There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Here are two simple strategies to help students to think about texts and write about text. The Graffiti Strategy is an easy way to help students talk about text...without talking. This is great for those slightly chatty classes or a class full of introverts. This strategy pulls in all students to the conversation.

The RACES writing strategy is also a basic way to help students pull in textual evidence into their writing, as well as commentary about that evidence. This strategy walks students through the writing process to guarantee success.


This file showcases simple instructions for several quick write strategies: exit slips; written conversation; clustering; and learning logs. Writing in the content area classes doesn't have to be time intensive--let students write for 5 to 10 minutes. It will seal in their thinking.


This rubric is the rubric used on the South Carolina HSAP. It is a relatively simple rubric that teachers can use to grade essays that students write in class. Remember--you don't have to be the grammar police. You are the most educated person in the room and what you think of as good writing, usually is.


The Research Notes Template is an adaptable strategy for any purpose. In this case, students can be asked to look at four different topics, events, characters, leaders, etc. They will jot down what they learn in the outer boxes, and then choose one to look further at in the center box. This is also a great organizer for an essay.


Beat the Author is a writing strategy designed to be used with literary text. Students participate in an author study and then are challenged to imitate the author as they complete the story. This helps students use a mentor text and an author's style.


Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to tell a story in only six words. He wrote, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Though brief, this is powerful writing. The six-word memoir can help students to think creatively, without pushing them to write an entire short story. Below, see the mentor texts from the best-selling book series, instructions for students to get started, and a recent article from Edutopia on the six-word memoir in history class.


The Common Core State Standards expects students to answer text dependent questions that cite strong and thorough textual evidence. One way to address this in classes is through the constructed response question. This organizer helps students pull textual evidence and use it to support a claim.