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.
CTY’s online writing courses for students in grades 5-12 give students the chance to work with professional writers and explore creative and academic writing, all the way up to AP English Language and Composition. Many writing courses are offered in session-based or flexi-paced formats and, as a result, course length varies. Our web-based grammar courses help students in elementary, middle, and high school learn and practice the rules of grammar and usage and better understand how their grammatical choices can affect the quality of their prose. CTY’s session-based visual fluency courses incorporate principles of communication theory, design theory, and cognitive psychology to understand principles of effective visual communication.
Gifted students whose writing skills are ahead of their agemates should not be held back. The Johns Hopkins University CTY Online Programs Writing Series is designed especially for these children. Begun in 1983 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, these courses provide gifted writers in grades 5-12 rare opportunities to work with professional writers to explore both academic and creative writing.
From an instructor who also teaches at a university:
"Providing feedback to these students, many of whom could have fine writing careers in front of them... has been one of the most rewarding endeavors in my teaching career."
A deep understanding of grammatical structure allows students to make informed choices about style. In Building Blocks, the lessons and exercises encourage students to think like linguists to discover how the parts of speech and sentence patterns can be used to build effective sentences.Grammar FUNdamentalscovers a broad range of topics to meet current middle-school grammar standards, and reinforces lessons with grammar games, puzzles, and tests.From Structure to Styleencourages students to write analytically about grammatical usage working in an online collaborative community, and then apply the analysis to their own creative writing. All three courses include writing assignments critiqued by CTY instructors to give students the opportunity to practice their grammar prowess. Students emerge from these courses understanding how their grammatical choices can affect the quality of their prose.
Digital technology has made the ability to create and share images commonplace. Visual fluency is now as vital as verbal fluency to success in college and life. Students learn to recognize the building blocks of visual composition and to deconstruct and analyze visual messages. CTY instructors guide students as they examine the components of effective visual storytelling and produce their own stories.
To learn more:
Writing, Grammar, and Visual Fluency Courses
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