Educational Writing Assignments

Updated, March 2, 2017 | We published an updated version of this list, “401 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” as well as a companion piece, “650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.”

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If anything ever published on The Learning Network could be said to have “gone viral,” it is last February’s “200 Prompts for Argumentative Writing,” which we created to help teachers and students participate in our inaugural Student Editorial Contest.

We’ve now updated last year’s list with new questions and what we hope is more useful categorization.

So scroll through the 301 prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from politics to sports, culture, education and technology — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information.

What issues do you care about most? Find something to write about here, or post a comment if you think we’ve missed a topic you would like to see us cover.

And if these 301 questions aren’t enough, the Room for Debate blog provides many, many more.


    TECHNOLOGY

    Technology

  1. Does Technology Make Us More Alone?
  2. Are You Distracted by Technology?
  3. Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?
  4. Do You Spend Too Much Time on Smartphones Playing ‘Stupid Games’?
  5. Will Wearable Technology Ever Really Catch On?
  6. Are Digital Photographs Too Plentiful to Be Meaningful?
  7. Do You Worry We Are Filming Too Much?
  8. Would You Want a Pair of Google’s Computer Glasses?
  9. What Role Will Robots Play in Our Future?
  10. How Many Text Messages Are Too Many?

  11. Internet and Social Media

  12. Has Facebook Lost Its Edge?
  13. Does Facebook Ever Make You Feel Bad?
  14. Would You Consider Deleting Your Facebook Account?
  15. Should What You Say on Facebook Be Grounds for Getting Fired?
  16. Should People Be Allowed to Obscure Their Identities Online?
  17. How Much Do You Trust Online Reviews?

  18. Technology in Schools

  19. Are the Web Filters at Your School Too Restrictive?
  20. Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?
  21. Should Tablet Computers Become the Primary Way Students Learn in Class?
  22. Can Cellphones Be Educational Tools?
  23. Should Computer Games Be Used for Classroom Instruction?
  24. Is Online Learning as Good as Face-to-Face Learning?
  25. How Would You Feel About a Computer Grading Your Essays?

  26. ART, FILM, BOOKS, VIDEO GAMES AND OTHER MEDIA

    Movies, TV and Theater

  27. Is TV Stronger Than Ever, or Becoming Obsolete?
  28. Do TV Shows Like ‘16 and Pregnant’ Promote or Discourage Teenage Pregnancy?
  29. Does Reality TV Promote Dangerous Stereotypes?
  30. Does TV Capture the Diversity of America Yet?
  31. Is TV Too White?
  32. Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV and in the Movies?
  33. What Makes a Good TV Show Finale?
  34. What Makes a Good Commercial?
  35. Why Did a Cheerios Ad Attract So Many Angry Comments Online?
  36. What Were the Best Movies You Saw in the Past Year?
  37. Does Live Theater Offer Something You Just Can’t Get Watching Movies or TV?

  38. Music

  39. What Can You Predict About the Future of the Music Industry?
  40. What Current Musicians Do You Think Will Stand the Test of Time?
  41. What Artists or Bands of Today Are Destined for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
  42. What Artists Do You Consider ‘Sellouts’?
  43. What Musician, Actor or Author Should Be a Superstar, but Hasn’t Quite Made It Yet?
  44. Who Does Hip-Hop Belong To?
  45. Will Musical Training Make You More Successful?

  46. Video Games

  47. Should Video Games Be Considered a Sport?
  48. Should Stores Sell Violent Video Games to Minors?
  49. Do Violent Video Games Make People More Violent in Real Life?
  50. When Should You Feel Guilty for Killing Zombies?
  51. Can a Video Game Be a Work of Art?
  52. What Game Would You Like to Redesign?
  53. How Sexist Is the Gaming World?

  54. Literature

  55. Would You Trade Your Paper Books for Digital Versions?
  56. Does Reading a Book Count More Than Listening to One?
  57. To What Writer Would You Award a Prize?
  58. Who Are the Characters That Authors Should Be Writing About?
  59. Do You Prefer Your Children’s Book Characters Obedient or Contrary?

