Reflective essay prompts for high school students

Reflective essay prompts for high school students invite teens to think about role models, challenges, growth, and missed opportunities.

A reflective essay calls on the writer to express his or her own views of an experience.

Sometimes, reflective writing will ask students to think more deeply about a book, movie, musical work, or piece of art. Other times, the topics will invite them to reflect on a personal encounter or other experience.

These four reflective essay prompts for high school students are more personal in nature. For this activity, encourage your teens to choose the topic that speaks to them the most.

1. The Wind Beneath My Wings

A role model is a person you look up to—someone you respect or admire more than anyone else. Who is your role model? Your grandpa? Youth pastor? Coach? What have you learned from this person? Which of their character qualities or traits do you hope to one day have yourself? Write an essay explaining how this individual has influenced who you are today.

2. Can I Get a Do-Over?

By the time you reach high school, you have already experienced some of life’s ups and downs. You’ve seized some great opportunities and turned your back on others. Though you’ve made good choices, you have also made poor ones. You’ve both rejected and heeded good advice. Looking back, surely there are things you wish you had done differently. Write an essay sharing your most important piece of advice with a younger sibling or friend.

3. The Time of My Life

Have you lived or traveled overseas? Held an interesting or unusual job? Participated in a sport that challenged you physically and mentally? Think about an unusual experience or incident from your life. Write a reflective essay explaining how that experience has impacted you and caused you to grow as a person.

4. Picking Yourself Up

No one is immune to failure—scientists, authors, athletes, surgeons, and great leaders can all recount times of falling flat on their faces. Describe a time when you failed at something, and write a short essay explaining what you learned from this experience.

If you enjoyed these reflective essay topics for high school, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for teens, such as:

Compare and Contrast Essay Prompts

Persuasive Essay Prompts

Expository Essay Topics

Photo: George TenEyck, courtesy of Creative Commons

38 creative gifts for book lovers and writers

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

This post contains affiliate links for products we think you’ll love. 

It’s true. Most people don’t need another sweater. So this year, instead of rushing out at the last minute and grabbing who-knows-what off the rack, why not make gift-giving more meaningful by shopping ahead of time with interests and hobbies in mind?

I’m sure you can think of several friends and family members who are especially fond of the written word. By choosing some of these creative gifts for book lovers and writers, you’ll soon be able to check a few names off your list—all from the comfort of your armchair.

I’ve rounded up 38 ideas that include books, beverages, journals, jewelry, games, gadgets, and puzzles for everyone, young and old. Poke around to discover some fresh, unique possibilities to make someone’s day merrier!

{1-8} Totally Toteable

Out of Print is a company that features classy-looking accessories for writers and bibliophiles, such as this conversation-starting canvas book-themed pouch (also available in other literary styles) and this stylish composition book tote bag!

You can even make a gift package for your favorite writer by filling one of these bookish totes with a beautiful journal, a pack of multicolor gel pens, and a book of creative writing prompts. Add a Panera Bread gift card and tuck in a sweet gift of chocolate. Then, encourage her to slip away for a couple of hours where she can write to her heart’s content!

{9-12} Out of the Box

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.These four highly rated games will delight word lovers young and old. There’s something for everyone on your list!

For starters, Learning Resource’s Go to Press reinforces grammar skills as players join a newspaper staff to fix errors in the headlines.

The Storymatic Classic is a ton of fun! Prompt cards can be combined in thousands of ways to spark the imagination. When played alone, the ideas can kickstart writing sessions, but it’s also a lively group game. Available in both a grownup/family version and a kids’ version (ages 5 and up).

For family game nights, play fast-paced Wordical! Players combine cards and dice in a race to build the longest words.

A pocket-sized creative story generator, Rory’s Story Cubes is a favorite with my own grandkids. I love that even non-readers can participate!

{13-15} Calendar Capers

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Consider a themed calendar to help avid readers and word lovers track their days.

For a desktop, Book Lover’s Calendar and 365 New Words A Year offer wit and wisdom in daily tear-off format.

The full-color Literary Classics wall calendar highlights a darker classic novel each month, including Macbeth, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and War of the Worlds.

{16-19} Leather Luxuries

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Spoil the readers and writers on your gift list with little leather luxuries.

