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TESOL Convention Tidbits– Free Writing

I am writing today’s TESOL Convention Tidbit from the Denver airport. After a “flash blizzard” yesterday, flights are delayed. So I’m typing as I sit in an uncomfortable chair outside gate A30, waiting for my flight.

karindalzielLuckily, the snow didn’t affect the conference. I was a busy bee… buzzing around to six different sessions.  The tidbit comes from Ruelaine Stokes, Andrew McCullough, and Nigel Caplan’s session titled “Beyond ‘Help!’ Diagnosing the L2 Writer’s  Essay: A Strategies-Based Approach.” Their session was delightful and full of witty metaphors. (For fear of ruining the humor, this post is metaphor free.)

Anyway, this panel had a great way to get students writing by using a free writing activity. They called the activity “Pick a Sentence and Go!” Students chose a sentence from a list to begin their story. They were instructed to write non-stop for ten minutes (in typical free write fashion), but they were also instructed to use the words “suddenly” and “murky” and the phrase, “rich beyond my wildest dreams.” Giving students words (especially words like “suddenly” that allow students to change the direction of their writing) help them sustain the freewriting. Other freewriting ideas including having students keep track of how many words they are able to write each time. Over a term, students will be able to see their progress in writing fluently. For other great tidbits from this session go to their webpage and download all the handouts.

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One Response to “TESOL Convention Tidbits– Free Writing”

  1. Nigel Caplan Says:

    So glad you enjoyed our presentation! Ruelaine found this reference on your blog somehow — it’s a small, interconnected world. Hope you got home OK despite the crazy weather! Do let us know if you use any of these techniques successfully.
    Nigel Caplan
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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