This from Robert was first posted here in Sept. of 2008 and is worth dusting off a bit. Robert do you still do this? How have your timed writing classes evolved?
Something that I occasionally do with Timed Writings (starting in late first year) is have them get in groups and share their stories with each other. Sometimes they do a read-around, and each person must write a positive comment about the story. Sometimes they read to each other, and the group picks the best story – not necessarily the longest. Then each group has the *option* (not requirement) of sharing the story with the class. Also, I tell students that they can only count words in sentences that actually make sense. The story or essay doesn’t have to be “logical” in the traditional meaning of a storyline or unifying thread, but each sentence must actually make sense; otherwise they don’t get to count the words in that sentence. (So, “Mike likes chocolate. Susan likes baseball. Bill reads books. Mike plays soccer.” would be fine. The sentences make sense even if the “logic” of the paragraph isn’t there. But “Mike, Susan, Bill, me Friday” doesn’t count because it doesn’t make sense.) Sometimes I have students exchange papers and then tell the writer what parts they don’t understand. It might be a help to the reader, who needs to see a structure again; it might be a help to the writer, who needs to learn not to write nonsense. I don’t tell students before the timed writing whether or not they will be sharing, because I don’t want them to get bogged down with editing, but know that they *might* share usually makes them aware of just writing down miscellaneous words. Having a potential audience also usually makes them pay more attention. I also look for persistent or pervasive errors to focus on in class.