Who wouldn’t love to pour out one’s heart onto the pages of a vintage leather-bound notebook? Available in several colors, this old-fashioned, unlined journal wraps up neatly with a leather cord.

Leather doesn’t have to be expensive! Kindle Paperwhite users will appreciate this padded genuine leather MoKo case, which comes in 10 colors including eye-popping orange. This is the cover I have on my own Kindle, and I love it! (P.S. If your favorite bibliophile doesn’t have an e-reader yet, this is a great time to give one as a gift—tucked into a cheerful case, of course!)

Need a handsome gift for Dad or Grandpa? A pencil cup in rich mocha leather will grace his desk for years to come.

{20} Tea Time

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ~C. S. Lewis

Novel Teas will make a perfect stocking stuffer for someone who finds no greater pleasure than to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. The package contains 25 individually tagged English Breakfast tea bags with literary quotes from the world over.

{21-23} Read It, Write It

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

The Book Lover’s Journal is a slim, comprehensive notebook for recording the reader’s book-reading history and keeping a wishlist of books to read.

Books I’ve Read: A Reader’s Journal offers a place to jot down details about the plot, favorite quotes, and more.

Bookworm Journal, a reading log for kids, will delight young readers who love keeping track of the books they’ve read.

{24-25} Creative Writing for Creative Kids

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

For tweens and teens, coming up with ideas is often the hardest part of writing. Leap Write In! is loaded with prompts and writing activities that inspire fanciful poems and stories to help their words take flight.

Also by Karen Benke, Rip the Page! uses fun writing exercises that encourage curiosity and awaken the imagination.

{26-28} Book Bling!

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Delight your favorite literary lady with a unique piece of jewelry that reflects her love of reading or writing. From the unusual library book necklace to an assortment of literary jewelry to these conversation-starting “Chapter One-The End” earrings, you’re sure to find something clever to suit her personality and reading tastes!

{29} Librarian Envy

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Bring back happy library memories by giving this Personal Library Kit to a book-loving friend. It would also make a great gift for a child who loves to play pretend!

Each of my grandma’s books bore a bookplate that read, “I enjoy sharing my books as I do my friends, asking only that you treat them well and see them safely home.” Most avid readers I know love to share their books. The hard part is remembering where each book went!

That’s why I’m smitten by this creative gift. Hearkening back to the days of old-fashioned library circulation, the set includes a date stamp and ink pad, real library cards, book pockets, and more.

{30-31} Words for Wordsmiths

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles. Word lovers are always excited to discover new resources to help them craft more descriptive passages. A welcome addition to any writer’s toolkit, The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes will help writers flesh out their stories’ characters. Delight your favorite author by tucking this gift of words into a stocking or tote.

Characters and settings will spring to life under the writer’s pen when The Describer’s Dictionary is pulled from the bookshelf! This gem contains lists of descriptive words and illustrative passages from notable novels and nonfiction works.

{32} It’s Puzzling

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Book lovers and writers on your gift list will look forward to putting together this fabulous Bizarre Bookshop jigsaw puzzle. The artwork detail is incredible, with lots of subtle book humor in the reworked titles. Surprises await at every turn!

{33-36} Stocking-Stuffer Surprises

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Check out these smaller treasures, each one perfect for sneaking into a stocking on Christmas Eve!

Introduce a touch of romance with a beautiful boxed soy candle from Paddywax’s Library Collection, such as this tuberose and gardenia-scented candle that’s embellished with a Jane Austen quote.

At just $1.95 apiece, these funky bookmarks from Literary Luminaries make an inexpensive treat for a book lover! Each one is uniquely illustrated with the caricature of a famous author or artist.

What wordie doesn’t love all things Scrabble? Someone on your list will go wild for this set of 56 pub-style cardboard Scrabble coasters.

And these tiny books make up a special edition Banned Books Matchbook Set from Out of Print. What a fun little goodie to nestle into a stocking!

{37-38} Too Cool For School

Creative holiday gifts for book lovers and writers, including books and beverages, journals and jewelry, and games, gadgets, and puzzles.

