Students file into their classroom. They take out their laptop or journal, open it up, stretch their fingers a bit, then start writing. Their teacher takes a quick survey of the room, grabs her own writing, and settles into her seat to write as well.
A hush falls over the room, but it is anything but quiet. The sound of clicking keys and the scrape of lead pencils across paper fills the air. It is even noisier inside the writers’ minds as words get woven together into sentences that permeate the page.
Ten minutes later, the teacher’s phone alarm sounds and the clicking and scraping is replaced with moans of resistance that it’s time to move on.
Sacred Writing Time has ended for the day.
What is Sacred Writing Time?
Quite simply, Sacred Writing Time is a short time period set aside every day for students to have complete choice in their writing topic and the tools they use to produce that writing. It is not graded, assessed, or turned in (other than to check for participation, if you wish.) The teacher does not provide students with a required prompt, nor are they told they must write in a particular genre or mode.
At its essence, Sacred Writing Time is as close to real life writing as you can get.
Benefits of Sacred Writing Time
The benefits of Sacred Writing Time are many, including:
- Students build a solid writing habit when Sacred Writing Time is regularly included in their daily writing routine.
- Writing fluency and stamina increase as writing is the only option during this time. Sacred Writing Time is not the time for research, planning, or revision. It is simply time to write.
- Students can try new writing moves or stretch outside of their regular writing comfort zone because Sacred Writing Time is a low-risk, low-stakes activity. Creativity and outside-the-box writing should not only be encouraged, they should be celebrated.
- The writing students develop during Sacred Writing Time will often be the springboard for longer pieces of writing to be developed during workshop.
- Depending on when you do Sacred Writing Time within your day, this dedicated time for producing writing can ‘prime the pump’ of the writer’s mind for more writing during the writing workshop that follows.
The time your students spend in this free-choice, student-directed writing time doesn’t have to be long -- 15 minutes will even suffice. Developing a regular routine and establishing expected behaviors for Sacred Writing Time will guide your students to begin and maintain their own work without needing direction from you, freeing you up to write along with your students!
Bringing Sacred Writing Time to Life with Write About
Here at Write About, we strongly believe that Sacred Writing Time should be a part of every student’s daily writing routine.
Write About is an excellent platform for students to use during Sacred Writing Time. Not only is technology extremely engaging for student writers, but our thought-provoking, entertaining, and engaging writing Ideas offer students a variety of choices to get them writing right away -- and keep them writing! Students can return to previous work or begin something new in a matter of seconds. Plus, the Write About platform keeps your students’ writing all in one place. Write About is a natural fit with Sacred Writing Time.
Small Time Investment = Big Dividends
The small investment of time you make in implementing Sacred Writing Time will pay off dividends that enrich your students’ writing lives, increase engagement, and empower students to grow their writing voices. Instead of wondering how you will fit in 15 more minutes of writing time every day, why not ask how you can schedule everything else around Sacred Writing Time? It’s that important.
Make Sacred Writing Time -- with Write About -- a part of your students’ daily writing routine and watch your students soar!
About the Author
Jennifer Laffin is a Write About Rockstar and owner of Teach Write, LLC, a company dedicated to helping teachers and their students grow as writers. She is also a Teacher Consultant with the National Writing Project, taught 4th and 5th grades for nine years, and is an avid blogger and writer.
Jennifer loves to connect with other teachers and teacher-writers. You can find her at www.sweetwritinglife.blogspot.com and www.teachwrite.org. She also loves to share her learning on Twitter at @laffinteach and @TeachWriteEDU.