Entries from April 2013 ↓

2013 Teach Them Diligently & Homeschool Book Fair Conventions

In the next two weeks WriteShop will be exhibiting at two homeschool conventions: Teach Them Diligently in Spartanburg, SC, and the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington, TX.

Teach Them Diligently, Spartanburg – May 2-4

Teach Them Diligently Homeschool Convention
If you live near Spartanburg, SC, you’ll want to attend Teach Them Diligently at the Spartanburg Expo Center. Kyra will happily help you at at our booth. In addition she’ll be sharing her writing expertise through two workshops:

  • Building Dynamic Essays in Middle and High School
  • Secrets to Making Writing Fun!

Homeschool Book Fair – May 10-11

Arlington Book Fair

Kim Kautzer will help and encourage you at the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington, TX.  She’s looking forward to answering your writing questions, showing you WriteShop products, and helping you choose the best level for your child’s writing needs. Visit the convention site for a workshop schedule, exhibit hall hours, and driving directions.

At BOTH conventions you can:

  • See our full line of WriteShop products
  • Purchase WriteShop materials.
  • Learn how you can teach a WriteShop co-op class in your area.
  • Receive much-needed encouragement about teaching writing.

Whichever homeschool convention you attend, it’s a great time to stop by our booth to ask questions. Come see what’s new or browse through WriteShop books in person. Visit the convention sites for workshop schedules, exhibit hall hours, and directions to the conferences. We look forward to seeing you there!

How to write time capsule letters

time capsule letters, time capsule letter

April is nearly over, but our celebration of National Card and Letter Writing month is still going strong. This week, why not help your children write time capsule letters? Then, let them enjoy the fun of hiding their time capsule in your yard or neighborhood!

A time capsule is like buried treasure for someone in the future. Imagine that 200 years from now an archaeologist is digging through the ruins of your neighborhood. The items and letters in your time capsule will give him valuable clues about what life was like in the twenty-first century.

Items for Your Time Capsule

Enthusiastic children may want the choice to make their own time capsules. But if your family decides to work together on one time capsule, each child should still write his own letter.

First, find a strong, sealed container for each time capsule. A coffee can or cookie tin would be an excellent choice. Next, gather items to fill the container, such as:

  • Family photo
  • Favorite recipe
  • Handmade item crafted by the child, friend, or relative
  • Favorite poem (do you have an extra copy from Poem in Your Pocket Day?)
  • Business cards from local restaurants, stores, dentists, doctors, etc.
  • Ticket stubs from an amusement park, movie, concert, or play
  • Cover of a current magazine showing political, social, sports, or health news OR entertainment, fashion, or decorating trends

Write Your Time Capsule Letter

A time capsule letter should highlight the habits and language of everyday life. What vocabulary words have your children learned lately? Ask them to use these in their letters.

What would your child want a new friend to know about your house, family, weekend activities, and schooldays? A few topics should be more than enough for a three-paragraph letter.

Topic Ideas

If your child experiences writer’s block, use the items in the time capsule to prompt paragraph topics:

1. Write about photography. Describe the camera, phone, or tablet your family uses to take pictures. Do you print photos at home or at a store? Does your family Christmas picture go in a frame or photo album? Do you share it with friends through email, social networks, or Christmas cards?

2. Write about food. Describe a new food that each member of your family has tried in last year. Did they like it or not? What is your funniest memory at the dinner table? What is your favorite memory in the kitchen?

3. Write about do-it-yourself projects. What have Mom and Dad been doing around the house, yard, or garage lately? What is your favorite thing to make? (A tower made of Legos? An original song for your instrument? A bike ramp? A pencil drawing?)

4. Write about transportation. How does your family get around town? How do your parents pay for services when they run errands (cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards, gift cards)?

Ending the Time Capsule Letters

Finally, ask your children to end their time capsule letters by answering two very important questions. Someday, their own children or grandchildren may be the “archaeologists” who open the time capsule. The answers to these questions will be treasured for years to come.

What is one thing you wish you had known or understood five years ago?

What is one thing you hope to learn about, discover, or experience in the next five years?

Now that your time capsule is finished, hide or bury it for someone to find in the future. You might:

  • Tuck it away in a corner of your basement or attic
  • Bury it between the shrubs in your backyard planter
  • Place it high in the rafters of your garage

What did your children write about in their time capsule letters? Leave a comment to share your time capsule adventure!