Last but not least, teachers, students, and writers will step out in a pair of snazzy school-supply-themed canvas shoes such as slip-on Classic Yellow No. 2 Pencil Shoes or Notebook Paper Graphic Shoes from Etsy. Perfect conversation starters, don’t you think?

The holidays are right around the corner. With so many great ideas just a mouse-click away, there’s no excuse for putting it off. Make a list, check it twice, and choose the perfect presents for your literary loved ones!

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Writing prompts about gratitude

These writing prompts about gratitude help children and teens focus on the gifts of family, friends, and creation.

As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s natural to turn our thoughts toward gratitude and acts of kindness. These five writing prompts about gratitude will help children and teens focus on contentment as they celebrate the gifts of family, friends, and creation.

1. Because of You

Invent a holiday to celebrate a person you love, such as “Aunt Laura Day” or “Papa Appreciation Day.” Write a paragraph expressing three reasons why you’re thankful for this special person.

2. Count Your Blessings

In what ways are you fortunate? Make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. Include people and things, events and experiences, both past and present. Each day, for the rest of the week, add 10 more items to your list. At the end of the week, you will have written down 70 reasons to be thankful!

3. For the Beauty of the Earth

God’s incredible creation causes gratitude to well up in many a heart. Think of something from nature that makes you feel close to God, and write a haiku poem about it.

4. Thankful Heart

Think about a time when a friend, relative, or total stranger did something incredibly special for you. Write a letter to thank them for that act of kindness. If possible, mail your letter of appreciation to this person.

5. The Secret of Contentment

It’s easy to feel happy when everything is going our way. But what happens when you don’t get everything you want? In Philippians 4:12, the Apostle Paul says:

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Write a paragraph explaining how godly contentment compares to the world’s view of contentment. Use at least five of these words: grateful, selfish, jealous, possessions, loss, attitude, character, faith, friends, family.

Enjoy even more gratitude-themed writing activities!

Also, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Trocaire, courtesy of Creative Commons

140 Characters writing prompt | Free printable

It has been debated that social media leaves little room to express deep or complex ideas. How much can you really say in 140 characters? November’s free writing prompt will challenge your kids and teens to craft a tweet in which they describe themselves.

In the first space, have them brainstorm an assortment of words that describe their physical appearance, character, personality traits, and hobbies or interests. Once they’ve brainstormed, they can write their “tweet” in the blank rectangle that follows. Remember: the 140-character limit includes spaces and punctuation!

If they would like to practice first, they can do so on a sheet of blank notebook paper. The final result should be a description of themselves that’s as full and accurate as possible.

Would you leave the results in the comments? We’d love to see what your kids come up with!

How much can you really say in 140 characters? This writing prompt challenges kids to describe themselves in a single tweet. Download the free printable!

 

Click the image above to download the 140 Characters writing prompt. If you would like to share this free writing printable with others, please link to this post. Do not link directly to the PDF file.

Looking for more writing prompts? Browse our huge collection!

How to make word banks about nature

Make topical word banks about nature, science, or geography that kids can use again and again when describing a place or writing reports and poems.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links for products we recommend.

word bank is a list of words related to a topic or theme. Kids collect subject-specific vocabulary, organize it in a word bank, and then use it to enhance their writing.

This activity will help students create any number of nature-themed portable word banks they can use again and again when describing a place or writing nature-centered reports and poems. Encourage them to make word banks about nature topics that interest them or that you’re studying about in science or geography.

Make a Portable Word Bank

For each word bank your child wants to make, you’ll need a manila file folder. On the folder tab, write the theme of that word bank, such as “Seasons.”

Some children will enjoy gluing related magazine pictures to the front of the folder (showing sun, clouds, snow, etc.). On the front of the file folder, write “Seasons” (or “Words about Seasons”) as the title.

  • Younger children’s word banks can be pretty general, such as Seasons, Plants, Animals, or Ocean.
  • Older kids may enjoy creating more specific word banks that go along with their studies, such as Land Forms, Weather, Trees, Mammals, or Tide Pools.
  • Teens’ word banks should be the most specific, as they zero in on even more focused topics, such as Storms, Conifers, Woodland Mammals, or Mollusks.

As they discover or think of related vocabulary, they can write the words on the inside of the file folder. Some students find it helpful to make columns by category and add specific terms under each appropriate heading.