  60. Art

  61. Can Graffiti Ever Be Considered Art?
  62. Do We Need Art in Our Lives?
  63. Does Pop Culture Deserve Serious Study?
  64. Where Is the Line Between Truth and Fiction?
  65. Should Society Support Artists and Others Pursuing Creative Works?

  66. GENDER AND RELATIONSHIPS

    Gender Issues

  67. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
  68. Is School Designed More for Girls Than Boys?
  69. Is There Too Much Pressure on Girls to Have ‘Perfect’ Bodies?
  70. How Much Pressure Do Boys Face to Have the Perfect Body?
  71. Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?
  72. Doctored Photos: O.K. or Not?
  73. Is It O.K. for Men and Boys to Comment on Women and Girls on the Street?
  74. Do We Need New Ways to Identify Gender and Sexuality?
  75. What Should We Do to Fight Sexual Violence Against Young Women?
  76. How Do You Feel About Rihanna and Chris Brown Getting Back Together?
  77. Why Aren’t There More Girls in Leadership Roles?
  78. Why Aren’t More Girls Choosing to Pursue Careers in Math and Science?
  79. Should Women Be Allowed to Fight on the Front Lines Alongside Men?
  80. Do You Believe in Equal Rights for Women and Men?
  81. Are Women Better at Compromising and Collaborating?
  82. Do Boys Have Less Intense Friendships Than Girls?
  83. Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School?
  84. Is It O.K. to Refuse to Serve Same-Sex Couples Based on Religious Beliefs?

  85. Dating and Sex

  86. Should Birth Control Pills Be Available to Teenage Girls Without a Prescription?
  87. Should the Morning-After Pill Be Sold Over the Counter to People Under 17?
  88. How Should Children Be Taught About Puberty and Sex?
  89. Is Dating a Thing of the Past?
  90. Is Hookup Culture Leaving Your Generation Unhappy and Unprepared for Love?
  91. Should Couples Live Together Before Marriage?
  92. Could Following These Directions Make You Fall in Love With a Stranger?
  93. How Should Educators and Legislators Deal With Minors Who ‘Sext’?
  94. How Should Parents Address Internet Pornography?

  95. SPORTS AND ATHLETICS

    Football

  96. If Football Is So Dangerous to Players, Should We Be Watching It?
  97. Should Parents Let Their Children Play Football?
  98. Should College Football Players Get Paid?
  99. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams to Use Native American Names and Mascots?

  100. Sportsmanship

  101. Are Some Youth Sports Too Intense?
  102. Should There Be Stricter Rules About How Coaches Treat Their Players?
  103. Do Sports Teams Have a Responsibility to Hold Players to a Standard for Their Personal Conduct?
  104. Should Athletes Who Dope Have to Forfeit Their Titles and Medals?
  105. Do Fans Put Too Much Pressure on Their Favorite Professional Athletes?
  106. Does a Championship Game Always Need to Have a Winner (and a Loser)?
  107. Should Sports Betting Be Legal Everywhere?
  108. Should Colleges Fund Wellness Programs Instead of Sports?
  109. Where Should Colleges and Sports Teams Draw the Line in Selling Naming Rights?

  110. Other Sports

  111. Has Baseball Lost Its Cool?
  112. Is Cheerleading a Sport?
  113. How Big a Deal Is It That an N.B.A. Player Came Out as Gay?
  114. Would You Want a Bike Share Program for Your Community?
  115. How Young Is Too Young to Climb Mount Everest?

  116. POLITICS AND POLICY

    Government

  117. Do You Trust Your Government?
  118. If You Were Governor of Your State, How Would You Spend a Budget Surplus?
  119. What Local Problems Do You Think Your Mayor Should Try to Solve?
  120. Should Rich People Have to Pay More Taxes?
  121. What Is More Important: Our Privacy or National Security?

  122. Leadership and Politics

  123. Do Leaders Have Moral Obligations?
  124. Do Great Leaders Have to Be Outgoing?
  125. Is It Principled, or Irresponsible, for Politicians to Threaten a Shutdown?

