In middle school, the use of writing prompts are a wondrous thing. Those simple sentences propel students into unleashing their creativity, understanding their core values and rethinking some of their past actions. They’re still coming of age so their responses can be emotional and insightful—for you and the student. Writing prompts are one of the most effective ways to develop confident writers who enjoy the process. We rounded up 24 of the best writing prompts for middle school students who are still finding their writing voice!
1. Uncover their hidden strengths
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” Write a narrative about a time when you did something you thought you could not do. Be sure to include specific details so that a reader can follow your story.
2. Let them take the reins
Attach an image (photo, magazine, etc.) to a notebook page and write about it.
3. Have them daydream about the not-so-distant future
Imagine a future in which we each have a personalized robot servant. What would yours be like? Describe what it would do and the features it would have.
4. Allow their creativity and core values to intersect
Create a brand new holiday with its own traditions, rituals, foods, and activities.
5. Let them map out their long term goals and life plans
Make your bucket list for the next five years, the next ten years, and for life.
6. Put their family life at the front of their minds.
Think about hospitality in your family. What’s it like to have guests in your house? Do you prefer to have friends to your house or to go to a friend’s house?
7. Have them think about traits that are important to possess in today’s world
Write about someone who has no enemies. Is it even possible?
8. In a world of a “fake news”—where do they stand?
Can honesty honestly be bad? Write about someone, fact or fiction, who gets in trouble for being too truthful.
9. Reinforce the importance books have in their lives
Remember a favorite book from your childhood. Write a scene that includes you and an old copy of that book you find somewhere.
10. Explore the weight that words hold between two people
William Shakespeare wrote that: “Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood.” Write your thoughts about conversation, or make up dialogue between two characters who are meeting each other for the first time in an unexpected place.
11. Have them evaluate where they’ve been and where they want to be
You have a chance to go back and completely re-do an event in your life. What is it, and how to you change it? What is the outcome? This can be a real or fictional event.
12. Let pop culture intersect with their school life
You get to guest star on a TV show. What show is it? What happens in this particular episode?
13. Put them in an unusual, highly unlikely situation
Write a poem entitled “Hitchhiking on a Saturday Afternoon.”
14. Let them dive deep into the influence they want to have with their friends
Persuade a friend to give up drugs.
15. Take one line, watch a million different possibilities unfold
“Did she actually just say that?” Write a scene that includes this line.
16. Stretch their brain and pun power
Create a menu from a fictitious restaurant. Make sure the restaurant has a theme, such as Classic Books, and the food should all be given appropriate names (e.g., “Mockingbird Pie”).
17. Find out how they connect with their community
List the most attractive things about your current hometown. Now list the most unattractive things.
18. Take on the ultimate “what-if” scenario . . . one everyone secretly dreams of . . .
What would you do if you woke up one morning to find yourself invisible?
19. Unleash good vibes
Write a list of at least 50 things that make you feel good.
20. Have them question everything
Begin a list of questions that you’d like to have answered. They may be about the future or the past.
21. Take on their passions
What’s, if anything, would you be willing to fight or even die for? Explain your answer.
22. Make some music
Make a soundtrack for your life so far. List songs that describe you or different times of your life. (Make the actual soundtrack on Spotify, etc. too!)
23. Dig into their integrity
Did you ever stick up for someone?
24. Ask a simple question that may provoke surprising answers
What is it like to go shopping with your mother or another person in your family?
What do you think are the best writing prompts for middle school students? We’d love to add to this list. Please share in the comments.
Prompts in honor of the royal wedding: http://njaskprompts.blogspot.com/2011/04/prompts-in-honor-of-royal-wedding.html
New updates can be found here: http://njaskprompts.blogspot.com/
- The following is the prompt provided by the state as an example. You can find it here.
- A young boy busily collected everything he would need to take with him. The next day, as he began to set up his equipment, he realized he was missing a very important piece. He has to decide how to solve this problem. Write a story about the boy, his problem, and what he does to solve it.
- These prompts were created by Washington Township teachers and submitted by Rosemary Howell.
- Two good friends were having a problem on the playground. They have to decide how to solve their problem. Write a story about the friends, their problem, and what they do to solve it.
- The principal has called an important meeting for the entire fifth grade. Everyone is wondering about this meeting. Write a story about why the principal has called this special meeting and how the students react.
- You are friends with a boy or girl who is sad about something. You are together for the entire afternoon. During this time, your friend is unmotivated to do anything or play with you. You decide to help cheer him or her up. Create a story about your friend who is sad, and explain how you cheer him or her up.
- A student is trying out for the school talent show. The student feels confident and ready for the audition. However, while waiting to go on stage, he/she finds out that someone else is going to perform the same act. Write a story about the student, his/her problem, and what he/she does to solve it.
- A young girl is having a sleep over. She has three close friends, but her mother will only allow her to invite two friends to sleep over. Write a story telling about the young girl, her problem, and how she solves it.
- The principal has made a new school rule. This change is upsetting all of the students. Write a story about the principal’s new rule, why the children are upset by it and what happens next.
- Two best friends do everything together. One friend has an extra ticket to a special event. He wants to offer the ticket to a new friend he just met, but he is worried about his best friend. Write a story about the boy, his problem, and how he solves it.
- A child woke up one morning to get ready for school. When the child walked out the front door, something was different. Write a story about the child, what was different, and what the child does next.
- Social Studies Writing Task: A person living in one of the 13 original colonies recently heard news that was quite disturbing.In the days that followed, the person decided to take action. Write a story about the person living in colonial America, the event that greatly disturbed this person, and the action that was the result of this event.
- An announcement is made over the loudspeaker. The principal needs to see a student from your class immediately.The student seems extremely surprised to have to meet with the principal. Write a story about the student, why he/she was called down to the office, and the outcome of the meeting.
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