Clarifying one’s understanding of new concepts is a necessary — and powerful — part of the learning process. In many classrooms, ensuring the time and learning experiences that would give students the chance to solidify and apply their new learning has gone by the wayside due to fear about high-stakes testing. In fact, we have lessened students’ learning by omitting the time and experiences (like writing) that they need. In this article, you are provided with 10 different writing (and assessment) prompts along with examples of how those prompts can be applied in various content areas.
1. astrological prediction
- Write astrological horoscopes for characters in a story. Use story events to support the predictions.
- Compare different astrological characteristics to a real entity. For example, an Aries represents a ram. Identify true descriptions of a ram and research the common traits given for a person with an Aries for an astrological sign.
- Identify a person’s astrological sign and compare the common traits given for that sign to the behaviors of that person.
- Predict possible outcomes of someone’s behavior if the individual believes in astrological predictions. Is this wise or foolish, in your opinion?
- Write about the life you desire to live. Identify the time in history (and future) and the different stages of your desired life. In essence, you’re writing your autobiography ahead of time.
- Write a short autobiography of Harriet Beecher Stowe (or any other author we have been studying). Since it’s an autobiography, you will be writing in that person’s voice.
- Write an autobiography of an historical figure you would want to meet. Since it’s an autobiography, it will be in that person’s voice.
- Write a fictitious autobiography of a character in a novel. Since it’s an autobiography, it will be in that person’s voice.
- Write a paragraph telling whether it is worth your while to enter a contest where the odds of being awarded the major prize are 1,000,000: 1.
- Write an award presentation to present to your favorite historical figure.
- Write an award presentation about an accomplishment of yours–or one you hope, plan, and/or desire to make in the future.
- Rewrite math axioms in your own words. You can’t do this, of course, unless you truly understand the mathematical concept. Show me.
- In Candide, the characters’ lives (at least in the beginning) were guided by axioms. Identify the impact of those axioms.
- Define what an axiom is and locate at least one axiom from Candide that you thought was particularly funny or silly.
- Predict the outcome if the axiom _______________ is accepted by the characters in the story.
- Predict the outcome if the axiom _______________ is not accepted by the characters in the story.
5. baby book
- Illustrate your personal history. What words or phrases would best describe events in your life?
- Create a baby book for the child of a famous person whether real or not, e.g., Hitler’s child – how would he raise him or her?
- Create the baby book of a character or famous person we have been studying.
- Compare a baby book to a scrap book.
6. baccalaureate address
- Write a speech you would deliver to the classmates in next year’s class (since you will have graduated from this math class).
- Write a baccalaureate address to a class of cattle. Hey, you’re in Future Farmers of America (or an agriculture class)… so be ready to tell them what is happening to them and what they can look forward to!
- Explain what a musical ballad is, then show and/or play examples–possibly ones that you have created.
- Explicate a folk ballad – what does it say about the culture?
- To accompany the melody of a popular tune (rock, rap, country, etc.), write words explaining a math concept, rule, principle, etc.
- Design a ballot for at least 3 people you would want to see running for president of the United State or another country. Offer a few words (or sentences) that explain each of these candidates.
- Write a ballot initiative for legislation you would like to see enacted. Word it in such a way that people can understand why they should support the initiative.
- Design and write the wording for a banner that shows what you’re currently learning in our class.
- Design a banner for Holocaust survivors to carry at their release.
10. beauty tip
- How can health and technology make one better looking (and does that matter)?
- Write an example for a beauty tip, I.e., an anti-drug message.
- Examine and write about Shakespeare’s “My Mistress’ Eyes” sonnet or Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty.”
- Compare a beauty tip for external beauty to internal beauty.
See what fun you can have with these — and watch what happens with your upper elementary, middle/high school, or college students when they show what they know using these ideas or the ones you’ve created based on these prompts.