La la la

I said, “Write anything you want, respond to the prompts or don’t, but keep your pen or pencil moving for 10 minutes.”

I said, “Don’t worry if something doesn’t come to you right away, just keep writing.”

I said, “Sometimes I just write ‘I don’t know what to write’ over and over again for a while. That’s ok. Something will come.”

He wrote


And he did it for 10 minutes. Now that’s tenacity. I can work with that.


19 thoughts on “La la la

  1. Oh, oh… I love that you shared this! I told this to a 5th grade boy who struggled to write. I think I really emphasized “just keep your pencil moving” because the next day with a sense of cooperation, his pencil moved as he focused on his journal page… and from across the room I was hopeful. Later that day, I looked into his notebook. He had line after line of the most perfect squiggles crafted across his page. The key that moved him into writing was his discovery that he could write free verse where several lines of a poem form a “sentence” and there was no worry about conventions.

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  2. Did he read it out loud? I wonder how long he could keep a straight face. I kind of had the opposite happen. I have a new student who isn’t accustomed to my style of teaching writing. That keep your pencil moving philosophy. He told me, “You know, the more I write, the more I think of that I want to write.” Score!


    1. He’s going to get me this semester. I already love this kid and he is really trying to stay disengaged – but he keeps sort of peeking up into our lessons. Will four months together be enough? We shall see…


  3. If he won’t read it, maybe he’d sing it. I keep trying to “sell” my elementary school colleagues on the power of the quickwrite, or “keep the pencil moving” strategy. It’s so powerful, especially practiced over time. Love it.


    1. Hahaha – no, I think tenacity is a, ahem, shared trait. Sometimes when I meet especially tough kids I think to myself, “you may have met your match, buddy” and it always makes me chuckle. I don’t always win these battles, but I don’t always lose, either.

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