To say that the Protestant Reformation had a great effect on the world is a vast understatement. Kings, kingdoms, and even everyday people felt the sting—and the freedom—this new movement brought.
Your students will be writing opinions, stories, and more while exploring some of the issues and topics associated with the Reformation.
These prompts are appropriate for students in 5th – 12th grade.
Let’s dig in . . .
1. Your opinion
Five hundred years ago, an educated man wanted to start a conversation about certain things he wanted to change in his church. He wrote out a copy of the points he wanted to discuss and sent it to his boss; he also may have hung a copy of his points on the door of his local church to announce his intentions to begin a discussion about them.
2. Your explanation
3. Your personal story
When Martin Luther posted his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Saxony (in what is now Germany), on October 31, 1517, he wanted to start a conversation with influential people about how salvation can be found in Christ alone, not in other acts or in the buying of indulgences (official papers from the Catholic Church).
What he did not foresee was the reaction he would get (his life was now in danger) and the movement he inadvertently would start, now called the Reformation.
Write about a time when you did or said something and then got a reaction you did not expect.
4. Your thoughts
Hundreds of Protestants were burned at the stake for their faith, both men and women, in the years during the Reformation. When the political climate changed with Protestant royalty on the throne, hundreds of Catholics were burned at the stake. You can read more about this in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. In more modern times, Christians have been tortured or beheaded for their faith.
If you were laughed at, marginalized, ridiculed, fired from a job, or otherwise punished for being a Christian, how do you think you would react? Write your ideas.
5. Your fictional story
“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen.”
This is what Martin Luther told his accusers while on trial before Emperor Charles V less than four years after he’d published his Ninety-five Theses. He would not recant (take back) what he said against the church selling indulgences, that people who bought them would have salvation. Thesis 32: “Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.”
Luther knew he could be excommunicated, which he was, and he knew he could be killed, yet he did not change his mind or buckle beneath the pressure.
Create a character who is in trouble because he or she will not change a strongly held belief. Where is your character? What situation will you put him or her in? What will happen to your character?
Looking for fun middle school writing prompts? Look no further!
Engage your teen writer with these intriguing high school prompts.
Download a free sample of our popular middle school writing curriculum Jump In here.
Download a free sample of our updated and improved The Power in Your Hands: Writing Nonfiction in High School , 2nd Edition, with FREE Grading Grid samples here.
Download 2 free chapters of our unstuffy high school literature course Illuminating Literature: When Worlds Collide here.
Looking for a captivating literature course for your 7th and 8th graders? Download a free lesson from Their Blood Tingled here.
Do you have a story writer at home? Download a free sample of our elective Writing Fiction [in High School] here.
Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Watson.
Photo credit: Martyrs plaque in Maidenstone, Kent, Creative Commons. Wittenberg door by Pecold | adobestock.com
Image credits: Sharon Watson
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