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5-Minute Writing:
A Daily Activity


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts



Brief Description

Use a daily 5-Minute Writing" period to help build better writers.


Students will

  • respond to a daily writing prompt in less than 5 minutes.
  • learn to gather and form thoughts under time pressure; write with clarity.
  • develop time management skills.
  • improve writing skills (over time).


writing, writing prompt, story starter, timer, timed writing, writing with clarity

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

Daily writing is one of the best ways to build students writing -- and reading -- skills. Setting aside 5 minutes for a daily writing exercise is an excellent way to ensure that students will get writing practice each and every day. Each student might have a 5-Minute Writing" notebook that is used for just this purpose.

For this daily 5-Minute Writing activity, set a timer.

Perhaps you have a timer you like to use. If not, if you have a computer projector you might project the online stopwatch from [see image] on the wall. Just set the timer and let it do the counting down for you and your students.
Set the timer for 5 minutes and let students use that time to respond to the question/writing prompt of the day. If you are looking for writing prompts to use for this activity, Education Worlds Writing Bug feature is an excellent place to start.

Notes About This Lesson
For the first couple days of 5-Minute Writing," you might extend the 5-minute timeline by a minute or two. After those first couple days, however, invite students to share what they have learned about time management." Perhaps students will share helpful tips such as thinking and jotting notes for the first minute, gathering thoughts during minute 2, and using the last 3 minutes to put those thoughts into writing. Maybe some others find it better to jump right into the writing and use the last minute to proofread. Having a discussion about this can provide pointers and time management" ideas from which all students can learn. From time to time, you might have additional discussions about what students have learned about the writing process from the daily 5-Minute Writing activity.


You might check students 5-Minute Writing books from time to time. Write encouraging or constructive notes about their efforts.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

NT.K-12.3 Technology Productivity Tools (Use an online tool to teach time management skills.)

More Lesson Ideas

Find links to more language arts and reading lesson ideas in these Education World archives:

  • Language Arts Subject Center
  • Daily Lesson Plans -- Language Arts & Reading
  • Lesson Planning/Language Arts Archive
  • Curriculum/Language Arts Archive
  • Language & Literature Subject Center
  • Teacher-Submitted Lessons -- Language Arts and Literature
  • Every-Day Edits (Printable Work Sheets)
  • Writing Bug Story Starters (Printable Work Sheets)
  • More Language Arts Printable Work Sheets
  • Strategies That Work
  • Read Across America Day (March)
  • National Poetry Month (April)
  • Childrens Book Week (November)
  • Technology Lessons
  • Special Days & Holidays Lessons

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