I’ve always been a fan of the ten-minute paragraph. Okay! Okay! At the beginning of the school year, I begin with a 15-minute paragraph and then widdle down the time over the first few weeks. The ten-minute paragraph is amazing! And the ten-minute paragraph is amazing for all subject areas! It’s short. It forces writers to dive in--and right now! The task comes with an ending. And that’s the end. Done. These formative assessments take very little time to read, yet they can provide teachers with myriad data. Teachers can evaluate the skill(s) and/or content that they’ve just introduced, that students have recently practiced, that teachers are considering to assess summatively. Students become better thinkers and consequently better writers.
Consider the following:
For a longer discussion, check out this link from Edutopia.