The Quickwrite: A Brief Introduction
The quickwrite is one of the most basic of WAC strategies. It involves asking a question, giving people a set amount of time for responding (usually between one to ten minutes), and either hearing or reading the responses. The quickwrite can be modified endlessly, depending on circumstances. It also has led to a variety of WAC off-shoots.
- it promotes spontaneity and freedom in writing.
- it encourages writing as a habit or practice.
- it promotes critical thinking and focus.
- it gives students time to collect thoughts before verbalizing to others.
- it great potential time-saver for instructors, since quickwrites do not necessarily have to be read by the latter. Students can respond verbally from their quickwrites (reading directly or using the piece as a touchstone) or get peer response in groups. (Note: Be sure that some kind of response is given; a primary principle of WAC is that each writing exercise matters--nothing is written that isn't somehow "witnessed").
- it provides a basis for collaborative peer work.
- critical thinking warm-ups: use the quickwrite at the start of a class to get students focussed on a new concept, or the material from last class, or preparatory reading material, etc.
- student-directed quickwrites: have students lead the quickwrite session, having prepared a question in advance and thought through a method for fielding the responses
- class-closers: as with the warm-ups, use the quickwrite to prompt reflection through summary, synthesis, explanation, a question.
- the "Good Question"
- the "One-Minute Paper"