- "[T]hink and learn about the course content and stay engaged on a day-to-day basis"
- [O]rganize concepts, place them in their own language, and connect them with their own analogies and metaphors"
- "[P]rovide constant reinforcement for the content"
- "[I]mprov[e] [their] writing ability"
Such "quick writes" also help instructors find out the following:
- "[W]hat students do and do not understand"
- [H]ow the students' thought processes are organized as they learn the concepts"
- Where concepts need to be clarified
2. Some Varieties of Quickwrites
a. Two-Five Minute Essays
Students are asked to write in the last five minutes of class answers to the following:
- "What did you learn in class today?"
- "What questions or concerns do you have?"
"In answering the first question, students often discover gaps in their knowledge, and these then appear in the second question."
- "If instructors ask only the second question because of time pressures, students may not be able to formulate the more sophisticated questions."
b. Other Short Writing Assignments
- "[W]rite the main ideas from the previous lecture."
- "[T]ell what they already know about a certain topic before it is presented in class."
- "[E]xplain a particular concept."
- "[S]ummarize the assigned reading."
- "[G]enerate several questions they think may appear on the next exam."
"Microthemes are short writing assignments that usually can be written on a 5x8 inch index card."
"The goal is for students to invest substantial studying time prior to writing the microtheme; i.e., the microtheme leverages a lot of thinking, and later, to discuss their ideas with other students."
These can be sorted into four categories: