Much like Mike writes in his blog post, I use timed writes as a way for students to OUTPUT language after a great deal of INPUT. After going over a particular story multiple times over 4-5 days, I give students a set amount of time to retell the story to the best of their ability on paper. In most cases, the timed write turns into a free write, because if they complete the story before time is up, then they are to continue writing on their own in Latin what they think happens next.
The following are examples of some Latin 1 timed writes. This particular example is a 7 1/2 minute timed write, where the goal was 75-80 words for the time period - most far exceeded that goal. In this instance, for 4 days students had been going over a particular story (which I had written - the target structure was mihi placet + infinitive) in many different ways and modalities. Prior to the timed write, students were given pictures as a guide to retell the story aloud in Latin as a partner activity (another way for students to output after days of input). Immediately afterwards,I had them do a timed write, while the story was fresh in their minds.
Yes, the timed writes have errors in them, but that is expected - even ACTFL recognizes that there will be errors in communication at the novice and intermediate levels. Remember these are writings by Latin 1 students after just 1 1/2 semesters. Mastery of those concepts will come with time. The errors also show me what concepts which I need to review as their teacher. The other side of it too is that even though these are Latin 1 students who have only had 1 1/2 semesters of the language, look at what they are able to output after LOTS of input!! When I was took Latin under the grammar-translation approach, I never wrote anything in Latin!