Critical Writing… How Much is Enough

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When I present to teachers I am often asked, “How often should I have my students engage in Critical Writing?”

The short answer is… Every period. Every day.

The long answer is slightly more nuanced.  In the typical classroom, critical writing occurs around 4% of the time.  That is not a typo and that includes reading and writing classrooms. And 4% is not a LYS finding. Mike Schmoker (one of the REALLY big brains in education) was the first to point this out.  Others have since documented similar findings.  So, we will accept 4% as typical.

At the best Fundamental 5 campuses, Critical Writing is observed 15 to 20% of the time.  So, it still does not occur all the time, but look at it this way, 20% is just a 400% improvement over the typical classroom.  That is significant.  But I also think it is reasonable. 

Let’s break this down to make the practice a little more actionable.  If we were to assume that the typical class period is 60 minutes long, then 20% of class time would be 12 minutes. Which means that I believe a reasonable goal in any core content classroom would be to embed a minimum of 8 to 12 minutes of Critical Writing in every lesson.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your turn…

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