Freewriting and Listing Practice

Updated on Sep 7, 2011

Review the lesson for Freewriting and Listing Help.

Freewriting and Listing Practice

Practice 1: Freewriting

Using a separate sheet of paper or your computer, spend five minutes freewriting on the following essay assignment. Remember, there is no wrong answer for this exercise as long as you address the topic. Keep your pen or your typing fingers moving, don't stop, and don't edit or judge. Just set the timer for five minutes, and write.

In his essay "Urban Strategy," William Rhoden describes a time that he put himself at risk to do what he thought was right. Describe a time when you, like Rhoden, put yourself at risk (physically, socially, emotionally, academically) to do what you thought was right. Was it worth the risk? Why or why not?

Practice 2: Brainstorming

Take three to five minutes to brainstorm a list of ideas for the following assignment:

Many forces contribute to our sense of self. What is a strong determining factor for your sense of identity?


Practice 1: Freewriting

Answers will vary. Here's one possibility:

When I was in the ninth grade, it was chemistry class, the first exam, and a lot of people were cheating. They all had cheat sheets and were even passing them back and forth. I was new, and I made some friends but wasn't really close to anyone, and I studied hard for the exam. I was really angry. The teacher looked up once or twice but didn't see anything. I was having trouble with one of the problems and thought about cheating, too. But I didn't have a cheat sheet. I knew if I told on the cheaters, it would mean trouble—didn't want to be an outcast. After the test, I typed a note and put it on the teacher's desk. Ms. Waller confronted us the next day—tensions were high! Cheaters were looking around trying to figure out who told—being new was lucky because no one suspected me—they blamed Pearl. Got really mean. I felt guilty. I confessed to Rob. But he ended up telling. Next day was one of the worst in my life. Someone threw food at me in the cafeteria, and everyone started calling me "rat," and worse. That name has stuck with me for two years, and it hasn't been easy making friends. I don't know if I'd do the same thing again. It's so hard to know what is the right thing to do, and how to fit in at the same time.

Practice 2: Brainstorming

Here's an example:

A strong determining factor for my sense of identity is being a Vietnamese American.

  • one language for home and neighborhood, another for school
  • can't always express myself with American friends
  • my parents get mad when I forget how to say something in Vietnamese
  • having to serve as translator for my parents
  • my accent
  • how hard it was to learn to read English
  • shyness, esp. in classroom
  • people assuming I don't speak English
  • stereotypes—I don't always eat rice!
  • feeling most comfortable with other Vietnamese Americans
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