Resources for Writing Prompts:
This collection of reviewed resources includes many types of writing prompts, both visual and verbal, to inspire writing. Whether you want students to try their hand at poetry or informational writing, there are ideas here to help. Make this collection available for students to find their own inspiration for open-ended, creative writing assignments. Teachers can also use this list to find 2-3 possible choices for a targeted writing assignment. Student choice is key in helping student voice come through in their writing.
Grades3 to 12
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In the ClassroomCreate a link on classroom computers for students to use as a resource for journal or creative writing activities. Challenge students to come up with their own what-if questions and create a bank of additional questions. Share your what-if questions on your class wiki. Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.
Grades3 to 7
In the ClassroomEmphasize what you have presented or want to review in writing concept mini lessons. Reluctant writers as well as enthusiastic writers can gleam ideas to start writing, as well as several ideas for writing prompts. Share this site on your class website for students who need extra reinforcement with writing concepts at home or students who love to go beyond and dig deeper into writing. Part of the site includes an area to continue the started story. Be sure to monitor closely since not all posts appear to be part of the topic. Use this site as an example of ways to continue writing workshop ideas onto your own classroom blog. Share your class stories using a site such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomShare these prompts one at a time or as options for essay writing. Some of the results may end up being strong enough to warrant revision and submission as college essays. Extend the idea of quotes as writing prompts by creating a class "quote graffiti" wall on a wiki or on paper so students can offer their own quotations as possible writing prompts.
Grades3 to 6
In the ClassroomMake this a class activity by sharing the site on your projector or interactive whiteboard. This activity would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Since it has audio support, be sure to provide headsets for the students. Use the printables from this site for your bulletin boards. The audio accompaniment makes this a great site to use with ESL/ELL students too!
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomCheck first to be sure the media are not blocked by school web filtering. Choose one item from the site to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector as a class discussion starter on current topics or as a lead-in to a lesson. (Example: show the YouTube video about order of the planets when beginning an astronomy unit). Share the site with students and let them explore to find interesting topics for research reports. Ask students to choose one item from the site to share with other students as a way to practice oral presentation skills. Use videos or images as writing prompts or blog prompts. ESL/ELL students can practice their language skills by retelling a favorite video. Challenge your students to create their own informative videos on a topic that your class is exploring. Share the videos using a site such as TeacherTube reviewed here.
GradesK to 8
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In the ClassroomPractice writing skills. Share an example on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Embed the dream in a blog or site and challenge others to guess the dream by trying to rewrite it. Create visual representations of writing. Or create visual prompts to spark others to write their own interpretations or "what would come next?" Ask students to guess what words the tool focuses in on. Does it pick up verbs or nouns? Your more inquisitive students will enjoy experimenting to figure out how it works.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomSave this site in your favorites on Teachersfirst. If you are not already a member, just click on "My TF" to join for FREE. When you are searching for a writing prompt or universal theme to connect with your curriculum area, a famous quote provides a springboard for students to reflect on the topic they just read or studied. After reading two or three literary works or studying historic figures, you might try changing the quote into a question. Have students compare/contrast how each of the characters would respond, and support their responses by citing specific examples. Then, students could answer the question from their own point of view to relate the meaning of the quote to their lives. Create a class wiki for the quotes of the day (and student responses). Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Or invite students to choose a favorite quote from this site and interpret it both visually and verbally by creating an online poster using ThingLink, reviewed here.
Grades3 to 12
This tool also has a "read" section where you can see what others have written. Since this section is unmoderated and open to the public, it could contain writings not appropriate for the classroom. Stick with the writing prompts page to avoid this issue or prescreen before sharing.
In the ClassroomOneword can easily be displayed on your interactive classroom whiteboard at the front of class or as an inspirational "sidebar" as students enter class. Preview that day if you plan to display the public submissions, since they are unmoderated! Teachers may use their school email (or free gmail account) address for submissions. When working on individual computers, you may want your students to write their entries offline and save them for the class to submit to a single account. The whole tedious task of entering student names and email addresses can be alleviated by the teacher signing up and creating a free account. This will also provide you with a continually expanding list of more "oneword" features and give you access to all of your entries in one place. Another option of course is keep it old school; students open their journals and just write. Like many other familiar writing prompts, they can be used in a number of ways, including daily warm-up activities, journal entries, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished" activity. The element of surprise is inherent in Oneword, which provides built in motivation, as students, ready-to-write, wait for the word to appear on the screen and then, without hesitation... Go! This is a spontaneous exercise in flow; therefore you may want to revisit these one minute entries and choose some for revising and editing into a cohesive piece at the end of a week or other designated time period. You can also use the prompts for student volunteers to model writing techniques on your interactive whiteboard. Have students brainstorm lists of words that would be good writing prompts that are only "one word." ESL/ELL students will improve vocabulary with such brainstorms. Teenagers can try something new by creating an interactive book online with the collection of various different entries for one word. Not sure how to do it? Create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.
