SOL #7: Power Writing

If you haven’t read Jeff Anderson’s book 10 Things Every Writing Needs to Know, you might want to pick up a copy. It is brilliant. In his chapter on motion Jeff talks about building stamina. One way to build stamina is through Power Writing.

Before the Power Write I write two words on the board. Today the words were: ball and smile. Students need to include one or both words in their Power Write. Then I say to the students, “You will write as much as you can, as well as you can, and as fast as you can for one minute.” (Jeff has lots of great tips on Power Writing in his book)

At the end of one minute students count their words and we graph our class data on a chart. It’s been awesome watching their stamina imporve (amazing transfers into workshop writing as well).

Here is what I came up with in my one minute:

“Dad will you play catch with me?” Dharia asked me last night as she chucked the ball at my face.

“Of Course,” I replied as I ducked and the ball bounced off Breslin’s shoulder.

34 words. Not bad.

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12 thoughts on “SOL #7: Power Writing

  1. I love this idea as a way of buildilng stamina although I usually give my reluctant writers just one word to use. Maybe I’ll try to give them some choice! Thanks for the inspiration to try something new today.

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  2. I love the idea of tracking # of words by group to see stamina of the group grow. Do you always keep it at one minute or do you increase the time as their stamina grows? Thanks for the book recommendation; I love Jeff Anderson’s work.

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  3. OK, I have to try this. And get this book! I have actually been meaning to buy it for several years. We took the first part of the state writing test yesterday. I thought my kids were ready, but the prompt stopped them dead in their tracks. I was super disappointed…

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  4. Do you have your students graph the word count? Do you do another set? I know, lots of questions, but I’ve been thinking about introducing this to my teachers and I’d like to be able to tell them about someone who has done this. I see the power in this strategy. I love all the Anderson books.

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  5. I’ve been thinking about getting this book for some time, but didn’t know if it was geared mainly toward elementary students or not (I teach high school)…I read Kelly Gallagher’s books and try to adapt/implement his strategies, but Anderson’s books always intrigue me. Thanks for sharing this lesson!

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  6. Love this description Colby. I don’t know the book, but it reminds me of something I did with middle schoolers, a ‘show, don’t tell’ where I wrote a telling sentence like “She was lonesome” & students were to quickly write words that showed this. I gave them about 15 minutes. I never thought of it as building stamina, but it was doing just that, helped them realize that they could just start writing & come up with something. Thanks for telling about this!

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