First off, I can’t take credit for this name…a student started calling it this. It began when I was thinking about 7-minute jots that I saw in an Edutopia video. Some middle school/high school teachers were using them across content areas and it made me think I could too. No Stop Jots have helped improve a few different areas including:
- Writing! We get SO much more writing in, and not just for our genre units.
- STAMINA! The kids are competing against themselves, not anyone else.
- Risk-Taking! Students know they don’t actually have to show it to anyone else (besides maybe me) so they don’t worry as much about spelling and all that jazz.
So what is it you keep asking…well, it’s whatever you want it to be. But here is how I started it.
I had students bring writing notebooks and pen/pencils and sit in a circle on the meeting area (I just like the close proximity to me and others, and will admit there is a little peer pressure when you see everyone writing around you.)
When we first got going, I had a social studies book that we would read parts of and then simply respond to. I literally told them to write “I don’t know what to write” if they honestly couldn’t think of anything. Most didn’t have a problem.
I set the timer for 1 minute and said “WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!” When they timer went off they drew a line under what they had written and then wrote “1 minute.”
We read some more, then did 2 minutes. Read again, 3 minutes, and stopped around 4 minutes.
At the end we had a class conversation about their thoughts. Each time I would give suggestions about what they might respond or connect their writing too, but ultimately it was their decision.
I used this with some quotes and excerpts from primary sources around the room too. They were not in a circle near each other, but they would go to the quote/excerpt, read it, discuss, summarize with a partner and then when I rang the bell, they’d start writing. At the first quote, I kept it super short, but as they went from quote to quote, I added more time so they had a chance to connect previous ideas to their new ones.
Anyway–I don’t think this is something I invented and has nothing to do with how fast you write, just that you write and that you don’t have to sit their for hours on end to get your ideas down on paper. I’ve seen growth in both writing and stamina, not to mention confidence!