As a teacher you want what is best for your students – and you know that a big part of what is best for them is to learn the most possible during the time that they are with you in your classroom. From your experience, you know that having creative, new, interesting writing prompts for learners is more likely to be met with interest by students (vs. when they are asked to respond to old stand-by assignments). These writing assignments both reinforce their learning and give you a measure of that learning. In this article, you have 10 prompts (along with definitions if needed) plus examples of how a teacher can take the prompts and tailor them to their content.
- FOIL = First, outside, inside, last multiplication binomial. Write about how this helps you remember this process.
- Form an acronym that would help you memorize a function of the circulatory system (or any science topic).
- Create an acronym for the metric conversion chart. (Kilo-Hecto-Deka-Base-Deci-Centi-Milli)
- Write a story for the acronym SOHCAHYA (sine=opp./hyp., cosine=adj/hyp, tan=opp/adj)
- Write an acronym to help you remember grammatical order N V DO IO.
- Write about ways to adapt non-Euclidian geometry in every day life.
- Write what adaptations humans would have to make as the ozone layer keeps depleting.
- What’s the address (location) of a vertex angle in an isosceles triangle?
- What would Hamlet’s address be if he had had personal stationary? Would there also be a professional logo?
- Memorize and recite the Gettysburg address.
- Write your own State of the Union address. Be sure to remark on the problems in the United States today.
4. Address book
- Pretend you found Albert Einstein’s address book – whose names would you find in it?
- You had dinner last night at the Olive Garden, and you have a little black book on the seat. You open it up and the title page says, “This book belongs to ________” (insert whatever name you like from someone we’ve been studying or someone in current events). Whose addresses would you find here as you flip through the pages?
- What names would you find in Thomas Jefferson’s address book? Create a facsimile of his address book.
- Create an advertisement for one of the concepts you’ve recently learned in our class.
- Design an advertisement to draw attention to environment or ecological issues.
- Write an ad for food (grocery ad) for a particular time period in history.
- Compare and contrast ads from various countries for similar products that we have in the U.S.
- Create an advertisement for a beauty or cosmetic product that claims to do what it says it does, e.g., reduce the effect of aging.
- Write an advertisement to sell the concept of good nutrition using the food pyramid.
6. Advice column
- Find out what advice your fellow students would find helpful–and write an answer for them.
- Give advice to Romeo/Juliet as to how to solve their romantic and parental problems.
- Write an advice column on protecting our ozone layer.
- You are an advice columnist for a big newspaper. Nixon writes to you and asks what he should do about Watergate. What is your response?
- Make up situations from stories you’re reading and write questions that could be (should be) submitted to advice columns. Then write the response to those questions.
- If you got to meet with anyone in the world, who would it be? What agenda would you want to submit?
- What research agenda would you want scientists to undertake in the next decade (and why)?
- If Hamlet and Julius Caesar met, what would the agenda be?
- Prepare an agenda for a meeting among characters in one of the novels you’re reading.
- Create an agreement between yourself and your teacher related to recent behavior you’ve exhibited (and the consequences of that behavior).
- How might various countries reach agreement on issues related to global warming?
- Write to me about the major “aha” (any subject area) you’ve had in your life.
- Write about the last time you thought ‘aha!’ in a math class.
- Write an historic account (real or made up) that will make your teacher exclaim ‘aha!’
- Write an allegory warning people of the dangers of extinction.
- Take a traditional allegory and rewrite it with a modern twist, providing evidence of concepts you’ve recently learned.
When you use this list (along with others I have available) to stimulate your thinking about (and inspire your creation of) writing assignments and assessments, you will never run out of new ideas; that is for sure!