Student Motivation Saturday: Power Writing!

Although I often glean a ton of wonderful ideas from Joanne's linky, it's been awhile since I've linked up. I tried something new to me this week and I just had to share! I apologize in advance that I forgot my iPad at school and can't share the few pictures I took.

Last school year I read this post from the Collaboration Cuties {a gem of a blog if you haven't been there before!} that introduced me to Power Writing.

The Just: Give your students two random topics and three minutes to write as much as they possibly can. It doesn't matter what they write about, the just need to keep their pencil moving! When time is up, students total their words. Then you do it again. A new pair of random topics is given and students try to write more words than before.

My initial thought: I honestly wasn't sure that my students would buy in and do this. I assumed that there would be a handful of students, particularly those who do not enjoy writing, that would do the normal, stare at the paper/mess with my pencil/find anything other than writing to do.

However, this week I tried it. I had 10 minutes to fill and thought, why not?

I introduced this activity by telling students there are times when they seem afraid of the paper. It can be daunting to write, that sometimes its hard to get that pencil moving across the paper. As authors we want to move past that. We've been working on our editing and revision skills this year and that is where making the paper correct and better occurs. The first time we put our pencil to paper should not be the "perfect" paper--that's a lot of pressure to put on ourselves.

Then we began the challenge. I gave the topics of shoes and Pizza Hut. To my surprise, the students were truly into it! They hurriedly counted up their words when time was called. Even my struggling writers were into it!! I wrote two new topics on the board, snow and Christmas. The same procedure was done. I only needed to give a couple of gentle reminders for students to keep those pencils going.

My final thoughts: My students actually asked for another round of writing. The room was quiet, pencils flying: the students were engaged. A few students complained when time was called because they wanted to finish their story. The co-teacher in the room said, "Wow, we have to do this again." Doing this activity again is something we will most definitely do. We can always look back at these writings and add on to them in later projects.

I truly hope that you'll try Power Writing!


  1. Great idea! I am going to try this Power Writing idea in my science class to wrap up my lesson in the coming weeks. Cute site!

    Renee at the Science School Yard

  2. I need to do this with my kids! I think most of them would really get into it! Thanks for sharing!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. What a fun activity! I know what you mean about students being afraid of a blank piece of paper. But we have to turn on the faucet to get that writing flow going! Great idea and one I am definitely going to try!

    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  4. What a great way to get them writing! I am going to give this a try this coming week.

  5. I love doing power writing!! We have power writing Friday every week - they get so excited. And I try to throw in some content words too, and they don't even groan about it! Ha!!!

  6. So exciting to hear power writing was so successful in your class! Isn't it amazing what choice and counting words does for kids? They love it! I do something similar, but I call it a "Quickwrite". I'm going to add the "counting of words" element...I know this would motivate some of my reluctant writers! Thanks for sharing and linking up my friend!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  7. I was fortunate enough to hear Jeff Anderson speak and he introduced this idea. I've been using it with my kids for the last two years and they LOVE it! They always, always beg for more. They love counting up their words - competing with themselves to always try and write more. This is an awesome activity - very motivational!
    Are We There Yet?

  8. What a great idea! Love how simple and easy to implement this will be! Thanks for sharing!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  9. Thanks for sharing this! I'm not familiar with the term Power writing, but I do have my kids do this type of writing frequently. It forces them to make connections, and I find they can come up with some pretty solid evidence that will back up their claims.

    Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans


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