  126. International Relations

  127. Should the U.S. Be Spying on Its Friends?
  128. When Is the Use of Military Force Justified?
  129. Should Countries Pay Ransoms to Free Hostages Held by Terrorists?

  130. Police, Prisons and Justice System

  131. Should the United States Stop Using the Death Penalty?
  132. When Should Juvenile Offenders Receive Life Sentences?
  133. What Do You Think of the Police Tactic of Stop-and-Frisk?
  134. Do Rich People Get Off Easier When They Break the Law?
  135. Should All Police Officers Wear Body Cameras?
  136. Will What Happened in Ferguson Change Anything?
  137. Should Felons Be Allowed to Vote After They Have Served Their Time?

  138. Gun Policy

  139. How Should We Prevent Future Mass Shootings?
  140. Would You Feel Safer With Armed Guards Patrolling Your School?
  141. What Is Your Relationship With Guns?
  142. Where Do You Stand on Unconcealed Handguns?
  143. Should Guns Be Permitted on College Campuses?
  144. Did a Newspaper Act Irresponsibly by Publishing the Addresses of Gun Owners?

  145. Immigration

  146. Should Millions of Undocumented Immigrants Be Allowed to Live in the U.S. Without Fear of Getting Deported?
  147. Are Children of Illegal Immigrants Entitled to a Public Education?

  148. PARENTS AND FAMILIES

    Parenting and Childhood

  149. How Much Freedom Should Parents Give Their Children?
  150. How Should Parents Discipline Their Kids?
  151. When Does Discipline Become Child Abuse?
  152. Do ‘Shame and Blame’ Work to Change Teenage Behavior?
  153. Do We Give Children Too Many Trophies?
  154. Are Adults Hurting Young Children by Pushing Them to Achieve?
  155. Is Modern Culture Ruining Childhood?
  156. How, and by Whom, Should Children Be Taught Appropriate Behavior?
  157. Are ‘Dark’ Movies O.K. for Kids?
  158. Should Halloween Costumes Portray Only ‘Positive Images’?
  159. Are Parents Violating Their Children’s Privacy When They Share Photos and Videos of Them Online?
  160. Should Children Be Allowed to Compete on TV?
  161. How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone?
  162. Should Parents Limit How Much Time Children Spend on Tech Devices?

  163. Parents and School

  164. How Should Parents Handle a Bad Report Card?
  165. How Important Are Parent-Teacher Conferences?
  166. Who Should Be Able to See Students’ Records?
  167. Would You Want to Be Home-Schooled?
  168. Should All Children Be Able to Go to Preschool?

  169. House and Home

  170. How Important Is Keeping a Clean House?
  171. Does Keeping a Messy Desk Make People More Creative?

  172. Millennial Generation

  173. What Can Older People Learn From Your Generation?
  174. Does Your Generation Have Too Much Self-Esteem?
  175. Is Your Generation Really ‘Postracial’?

  176. Becoming an Adult

  177. When Do You Become an Adult?
  178. When Should You Be Able to Buy Cigarettes, Drink Alcohol, Vote, Drive and Fight in Wars?
  179. When You Are Old Enough to Vote, Will You?

  180. CHARACTER AND MORALITY

    Personal Character

  181. Can Money Buy You Happiness?
  182. Does Buying and Accumulating More and More Stuff Make Us Happier?
  183. Are We Losing the Art of Listening?
  184. Do People Complain Too Much?
  185. Which Is More Important: Talent or Hard Work?
  186. How Important Is Keeping Your Cool?
  187. When Should You Compromise?
  188. Is Your Generation More Self-Centered Than Earlier Generations?

  189. Religion and Spirituality

  190. Do You Believe That Everything Happens for a Reason?
  191. How Much Control Do You Think You Have Over Your Fate?
  192. Can You Be Good Without God?
  193. How Important Do You Think It Is to Marry Someone With the Same Religion?

  194. Morality and Personal Responsibility

  195. Does Suffering Make Us Stronger and Lead to Success?
  196. Do Bystanders Have a Responsibility to Intervene When There is Trouble?
  197. When Is Looting Morally O.K.?
  198. Can Kindness Become Cool?