For instance, a word bank about seasons could have columns for Spring, Summer, Fall (or Autumn), and Winter, while a word bank about mammals might be categorized by Carnivore, Herbivore, and Omnivore. 

Expand Your Word Bank

Word banks are cumulative, so encourage your kids to build them over time. They can grow their nature word banks in several ways.

1. Be General or Specific

Either make a fairly broad word bank (about biomes, for example), or create specific word banks about individual biomes such as Tundra or Desert.

A basic word list featuring bodies of water might expand into several separate word banks (like oceanspond habitats, or the Amazon). It’s always more meaningful to do this in conjunction with subjects you’re currently studying.

2. Commune with Nature

Visit a natural setting and collect nature words. Include plants, animals, and objects you can see. Listen for and jot down sounds of birds, water, and weather. Notice odors and fragrances that waft to your noses. Run your hands over surfaces and write down their textures.

3. Read about It

Collect brochures and pamphlets from nature centers, botanical gardens, visitor centers, aviary, or even your local nursery. Later, you can scour these resources for new words and add them to the word banks.

4. Forage Through Field Guides

Explore a field guide, nonfiction book, or nature website to find topical vocabulary words and terms about the subject.

5. Get Descriptive

Use a thesaurus to find interesting synonyms for common descriptive words like green, rough, or hot.

Write with Word Banks

Word banks make a great resource for students to draw from when they’re writing about a specific topic. Most students (younger and more reluctant writers in particular) can find it challenging to include specific details in their writing. Their new word banks will help them use precise and vivid vocabulary. And as a parent, you’ll be thrilled to see your kids using less-familiar words without constantly asking you how to spell them! This helps promote independent writing, especially in younger children.

Whether you store the word banks in an expandable file folder or punch holes and insert them in a binder, keep them handy so they’re accessible and, therefore, more likely to get used.

Pull out the word games for activities such as these:

  • Preparing a science or nature report
  • Describing a geological feature or phenomenon of nature
  • Summarizing a field trip experience
  • Writing stories that include descriptions of outdoor spaces, scenery, or weather
  • Creating poetry (It’s fun, for example, to introduce onomatopoeia when discussing nature sounds like  the “boom!” of thunder or the “crackle” of leaves. Invite your children to write their own individual poems, using their word bank as a resource.
  • Writing vocabulary-rich sentences about a science or nature topic you’re learning about (perfect for younger learners)

How else do you use word banks?

Photo: GerryT, courtesy of Creative Commons

Historical fiction photo prompts

Historical fiction photo prompts open doors of imagination as kids sail on the Mayflower, pan for gold, or create a historical adventure.

This collection of historical fiction photo prompts lets kids step back in time to experience a slice of history.

Whether they’re sailing on the Mayflower, panning for gold in Old California, protecting a Jewish family during World War II, or creating their own “You Are There” historical adventure, these prompts will open the doors of their imaginations.

Or, enhance your studies of history by inviting your children to use these prompts for writing across the curriculum.

1. Pilgrim’s Progress

The year is 1620. Imagine that you and your parents are aboard the Mayflower, bound for a destination that’s an ocean away from friends, family, and every comfort you have ever known. Write a journal entry expressing your hopes and fears about starting all over again in the New World.

Historical Prompt - Mayflower2

2. Gold Fever

Eureka! It’s 1849, and folks are flocking to California in search of gold. Imagine that you are a miner with “gold fever” living in a mining camp called Hangtown. Write a letter home telling your family about a typical day. What is life like in the camp? Is there law and order where you live? Have you been successful at prospecting for gold? Did you strike it rich?

Historical Prompt - Gold Rush

3. Hiding Place

During World War II, you and your parents hid a Jewish family in your home in Holland to protect them from the Nazis. Who was this family? How did you keep them safe? Write a paragraph explaining why you chose to do this, even though it meant putting your own family at great risk.

Historical Prompt - Holocaust

4. Doorways to History

These may look like ordinary wooden doors salvaged from old buildings, but things are not always as they seem! You see, each door leads to a different place and time. Which door will you step through? What moment in history will greet you? What historical figure will be your guide? Write a story about your adventure.

