Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One Word for Brainstorming Practice

Brainstorming can be tough for a lot of young writers, who may dread sitting in front of a blank sheet or staring at a blinking cursor as they wait for inspiration to strike. Free writes (or free talks) – timed exercises dedicated to writing (or talking) about anything related to the topic that comes to mind for one or two minutes – can be great places to start; students can read back over what they’re written or replay their recorded talk and begin to get some ideas to write about.

OneWord is a web application that gives students a consequence-free place to practice this skill. Each day users can log on to get sixty seconds to write about the word of the day. If they want to share their writing (they can choose a username so as to ensure anonymity), they can upload their response to the site. Students can view other users’ responses as well. This final feature is a particularly helpful one, as students will have plenty of examples to consider to prepare them to write about the next day’s word.

In our perusal of the site, we did not find any objectionable content. Still, parents should be aware that entries are not subject to approval before they are posted, and that there is no feature for reporting inappropriate material. As such, this site may be best for high school students or for younger students who are supervised during use.

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