  199. Language and Standards

  200. Have Curse Words Become So Common They Have Lost Their Shock Value?
  201. What Words or Phrases Do You Think Are Overused?
  202. What Words or Phrases Should Be Retired?
  203. Do Laws That Ban Offensive Words Make the World a Better Place?
  204. Should Newspapers Reprint Cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad That Some Deem Offensive?
  205. Is It Wrong for a Newspaper to Publish a Front-Page Photo of a Man About to Die?

  206. EDUCATION

    Teaching and Learning

  207. Do Teachers Assign Too Much Homework?
  208. Does Your Homework Help You Learn?
  209. What Are You Really Learning at School?
  210. Does Class Size Matter?
  211. Do We Need a New Way to Teach Math?
  212. Does Gym Help Students Perform Better in All Their Classes?
  213. Should Reading and Math Be Taught in Gym Class Too?
  214. What Are the Best Ways to Learn About History?
  215. What Is the Right Amount of Group Work in School?
  216. What Do You Think of Grouping Students by Ability in Schools?
  217. How Important Is Arts Education?
  218. Do Schools Provide Students With Enough Opportunities to Be Creative?
  219. Does the Way Your Classroom Is Decorated Affect Your Learning?

  220. Discipline and School Rules

  221. What Are the Best Teaching Methods for Getting Students to Behave Well in Class?
  222. How Does Your School Deal With Students Who Misbehave?
  223. Should Schools Be Allowed to Use Corporal Punishment?
  224. Is Cheating Getting Worse?
  225. Should Schools Put Tracking Devices in Students’ ID Cards?
  226. Should Middle School Students Be Drug Tested?
  227. Should Students Be Barred From Taking Cellphones to School?

  228. Bullying

  229. How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?
  230. How Should Schools Address Bullying?
  231. How Should Schools Address Cyberbullying?
  232. What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying?
  233. When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying?
  234. How Should Schools Respond to Hazing Incidents?

  235. Time in School

  236. Should the School Day Start Later?
  237. Is Your School Day Too Short?
  238. Do You Think a Longer School Calendar Is a Good Idea?
  239. Should the Dropout Age Be Raised?
  240. Should We Rethink How Long Students Spend in High School?
  241. Should Students Be Allowed to Skip Senior Year of High School?
  242. Should Kids Head to College Early?
  243. Class Time + Substitute = Waste?
  244. Do Kids Need Recess?

  245. Grading

  246. Should Students Be Able to Grade Their Teachers?
  247. Does Your School Hand Out Too Many A’s?
  248. Do Girls Get Better Grades Than Boys in Your School?
  249. Does Separating Boys and Girls Help Students Perform Better in School?
  250. Why Do Boys Lag Behind Girls in Reading?
  251. Should Discomfort Excuse Students From Having to Complete an Assignment?

  252. Standardized Tests

  253. How Well Do You Think Standardized Tests Measure Your Abilities?
  254. How Seriously Should We Take Standardized Tests?
  255. Do You Spend Too Much Time Preparing for Standardized Tests?
  256. Should Schools Offer Cash Bonuses for Good Test Scores?

  257. School Life

  258. Would You Rather Attend a Public or a Private High School?
  259. How Much Does It Matter to You Which High School You Attend?
  260. Are Small Schools More Effective Than Large Schools?
  261. Should Home-Schoolers Be Allowed to Play Public School Sports?
  262. Should All Students Get Equal Space in a Yearbook?
  263. Should School Newspapers Be Subject to Prior Review?
  264. Is Prom Worth It?
  265. Is Prom Just an Excuse to Drink?

  266. COLLEGE AND CAREER

    College

  267. How Necessary Is a College Education?
  268. Is College Overrated?
  269. Should a College Education be Free?
  270. What Is the Perfect Number of College Applications to Send?
  271. Should Colleges Find a Better Way to Admit Students?
  272. Should Colleges Use Admissions Criteria Other Than SAT Scores and Grades?
  273. Do You Support Affirmative Action in College Admissions?
  274. Does It Matter Where You Go to College?
  275. Do College Rankings Matter?
  276. What Criteria Should Be Used in Awarding Scholarships for College?
  277. Should Engineers Pay Less for College Than English Majors?
  278. Do Fraternities Promote Misogyny?
  279. Should Colleges Ban Fraternities?

