50 Writing Prompts for All Grade Levels
The collection of prompts below asks young writers to consider real or imagined events, their feelings, and a few funny possibilities before writing their responses. Try out the ones that you believe will be the most popular with your kids.
Students should be informed that their responses should be rated G and that disclosing any potentially dangerous or unlawful activities they are engaging in will compel you to file a report with the administration or school counsellors. To finish off, allow students to choose whether or not to include the word “PERSONAL” above any entries that they do not want anybody else to see. We all need to let our scraggly emotions loose in our writing every now and again.
Alternatively, if your class uses daybooks (as advised in Thinking Out Loud: The Student Daybook as a Tool to Foster Learning), keep an eye out for composition notebooks on sale for $0.50 each at Target, the Dollar Store, or Walmart. Young writers should be instructed to keep the first three pages blank, then number and date each entry—adding these entries to a table of contents that they develop while working so that they may refer back to specific items later.
50 Writing Prompts for Students of All Grade Levels (PDF, 144.59 KB)…
HIGH SCHOOL PROMPTS
Should drones be equipped with cameras to monitor all public locations in order to prevent crime, or is this a violation of privacy?
Is it possible that Americans have it too easy? What makes you believe that?
What is the root cause of racism?
As a consultant for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, you will be tasked with determining the most effective use of $20 billion in order to rescue the world. What do you have in mind?
What is the most frustrating aspect of the internet?
Which would you prefer: to be extremely attractive or extremely intelligent? Explain.
You have one last chance to save something before your house burns down. What exactly is it? What is it about that object that is so essential to you?
How much control do you feel you have over your life? What gives you the right to say that?
Give a brief description of your dream life 15 years in the future. What is something you can do on a daily basis to help you achieve your goal?
What would your friends describe as your most endearing characteristic? Describe the quality in question.
What is something terrifying that you have always wanted to try? What is it about it that scares you? What steps can you take to conquer your fear?
What activities do you engage in on a regular basis to nourish your brain?
How about you? What are three of your most formative learning experiences? What place and date did they take place?
By the time they reach the age of 18, the average American has witnessed 200,000 acts of violence on television, including 40,000 murders. What is it about violent television shows that makes them so appealing to viewers?
Which do you prefer: to be loved or respected? Because?
Is it true that people on social media are authentic representations of themselves? Give specific examples to support your point.
Let us suppose it is the last day of high school and you have been requested by a teacher to speak a few words that highlight the events that have occurred over the last four years that have had the greatest impact on your life. What would you say? What are your thoughts?
MIDDLE SCHOOL PROMPTS
Which of our classmates would be the most effective leader in the event of a zombie apocalypse? Why?
When you think about it, what real-life situations would be better for you if you were of a different gender? Why?
How can you tell if someone your own age is feeling uneasy about himself or herself? Is the majority of the population more uneasy or worried than they admit?
What would be the ramifications for you if the internet were to go down for good forever? What are the disadvantages?
Create a scene that includes one or more of the following elements: a) a classmate, b) $100 million, and c) magical shoes.
What are the top three features you want in your future home? Why?
What would the name of your television show be if you were to feature in it and it was based on your life? What kind of genre do you think it would be? Example of genres: comedic drama thriller romance action-adventure fantasy superheroes soap operas reality television game shows space adventure Westerns tragedy etc. Write a synopsis of the episode’s plot.
People will be talking about extreme sports in the future, but what will they be talking about?
Is your ethnicity a significant component of your self-identification? What do you mean?
You will be allowed to bring one book, one food item, and one famous person (alive or dead) to a desolate island with you on your journey. What do you take, and who do you take it with you? Why?
Write a tremendously supportive email to yourself ten years from now, and send it to yourself. FutureMe.org can be used to send that email to yourself.
You have been chosen to be the king or queen of your high school’s pageant. What are the top five rules that every student at your school should follow? What should be the repercussions for those who break the rules?
What do the five friends with whom you spend the majority of your time have in common? In what ways are you the most like them? What distinguishes you from the rest of them?
What factors influence someone’s decision to become a bully? What can be done to help someone who is bullying stop?
Do you tend to make friends more slowly or more quickly? Describe the development of one of your most meaningful friendships.
Should we be afraid of failing? Explain.
What information would you most want to know about your future if a wizard could tell you anything about it?
Do you believe in the power of chance? Are you a believer in superstitions? What do you mean? If not, what makes you believe that certain people are?
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PROMPTS
I wish my teachers were aware of this…
What is the most beautiful person, place, or object that you have ever witnessed in your life? Explain what it is about that person, location, or thing that makes it so exceptional.
Which is more impressive: massive muscles or unbelievable speed? Why?
What is the topic that you find the most difficult in school? What makes it so difficult? What can you do to improve your performance in that subject?
Rewrite the story of Hansel and Gretel from the witch’s point of view.
Describe a frightening situation that you have encountered.
What is your earliest recollection? Please describe it.
A stupid superpower grants you instant celebrity the following day when you awaken. What exactly is this ridiculous power? What is the path that leads to you being an international superstar?
Are you a successful loser? Explain.
What are some examples of things you want as opposed to things you require?
A magical panda granted you one wish last Friday, and you were delighted. You tried everything you could to make the wish come true, but after the wacky events of the weekend, you’re beginning to regret ever meeting that clever panda. What exactly did you ask for, and what happened as a result?
I wish all of my buddies…
Describe a routine that you follow on a regular basis or always do (in the morning, when you get home, Friday nights, before a game, etc.).
What are some things that all children know that adults do not?
What fictional characters from television or movies do you wish were real? Why?
Request that students read their work aloud or exchange daybooks for a “read-around” session once they’ve done completing an entry. If you are providing written comments to the participants, use a sticky note or a piece of scratch paper to demonstrate that their contribution is valued.
You may also add background writing music into your schedule one day a week, for example, on “Music Monday.” Pitchfork has an article titled “The 50 Best Ambient Albums of All Time” that contains some selections of music that you might want to use in class. My favourite soundtrack for composing is the Birdy soundtrack by Peter Gabriel, which is appropriate for older children. Other Edutopia staff members and bloggers enjoy writing to Coffitivity, Noisli, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Alcest’s Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde, among other artists.