Writing: Big Ideas
Short- and Long-Term Writing
The importance of writing to learn is reflected in daily writing assignments. Throughout the course of a day, students will work on both short- and long-term writing tasks. The purpose of each is to help students identify important information and to interpret and evaluate it based on integrating existing background knowledge with new learning. The length of time for writing is often determined by the purpose of the task.
Short-term writing assignments may take place in class on any given day or over several days. They typically do not require using the full writing process. Students may be asked to list ideas for writing a future piece, outline or organize ideas, or write a reflection of what they have learned and how they learned it, without revising or editing. Students may write in preparation for a group or class discussion or to reflect on what they know about a topic before reading. They also may use this writing (often referred to as “quick writes”) to summarize what they learned through these discussions or readings. The purpose is to provide students with opportunities to represent their thinking to themselves and sometimes to the teacher or their peers, in preparation for future learning activities.
Long-term writing assignments may take place over weeks or months. Often, these require students to synthesize their learning and apply it to new situations, using the writing process of planning, drafting, revising, and editing. Long-term assignments could include research reports, essays on a particular topic, analyses of events (historical or scientific), and descriptions of mathematical theory or processes.