Register Now

Writing Prompts

Compiled By: Editor

Ideas to help students get started writing

Posted by: Jana

I always give my kids some kind of 'direction.' I try to make it as open-ended as possible, so that they can take it in a million possible directions, but I have found that for my kids that really struggle, if i leave it totally open (like a 'true' journal entry would be, where we write about our experiences, etc.) it would be really difficult for them to come up with something at all.

And what i've found is that, by giving them a little structure, they pull in their own experiences and end up relating their writing to themselves anyhow. You can get really creative with prompts... or you can tailor the prompts so they fit in line with what the goals are of your curriculum (like if you're working on comparisons or sequence or voice, etc.)

I know what you mean by saying you feel constricted at times to add in new things. However, sometimes when i take a step back i begin to feel guilty that i'm bombarding my kids with way too much that they simply don't benefit from. (Activities that aren't developmentally appr.) I guess our job is to find the middle ground. Not so easy!!

About the "Squiggle Books," i'll let you know. As i said, i think they'll be great for that morning time that sometimes simply gets 'wasted' on nothing. Hopefully it will turn out to be a really creative writing activity that they really enjoy!!

two paragraph writing prompts
Posted by: Kat's Mom

Our third grade team has decided that we need to "kick things up a notch" when teaching paragraph writing because at this point, we were requiring our third graders to write ONE fully detailed paragraph. However, the 4th gr. teacher require THREE paragraphs, so we decided we need to bridge that transition by teaching students to write TWO fully detailed paragraphs. My problem is that I am having difficulty coming up with prompts that directly lend themselves to a two paragraph response. This is the one I have for this week: You have just woken up and discovered that you have become a wild animal. In one paragraph, explain what animal you've become and describe in detail what you look like. In a second paragraph, describe an adventure you go on as that animal. Use many details to explain your experiences.
We are trying to be explicit in explaining to the children what to write in ea. paragraph, as this 2 para. thing is new to them. Any prompts you can share or think of would be MOST APPRECIATED! Thank you!

View Thread
Posted by: ck

Instead of giving the kids "canned prompts" help them each create their own library of prompts. On a plain 81/2 x 11 paper, have then draw a series of circles like a bulls eye (they may use their compass). They write their name in the center most circle. In the next circle they write the names of family and friends, pets, etc. In the outer most circle, (the biggest one) they write a few words to remind them of something that happened between themselves, family, friends, pets, etc. (ie: appletree/broken arm, Frizzy hides a bone-dad's cell phone). Attach the page to the front cover of their journal. These can be possible prompts for a story or journal entry. As the year progresses, the kids can add ideas & names to their bullseye. If they ever get stumped for a journal entry, simply look over the bullseye for an idea. I think writing about something they have experienced or know first hand may be a lot easier than responding to a prompt provided by someone else.

Posted by: john

my prompts are imaginative, or narrative or persuasive, or informational. I started with imaginative and narrative first. They loved it and really wanted to share with each other. I often use the informational to asses concepts that
I recently taught. Through their writing I can tell if they got it and it is a perfect springboard into a conference (about more than writing sometimes). Recently, we responded to what I know about area and perimeter. After I read a book- "Under the Big Blue Sky" I asked them to describe a symbol that would represent the secret of life and tell me why they think so. This then turned into hanging mobiles. I will ask them what they like about math and what they dislike. What do they like about reading or what they don't like? If you could be an animal what would you be and why. Sometimes I time the writing response and other times I do not. It depends what I am hunting for. I let them know when it will be graded and what I am hunting for.
Let me know if I can be of more help.
I am pleased at what I am seeing this year.

Magazine Picture Prompts
Posted by: Kate P.

I am a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. For one of my university courses, we had to compile a portfolio of magazine pictures to use for language development. They had to have some sort of action occuring, not just a pose. We had to have a certain number of single concept (one action) and multi-concept (more than one action) pictures ... NO TEXT! While they aren't specifically for use as story prompts, that is one possible use. In fact, I remember my sixth grade teacher using magazine pictures as writing prompts and how much I enjoyed it. I found women's magazines (i.e. Woman's Day, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, etc.) had the most appropriate pictures; however, you may find some clever advertising pictures in other publications.

Hope this helps!

Posted by: Tania O'Donnell


In my second grade class, I don't give my students prompts. Instead, my students write about things they want to tell others. At the beginning of the year my students generate lists of things they would like to tell others. Those lists might look like: -my new bike, the day I got my puppy, my brother the pain
Students can also bring a picture, paste it in the middle of a page and web all the ideas that they may think of while looking at it.
Students can also get ideas from books they read. A good reference is a book called WHAT YOU KNOW BY HEART written by Katie Wood Ray or any of the wtriting books written by Ralph Fletcher. You'll be amazed at how your students respond. I know I was the first time I tried it. Students really want to tell their stories and share.
I hope I could help,

story prompts
Posted by: melanie

I also use a disposable camera and take pictures in the classroom of students doing various activities. I put the photos in a basket and have students pick a photo and then imagine they were someone in that photo (other than themselves). They write what they think that person is thinking at that moment. We call this "Thinking Thoughts". I have a form for this with a head and a "thought bubble" with lines to write on inside of it. The form has a place for the writer's name and the student they are pretending to be. These can be real funny and kids love to share them later. For example, one of the pictures was of our Thanksgiving program and we were dressed as Pilgrims. One student wrote, "I'm really hungry. When are we going to eat? I feel very silly in this big collar and floppy hat." etc. etc.
I also have students pretend to be a characters, write letters to characters, and write different endings for books we are reading. The main thing is to allow students to write about things they are familiar with.