Historical Prompts - Doors2

If your children have enjoyed these exciting journal prompts, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photos: Vladislav Bezrukov (Mayflower), Library of Congress (gold miners), anyjazz65 (doors), courtesy of Creative Commons

Taking the tears out of copywork

If your child can't finish copywork because he daydreams or keeps losing his place, try these 2 simple tools for taking the tears out of copywork!
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I usually don’t get to observe my grandkids’ homework process. Now and then they’ll do schoolwork at our house, but when their family lived with us temporarily during their home remodeling project, I had a birds’-eye view!

Copying by Hand Can Be Tedious 

This particular day, Ryan was not a happy camper. His 4th-grade teacher had assigned a 3- to 5-page California mission report to his class of 9-year-olds.

On the plus side, Ryan had finished all his research. And his mom took some of the pressure off by letting him dictate his rough draft as she typed it. Still, this project ultimately had to be written by hand, meaning Ryan still had to copy the report using pencil and paper.

It was excruciating for him—and almost as painful for the rest of us. By 6:00 p.m. (with the rough draft due the next day), our reluctant writer had already spent hours recopying with not much to show for his trouble.

Ryan was quickly becoming an emotional wreck. Over the past two weeks, he’d spent all his free time on this thing and was aching to be done. But the more he fretted, the slower he seemed to go. Indeed, he was convinced he’d be at it till midnight. Ryan—and his report—were nearing zero hour, and as the pressure mounted, so did the anxiety and tears.

Three Problems with Copywork

As I observed him at the table, I began to notice three things:

  • He lost his place. Every time Ryan’s eyes returned to the typed page, he wasted precious moments trying to find where he’d left off. This made the copying process all the slower.
  • He lost his focus. Losing his place affected his ability to concentrate. He’d simply disappear into deep thought and stare off into space.
  • He lost his joy. (Well, to be honest, the joy was never there to begin with.) But as time edged forward, mounting discouragement gave way to slumped shoulders and tears.

Tools That Help

To her credit, his mom had done everything she could think of to help Ryan along.

They read and researched together for hours every day. She helped him gather his thoughts and write notes. She made the wise decision to let him narrate the report as a time-saving and encouraging step in the process. But facing this last mountain with her son, she was finally at her wits’ end.

Leaning over Ryan, I gave him a hug and introduced two little tricks that I hoped would help him over the hump. My fingers were crossed—you just never know what’s going to inspire a kid!

1. Reading Tracker

First I gave him a reading tracker. This handy gadget reveals one line of text while hiding what’s above and below. To continue reading, the child simply slides the tracker down to the next line. The surrounding text no longer overwhelms or confuses him, allowing him to focus on the line he is reading.

While a reading tracker is typically used to help a child keep his place when reading a book, it’s also an effective copywork aid. In Ryan’s case, it took care of two immediate problems:

  • He no longer lost his place as his eyes moved between the typed page and his handwritten copy.
  • As a result, he was able to concentrate on the task for longer periods of time.

You can purchase reading trackers herehere, and here, or you can make your own. I made Ryan’s from two sheets of folded paper, but you can also make your own using colored plastic dividers.

2. Timer

Along with the tracker, I set my kitchen timer in front of Ryan. Up to now, it had taken him hours to recopy just a few paragraphs, but I had no clue how much time was reasonable for him to copy a small section of text.

To begin with, I timed him as he copied two lines of text using his new tracker. I figured if he could copy two lines in three minutes, he could copy most paragraphs in 12-15 minutes. We started with 15. When he proclaimed he’d copied his first paragraph with time to spare, we were ecstatic!

Success breeds more success, so we tried it again. This time, I reduced the time to 12 minutes. Again, Ryan surprised us by beating the clock. Immediately, the atmosphere in the room changed from one of weighty oppression to buoyant optimism: Ryan could see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Some children just don’t handle timed activities very well. For Ryan, however, the use of a timer proved magical. Instead of fearing the advance of the clock, he let his vivid imagination take over. When I asked him which tool—the tracker or the timer—was the most helpful, he said with a gleeful smile, “The timer! I pretended it was a ticking bomb and tried to finish before it went off.”

“My Hand Hurts”

Writing with renewed speed did produce one consequence for Ryan: hand cramping. Many young children complain that their hand gets tired or sore when writing. If your child experiences this, let him take occasional breaks to have a snack or play outside.