Because the site is not moderated, any unsavory or objectionable entries are on full display. I did not request a membership so I don't know if there is a way for members to flag inappropriate comments. Not for my upper elementary kids, though I may use the idea off line.Ann, PA, Grades: 1 - 5
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomYou can select one of the ideas and use your projector and interactive whiteboard to have the class brainstorm for their writing assignment. You could have a link on your web page and use it as a center for students to rotate through, either choosing which idea to use for their writing, or you could designate which idea students are to use. You can also assign small groups to certain ideas and when the writing is done, all groups share what they've written with the class.
GradesK to 8
In the ClassroomHave pairs of students create a story by working collaboratively after you have explained and demonstrated the basics. Encourage your older students to use this tool for projects created in response to research or extra study. This is a great find for gifted students who want to include art work and use their creativity in productive ways. ESL/ELL students can use the site to recreate folk tales and recreations from their home countries.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomYou can easily click on the current month and display a particular journal entry starter on your whiteboard or choose to project a few to provide your students with options. They can be used to "get the ball rolling" at the beginning of class, as daily or weekly warm-up activities to practice general writing or skills that you are focusing on, preparing for state assessments, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're finished with your work" activity. They can be easily printed to use as "emergency" or substitute lesson plans.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomThese questions present a wealth of challenging writing prompts, class discussion starters, or extension/enrichment activities for gifted students or high ability writers in science or social students classes, in debate club, or in enrichment programs. Access the site yourself and cherry-pick your favorite questions. Alternatively, provide a link to the site and ask students to explore possible questions they'd like to answer or discuss. Finally, collaborate as a class to develop question prompts of your own as a group project and then post them to the site. Bookmark this site as one of those you go to when you have unexpected time to fill in class, or as a resource for a substitute teacher-led discussion. Science teachers can use technology issues to connect science with real world topics for students who may not otherwise see value in mastering concepts. Assign groups to explore a topic of their choice from this blog and present it in open-ended debate once a month in your science class or as part of a science careers unit.
This is a treasure trove of prompts to ponder and spur editorial/argument writing. I LOVE THIS!Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades2 to 8
In the ClassroomOne advantage to the "Daily Writing Prompt" is that they can easily be displayed on your interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. They can be used in a number of ways to improve your students' writing, including daily warm-up activities, practice in writing for state assessments, journal entries, free-writing, or as an "anytime" or "when you're done" activity. The writing prompts have creative ideas and options for how to implement them. They can be easily printed to use as practical "emergency" or substitute teachers' lesson plans.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomA user's guide and introductory video are provided for registered users once they are logged in. The video explains in detail how to use all of the features available. After becoming familiar with the program, start with one class to pilot the program. Setup a test student account and become familiar with way in which students will use the program. It is important to understand the unique features that each type of communication offers. Familiarity with blogging and blog etiquette is important for safe ethical implementation. The help page includes a link to Information about educational blogging to help teachers and administrators understand the educational benefits to electronic communication.
Using the customize class feature, teachers can control student access to information and Class Chatter features such as class mail. Teachers have detailed control of students' post including safe guarding students' identity from others and editing posts including posts they created. It is important to follow any school procedures before using Class Chatter.
A class blogging program has limitless possibilities. Engage students in discussions using a topic blog on current events, independent reading, literature, and more. The class assignment feature creates a formal way for teachers to assess students' writing. Students can create an online journal by creating a personal blog. Class mail offers the chance for quick informal exchanges such as a response to a post, question or idea. The robust features of Class Chatter capitalize on students' eagerness to communicate electronically while allowing the teacher to control the format and flow of information. Convert current assignments to an appropriate electronic exchange. As an extension assignment have students create a personal message using the design of their blog page as the medium. This gives students ownership of their communications. Find many more ideas for class blogs in TeachersFirst's Blog Basics for the Classroom .
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAside from the pure "wow" factor of this site's appearance, projected on an interactive whiteboard or projector, it would serve as a good current events warm up for a social studies or science class. Additionally, its very configuration would spark an interesting science or culture discussion. Perhaps more beautiful than practical, it still deserves a place in your bag of tricks. Pull it out when you need something to spark discussion or wake up your class. Have students investigate a story of their choice and create an interactive online poster using Canva, reviewed here. As a higher level thinking challenge, have students discuss the "why" connections behind these articles or use ideas from this site to spark an unusual essay or blogging assignment. Teachers of gifted will want to share this link on their class web page, for sure!
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomUse the writing prompts before, during and after reading to foster the reading/writing connection. There are abundant ideas ranging from simple responses and mini essays to constructed responses. The daily writing practice and student choice is a popular page for assigning daily or weekly prompts to your whole class or allowing your students to feel they have a choice in what they can write about, by giving them access to a set of class computers and letting them click the button until they find the prompt that fits them for the day. They can type their responses right on the interactive page, save or print, and come back to it to expand, revise, and edit later.