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

Photo: Erik Hersman, courtesy of Creative Commons.


Journal prompts for cat-loving kids

journal prompts, writing prompts, cats, cat journal prompts, onomatopoeia

Do your kids go crazy for cats? These aren’t your typical about-my-cat journal prompts, so tempt them to pick up their pens and pencils and have some fun!

1. A Perfect Storm

What would happen if it really rained cats and dogs?

2. Wait for It…

Use your imagination to write about what a cat is thinking as she quietly sits and watches a bird.

3. Close Encounter

You wake up in your tent on day eleven of an African safari. Stepping outside, you suddenly come face to face with a noble lion. What thoughts rush through your mind, and how do you react?

4. Splat! Went the Cat

Draw a comic strip about a feisty feline using only pictures and onomatopoeia — “sound words” such as buzz, whack, knock, thump, meow, splash, and boom.

5. Friends Welcome?

Do you think someone should keep pet cats if family members or friends are allergic? Explain your opinion.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker, courtesy of Creative Commons.

SHEM and MassHOPE Homeschool Conferences: April 2013

WriteShop will be exhibiting at two homeschool conventions this coming weekend, April 25-27, 2013. It’s the perfect opportunity to refresh and recharge, learn from great speakers, and browse through curriculum. Look for the WriteShop booth at both the SHEM and MassHOPE exhibit halls.


WriteShop at SHEM Homeschool Conference
If you live near Springfield, MO—you’ll want to attend the SHEM Homeschool Convention at the Springfield Expo Center. April will be manning our booth, ready to help you with your writing questions and needs.


And if you homeschool in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, don’t miss out on the annual Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators (MassHOPE) Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Attend Kim Kautzer’s workshops

Kim is a featured speaker at the MassHOPE Homeschool Convention. She will be presenting the following workshops:

  • Inspiring Successful Writers, Part 1 (K-6)
  • Inspiring Successful Writers, Part 2 (7-12)
  • Effective Tips for Teaching Timed Essays
  • Growing Your Child’s Writing Vocabulary
  • Writing Strategies for Special Needs Kids

At BOTH conventions you can:

  • See our full line of WriteShop products
  • Purchase WriteShop materials.
  • Learn how you can teach a WriteShop co-op class in your area.
  • Receive much-needed encouragement about teaching writing.

Whichever conference you attend, it will be a great time to stop by our booth to ask questions, see what’s new, or browse through WriteShop books in person. Visit the convention sites for workshop schedules, exhibit hall hours, and directions to the conventions. See you there!

7 tips for teaching free verse poetry

free verse poetry, poetry, poems, free verse, national poetry month

WHEN you think of free verse poetry, do words like modern, unfamiliar, or even scary come to mind? It’s probably because much of modern poetry is either too confusing or too graphic.

The good news is that some poets have combined the best of literary talent and historic research, and their work is too good to pass up! That’s why I am recommending Margarita Engle and her free verse novel The Poet Slave of Cuba for our April celebration of National Poetry Month.

This is the story of Juan Francisco Manzano, a talented boy growing up on the sugar plantations of nineteenth-century Spanish Cuba. His greatest curse—and his greatest blessing—is this: he is the Poeta-Esclavo, the Poet Slave.

Engle’s book masterfully portrays the tragic struggles and sweet triumphs of a slave culture in the not-so-distant past. The stories, while tastefully drawn, do portray human suffering in a stark, startling manner. For that reason, this book is recommended for high school, or perhaps junior high at the parent’s discretion. As you read this book, keep in mind the following tips for teaching free verse poetry.

1. Compare Free Verse Poetry with Prose

Poets usually write free verse poetry using grammatical, non-rhyming sentences. Their free verse stanzas might look deceptively similar to prose. Help your children understand the difference between poetry and everyday prose using this exercise:

  • Choose a stanza from The Poet Slave or other poem. Example: I am the big brother of two freeborn babies, twins / a brother and sister, my own / free, so free, / while I am not.
  • Ask your child to rewrite the stanza in their own words, using as few words as possible. Example: I am older than my baby brother and sister. They are twins. Both of them are free, but I am not free.
  • Read the two versions out loud until your children can hear the difference.