  280. Jobs and Careers

  281. Would You Quit if Your Values Did Not Match Your Employer’s?
  282. Should Employers Be Able to Review Job Applicants’ SAT Scores?
  283. Do You Worry Colleges or Employers Might Read Your Social Media Posts Someday?
  284. Would You Rather Work From Home or in an Office?
  285. Is ‘Doing Nothing’ a Good Use of Your Time?

  286. HEALTH AND NUTRITION

    Drugs, Cigarettes and Alcohol

  287. Is Smoking Still a Problem Among Teenagers?
  288. Are Antismoking Ads Effective?
  289. Is Drinking and Driving Still a Problem for Teenagers?
  290. Should Marijuana Be Legal?
  291. Should Students Be Required to Take Drug Tests?
  292. Why Is Binge Drinking So Common Among Young People in the United States?

  293. Nutrition and Food

  294. Do You Think a Healthier School Lunch Program Is a Lost Cause?
  295. Should French Fries and Pizza Sauce Count as Vegetables?
  296. How Concerned Are You About Where Your Food Comes From?
  297. Is It Ethical to Eat Meat?
  298. Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?
  299. Do You Prefer Your Tacos ‘Authentic’ or ‘Appropriated’?
  300. Should Sugary Drinks Be Taxed?
  301. Should the Government Limit the Size of Sugary Drinks?

  302. Health Issues

  303. How Should Schools Handle Unvaccinated Students?
  304. Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal in Every State?
  305. Should Texting While Driving Be Illegal in Every State?
  306. Should Terminally Ill Patients Be Allowed to Die on Their Own Terms?

  307. Appearance and Fashion

  308. Should Children Be Allowed to Wear Whatever They Want?
  309. What Are Your Opinions on Cosmetic Surgery?
  310. Do ‘Saggy Pants’ Mean Disrespect?
  311. Should You Care About the Health and Safety of Those Making Your Clothing?

  312. SCIENCE TOPICS

    Science and the Environment

  313. How Concerned Are You About Climate Change?
  314. How Should Nations and Individuals Address Climate Change?
  315. Should Developers Be Allowed to Build in and Near the Grand Canyon?
  316. Should Scientists Try to Help People Beat Old Age So We Can Live Longer Lives?
  317. Given Unlimited Resources, What Scientific or Medical Problem Would You Investigate?
  318. When Is It O.K. to Replace Human Limbs With Technology?
  319. Should Fertilized Eggs Be Given Legal ‘Personhood’?

  320. Outer Space

  321. Do You Think Life Exists — or Has Ever Existed — Somewhere Besides Earth?
  322. Do You Believe in Intelligent Alien Life?
  323. Will Humans Live on Mars Someday?
  324. Would You Want to Be a Space Tourist?

  325. Animals

  326. Should Certain Animals Have Some of the Same Legal Rights As People?
  327. Is It Unethical for a Zoo to Kill a Healthy Giraffe?
  328. Should You Go to Jail for Kicking a Cat?
  329. Should You Feel Guilty About Killing Spiders, Ants or Other Bugs?
  330. How Do You Think Dinosaurs Went Extinct?

  331. MISCELLANEOUS

    Rich and Famous

  332. Should the Private Lives of Famous People Be Off Limits?
  333. Do You Think Child Stars Have It Rough?

  334. American Dream

  335. Should the United States Care That It’s Not No. 1?
  336. Is It Possible to Start Out Poor in This Country, Work Hard and Become Well-Off?
  337. Do Poor People ‘Have It Easy’?
  338. How Much Does Your Neighborhood Define Who You Are?

  339. Charity and Philanthropy

  340. Should Charities Focus More on America?
  341. What Causes Should Philanthropic Groups Finance?
  342. Is Teenage ‘Voluntourism’ Wrong?

