Could your students use a little help creating outlines? And what does a bowl of salad have to do with outlines?

My husband tells me he always made his outlines after he’d seen what he had written. I imagine this is fairly common.

But is an outline necessary? Not exactly. You can read about my sticky-note method here.

What is important, though, is organizing the material, and that is where students have trouble. They do not want to take the time to organize their thoughts, ideas, or material before they write.

Personally, I benefit from even a casual outline. That way, I don’t have to start with the introduction and work my way down to the conclusion; I have the pleasure of beginning wherever I like, where I feel the most comfortable. Then I can fill in the rest of my article later by using the organized points in my informal outline.

Whether your students use sticky notes or a more formal outline, they’ll benefit from these fun writing prompts.

outline imageGrocery Store Outline

Download this free worksheet for your 5th – 12th grader.

Instead of practicing an outline with difficult material, your students will use something they are familiar with. Grocery stores are organized in an orderly way; this will make outlining one easy-peasy.

On the free worksheet, your students will fill in a sample outline based on how a grocery store is organized. The worksheet already has the levels of a formal outline such as I, A, 1, a, and so forth.

Your students may want to extend the outline to include more grocery store departments. If so, they’ll use their own paper.


Restaurant Outline

Download this free worksheet for your 7th-12 grader.

Like the grocery store outline, your students will fill in a sample outline based on kinds of restaurants. The restaurants can be in your area, ones you’ve visited while traveling, or ones nationwide. If students need help thinking of types of restaurants, they can use the phone book or something like the Yellow Pages for ideas.

The worksheet already has the levels of a formal outline such as I, A, 1, a, and so forth. Your students may want to extend the outline to include more types of restaurants. If so, they’ll use their own paper.


Would you like more prompts? Find our Middle School Prompts here and our High School Prompts here. Writing prompts on my blog can be found here.



Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Watson
Salad photo credit:
Image credit: Sharon Watson

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