Informal, In-Class Writing Activities

Incorporating informal writing activities into our classes can lead to enhanced thinking and learning, improved writing, and less time spent commenting on and grading finished projects. Because few of us have class time to spare, we’ll take a look at brief activities designed to help students develop and distill their writable ideas and provide targeted revision practice that they can apply to their works in progress. We feature three sorts of in-class writing activities that can work productively in courses of any size and in any discipline.

Informal, Exploratory Writing Activities

These brief writing activities also allow instructors to get a general sense of students’ grasp of course concepts and materials, and can, in turn, inform future lecture notes, class plans, and pacing. The activities described can take as little as 5 minutes of class time.

Explore informal writing activities

Five-Minute Revision Workshops

Conducting frequent five-minute revision workshops can provide students in large- and small-format courses with opportunities to build revision skills that they can then apply to their own drafts-in-progress. 

Learn more about five-minute revision workshops

Reflective Memos

Spiral notebook and pen

Providing students with five minutes of class time to compose answers to reflection questions can help them become aware of writerly moves that have worked well (and thus merits repeating) and what hasn’t worked well (and thus merits revising).

Read about reflective memos

Conducting In-Class Writing Activities: Notes on Procedures

Read about procedures for in-class writing activities

Now what? Responding to Informal Writing

Learn about responding to informal writing