  343. Shopping

  344. Do You Shop at Locally Owned Businesses?
  345. Is Amazon Becoming Too Powerful?
  346. Should Companies Collect Information About You?
  347. What Time Should Black Friday Sales Start?
  348. How Long Is It O.K. to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant?

Writing Lessons and
Activities for Every Grade


* W.R.I.T.E. =
Write, Revise, Inform, Think, and Edit

How do you help your students overcome their fear of the blank page? How can you make writing an exercise in personal expression, not drudgery? One key to better writing is better writing assignments -- and the Internet has them. Let's tour a few of the finest writing activities that the Web has to offer.

 


Visit Our
Language Arts
Subject Center

For more lesson ideas and many additional resources, be sure to visit Education World's Language Arts Subject Center.
 

Ray Saitz, a teacher/librarian and facilitator of information technology at Clarke High School in Newcastle, Ontario, put his 15 years of English teaching experience to work in creating a haven of resources for educators like himself.

He is becoming a "wired librarian," and his Web site, Outta Ray's Head, is his niche and offering to the educational community at large.

"Essentially, I became frustrated at finding endless ideas on the Internet but no lessons with tips on evaluation and with original handouts for the class," Saitz told Education World. "Most of the sites that I came across were mainly elementary, and I wanted secondary school lessons."

Several terrific tried-and-true Writing Lessons are featured on the site. Saitz explained that two of his favorite and most successful activities are The Biography Assignment and Review of Anything.

In the biography activity, students work in groups of four to create six good interview questions. Each student conducts an interview with a partner and then the two exchange roles. Their grade is determined by their performance in creating interview questions, writing the biography of their partner, and designing a cover for a book or a magazine article based on the interview.

The review writing lesson involves studying and creating a review of any object, person, or thing other than a book or a film. Students combine the characteristics of the informal essay and the review to write and share an oral presentation that has a thesis and incorporates techniques presented during class.

Another activity that hasn't yet made it to the pages of Saitz's site has students writing the end to a short story. "The gist of the lesson is to take a murder/mystery/suspense short story of about two or three pages and copy it," he explained, "but omit the final important last paragraph. You can make up some story about how the story was discovered in an old trunk and the end was rotted off. Read the story with the lights out and make a big deal of acting it up to build suspense. Just when it nearly ends, stop and ask the students to complete the ending using the same style as the writer.

"The students all write pages and pages," added Saitz, "and then a few days later, you can come into the class with the original ending. I say it was found just that day and was in the newspaper. Then they compare their endings to the author's."

Saitz hopes that his site and its lessons provide a resource of ideas that will help teachers extend their repertoire. "I think that I learned the most when I was a student teacher and I saw other teachers teaching," he said. "When we graduate and start teaching, we can stop growing and learning. I hope that the lessons on the site help other teachers realize new possibilities or open new avenues of discovery."

These writing lessons and activities will allow the young authors in your classroom to shine!

Paragraph Writing. Many elementary teachers lose heart as they read short, choppy paragraphs from their students that contain little variation in sentence structure. Successful Paragraphs is a lesson plan with a unique approach to improving student writing. Students list three material things they wish for, three happenings that would make them happy, and three places they would like to visit. They follow a specific pattern to create a paragraph that tells what it would be like for them to enjoy all those things. Using the template helps them see how variation in structure makes for more interesting reading!

Terrific Topics. Often the most difficult part of writing is getting started, and this problem is frequently related to the quest for the perfect topic. A good topic is the well from which ideas flow, so it needs to be plenty deep! If you too are having difficulty coming up with assignments that will bring forth the wonderful stories your students have to tell, visit Writing Topics. This page, from the Write Source, suggests several topics for papers your students will love to write, and all grade levels are addressed. Be sure to bookmark or print this resource from The Write Source, a development house of educational materials.

Story Boxes. Creativity and language flourish in Story Boxes, an activity included on the Pizzaz Web site. You can collect objects for the story boxes, or you can have your students fill the boxes with objects and words written on pieces of paper or sticks. As the students draw objects from the box, a story unfolds. Use the plan as an oral storytelling activity or a written composition. This is not the only excellent lesson in the collection, so visit the homepage for more gems. Best of all, permission to print and copy the handouts is granted for classroom use!