2. Read Aloud to Understand Lines and Pauses

A line in a free verse poem can be as long as a sentence or as short as a single word. Poets put great care into making each line the perfect length to convey a thought or a feeling. Teach your children about pauses at the end of lines by taking turns reading aloud:

  • Practice breathing at the end of lines, not in the middle of them.
  • Take shorter pauses at the line break when a sentence in one line is continued in the next.
  • Take longer pauses at the line break when the two lines have separate thoughts.

You may also enjoy a more in-depth discussion of stanzas and line breaks in free verse poetry.

3. Identify Imagery and Themes

tips for teaching free verse poetry, reading poetry, imagery, themes, free verse, poemsIn The Poet Slave, references to feathers, wings, and birds start appearing in the very first stanza. This poem, however, is not about birds. The story is about a mind, soul, and body longing to be free. Note how the imagery (feathers, wings) and the theme (freedom) are closely tied together.

When you study free verse poetry, help your children identify the key images in the poem. Ask them to keep a list of ways these images are used. Most importantly, help them see the parallels between the imagery and the overarching theme.

4. Watch for Alliteration

In The Poet Slave, the proud Marquesa says:

They flicker all around him, like fireflies in the night.

This is an example of alliteration. This poetic device is fun to find—and even more fun to read. Keep an eye out for alliteration when reading free verse poetry.

5. Listen for Sound Patterns

Teach your children to be aware of sound patterns in free verse poetry. Interesting sound patterns show up when the words in a poem mimic the sounds in the story. We can almost feel la Marquesa slowly exhaling when she says:

The sight of so much invisible music
makes me sigh.

6. Try a Hands-On Experience

The Poet Slave of Cuba offers a first-person glimpse of a house slave’s world: the central courtyard, the tiled floor mosaics, the delicate blooms of tuberose and jasmine. When you read a free verse poem with your children, try to find real-world examples of things in the poem. For example:

  • The art enthusiasts in your family will appreciate making a mosaic with brightly colored scraps of paper.
  • If you live in California or Florida, you might visit a historic Spanish-style home such as the Casa de Rancho Cucamonga.

7.  Make a Character Study

A character study can be as informal as a lunchtime discussion between you and your child. It can include a T-Chart to compare the inner qualities of two characters in the story. Or, you may assign a character study essay. Your older child will choose one person in the poem (such as Juan) and write about how he learns to overcome his own character flaws.

For example, the poet slave Juan is surrounded by superstition from an early age, and he sometimes wishes that he knew how to pray. His journey into manhood teaches him not only about faith in God, but also about the true meaning of mercy.

I hope you’re excited to try a study of free verse poetry with your family, and especially your high schoolers! If you want to start with a shorter poem, try one of these classics:

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

Photos: Janne Hellsten and cuatrok77, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Homeschooling, copyright, and consumable workbooks

homeschool copyright, copyright, consumable workbooks, worksheets, legal, frugal, photocopy

IT’S NOT easy navigating the muddy waters of copyright. For instance:

  • When is it legal to photocopy a workbook?
  • Is it okay to use an acetate overlay in order to keep workbook pages pristine?
  • Can I resell a workbook that my child used but didn’t actually write in?

Last fall, Practical Homeschooling magazine published a piece I wrote: When Frugal is Illegal. Recently, they added the article to their website, and it has created a flurry of controversy!

When Frugal Is Illegal: Avoiding the Copyright Trap

As a whole, homeschoolers are a thrifty bunch. Feeding, clothing, and educating a family—usually on one income—presents challenges, and prudent moms are always searching for ways to save.

To cut curriculum costs, homeschoolers share e-books, scour used curriculum sales, or copy fill-in-the-blank workbooks. Confused by copyrights, they’re often unaware that some of these activities are legal . . . and some are not.

The Issue of Ownership

In our world, the concept of ownership goes something like this: I bought it. It’s mine. Therefore, I can use it any way I want. However, there are laws that supersede personal ownership. For example:

  • It’s illegal to park next to a fire hydrant even when you own the car.
  • Though you’re the owner, your homeowner’s association can forbid you to paint your house blue.

We understand these laws. We may not like them, but we typically obey. Why, then, is it so hard to wrap our heads around copyright?

Maybe because we’re dealing with something intangible: creations of the mind known as intellectual property . . .

(Take the copyright quiz and read the complete article here.)

