Entries Tagged 'Writing & Journal Prompts' ↓

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

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!

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

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.

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

5 journal prompts from Proverbs

These journal prompts from Proverbs will encourage children to think and write about virtues such as wisdom, patience, and hard work.

Proverbs are short phrases that provide godly wisdom for life. In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs was written mostly by King Solomon as a way to teach his son to fear the Lord and live according to God’s commands.

This week, encourage your children—and teens—to respond to Scripture and apply it to their own lives. These journal prompts from Proverbs will invite them to do so as they think about virtues such as wisdom, patience, and hard work.

1. A Foolish King

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver! ~Proverbs 16:16 

Write a story about a king who had piles of gold and silver, but no wisdom or understanding.

2. Watch Those Words

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. ~Proverbs 10:19 

Have you ever made someone angry or hurt their feelings because of something you said? Write about a time you wish you had been more careful with your words.

3. Patience Is a Virtue

A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. ~Proverbs 15:18 

Write about a situation in which patient words could prevent or end an argument.

4. Talk Is Cheap

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. ~Proverbs 14:23 

Write a story about a hard-working young man who hardly ever speaks a word, and his loud but lazy older brother.

5. Take My Advice

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. ~Proverbs 12:15 

Without using the words listen or listening, explain some of the things “listening” might mean in this verse. Include a personal example about a time you chose to listen to wise advice.

Looking for more writing prompts? Check out our extensive collection on Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Photo: Jeff Belmonte, courtesy of Creative Commons

Free Writing Printable for October

The cooler temperatures and changing leaves beckon you to take a hike in the woods. While on your stroll, you hear something—or someone—making quite a racket. Glancing toward the voice, you cannot believe your eyes: a chipmunk is standing on a rock, and it’s shouting a warning!

What is this chattering chipmunk saying? It’s up to you to finish this story using your imagination.

Talking Chipmunk Printable Writing Prompt

Click the image above to download the “The Furry Messenger” 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? We have an extensive collection on Writing Prompt Wednesdays!

Writing prompts about fictional book characters

Writing prompts about fictional characters help children use their imaginations to engage with make-believe friends who live inside favorite books.

This article contains affiliate links for books we’re confident your family will love!

When children step into the world of books, the characters they encounter can seem as real as their own friends and family.

These writing prompts about fictional characters will help them use their imaginations to engage with literary friends who live inside the pages of their favorite novels!

1. What Would Frodo Do?

What fictional character do you most admire? Is it spunky Anne Shirley from the Anne of Green Gables series? Wise Aslan from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe? Optimistic Sara Crewe from A Little Princess? Frodo, the selfless hobbit from The Lord of the Rings? How about Freckles, that young man of such high integrity?

When we face challenges, it often helps to seek advice from someone we look up to. Think of a book character who has earned your respect, and write a letter to him or her asking for advice.

2. You Were There

If you could be friends with a character in one of your favorite books, whose friend would you be? Choose an experience from the book and rewrite it in your own words as if the two of you had been there together.

3. Let’s Talk

Imagine a conversation between a fictional character and a member of your family, such as your mom or little brother. Write this conversation in dialog form.

4. Inquiring Minds Want to Know

You are a journalist for a newspaper. For a future article, your editor has assigned you to interview a fictional character from one of your favorite novels. Which character will you choose to interview? What would you like to learn about him or her? Come up with three questions to ask, and then write down this character’s answers.

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

Photos: Smudge 9000 (Anne of Green Gables), Corey Leopold (lion), Tom Garnett (Frodo) courtesy of Creative Commons

I don’t know what to write about! {26 writing ideas for kids}

When the kids say, "I don't know what to write about," look no further than these creative writing warm-ups, prompts, and other writing ideas.

This article contains affiliate links for products we think your family will enjoy.

Mom, I don’t know what to write about! Who among us hasn’t heard one of our kids make that complaint?

If you’re between writing lessons, need a pre-writing warm-up, hope to propel your children out of the doldrums, or simply want to mix things up a bit, look no further than this list of clever and creative writing ideas. Some offer topics that will coax stories or reports out of a reluctant writer. Several of our ideas encourage children to think outside the box, while others are simply vocabulary-building tools or lists that aren’t meant to become works of prose at all!

Do you have younger children, reluctant writers, or kids with special needs? Don’t hesitate to let them narrate their ideas if they’re not able to write independently. After all, writing is much more about the thinking process than about who actually puts pencil to paper!

26 Writing Ideas for Kids

1. Rewrite a familiar story. For example, change the setting or the create new characters.

2. Write a cento poem.

3. Copy a paragraph from either a fiction or nonfiction book. Replace weak or boring words with strong, more descriptive ones.

4.  Use guided writing to draw out ideas.

5. Make a bucket list of places you want to see and things you want to do before you’re old.

6. Write about a time you needed stitches, broke your arm, crashed your bike, or experienced a similarly exciting or hair-raising event.

When the kids say, "I don't know what to write about," look no further than these creative writing warm-ups, prompts, and other writing ideas.

7. Write your own math word problems.

8. Write a letter to your mom explaining why writing is hard for you.

9. Write a 100-word story.

10. Pretend you are an animal and journal about some of your activities.

11. Make a comic strip. Write speech bubbles for the characters in the strip.

12. Make or build something and explain the steps you followed to make your creation.

13. Invent and write about new uses for familiar items such as pool noodles, buckets, duct tape, or popsicle sticks.

14. Play sentence-building games.

15. Become pen pals with Grandma. Everyone loves getting “real” letters in the mail!

16. Act out a story using a variety of plastic toys and figurines while someone writes it down.

When the kids say, "I don't know what to write about," look no further than these creative writing warm-ups, prompts, and other writing ideas.

17. Think of one aisle or section of the local grocery or department store, such as Electronics, Sporting Goods, Produce, Health Care, Toys, or Garden Center. Make a list of things you might find in that section. See how many items you can add to your list!

18. Create a short report or story and turn it into a PowerPoint presentation.

19. When pictures replace certain words in a story, it’s called a rebus. Write a story, but replace some of the words with pictures to make your own rebus. You can use stickers, clipart, or your own drawings. You can find rebus examples at ABC Teach.

20. Instead of a written nonfiction report, make a diagram, scrapbook, brochure, mobile, flap book, or display board about your topic.

21. Make lists of items in different categories, such as vegetables, toys, or things found at the park or zoo. The list should include 5-10 items, depending on the child’s age.

22. Tell a story about one of your baby pictures.

23. Write a summary of a short book.

24. Use a story-prompting activity such as Rory’s Story Cubes or WriteShop’s StoryBuilders.

25. Tell about a place you visited recently. Explain where you went and what happened while you were there.

26. Have fun inventing silly or serious stories using a magnetic story-making kit.

Which of these ideas will appeal to your restless writers?

Photos: Carissa Rogers (boy writing), breakmake (child & flag), shelnew19 (broken leg), davidd (plastic ponies), courtesy of Creative Commons.
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