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Keep Your Pencil

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From The Writing Strategies Book, Keep Your Pencil is a self-regulation strategy for preventing distractions and maintaining focus.


Students of all ages are prone to distraction while writing, often unintentionally. When pausing to think or determine what to write next, students routinely set down pencils or move hands off of or away from keyboards. In doing so, the likelihood of distraction increases dramatically.

The teacher should teach this self-regulation strategy explicitly as a means of supporting better focus and time on task.

When needing to pause to think while writing, students should keep pencils up and in the writing position. If typing, keep hands on the keys and eyes on the screen/words or notes.

To enhance focus, students might be encouraged to pair this strategy with the 20-20-20 strategy and/or encouraged to pause, take a deep breath, but keep the pencil up/hands on keys.


To enhance this strategy, consider pairing with the 20-20-20 focus strategy.

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