Let’s talk! Do you tend to respect or ignore copyrights?

I realize copyright is one of those hot-button topics that’s sure to ruffle a few feathers and stir up some passion. So please, let’s keep the discussion civil.

Copyright 2013 © by Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

22 writing prompts that jog childhood memories

My childhood memories are rich and varied.

journal prompts, writing prompts, memories, childhood secrets, childhood memories

I loved visiting my grandma’s apartment, with its fringed window shades and faint smell of eucalyptus. Her desk drawers, lined in green felt, spilled over with card decks, cocktail napkins, and golf tees. Every door in the house was fitted with wobbly crystal doorknobs. The bathroom smelled of Listerine.

My brother and I would sleep in the small bedroom off the kitchen—the very room our mom shared with her own brother growing up in the north side of Chicago.

I can picture myself reaching way down into Grandma’s frost-filled chest freezer for the ever-present box of Eskimo Pies. Her well-stocked pantry and doily-covered tabletops contained loads of delectable treats I was often denied at home: pastries, chocolate-covered marshmallow cookies, and delicate bowls of jellied orange sticks and other candy.

This was the 1960s, long before big-box stores came on the scene. Together Grandma and I would walk to the corner of Roscoe and Broadway, where we’d explore the wonders of Simon’s Drugstore, Heinemann’s Bakery, and Martha’s Candies.

Those childhood memories of my grandma are largely synonymous with food.

In my mind’s eye, I can still picture driving from Illinois to Wisconsin beneath a canopy of crimson leaves against an blindingly blue sky. I remember Passover dinners with a million Jewish relatives in the basement of some wizened old uncle’s apartment building. Other childhood memories recall the mysteries of new baby brothers coming on the scene, building a hideout among the branches of a fallen tree, and giving my best friend’s parakeet a ride down the stairs in her aqua Barbie convertible.

It’s good to write down our recollections. As vivid as the moment seems at the time, memories fade. These prompts will help jog them. Invite your older children to participate. They’re in closer proximity to their memories, and can usually remember the details more vividly.

There are no rules: Jot your thoughts in snippets or write them out diary-style. Either way, do your best to recall the sensory details that made the moment important, for it’s those little things that keep the memory alive.

22 Writing Prompts That Jog Childhood Memories

  1. Describe one of your earliest childhood memories. How old were you? What bits and pieces can you recall?
  2. Who was your best childhood friend? Write about some of the fun things you used to do together.
  3. Can you remember your mom’s or grandmother’s kitchen? Use sight and smell words to describe it.
  4. Describe the most unusual or memorable place you have lived.
  5. Did you have your own bedroom growing up, or did you share with a sibling? Describe your room.
  6. Were you shy as a child? Bossy? Obnoxious? Describe several of your childhood character traits. How did those qualities show themselves? Are you still that way today?
  7. What childhood memories of your mother and father do you have? Describe a couple of snapshot moments.
  8. Write about a holiday memory. Where did you go? What did you do? What foods do you remember?
  9. Describe your favorite hideaway.
  10. Did you attend a traditional school, or were you educated at home? Describe a school-related memory.
  11. Think of a time when you did something you shouldn’t have done. Describe both the incident and the feelings they created.
  12. Have you ever needed stitches, broken a bone, or been hospitalized? Describe a childhood injury or illness.
  13. Do you have quirky or interesting relatives on your family tree? Describe one or two of them.
  14. Describe your most memorable family vacation. Where did you go? Did something exciting or unusual happen? Did you eat new or unique foods?
  15. Did you grow up with family traditions? Describe one.
  16. Books can be childhood friends. What were some of your favorites? Why were they special?
  17. Describe a game or activity you used to play with a sibling.
  18. What were some of your favorite television shows as a child?
  19. What was your most beloved toy? Describe its shape, appearance, and texture. What feelings come to mind when you think of that toy?
  20. Think of a childhood event that made you feel anxious or scared. Describe both the event itself and the feelings it stirred up.
  21. Write about some sayings, expressions, or advice you heard at home when you were growing up. Who said them? What did they mean? Do you use any of those expressions today?
  22. What are your happiest childhood memories? Describe one event and the feelings associated with it.

What’s one of your most vivid childhood memories? Share a snippet in the comments!

