There are many kinds of ESL Writing tasks, such as free writing, creative writing, and guided writing (i.e., an essay). I like to get my students started with free writing at the beginning of each class to encourage creativity and relieve pressure of making mistakes.
Steps to Free writing
- Suggest the topic for Free writing.
- Suggest the time limit (e.g., start with five minutes for higher level students and three minutes for lower level students). Try to increase the time each week.
- Get Ready, Get Set, START WRITING!
Four Rules of Free writing
1. Keep writing! Don’t stop!
Write as much as possible! Aim for quantity over quality. If you can’t think of anything, then simply write, “I can’t think of anything to write.”
2. No dictionaries!
Looking words up in the dictionary takes a lot of time. If you don’t know a word, they write the word in your language, try to explain it in a different way, or skip it and move on.
3. Don’t worry about mistakes!
The goal is to write as much as possible without worrying about grammar mistakes or vocabulary. Don’t worry about spelling, word usage, etc. Just write!
4. No talking!
Free writing is a time for you to write. Don’t talk until the Free speaking time is finished.
Ideas for Free writing
- Tell each student to write one word on the board. Then, tell the students to create a story using the words. It’s not necessary to use all the words.
- Students write about their weekend to practice using past tense verbs.
- Give students a topic each week similar to Free Speaking (e.g., Hometown, Food & Restaurants, etc.).