The seventh graders recently shifted their Language Arts focus from expository writing to “free writing.” For the purpose of the class, free writing simply means to write without stopping for an extended period of time (approx. 20 minutes). That said, this is not just a write whatevahhh exercise. While that kind of activity does have its merits, the students are currently being challenged to dig into all the possible meanings of a provocative or inspirational quote, such as “Truth is the first casualty of war,” or “Gratitude can make you happier.” And while they should write thoughtfully, even introspectively, they also are supposed to try to write without “thinking” (i.e., knowing in advance, self-judging, second-guessing, erasing, revising, rereading, etc.).
They are learning to FLOW from one word, phrase, or sentence, one idea, image, or story to the next. Questions beget more questions. Untethered creativity is encouraged. Tangents are also acceptable, as long as you stay in the realm of the initial prompt. The upshot? Fearlessness, confidence, invaluable brainstorm/first draft technique, and the potential for powerful revelatory moments when unexpected writing and ideas never imagined in your wildest Language Arts fantasies come to life on the page. Tuh-ruth!