Creative Writing Practice for Secondary Students
Good writing takes practice, and practice requires something about which to write. Below is a set of ideas and questions that we hope will give even the most uninspired student something to write about. There are, of course, no "right" answers for these questions. We encourage teachers using these questions to set their own guidelines regarding the form, length, and style of students' answers.
Encourage students' writing process by suggesting that they use one of many online tools to collect ideas, phrases, supporting quotes, evidence, or even images that inspire their thinking. These tools might be helpful:
Student writing will probably be more powerful if they are able to record their writing process to see revisions, additions, and changes. These tools are especially useful for students to respond to each other's writing or for a student to show the evolution of a writing piece:
- Google Docs
- Etherpad (try the "timeline" feature to play back the changes made while revising!)
#1 - “The distance is nothing when one has a motive.” - Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice
Do you agree or disagree with Jane Austen’s comment? In what way does a motive, goal or dream “shorten the distance.” Can setting your sight on personal achievement help overcome the difficulties of life? Use examples from your personal experience or from your reading to support your answer.
#2 - “Everything nourishes what is strong already.” - Jane Austen in Pride and Prejudice
What do you think? Does it take a core of inner strength to increase one’s power? Can you apply this quote to schoolwork? Sports? Personal achievement? If you disagree with the comment, can you provide an alternative?
#3 - Henry Willard Austin said: “Genius, that power which dazzles mortal eyes, Is oft but perseverance in disguise.”
What is your opinion of this comment? Do you think that hard work as valuable as natural talent? Or do you support the opposing view and believe that natural ability is essential for success? Cite examples from your reading or from your personal experiences to back up your ideas.
#4 - The Motto for Rotary International, written by Arthur Frederick Sheldon is “He profits most who serves best.”
Do you agree or disagree? In what way will serving benefit us best? Cite examples from your reading or from your personal experiences to back up your ideas.
#5 - The Roman philosopher Marcus wrote: “By a tranquil mind I mean nothing else than a mind well ordered.”
Do you agree or disagree with this comment? In what way will a “well ordered” mind afford one a mind that is tranquil or calm? Cite examples from your reading or from your personal experiences to back up your ideas.
#6 - “The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” - Anatole France
As a student, you are an expert on France’s topic! What do you think? Should the purpose of education be to awaken a student’s curiosity ? Is this a valid explanation of what education should accomplish? Support your answer with specific examples.
#7 - "It is the emotion which drives the intelligence forward in spite of obstacles." - Henri Bergson (1859-1941)
In what way are feelings, emotions and passions connected to intellectual discovery and achievement. Many people believe that intelligence alone is not enough to foster major breakthroughs or accomplishments. Think of examples from history or literature in which passionate enthusiasm has played a role in success. Add examples from your own experiences or readings to support your answer.
#8 - "Dignity is achieved only through work and struggle." Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)
Do you agree or disagree with Dostoyevsky's comment? Is way is human dignity enhanced by useful work? Agree or disagree with this statement using examples from your readings and life experiences to support your answer.
Want more? Try these reviewed sources for more writing prompts from our resources collection.