You might think this writing prompt is super boring, but hold on. It’s about to get really gross.

You can’t get to sleep, so you drink some warm milk. Or maybe you count sheep. No? What about read a boring book or listen to music until you fall into unconsciousness?

According to mental_floss magazine (August 2014), some people at the end of the 1800s believed so strongly in the power of magnets and magnetism that even Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, slept with his head to the north. (Get it? Magnets point north.)

How to Fall Asleep (middle school writing prompt)

And here’s the really gross part. In the 1500s, Gerolamo Cardano, a gambler and mathematician known today as the father of probability, believed that to get to sleep, you had to slather your teeth with the insides of a dog’s ear. You know, that pasty, waxy stuff you hate to touch? Yup, that stuff.

Now it’s your turn: You are writing an advice column for a magazine, newspaper, blog, or online news agency. Tell your tossing-and-turning readers how to fall asleep. Come up with at least three methods from your own experience, from friends’ experiences, or from what you’ve learned other places.

Oh, and leave the dog goo out of it.

Looking for more middle school prompts? >>

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Copyright © 2014 by Sharon Watson
Original image courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com


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jump-in Check out Jump In, the popular middle school writing curriculum published by Apologia Press! Easy, bite-sized lessons guide your student through the complexities of writing persuasion, exposition, description, and fiction. The text is incremental, the tone is student friendly, and the assignments are very achievable. Teachers will enjoy using The Lifeguard’s Locker.