Another idea is to have students help you incorporate the site into the class. Because many of these prompts are individual, you can have students working on individual projects at once. If you have only one or two computers available, allow students to have (or earn) a 30 second "prompt finder" slot before a writing assignment in class or for homework. Put a timer by the computer. You may find they compete to see who can find the best ideas- FAST. Build a "favorite prompts" list in a document on the classroom desktop -- allowing each student to record (copy/paste?) the idea he/she generated and his/her name. This will give you yet another source for prompts--promptly!
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomNo registration is needed to use this free, web based application. Users need to be able to find an appropriate You Tube video and know where the start and end times of the portion they wish to cut. If more than one portion is wanted from the video (i.e. remove the whole middle), users will have to create two chopped segments which can be posted separately.
First, select the video you want to use. If the URL is not known, no problem. Search for the video within TubeChop itself. Once the video is selected, click the "Chop" button. Select the part you want by dragging the two black sliders that appear under the video to choose the desired start and end times of your chopped piece. It is helpful to note the time markers when you are previewing the original video and then move the markers to those points. Once your chopped piece has been chosen, simply click "Chop it." The chopped video appears with its own Tubechop link. Copy the embed code to share the video on your blog or website. The embed code is easily entered on a wiki as well.
If YouTube is blocked in your district, Tubechop videos will not show, either, since they are "pulled" from YouTube. Check school access before you plan to use TubeChop! (When tested in a district that blocks You Tube, the actual Tube Chop video did not play.) Be sure to check District policy about use of You Tube videos. Even if YouTube is not filtered, as with all resources used in the classroom, be sure to preview the appropriateness of the video before using in the classroom. TubeChop removes unwanted material whether inappropriate or not needed for that particular lesson.
Choose only portions needed for use in that particular lesson or remove unwanted portions that are inappropriate (or boring!) Create little clips to use as a webquest. Though it is time consuming, it would be easier for younger students to focus on smaller pieces of video to locate information. Chop small pieces of video for use as writing prompts for essays, creative writing, or blog posts. Chop portions of videos showing different viewpoints or arguments to any scientific, political, economic, or historical event. Use in the Arts to showcase music, dance, art, or other creative pursuits. Use chopped portions of video footage captured by the public to compare with news accounts to uncover bias and discuss perspective.
TubeChop is a great tool to select one part of some YouTube video, but if you are interested in selecting multiple parts of the same video, then you will need something else. I've found www.vibby.com to be great for this purpose - and it even allows annotating and commenting each specific part!Toni, , Grades: 0 - 12
Grades1 to 12
In the ClassroomKeep this link handy among the resources on your class web page or wiki, and be sure to bring it up on your screen or interactive whiteboard to remind students of the rich tools it offers as you teach grammar, revision, poetry, essay-writing, or even letter and resume writing. With primary grades, share the rhyming words to help teach spelling and phonics! As students share in revising a passage or writing a poem on the interactive whiteboard, have this thesaurus available on another window to model their search for just the right word. Encourage students to look up any new vocabulary or terminology at the start of new science or social studies units so they can gain a broader "sense" of the words themselves through a constellation of synonyms and related words. Help students refine vocabulary by having them rank the various synonyms offered for a certain word, deciding which has the most positive or negative connotations. Offer the writing prompts for student journal or blog posts or creative stories. ESL/ELL students can explore new words with this tool, even practicing the rhyming sounds and noticing their varied spellings. Check out the Big Huge Labs educator account. Easily pre-register students to avoid creating logins, view and download their creations, and view the site advertisement free. You will find information about the Educator Account here.
NOTE: If students enter an inappropriate word, they WILL find classroom-inappropriate terms. As with use of any reference, your students need to know your classroom's consequences of such activity. The options are no different from students looking up body parts or pornographic terms in a print dictionary or on Google.
Grades2 to 12
This site also features writing prompts. To find the writing prompts, click to Enter The Site and then scroll to the bottom of the page. The link for Writer Prompts can be found on the bottom right side of the site. The Writer Prompts link will lead you to the creator's blog, with many writing prompts (with new prompts added often). This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.
In the ClassroomThis one is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Demonstrate the tool on the whiteboard or projector and allow the class to create a strip together before you share the link on your teacher web page. Have students create strips as a quiz or other assignment and email the links to you. No more papers to carry around and grade! Build a collection of comics on different curriculum topics to use as anticipatory sets/activators or to spark discussion. Have younger students make comic strip greeting cards for Mother's Day. The possibilities are endless.
The site creators tell us that Makebeliefscomix accepts accent marks and characters from Spanish, French, Italian, German, Latin, Portuguese, in addition to English, they hope soon to add Chinese and Japanese.
Use the writing prompts to excite reluctant writers. Visit often, as new prompts are added weekly.