After necessary school-wide policy changes regarding attendance, I was in need of a new “do now” that didn’t feel like one, because I hate that stuff. It turns out a few of my practices work already, though, like Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), Summary & Write, and Free Voluntary Reading (FVR). With 4 classes per week, and a new Semester 2 weekly routine to begin Copy/Change/Continue is born…
I’ve been keeping up reaaaaally well with providing students comprehensible texts. Instead of always printing an entire class’ timed writes for students to have all at once, though, we could hypermile that activity, maximizing what we get. Copy/Change/Continue requires just one student-created text at a time (good for teachers still drowning from prep-heavy practices). Just project one student-written text, and for 10 minutes, students a) copy the story into their notebooks, have the option to b) change details, then c) continue the story by writing until the timer goes off. That’s it! This can be followed by a quick share and discussion for more input.
*BONUS* Discuss one student’s changes/continued story at length, end class with Write & Discuss, and students now have 2 new texts to read that night!
Copy/Change/Continue accomplishes several things. First and foremost, students get a manageable amount of text to read, immediately. Next, students must understand and process the input in order to read, change any details, and continue the story. There’s also personalization since students can abandon the narrative entirely, taking the story in a different direction that they find compelling. Lastly, this activity is also 10 minutes of clear, focused work at the start of class when kids are coming in late, etc.
So, Copy/Change/Continue is good for when you have a batch of timed writes. In fact, just 5 minutes of one class and some prep time typing/editing the stories could occupy 15-20 minutes every class given the activity and follow up discussion. For example, if you have 25 students, you could start every class with Copy/Change/Continue for over a month—you wouldn’t have to plan anything else for the start of class. All this using timed writes that took just 5 minutes from class one day! My recommendation, though? Do this once or twice a week, curating the clearest stories for students to copy and add to.