Writing Prompts for Quick Writing

English Writing Lessons

Here’s a writing lesson idea that teachers might want to keep in their back pockets: writing activities that don’t take much up time yet foster fluency and text-specific objectives.

I found these prompts at a great site for writing lesson ideas.

Writing Process and Feedback

Typically, these writing lessons should take about 15-20 minutes. Each activity is a timed writing lesson, though it’s longer than the normal 10 minutes I usually set aside for fluency writing.

The creator of these prompts wrote a blog post about how he or she uses these writing prompts in class. Here is a quick summary of that approach:

  • 5-10 minutes – teacher teaches a narrow aspect of writing, perhaps a grammar point or style trick
  • teacher shows the prompt and students write a story which, in part, incorporates the day’s lesson
  • 10 minutes later, teacher calls time and collects student work, usually a 1/2 page of text per person
  • students begin a 20-minute reading stretch
  • teacher silently reads student work
  • at the end of reading time, teacher provides feedback to whole class
  • connects student effort to 6+1 writing traits
  • reads a few examples of student work
  • don’t grade on grammar
  • emphasize the process of getting ideas from head to paper

Bottom line: emphasize fluency, connect to writing traits, provide quick and meaningful feedback.

I’m not sure it would work every week in my university classes, but I will try it at a few times before the mid term exams and get comments from my students.

Writing Prompts

Write an argument with two or three premises.

 ESL writing prompt

Write a text that supports an argument and be persuasive (i.e. use emotion).

 Learn English writing persuasive

Make a list. Write 10 steps that a successful person you like might have written.

 ESL writing prompt list


Use of the images in this post complies with the author’s Creative Commons license.


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