How to Implement the Rapid-Fire Writing Teaching Strategy in Your Classroom


Rapid-fire writing is a highly formatted way to get learners thinking and writing about a topic. This method helps learners clarify their thoughts by alternating between thinking and writing. It can uncover the feelings and emotions behind our initial reaction to a piece of content, and it also builds the skill and practice of iteratively reviewing and revising during the writing process. This method is often helpful in both brainstorming and beginning to narrow the focus for discussion, and it can be used to develop a thesis statement for a formal essay or report.


  1. Select the Text/Media: Select thought-provoking text/media to which learners will likely have varied and sophisticated responses. For instance, the reading “Talking about Religion” introduces a story, emotions of shame and fear, and ideas about democratic participation.
  2. Gather Supplies and Introduce Protocol: Have learners get out paper and pens before they start reading or viewing so that they can instantly begin the rapid-fire writing process. Let them know that they will be following a structured protocol to guide their writing so that they aren’t surprised when you ask them to stop writing.
  3. Learners Read/View Content: Have learners read the content or view the chosen content.
  4. Think, Write, Read, Repeat: Use a timer to lead learners through this series of steps:
    One minute: Quiet thought; no writing.
    Three minutes: Write.
    One minute: Read and circle three main ideas from what you have written. No writing during this time. You can read, reread, and think, but do not start writing again.
    Two minutes: Write.
    Thirty seconds: Read and put a square around one word or phrase.
    One minute: More Writing.
  5. Reflect on the Learning Activity: At the commencement of the reflective time of rapid-fire writing, the ensuing clarity of thought can be a great discussion piece.


  1. Abbreviated Learning activity: Depending on learners’ capability and writing experience, the duration of the time blocks may be shortened at the beginning and then increased to the times listed.
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