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Freewriting and Focused Freewriting

Freewriting is the practice of writing down whatever comes into your mind for a predetermined amount of time without stopping to think.  The key to this activity is to keep writing, even when you feel stuck or at a loss for words.  Focused Freewriting simply means freewriting with a specific topic or question in mind.  For example, you might ask students to freewrite for 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of class about a problem or question raised by the author of the assigned reading.

Both of these activities can be useful tools to generate ideas and discover opinions or attitudes on a subject, and can be used at any point during a class session to help students focus on the topic at hand and identify talking points for class discussion.  Asking every student to write before a discussion has the added benefit of increasing the number of students who have thoughts to contribute.

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