Once a week, my students go up to the computer lab for a period. For the last couple of months, I have given my students "free write time" during this period. They can write on any topic that they choose and they can use any tool that they choose too. My only requirement is that they need to "write."
My class loves this time. They get excited about writing, and all of the students are highly engaged in this writing activity too. They are all so creative. I even have students conducting interviews and recording the questions and answers in a chart. They continue to surprise me with what they can do.
I loved what I saw yesterday though. One student opened up the Notebook software and decided to write a poem. She then exported this poem as a jpeg image and uploaded it to her blog. Her poem was full of rich description and fantastic ideas!
I could have given the students a topic and had them write a poem, but would I have gotten the same results? This student got to write about a topic that interested her, and she got to choose the form that she wanted to use too. Giving students control over their writing produces some amazing results.
For the parents reading this post, I would love to hear what you think of "free write time." How does your child respond to this time? For the teachers reading this post, do you give regular "free write time?" What are your thoughts on this? Thanks for sharing!