Do you wish you could communicate better with the special people in your life? Sometimes it’s hard to talk or to come up with something brilliant to say. Other times you may have trouble connecting with family members.
At this time of year, you may be wondering what to give that special family member or friend, but did you know that once in a while, they don’t want a new item. What they really would value is something personal from you.
Use these prompts to jot down your thoughts and ideas and then share them with others. This is your gift to them: you!
Each prompt comes with a free, colorful page you can print out and write on. Collect them all and begin a journal, if you wish. If you plan to give them as gifts, you can give certain pages as presents or gather all the pages into one gift.
These prompts are suitable for people in grades 5 – 12.
Ready? Let’s do this . . .
We want our students and our children to develop attitudes of gratefulness, to say “thank you” without being prompted, and to appreciate any worldly goods and advantages they have.
Use these four Thanksgiving prompts to get them thinking about their blessings and how they can bless others.
Quotations are rich wells in which to dip our pens. Give your 7th – 12th graders something to ponder with these intriguing, thought-provoking quotations. Most of these quotations come from famous people and are accompanied by more than one writing prompt, so your students have many options open to them.
Opinions are the easiest paragraphs and essays to write, and your students have loads of opinions. Let them organize their thoughts and write some opinions based on any of the following quotations.
Would any of your sentences ever sell for $1.56 million? That’s what happened recently with Albert Einstein’s one-sentence “Theory of Happiness.”
The story, according to USA TODAY, is that Einstein was visiting Japan to receive his Nobel Prize in physics in 1922 when he did not have enough money to tip a messenger. What did he do?
He wrote down one sentence and signed it, saying that it would be worth a lot of money someday. Looks like he was right!
A guy walks in to your living room and blurts out, “Pizza.”
You look at him and wonder what he means. Well, you know the subject matter—pizza—but you don’t know where he’s going with this. He could take it in any of these directions:
“I want pizza.”
“Pizza is bad for you and here’s why.”
“Eat more pizza; it contains all the food groups.”
“I know how to get bigger tips working as a pizza delivery person.”
“This is how to build the perfect pizza.”
“The pizza you buy here is very different from the pizza you can get in Italy.”
“With six hundred dollars borrowed from their mother, two brothers began one humble Pizza Hut, now an international chain.”
Or, of course, he could mean, “Here’s the pizza you ordered. Now give me a tip so I can get out of here.”
When you write an essay, writing about the subject matter is only the beginning. Readers need to know what direction you are taking your subject. That way, they will keep reading and will understand what you are doing. For instance, if your introduction looks like you are going to write about the founder of Amazon but you end up writing about all the cool stuff you can find there, your readers will be confused.
What’s your main idea? What’s the one thought you want to convey to your readers? Everything you write about your subject matter is going to be gathered around one statement, one main idea, so that people reading your essay know what direction you are taking your subject.
This main idea is called a thesis statement.
Problems with Point Orders?
One of my students handed in an interesting essay on volcanic activity. She included lots of facts, dates, and anecdotes, but there was one big problem.
There was no rhyme or reason for the order in which she put her facts. Each major or historic volcanic eruption was in its own paragraph, but the paragraphs were in no particular order. It felt jumbled and incoherent.
How could she have arranged her paragraphs to have the most impact on her reader? Check below for two possible answers to this conundrum.
Can a chart rescue poorly written paragraphs?
Do your students have trouble coming up with ideas to put in their paragraphs? Are their paragraphs only one or two sentences long?
Are they a jumbled mess of ideas?
A paragraph is all about one idea. In it, your student will teach something about that idea, explain it, or prove why it is the right one.
In Intro to Writing, Part 4, you’ll find a practical chart to help your student formulate ideas and put them into a credible paragraph.
Intro to Writing
Do your students get stuck when they have to write a paragraph or an essay?
Then don’t do it. Don’t have them write.
I have a secret I’d like to share with you.
Your students do not have to write a paragraph or a whole essay every time they put pencil to paper. One of the best ways to unplug the fear of writing is to do some of the prepare-for-writing tasks but never write the whole paragraph or essay.
It’s called practice, as when members of a basketball team practice dribbling or passing. The team does not play a game every time they get together. They practice pieces of the game.
So let’s practice brainstorming and organizing ideas together.
Life is about making decisions, and you’ve got some large ones in your future.
Big ones include your future education or training: Should you pursue a college or technical degree. If you do, which one? Will you make the best choice? Will you change your mind several times?
What about marriage? Starting a family? Will that be in your future? Will you travel?
I’m sure you’ve heard your parents say, “If I knew then what I know now!” and understood them to mean that they wished they had some of their current wisdom to help them make decisions when they were younger.
What if, instead of looking backwards, we encouraged our future selves? You may not have all the wisdom you’d like to have now to inform yourself twenty years from now, but you know you better than anyone.
All this month we’re celebrating National Poetry Month with famous poems worth knowing. Be sure to check out the many links at the end of this post for more poetry appreciation and practice!
What is today’s poem? Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees.” Here are the first two lines:
I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree