Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Timed Writing

A great way to show student progress in the language is to use timed writings. A timed writing is when you give students a specific amount of time, for example, 5 minutes, to write as much as they can in the target language. The idea is that the more language a student has internalized the more they will be able to write. This is a technique that is used by many teachers who teach with CI strategies such as Storytelling, Story-asking, TPRS, or other CI methods.

First, find a prompt. Some teachers will use timed writing at the end of a particular lesson/unit to measure what the students acquired from a particular story. These end up being re-tells of the story.

What I like to do is to take a picture sequence that I haven't told as a story and have my students write about that. That lets me see what structures they have acquired and can APPLY without just regurgating the same language that I have just provided.

If you are looking to show growth, you essentially need a pre-test. That means you should have your students do a timed-writing early on in the year, during the first few weeks of school. Expect this number to be low. After several weeks of comprehensible language, your students will be able to produce a little more. If you have them do the same prompt every month, you will see students get better every month.


This download includes 2 picture prompts as well as a spreadsheet and google gradebook for tracking the data. The google gradebook is also capable of automatically producing an individual grade report that you can use to communicate student progress with parents.

Let us know what questions you have about Timed Writings and we will post a Q+A, FAQ post nex time!

1 comment:

  1. I love this idea! I also like the idea of using a picture sequence. I think I might try that! In addition to the picture sequence, if you are ever looking for a fun and unique writing prompt, you might enjoy some ideas here: http://teachinginthetargetlanguage.com/14-unique-creative-writing-and-speaking-prompts/. Thanks for sharing this. I can definitely see myself using a timed writing prompt with my students! Best of luck in the new school year! :)


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