Writing Prompts
Posted by: Mrs. B

1st Grade Writing Prompts

·If I were invisible I would...
·Pretend you brought an alien to show-and-tell. Describe what it looked like and how you met.
·Pretend you were captured by an alien and taken to his/her show-and-tell. How would you describe earth to his class?
·Describe the sights and sounds at 3:00 (when school is out).
·What would you do with a million dollars? List five things you would buy.
·Explain what you think life would be like without: plumbing, electricity, cars, windows, air conditioning. On a daily basis, what things would you do differently?
·What do you think it would be like to be your favorite animal? Describe a typical day.
·Last night, while watching TV, I heard a soft knock on the back door... (finish the story)
·What would life be like if you were only six inches tall?
·List five uses for a toothbrush.
·What is life like for your shoe?
·What is life like for your backpack?
·If I got locked in the school overnight I would…
·Describe how you feel when you are at the dentist's office.
·How many places have you lived? Describe the place you remember the most. Pick one room of the house that you remember the most and describe it.
·How do you get home from school? What mode of transportation do you take? Describe a typical trip.
·Have you ever learned a new skill? Describe what you learned and the effort it took to learn it.
·If I could live anywhere I'd live in ________________. Why?
·Describe your classroom in detail.
·Describe yourself when you are 10 years old.
·What was the most memorable moment of last year? Write about that moment or draw a picture of it.
·Describe your bedroom. How does it describe you?
·Describe a person you admire.
·If you were your teacher, how would you treat you?
·If you were the teacher, what would you do differently?
·Imagine you are stranded on a tropical island with your classmates. You have no supervision, no rules, no leader, no McDonald's etc... How would you choose a leader? What jobs would you need? What rules would you have? What if someone broke the rules?
·What if your house caught fire, what would you take with you?
·Is it better to give or to receive?
·In a letter to your teacher explain your opinion on homework.
·Explain in a letter to your classmates your ideas of how to get along with each other on the playground.
·You are the principal. Create a detailed list that tells students the procedures for using the cafeteria.
·Make an invitation for a book character to come to your home after school. In your invitation describe what you and the character will do until bedtime.
·You are going to the grocery store. Help a family member write a memo about all the things you are going to buy.
·Think of two desserts. Compare and contrast them in an article for your class newsletter.
·In a note persuade your teacher why a student should or should not be allowed to bring an animal to school.
·Choose an animal. Pretend you are that animal. In a friendly letter communicate your daily needs to your caregiver.
·In a journal reflect on what you want to be when you grow up.
·Write a letter to a classmate who was absent. Explain what was missed.
·Write a recipe for a class cookbook that describes how you would prepare your creation.
·You have read a book. Write an advertisement that persuades a classmate to read the book.
·The principal has asked you to create an advertisement describing a teacher you would like to have.
·Create a sign using words and pictures that reminds students how to act on the playground.
·Imagine you are a bird flying in the air. Write a creative story telling about your adventure to share with your classmates.
·Imagine you find a magic seed. For your teacher write a creative story about what happens after the seed is planted.
·You are an ant. In a message to a First Grader, tell how it feels to be an ant in a world full of humans.
·Pretend you are a loose tooth. In a story communicate to another tooth your feelings about leaving the mouth.
·Choose a toy. Imagine you are that toy. In a post card message inform your owner about your life.
·Your class is going on a Field Trip. Write a letter to your teacher of what you hope to see.
·Using words and pictures create a poster telling your teacher how you see yourself when you are grown up.
·In your journal use words and pictures to describe your lunch.
·Think about what makes you smile. Using words and pictures create a poster that shows that feeling.
·In your journal describe a pet you would like to have.
·Write a note to a classmate that describes a toy that you own.
·In a letter persuade the cafeteria manager to serve a dessert of your choice.
·In a note explain to your family what you want to bring to your class for Show and Tell.
·Pretend that you are a 1st grade teacher. Write and describe activities your class would do for the day.
·Write a story to your teacher about what you would do on a rainy day.
·Imagine you had wings. Draw a picture of yourself and write about your adventures.
·Write a personal narrative about an activity you do with your friends at school.
·Using words and pictures tell about your family.
·What would it be like to have a magician for a teacher?
·Create the wackiest teacher you can imagine. Are they human or alien? Is the teacher a clown, a cowboy, a doctor, a famous singer, or something else? Describe a day in class with this unusual teacher.

Does anyone know a site were i
ampgt;can get little scenarios that my
ampgt;1st grade students can write a
ampgt;small story from.