my reader understand what I've written?

One-Minute Papers can also be used as a Classroom Assessment Technique at the end of a class. Direct the students to answer two questions: "What was the most important thing that you learned during today's class?" and "What important question do you still have?" This requires the students to evaluate what they remember and to reflect on how well they understand the material. Their responses can provide you with insights into how they are learning (or misunderstanding) the material.