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Copyright 2013 © by Kim Kautzer. All rights reserved.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Photo: Lisa M, courtesy of Creative Commons.

Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poem in Your Pocket Day, Scarlet Pimpernel

This article contains affiliate links for books I’m confident your family will love! Poem in Your Pocket Day is a day when ordinary folks do unusual, unexpected things . . . when beautiful and noble thoughts are hidden away just out of sight, tucked inside a common exterior (in this case, probably denim).

All this reminds me of one of my favorite heroes: The Scarlet Pimpernel. If you and your family have not yet read the classic novel by Baroness Orczy, run to the library right now because you’re in for a treat. Then, why not join me in making Poem in Your Pocket Day a day to remember – Scarlet Pimpernel style!

Choose a Verse for Poem in Your Pocket Day

If possible, visit the home of an old, mysterious relative. Ask to see their library, and pull the oldest book of poetry off of the dustiest bookshelf you can find. A yellowed page with long-forgotten pressed flowers should provide the perfect passage for Poem in Your Pocket Day. Or, consider one of these ideas:

Write It Down

Now it’s time to copy your poem by hand (using a quill pen, of course). For an extra splash of adventure, try one of these projects on for size:

  • Write your poem on a white piece of paper, and carefully fold it into a square note. Then, ask an experienced adult to singe the edges with a match, candle, or stove flame. Now, it will appear that you have saved a precious poem from destruction by fire.
  • Make a tiny scroll. Write down your poem, roll the paper tightly, and tie it with a red ribbon. Others might just believe that you are carrying a royal announcement in your coat lining.
  • Make a tiny book. If you feel especially inspired, give it a cloth cover (leather or silk are preferred). Write one line of your poem on each page. Now, dip the edge of each page in water. This will make your pocket poetry book appear to be a relic of several long ocean voyages.

What to Do With It

The whole point of Poem in Your Pocket Day is to share the wonder and grace of poetry with others. You can always share your poem selection on Twitter—the modern, up-to-date way—using the hashtag #pocketpoem. However, I think the Scarlet Pimpernel would have especially approved of the following methods:

  • Mail your poem to a dear and faraway friend. Tell your friend that you carried this poem in your pocket for a whole day, and you thought of your friend every hour.
  • Place your poem in a sea-worthy bottle, and set the bottle afloat. Someday, someone will find this beautiful poem, and wonder for years to come about the person who sent it.
  • Read your poem and say it to yourself until you have it memorized. When someone asks about your day at the dinner table, you can reply something like this:

I went out to the hazel wood, / Because a fire was in my head, / And cut and peeled a hazel wand, / And hooked a berry to a thread; / And when white moths were on the wing, / And moth-like stars were flickering out, / I dropped the berry in a stream / And caught a little silver trout. (William Butler Yeats, “The Song of a Wandering Aengus”)

You can also check out these Poem in Your Pocket Day ideas, or download a free printable containing nine pocket-sized poems that are perfect for children!

How will you celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day? Leave a comment and let us know if you joined the fun!

Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.

This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy.

Photo: Jay Tamboli, courtesy of Creative Commons.


All About Spelling review | Homeschool spelling program

All About Spelling Review - This homeschool spelling program offers multisensory learning by including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning tools.

DOES YOUR CHILD whimper and sink low in his seat when faced with his weekly spelling list? Is your current spelling method failing to capture his attention or produce desired results? Then perhaps All About Spelling by Marie Rippel is the spelling curriculum you have been looking for.

It isn’t your garden-variety, ho-hum spelling program. This looks like fun!

A Multisensory Approach

All About Spelling capitalizes on multisensory learning by including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning tools. It invites children to approach spelling and vocabulary with curiosity and enthusiasm for the learning journey.

Also, to accommodate even the most reluctant speller, the curriculum incorporates the use of phonograms, a tool that aids a child’s ability to sound out unfamiliar words and master spelling.

Rippel’s purpose in writing this curriculum is to teach children spelling in such a way that they always have the tools they need “at hand” to successfully and consistently spell accurately. And, due to the multisensory integration in All About Spelling, children are apt to internalize the principles taught and remember them easily.

You can begin working with children as young as preschool age. The program targets any school-age child who is working to establish and solidify spelling skills. Older children who struggle with spelling will benefit from reviewing the skills in this curriculum also.

