One-Minute Write Activities

Decorative: "1 Minute Challenge!"


A. "One-Minute Write" (web page) introduces "One-minute write activities [that] ask students to stop what they are doing and produce a written response in only one minute."

  • "This technique can be used to collect feedback on understanding by asking them to identify what they thought the most confusing point was or to voice a question."
  • "Responses do not need to be graded, or the instructor may wish to give students credit for participation."

1. Advantages of One-Minute Write

  • "Provides immediate and useful feedback with minimal time or effort"
  • "Preparation is quite easy and takes no to very little time"
  • "Can be used to collect information about specific topics, readings, or activities, as well as larger units like a whole class period; can be used in any course at any level"
  • "Requires students to self-assess. Students must mentally review everything they have heard before they can decide what is most important, and they must evaluate their own understanding before they can decide what questions to ask."
  • "Allows students who may be reluctant to speak up in front of the class to have a voice and ask questions"

2. Steps and Tips for Using One-Minute Write (each elaborated in article)

  • "Pose the question that you wish students to answer," (e.g. muddiest point, unanswered questions, most important thing, main point, etc.).
  • "Give students one or two minutes to write their responses."
  • "Collect the responses and review."
  • "Respond to student comments."

3. Challenges of the One-Minute Write

  • The instructor must read the responses and address the concerns or students "will have no incentive to provide honest feedback the next time." This can take (class) time.
  • "One option is to respond online, via email or a class website, or only to respond to the most common point of confusion."
  • [S]tudents may have difficulty articulating what they do not understand."
  • "[I]nstructors are often surprised and frustrated to find that students are unsure about a concept that the instructor believes was explained clearly."

B. "Teaching Idea: The One-Minute Paper" (web page; link is dead, but information below remains useful)

1. Focus on Student Understanding

  • General questions (e.g. “What was the most important point in the lecture?”)
  • Specific questions (e.g. “Summarize two conflicting points of view about global warming.”)

2. Respond to Student Needs

  • "Students know you are paying attention to them and to their needs if you then begin the next class by clarifying where necessary." 
  • "You can also give the students a certain say in their own education by asking them what they would like to learn more about."
  • "The one-minute paper is a quick assessment tool that, with little time and little effort, can keep you in touch with your students."

3. Mid-Term Course Assessment

"At any time in the semester, ask your students to write in answer[s] to specific questions ... to get a sense of how students perceive your course," for example:

  • Organization (e.g. “How well do the discussions integrate with the reading?”)
  • Style (e.g. “How comfortable do you feel asking questions?”)
  • Clarity (e.g. “How clear was today’s lecture for you?”)

C. Minute-Paper Sample Handout

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