Free Activities. Each month, Zaner-Bloser: Writing offers new, free activities on-line for use with students in grades 3 and up. The activities may be printed and shared with students to exercise their writing skills. A recent issue of activities addressed descriptive writing. Don't miss this opportunity to glean a few excellent handouts and ideas from these experts in the field.

More Free Activities.Scholastic.com: Writing also provides free activities to download and print. (To access these documents, you will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.) Some activities take a few minutes to load, but they are worth the wait. Sample activities include two types of stationery for student letters and a handout that encourages students to contemplate and write about their plans for the future.

Pop-Up Cards. There is an art to writing a good greeting card and an art to making it pleasing to the eye and unusual. Pop-up cards are definitely unique! Your students will be amazed when they follow the card-making directions at How to Make a Pop-Up from Joan Irvine: the Pop-Up Lady. When the work is complete, your students will have a lovely pop-up animal card that is ready for their own special sentimental touch -- the right verse!

Heroic Efforts. Have you noticed that in all epic tales -- Great Expectations, The Odyssey, Star Wars -- there seems to be a prevailing pattern in the story? This site explores the progression of the hero throughout these tales based on observations contained in The Hero With a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. Visitors to The Hero's Journey can examine the steps in a hero's story and read examples from ancient stories or present-day movies that illustrate the concepts. As a final project, students can follow the guidelines of the site to create their own hero stories in this pattern.

Essay Writing. What could be easier than writing a simple essay? Writing one with assistance from the Guide to Writing a Basic Essay! This site takes students through choosing a topic, organizing ideas, composing a thesis, writing the body of the paper, creating an introduction and a conclusion, and adding the finishing touches. With this on-line guide, there is no excuse for a poorly constructed essay.

Writing Worksheets. High-school English teachers have been waiting for a source like this! At OWL Handouts, the Purdue University Online Writing Lab has collected and published handouts for students that address everything from writing research papers to spelling and punctuation. Choose from an extensive group of straightforward guides to complement writing assignments in your classroom. Your students will thank you!

Teach your students to create great friendly letters and give them a reason to learn how! First, introduce the topic of the friendly letter and compare it to the business letter with the examples at Letter Formats. Next, have your students make their own stationery or print one of the cute selections at Friendly Stationery from Jan Brett.

You might have your students write to famous authors, political figures, or even celebrities. You'll find addresses for many well-known actors, actresses, and musical performers online. (Do a Google search for "celebrity addresses." You'll want to supervise student selections if you allow them to use this site.) Add an element of fun by calling the assignment "Dear John Letters" and having the students write to famous people who have John as a part of their names. Don't forget Elton John, Olivia Newton-John, and Pope John Paul II!

Is a business letter more what you had in mind? Then Parts of a Business Letter will help you prepare your students for the business world. Give your students some pointers in writing business communications, and then have them write letters to organizations. They could write to support the efforts of a charity or to complain about a problem with a product or a service. You might even have them write to an address in the book Free Stuff for Kids (published by Meadowbrook Press) and request free materials.

Anyone who writes knows how daunting the empty page can be! Graphic organizers help students overcome the blank sheet and help them put their thoughts in a logical order.

Kathy Baxter and David Leahy of Greenway Elementary School in Beaverton, Oregon, created graphic organizers and placed them on the school Web site for all to see. Setting and Events are designed to be used in writing personal narratives, and Persuasive helps students create persuasive pieces by forcing them to state an opinion, support it with three points, give examples, and summarize their belief in a conclusion.

Writing Plans from The Teacher's Desk
Put one of these great writing activities to good use in your classroom. Choices include a list of assignments for fifth- and sixth-grade students to write a paragraph a week for two years!

A+ Research and Writing for High School and College Students
Designed for upper-level students, this guide helps kids write research papers without going nuts! The site explains how to write a research paper, tells how to locate information on the Internet, and advises students about what material is best found in the library, not on the Web.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World


Last updated 08/04/2011

 

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