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This article includes free fun printable essay worksheets!
We are in a time of life right now when it is easy for all of us to be restless. We are all trying to establish some sort of new routine in a world where nothing is routine. And there is no time frame letting us know when we can get back to normal.
One thing that families and teachers have done (I'm not sure if kids love this or hate this, lol) is try to keep some semblance of daily education for their students. While it isn't the normal full load that they would have at school, it is at least something that keeps their brains engaged and redeems some of the lost time.
One of the ways that we can help keep our students' brains engaged in a way they enjoy is to give them some writing prompts that don't make them feel like they would rather go get a root canal.
So how do we find the most timely middle school writing prompts, no matter what is going on in the world, our communities, schools, or even households? We make a list that includes topics that reach every single students and inspire them to write about the things that stir their heart. And how do you stir the heart of a middle schooler and make them actually want to write? It isn't as difficult as it seems.
You start by listening to what they talk about all. the. time. You will generally hear the same recurring themes among various groups of students in your classroom. And it will be pretty easy to capitalize on those things once you start thinking about it.
I would like to share with you a couple of things that really helped me out before we delve into the actual list of middle school writing prompts.
Make Sure the Writing Prompts are Not too General
If you sit students down, give them paper and pencil, and tell them to write a paragraph or page, they will stare blankly at that page forever. This, in my experience, has been more so with boys than girls.
In the same vein, if you give them too general of a writing prompt, you will get the same reaction. It needs to give them pointed enough thoughts that they can have a picture in their head and be able to run with it.
Make Sure the Writing Prompts are Not too Specific
And now I am going to go to the opposite extreme. If your writing prompts are too specific, your students will write one or two sentences. Then they will be totally stuck.
The key is to find topics that can inspire a picture in their head that they can elaborate on. Or it could be a process that they went through. But it has to be something that allows them to open up about something that appeals to them or excites them. Or it could even be something that gets them stirred up (but not in an angry or harmful way).
Don't Choose Topics That Have Already Been Beaten to Death
If you pick topics that they have already done for the past three grade levels, you will get the biggest middle school eye roll and groan. And then you will see the blank stare at the paper.
Keeping material fresh and relevant to them will make them actually forget for a minute that they are writing and you will be surprised at what even your most difficult writers come up with.
Have an Outline for Those Students That Have an Academic Disadvantage
There are usually students that you know are going to be unable to take an idea and run with it because their grammar or communication skills are not up to par with the rest of your class. For those students you could supply an outline of one of their favorite topics that would allow them to get a start on each paragraph. Then they are not hopelessly stuck and hating life.
I have had students that complained incessantly about a writing assignment they were given. But then, upon finishing the assignment, they approached me to tell me that it wasn't so bad. And by the end of the year, they were happily writing because they realized they actually loved it as a way to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
Make it Fun--Special Writing Papers
I have included a few printable essay sheets that you can use for your class. Print up several of each and let them choose the one they want.
You will find that the students can often be motivated about what to write just by choosing an essay worksheet that they love. And honestly, it's just fun to watch them get excited about selecting their papers. I also included one that allows students to add their own artwork in the box at the top.
Just make sure there are enough printed up for them to all select the one they want. You will use them for a long time to come, so no worries about printing up too many.
For even more ideas, you can also click through to these options that I found on K12 Reader.
So, with these thoughts in mind, let's get started on the middle school writing prompts.
Middle School Writing Prompts
I have grouped these into categories to make it easier for you and your students to decide which way they want to go. I also put one at the end that allows students to write about whatever they want to. Every class has at least a few extremely creative writers that find open-ended writing assignments fun.
What if you got adopted by superheroes for a day?
What happened to cause you to get rescued by a superhero (or superheroes)?
What would happen if you've been adopted by ninjas?
What you caught a superhero doing when nobody was looking.
If you could time travel, where and when would you travel to?
What was the best vacation you ever took?
What was the worst vacation you ever took?
(The two above can be combined into one.)
You just discovered that you have a long-lost brother or sister.
The bravest thing your parent(s) have ever done.
If you could do any crazy thing with your family, where and what would it be?
What is the craziest thing you and your friend have done.
If you could go anywhere and do anything with one friend, what would it be and who would you do it with?
If you could be best friends with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
What is the best dream you ever had?
What is the worst dream you ever had?
If you could try any food, what would it be?
If you could meet anyone in the world, it would be...and what would you talk about?
If you could have any hobby in the world, what would it be?
What was the most fun babysitter you have ever had.
What job you would pick if you could do anything in the world without any limits.
Describe a time you were able to encourage someone else. What was the situation and how were you able to help that person work through it?
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would it be and why?
If you could have any animal for a pet with no limits, what would it be and why? What would you do with that pet?
(Your students will love this one just because of the name of the category! It can also be totally fictional!)
What happened when you looked in the mirror?
You woke up and the world around me looked completely different
What was the strangest dream you ever had?
What would be the strangest animal or creature you could imagine? What would it look like and what would it do? What habitat would it live in?
What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
If you could do anything in the world, what would it be and where would you do it?
If you could make a movie about anything, what would it be (name of the movie and description) and who would star in it?
If you could only ask one question, what would it be, who would you ask, and why would you ask it?
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be and how would you do it?
If you could solve any problem in the world, what would it be and how would you do it?
If you could choose any topic that you want to write about, what would it be? Go ahead!
So this is my list of the most timely middle school writing prompts. But I have to say, these writing prompts should always be pretty timely. We may not be in the middle of a worldwide pandemic at any time in the future, but there will always be something going on in the world that we can have our students contemplate and write about.
And there will always be things that middle schoolers perceive as a big deal that they want to share their thoughts and feelings about. Let's encourage them and see what they have to say!
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