#SOL19: Day 2 SOLSC

I took a leap of faith in December.  I planned to attend PD in Maine, a state I had never been to, in December.



Star- Struck? After all, it was a day spent with Penny Kittle and Linda Rief. A day with a title of Read, Write, Teach. Yah! (Link)

But one of the best parts of the trip was the time spent with Paula Bourque, sketchnoter extraordinaire, and our conversations about “Low Stakes Writing” to pump up writing volume.

Writing Volume: 

Is it ever possible to write enough? 

Is it possible to write too much?

And I was a bit of a skeptic.


 I was a HUGE skeptic!

I hate assigned topic writing!

“You want me to write what?”

I would be that student.

I would not cause a fuss.

But I would disappear into the restroom.

Check out the books for sale.

OR stick my nose in a book.


But after our conversations, I read the book.  I couldn’t wait to try out a couple of the QuickWrites because these are not “assign one every day” type prompts.

Screenshot 2019-03-01 at 8.53.45 PM

This post is based on Paula Bourque’s new book that you can preview with this link: Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle the Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms and Paula’s Day 1 slice here.

“This quick write Spark! is a sentence stem from Chapter 8 Teacher Quick Writes (p.155) I sometimes share a Google doc with teachers with stems like this one for them to share their ideas. These collaborative quick writes are a fun way to build a writing community.”  (Paula Bourque, March 1 Slice of Life)

You know you are a nerdy teacher if

You talk literacy, reading and writing, at family events.

You share books and/or literacy materials as gifts.

Your calendar lists the publication date with titles of new books.

You calendar time to read or write.

You plan your use of “miles” or “points” for conferences.

You plan your vacations around literacy conferences.

You have a second job or two to fund your need to have books and writing tools.

You can name the opening lines of at least 10 books without a breath of air.

You recommend books, articles or “must read blogs” at least once a day.

You have semi-voiced conversations with authors as in “Really? That was the best you could do?”  or “Wait a second. When did you tie that in?”

You can break any box down to recyclable state in less than one minute.

You donate cardboard to Maker Space groups.

You know the names of more than one UPS driver due to book deliveries.

Process: This was a 10 minute timed write (Nerdy Teacher statements – not the intro to the post).  

What can you ‘Quick Write” in 10 minutes? 

When do YOU work on writing volume? 

(Psst:  Are you a Nerdy Teacher?)

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

24 responses

  1. Oh wow Fran. You’ve got me interested in the book now. Thanks.

    1. Lisa,
      I have always loved Linda Rief’s books because of the “write beside” nature, so I was intrigued by Paula’s title. I was sold by the chapter on “Social-Emotional” writing! Check out the link above to Stenhouse because you can read the intro and chapters 1 and 2. You are welcome!

  2. I’m a nerdy teacher, although there are things on your list I can’t (or don’t) do. Maybe I should aspire to them. You know how I feel about volume. ..

    1. Melanie,
      You can definitely do “nerdy” your own way! LOL! I know. I’ve been thinking a lot about my own writing volume lately! 🙂

  3. I agree with the need to write in volume! I feel so sad when I sit in a room of 2nd graders (or other ages) after a marvelous mini lesson on craft and most students are just looking at their writing or stating, “I’m done.” You cannot strengthen your writing muscles unless you write!

    1. Anita,
      It’s a hard topic because writing a lot means that some will be awful. And yet, some just might be the diamond in the rough. Trying to “walk the talk”! 🙂

  4. Very intriguing! I am now thinking about what I could write in a “10-minute Quick Write.” I also didn’t think I was that nerdy, but after reading the statements here, maybe I am 🙂!

    1. Jana,
      I was a bit surprised at where my “nerdiness stream of consciousness took me” but not totally! I have done 5 minute writes before and found them to be frustrating as I felt like I was just barely getting started. This felt good. 🙂

  5. Can’t wait to read Paula’s book. Her day two blog is really powerful. What a great way to build a writing community.

    1. It’s a great book. I keep encouraging folks to check out the Stenhouse preview. It’s such a nice feature! And ah, yes. That video! Important conversations for our students!

  6. Fran I am so glad you made it up to Maine this winter. I loved learning alongside you and enjoying some tasty food, too. You are a totally wonderful NERDY teacher! Loved these quick write nuggets. Thank you for all of your support-you are the best!

    1. Paula,
      Nerdy looks a bit different from the middle of a timber but Literacy is everywhere! Ah, yes, clam chowder every day. On these cold days, I really, really, really miss it! You are welcome!<3

  7. I think we are all a bit nerdy. I know that I am guilty of recommending books to people I am having lunch with. Like others, I don’t know what I would write in a 10 minute quick write. I tyhink I would feel rushed and my writing incomplete. Maybe after doing a few though…

    1. It’s kind of handy to know how long it will take to write a post “under pressure” as in when the days are long and every minute is precious! 🙂

  8. I’m glad you added in the end that you did this in 10 minutes. I think it helps to realize that high volume doesn’t always mean LOTS of time spent writing. Your prompt is a keeper too. My favorite on your list is: You plan your vacations around literacy conferences.

    1. Thanks, Sally. The family has always appreciated those trips that took them to London, Scotland, San Antonio – to name just a few!

      I also think it’s important that we practice writing from scratch so we remember that feeling of pressure and can speak to the strategies that we might use: rewrite the prompt, read the prompt out loud, sketch out 3 bullets on a post it or on fingers, etc.! 🙂

  9. I have Linda’s Quick Writes book in my kitchen ready to go for some inspiration for this March’s challenge. I have to say I definitely fit many of your criteria for “nerdy teacher”. I would add if you have a favourite adaptation of Hamlet you might be a nerdy HS English teacher. Cheers to writing volume!

    1. Christine,
      Thanks for commenting! Linda’s book will be a perfect addition to your “slicing” repertoire. Several different ways that a slice like this can go! 🙂

  10. Penny Kittle is so nice. I’m definitely interested in that book even though I’m in the high school classroom.

    1. You could use Linda Rief’s Quick Write book. it is equally awesome!

  11. Hand raised, nerdy teacher here! I am giving my students more free writing time and it transfers to me as I write with them.

    1. Margaret,
      I think that Nerdy Teacher is a badge of honor! Let’s wear it proudly! Both reading and writing! ❤

  12. Leigh Anne Eck | Reply

    Yes, I can relate to much of your nerdiness! I am doing quick writes for all of my slices this year. There is something liberating about knowing it only takes 10 minutes to “get ‘er done”! Plus, I wanted to experience what my students experience when we do them and to show them how quick writes can grow into longer pieces.

    1. Leigh Anne,
      I won’t do all quick writes, but I am sure that “quicker” will also be one of my goals. I need to collect some writing samples . . . not sure if I will get that organized! LOL

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