Think Abouts act as thinking serum. They generate ideas, prompt writing, and make visible our thinking so that it can be examined, reflected upon, and revised.
When we write, we discover meaning in the world around us and in our own lives. Think Abouts are a way to elicit thoughts, information, and opinions worth exploring. By getting our ideas down quickly, we hopefully outrun our internal censors and critics and allow our own words to untangle our thoughts, an idea captured by British writer E.M. Forster when he asked: “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Think Abouts are not pieces of whole writing but prompts meant to elicit deep thought about a social issue, interesting quote, or provocative question.
To provide some reflection time, the response period for a Think About may consume three to five minutes. This rapid-response writing process helps writers generate ideas and get words on paper. This exercise also brings out the writer’s voice, builds confidence, and develops fluency. Because Think Abouts are themselves “on-demand” writing topics, they build the skills that students will need to perform in test situations; therefore, they act like test-prep materials, giving students the practice needed to think quickly and to record that thinking on paper.