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Why "Free Write Time" Is Important

January 7, 2011

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!

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  1. In my kindergarten class, each child has a writer's notebook that they can access at any time during their activity time. It is interesting to see the development of their writing from pictures to pictures with a few letters to eventually more words with smaller pictures. Your post made me think that I should encourage some to write/create in SMART notebook on the smart board!They see me use the program and they may be excited to make their own things. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Margo! It was actually my students that thought of the idea of using the Notebook software for writing, and they just love it. I really like your idea of a Writer's Notebook too.

    Thank you for sharing what you do!

  3. Kim Nelson permalink

    Our second grade teacher has recently had her students blogging and WOW, have them ever been motivated! We have an old desk top and a netbook dedicated to their use for free writing time. I am amazed and inspired! Keep giving kids those global opportunities!
    Kim Nelson, Principal
    Alden Elementary

  4. Thanks for the comment, Kim! I love seeing what my students can do. These global opportunities definitely inspire them.


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