Program Features

Each level comes prepackaged with both teacher and student materials.

All About Spelling Review - This homeschool spelling program offers multisensory learning by including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning tools.

Teacher’s Manual: This product is a series of paperback books, Levels 1 through 7, which serve as teachers manuals for the series.

Material Packet: Each Teacher’s Manual comes with a corresponding student Material Packet, also available separately. Each student will need his own.

Each Material Packet includes nearly everything your student will need to successfully complete all the lessons in that particular level. For Level 1, where most students begin, items such as progress charts, flashcards, index card dividers, and a completion certificate are included in the material packet. As the levels progress, more items are added to each material packet to accommodate growing spelling skills.

Interactive Kits: You will need to make a one-time purchase of either the Basic or Deluxe Interactive Kit, which you will use in Levels 1 through 7. The Interactive Kit contains items such as letter tiles, magnets, and Phonogram CD-ROM.

How It Works

To use All About Spelling, follow step-by-step instructions that guide you through the teaching process. The teacher’s manual provides sample dialogue along with tips for teachers, encouragement from the author, and hints for how to motivate your student.

Each book level is comprised of up to 28 lessons, with every lesson thoroughly mapped out so you can easily follow along. How much time you spend on a lesson is completely customizable. You decide if your student needs to spend a few days or weeks going over a particular lesson, or if your eager learner is ready to plow through a handful of lessons at a time.

Together, you and your child practice principles from each lesson using the provided flashcards to help the student master phonogram and letter sounds. The flashcards include:

  • Sound Cards for parent to dictate letter sounds for the student to write
  • Phonogram Cards that teach the sound of each phonogram
  • Key Cards with quiz questions to test your student’s memory
  • Word Cards that incorporate the sounds your student is learning simple words your child can recognize by sight

Nearly everything your student needs to complete a lesson is provided, including perforated flashcard-sized dividers for orderly storage of your flashcards. You will need to provide additional items such as lined paper, colored pencils, and stickers. An optional magnet board and letter tile magnets, available from All About Spelling, further enhance the learning experience.

Integration of Learning Styles

What I like most about All About Spelling is the integration of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. The broad appeal to the various types of ways children learn allows parents to capitalize on their own child’s individual strengths instead of highlighting their weaknesses.

Also, easy-to-follow instructions liberate overwhelmed parents by taking the lesson-planning stress out of teaching vital spelling skills. With very little needed beyond the included material packets, this curriculum is a one-stop shop for teaching your child how to spell.

Through Rippel’s well-planned parental guidance and your encouragement of your own children, All About Spelling sets children up for success.

Click to receive free spelling downloads, or visit All About Spelling’s FAQ page to learn more about the program, see sample lessons, and get placement help.

Courtney Parkinson holds a master’s degree in counseling (MFT) from Cal Baptist University. A former WriteShop student herself, Courtney now works as a child therapist. 

WriteShop received a set of books from All About Spelling at no charge in exchange for Courtney’s honest review. No other compensation was provided. We did not promise a favorable All About Spelling review, just an honest opinion of this product. However, because of our positive impression of the program, WriteShop is now an affiliate. This post contains affiliate links. Read our full disclosure policy

Descriptive essay prompts for middle schoolers

Writing Prompts, Descriptive Essay Prompts, Middle School, Junior High

ENCOURAGE your middle schoolers to try these descriptive essays, then watch their creative writing go from black and white to technicolor!

1. Welcome to the 22nd Century

Describe the car, house, or workplace of the future. Which familiar items are missing? What new technology has developed, and how does it contribute to our well-being, comfort, or convenience?

2. One Day Each Year

Birthdays are celebrated in many different ways. Describe birthday festivities in your house, including the food, the gifts, and favorite family traditions.

3. Mainstreet, USA

Your pen-pal and his parents are thinking of moving to your hometown. Describe your town or city, especially the sights and scenery it offers to curious visitors.

4. Dare to be Different

Think of the most unusual person you have known: their personality, their external qualities, and their unique point of view (background and special knowledge). Try to capture this amazing person on paper.

5. Surfing and Snowflakes

Would you rather spend an evening stoking bonfires by the beach, or throwing snowballs at your best friend? Describe your favorite season, including the activities that make it so appealing to you.

Be sure to check back each week for more Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: kreetube, courtesy of Creative Commons.
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