Finishing by bedtime bolstered Ryan’s shaky confidence. With these two simple tools—the tracker and the timer—his mood went from foul to fabulous!

Does copywork produce tears at your house? Next time, give these a try and let me know how it goes!

Photo: eren{sea+prairie}, courtesy of Creative Commons

4 expository essay writing prompts for high school

Prompts ask teens to explain how to start a collection, apply for a job, help storm victims, and avoid college debt.

Expository writing explains, describes, or informs. Today, let your high school student choose one of these expository essay prompts to practice writing to explain.

1. Treasures to Keep

People love to collect and display items that have sentimental value or special appeal. Key chains, seashells, vintage tea cups, action figures, and sports memorabilia are just a few examples. Do you have a special collection? Tell the benefits of having a collection, and explain how someone can begin to grow a collection of his or her own.

2. Blown Away

A devastating tornado has leveled much of a nearby small town. Write an essay explaining what you would do to help these families recover from their loss.

3. It’s Off to Work I Go

Your parents have decided it’s time for you to get a part-time job. Write an essay explaining the steps you need to follow in order to apply for a job.

4. I’m College Smart

With the rising costs of tuition, many college-bound students are relying on loans to help them pay for their education. Sadly, this means college students owe an average of $33,000 when they graduate, which often takes 10 years or longer to repay. Research different options for how to go to college without debt. Then, write an essay explaining several ways you can avoid facing massive debt when you head off to school.

If you enjoyed these expository essay writing prompts for high school, be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays! Once a month, we feature topics especially suited for teens, including:

Photo Credits: Draco2008 (cars), Ivan Walsh (shells), MixedGrill (collection), Steve Snodgrass (Pez), courtesy of Creative Commons.

78 Ideas for writing across the curriculum

These ideas for writing across the curriculum make writing practical and fun. Love how project-based writing let kids write in the ways they learn best.

Writing. It’s everywhere! If you’re home right now, let your eyes wander over the room in search of words. What do you notice? A shopping list, perhaps? Mail? Picture books? Birthday cards? Cereal boxes?

Maybe you’re in a coffee shop. Look around and take in the menu, food packages, a stack of magazines, or the community bulletin board.

Breaking Out of the Rut

Even though there are many kinds of writing, we often get in a rut by limiting our children to stories and reports. When I was homeschooling my own kids, I wanted them to have all sorts of writing experiences. Unit studies were perfect for writing across the curriculum.

I still assigned more “traditional” writing, of course. But we also had fun with short, targeted, project-based writing activities that dovetailed writing with other subjects such as science, nature, and history.

These activities took the form of brochures and book jackets, magazines and diaries, obituaries and editorials, charts and posters. Tying our writing—both formal and informal—to our studies made writing practical. It also helped cement concepts and gave the kids many opportunities just to have fun with words.

Benefits of Writing Across the Curriculum 

Explore a topic in greater depth.

These different projects and writing activities encouraged my children to dig deeper. My son, for example, created a newspaper about the Victorian era. He included news articles, advertisements, letters to the editor, human interest stories, and cartoons. Each required different kinds of research, helping him learn more about this time period than a report alone would accomplish.

Appeal to your kids’ interests and learning styles.

I don’t have to tell you that children learn differently.

  • The kinesthetic child learns better when he can build, work with textures, or use various media.
  • The auditory learner might like writing and performing songs, poems, speeches, or plays.
  • Projects that include art, photography, or computer-related activities appeal to the visual child.

Children absorb information through their senses. The more ways a child handles information, the better he retains it. When assigning writing, it’s wise to offer lots of choices that develop well-rounded writers. Project-based writing gives all students the chance to write in the ways they learn best.

Make writing more fun.

Don’t get me wrong: reports are important. But I bet your child will be less resistant if, from time to time, he gets to write an advertisement, create a trivia game, or make a brochure about Pompeii or Ancient Egypt or Lewis and Clark’s expedition. Activities like these help him see that writing can be fun!

Ideas for Writing Across the Curriculum

Journals, book reviews, glossaries, and recipes can all find a place in your homeschool writing diet. Explore this list of 78 writing genres. Many don’t require much planning, so pluck out a few ideas and try them this very week!

