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10 Fresh Writing Prompts for High School English

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❶It started out kinda slow, but you could tell there was something exciting coming up.

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Finally, have those students fold their papers so only a few lines are visible and trade with another student. When the next writers begin, let them know that they should bring the stories to an end. Then they should return the story to the original writer. The results will no doubt make everyone laugh. This is a great activity for when students need a bit of a break but you still want to keep them writing and building community in your classroom.

This writing assignment is not for the faint of heart! You could also do a spin-off, asking students to write a novella in a month or perhaps a short story a day for seven days. Take the idea of a big and exciting challenge and make it work for your classroom.

People from around the country sent in short essays expressing a core belief, which could be as funny and simple as: I believe in the pizza delivery guy. Along with sharing a belief, writers gave specific, vibrant examples of why they held that belief and how they came to have it.

NPR has already created a complete curriculum that is ready and waiting for you to use. Several years ago, I taught in Bulgaria, and I loved connecting my students there to students in the United States.

We did several projects involving writing back and forth about our views and ourselves. Finding a collaborative classroom partner gives your students a real reason to write, new friends, and the chance to break down some boundaries. Try connecting your classroom to one in another country or even just in another part of the US. Join a Facebook group for teachers like one of these and make a post to find a partner.

During their lives, your students will probably write a gazillion emails. Why not teach them how to write a good one? Take back electronic communication from the clutches of sentence fragments, emoticons, and confusing demands.

What are your favorite writing prompts for high school? Share them in the comments below! I love to help high school English teacher innovate. Check out The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast on iTunes for creative teaching strategies delivered on the go, or get my popular pack of free one-pager templates with complete instructions at http: You must be logged in to post a comment.

Posted by Betsy Potash I love to help high school English teacher innovate. Diane Waff, co-director of the Philadelphia Writing Project , taught in an urban school where boys outnumbered girls four to one in her classroom. The situation left girls feeling overwhelmed, according to Waff, and their "voices faded into the background, overpowered by more aggressive male voices. Determined not to ignore this unhealthy situation, Waff urged students to face the problem head-on, asking them to write about gender-based problems in their journals.

She then introduced literature that considered relationships between the sexes, focusing on themes of romance, love, and marriage.

In the beginning there was a great dissonance between male and female responses. According to Waff, "Girls focused on feelings; boys focused on sex, money, and the fleeting nature of romantic attachment.

Inviting Discourse on Gender and Power. Jan Matsuoka, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project California , describes a revision conference she held with a third grade English language learner named Sandee, who had written about a recent trip to Los Angeles.

I made a small frame out of a piece of paper and placed it down on one of her drawings — a sketch she had made of a visit with her grandmother. Eileen Simmons, a teacher-consultant with the Oklahoma State University Writing Project , knows that the more relevant new words are to students' lives, the more likely they are to take hold.

In her high school classroom, she uses a form of the children's ABC book as a community-building project. For each letter of the alphabet, the students find an appropriately descriptive word for themselves. Students elaborate on the word by writing sentences and creating an illustration. In the process, they make extensive use of the dictionary and thesaurus. One student describes her personality as sometimes "caustic," illustrating the word with a photograph of a burning car in a war zone.

Her caption explains that she understands the hurt her "burning" sarcastic remarks can generate. John Levine, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project California , helps his college freshmen integrate the ideas of several writers into a single analytical essay by asking them to create a dialogue among those writers.

He tells his students, for instance, "imagine you are the moderator of a panel discussion on the topic these writers are discussing. Consider the three writers and construct a dialogue among the four 'voices' the three essayists plus you.

Levine tells students to format the dialogue as though it were a script. The essay follows from this preparation. Writing Dialogue in the College Composition Classroom. The following is a group poem created by second grade students of Michelle Fleer, a teacher-consultant with the Dakota Writing Project South Dakota. Underwater Crabs crawl patiently along the ocean floor searching for prey. Fish soundlessly weave their way through slippery seaweed Whales whisper to others as they slide through the salty water.

And silent waves wash into a dark cave where an octopus is sleeping. Fleer helped her students get started by finding a familiar topic. In this case her students had been studying sea life. She asked them to brainstorm language related to the sea, allowing them time to list appropriate nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

The students then used these words to create phrases and used the phrases to produce the poem itself. As a group, students put together words in ways Fleer didn't believe many of them could have done if they were working on their own, and after creating several group poems, some students felt confident enough to work alone. Douglas James Joyce, a teacher-consultant with the Denver Writing Project , makes use of what he calls "metawriting" in his college writing classes.

He sees metawriting writing about writing as a way to help students reduce errors in their academic prose. Joyce explains one metawriting strategy: After reading each essay, he selects one error that occurs frequently in a student's work and points out each instance in which the error is made.

He instructs the student to write a one page essay, comparing and contrasting three sources that provide guidance on the established use of that particular convention, making sure a variety of sources are available. Glorianne Bradshaw, a teacher-consultant with the Red River Valley Writing Project North Dakota , decided to make use of experiences from her own life when teaching her first-graders how to write.

For example, on an overhead transparency she shows a sketch of herself stirring cookie batter while on vacation. She writes the phrase "made cookies" under the sketch. Then she asks students to help her write a sentence about this. She writes the words who , where , and when. Using these words as prompts, she and the students construct the sentence, "I made cookies in the kitchen in the morning. Next, each student returns to the sketch he or she has made of a summer vacation activity and, with her help, answers the same questions answered for Bradshaw's drawing.

Then she asks them, "Tell me more. Do the cookies have chocolate chips? Does the pizza have pepperoni? Rather than taking away creativity, Bradshaw believes this kind of structure gives students a helpful format for creativity.