  1. Advertisements
  2. Alphabet book
  3. Animal stories (fiction or nonfiction)
  4. Autobiographies
  5. Banners
  6. Blogs
  7. Biographies
  8. Book jackets
  9. Brochures
  10. Bumper stickers
  11. Business cards
  12. Cartoons
  13. Catalogs
  14. Comics
  15. Coupons
  16. Day in the life
  17. Descriptive writing
  18. Dialogs
  19. Diaries
  20. Dictionaries and glossaries
  21. Displays
  22. Editorials
  23. Expository or informative writing
  24. Fact sheets
  25. Flyers
  26. Food packages
  27. Games (board games, trivia games, vocabulary games)
  28. Greeting cards
  29. Guidebook
  30. Handbook
  31. Headlines
  32. How-to articles
  33. Index
  34. Instruction manuals
  35. Interviews
  36. Journals
  37. Lab reports
  38. Lapbooks
  39. Letters (friendly letters, business letters, complaints, requests, thank-you notes)
  40. Lists
  41. Magazines
  42. Maps
  43. Math word problems
  44. Menus
  45. Narratives
  46. Newsletters
  47. Newspapers
  48. Obituaries
  49. Observations
  50. Opinions
  51. Outlines
  52. Petitions
  53. Photo essays
  54. Picture books
  55. Plays
  56. Poetry
  57. Postcards
  58. Posters
  59. PowerPoint presentations
  60. Proverbs and sayings
  61. Questionnaires
  62. Quizzes or test questions
  63. Recipes
  64. Responses to literature
  65. Reviews
  66. Rules
  67. Scrapbooks
  68. Signs
  69. Slogans
  70. Songs
  71. Speeches
  72. Sports articles
  73. Stories
  74. Summaries
  75. Surveys
  76. Timelines
  77. Tweets
  78. Want ads

Which of these sound like fun to you? Where will you start?

Photos: Seier+Seier (texture), Jimmie (lapbook), courtesy of Creative Commons

Writing prompts for creative kids

Writing prompts for creative kids will inspire them to plan details for a dream bedroom, imagine the perfect birthday cake, and more!

Do your children’s eyes light up when you pull out the art supplies, suggest a craft, or invite them to decorate cookies? If so, they’ll fall in love with this assortment of writing prompts for creative kids!

Whether they’re planning details for a dream bedroom or thinking of the perfect birthday cake, exciting prompts await! For added fun, each prompt also features an optional project.

1. Artist’s Hangout

As you enter the art studio, you are greeted by a sign that invites you to create a work of art.

For your medium, you may pick acrylic paint, finger paint, colored pencils, charcoal pencils, or pastels. For your surface, you can choose a blank wall, concrete sidewalk, drawing paper, large artist’s canvas, or a white T-shirt.

Which surface will you decorate? Which medium will you select? What colors will you use? Describe the images or designs you will draw or paint.

Want to do more? Create a real-life art project.

2. Dream Room

Sometimes, kids’ bedrooms are decorated according to a theme, such as Star Wars, horses, sports, rainbows, or pirates. If you could decorate your bedroom any way you want, what theme would you choose? What would be your three main colors? Describe the furniture, floor coverings, storage, and decorations you would use to help create your ideal living space.

Want to do more? Make a shoebox diorama of your ideal room.

3. Hats Off to You

You are entering a contest in which contestants will design hats that represents one of their parents’ jobs or occupations. Is your dad a builder, salesman, attorney, or farmer? Is your mom a teacher, nurse, restaurant owner, or artist? Make a list of 5-10 objects you could put on your hat that would tell different things about this job. Explain why you chose each one.

Want to do more? Design a real hat.

4. The Art of Cakes

Cake decorating has truly become an art! Elaborate cakes boast incredibly detailed themes like superheroes, Alice in Wonderland, or LEGO®. Cakes starring candy, chocolate, or fruit and cream are as tasty as they are beautiful. What would be your dream birthday cake? Describe your cake’s theme or flavor and explain how you would decorate it.

Want to do more? Have fun decorating cookies or cupcakes.

Photo: Abby Lanes, courtesy of Creative Commons
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