Stephanie Wilder found that the grades she gave her high school students were getting in the way of their progress. The weaker students stopped trying. Other students relied on grades as the only standard by which they judged their own work. She continued to comment on papers, encourage revision, and urge students to meet with her for conferences. But she waited to grade the papers. It took a while for students to stop leafing to the ends of their papers in search of a grade, and there was some grumbling from students who had always received excellent grades.

But she believes that because she was less quick to judge their work, students were better able to evaluate their efforts themselves. Erin Pirnot Ciccone, teacher-consultant with the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project , found a way to make more productive the "Monday morning gab fest" she used as a warm-up with her fifth grade students.

She conceived of "Headline News. After the headlines had been posted, students had a chance to guess the stories behind them. The writers then told the stories behind their headlines. As each student had only three minutes to talk, they needed to make decisions about what was important and to clarify details as they proceeded. They began to rely on suspense and "purposeful ambiguity" to hold listeners' interest. On Tuesday, students committed their stories to writing.

Because of the "Headline News" experience, Ciccone's students have been able to generate writing that is focused, detailed, and well ordered. Slagle, high school teacher and teacher-consultant with the Louisville Writing Project Kentucky , understands the difference between writing for a hypothetical purpose and writing to an audience for real purpose. She illustrates the difference by contrasting two assignments.

Write a review of an imaginary production of the play we have just finished studying in class. They must adapt to a voice that is not theirs and pretend to have knowledge they do not have. Slagle developed a more effective alternative: Authenticity in Writing Prompts. Mark Farrington, college instructor and teacher-consultant with the Northern Virginia Writing Project , believes teaching revision sometimes means practicing techniques of revision.

An exercise like "find a place other than the first sentence where this essay might begin" is valuable because it shows student writers the possibilities that exist in writing. In his college fiction writing class, Farrington asks students to choose a spot in the story where the main character does something that is crucial to the rest of the story. At that moment, Farrington says, they must make the character do the exact opposite.

Bernadette Lambert, teacher-consultant with the Kennesaw Mountain Writing Project Georgia , wondered what would happen if she had her sixth-grade students pair with an adult family member to read a book. She asked the students about the kinds of books they wanted to read mysteries, adventure, ghost stories and the adults about the kinds of books they wanted to read with the young people character-building values, multiculturalism, no ghost stories.

Using these suggestions for direction, Lambert developed a list of 30 books. From this list, each student-adult pair chose one.

They committed themselves to read and discuss the book and write separate reviews. Most of the students, says Lambert, were proud to share a piece of writing done by their adult reading buddy. Several admitted that they had never before had this level of intellectual conversation with an adult family member.

Suzanne Linebarger, a co-director of the Northern California Writing Project , recognized that one element lacking from many of her students' stories was tension.

One day, in front of the class, she demonstrated tension with a rubber band. Looped over her finger, the rubber band merely dangled. It's the tension, the potential energy, that rivets your attention. It's the same in writing. Linebarger revised a generic writing prompt to add an element of tension. The initial prompt read, "Think of a friend who is special to you. Write about something your friend has done for you, you have done for your friend, or you have done together.

Linebarger didn't want responses that settled for "my best friend was really good to me," so "during the rewrite session we talked about how hard it is to stay friends when met with a challenge. Students talked about times they had let their friends down or times their friends had let them down, and how they had managed to stay friends in spite of their problems. In other words, we talked about some tense situations that found their way into their writing. Moving From Fluency to Flair.

Ray Skjelbred, middle school teacher at Marin Country Day School, wants his seventh grade students to listen to language. He wants to begin to train their ears by asking them to make lists of wonderful sounding words. They may use their own words, borrow from other contributors, add other words as necessary, and change word forms. Among the words on one student's list: Grammar, Poetry, and Creative Language.

Kathleen O'Shaughnessy, co-director of the National Writing Project of Acadiana Louisiana , asks her middle school students to respond to each others' writing on Post-it Notes. Students attach their comments to a piece of writing under consideration. While I was reading your piece, I felt like I was riding a roller coaster. It started out kinda slow, but you could tell there was something exciting coming up. But then it moved real fast and stopped all of a sudden.

I almost needed to read it again the way you ride a roller coaster over again because it goes too fast. Says O'Shaughnessy, "This response is certainly more useful to the writer than the usual 'I think you could, like, add some more details, you know? Anna Collins Trest, director of the South Mississippi Writing Project , finds she can lead upper elementary school students to better understand the concept of "reflection" if she anchors the discussion in the concrete and helps students establish categories for their reflective responses.

She decided to use mirrors to teach the reflective process. Each student had one. As the students gazed at their own reflections, she asked this question: Trest talked with students about the categories and invited them to give personal examples of each. Then she asked them to look in the mirrors again, reflect on their images, and write. One of his strategies has been to take his seventh-graders on a "preposition walk" around the school campus.

Walking in pairs, they tell each other what they are doing:.

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The student can specify a page number, content, formatting design, the arguments, and evidence, the due date, and the high school student gets a bit of stress relief knowing the assignment is .

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Writing Prompts for High School and College Students Looking for interesting writing prompt ideas for your Creative Writing or Language Arts class? Below are just a few of the previous teen essay writing prompts used in cwmetr.gq's monthly, national student writing contest.

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Writing assignment for high school students. Check out this essay on the social effects of wwii. (well, so far, i'm taking the kids to the science museum.) 5 paragraph essay on church. 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing. Summary: Few sources available today offer writing teachers such succinct, practice-based help—which is one reason why 30 Ideas for Teaching Writing was the winner of the Association of Education Publishers Distinguished Achievement Award for .

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Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: "You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid. Writing Prompts for High School NEW High School Cause and Effect Prompt 1. At a recent conference at the University of Chicago, David Walsh of the National Institute on Media and the Family presented a paper titled “ Video Game Violence and Public Policy.”.