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Candra McKenzie

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Fun Writing Prompts

If you're looking for some fun writing prompts to inspire students and bring out their creativity, you're reading the right article.

It can be challenging to get kids一especially young ones一interested in writing. It's an activity that often requires a lot of consideration, patience, and concentration, which aren't always children's most developed characteristics... This is why creating fun writing prompts for students is a must.

Keep reading to get some great ideas for daily writing prompts and writing topics for students to help them get in touch with their creative side. Below you will find short story writing prompts and other creative writing prompts for students of every grade level that will encourage them to kick their imaginations into high gear and put their thoughts on paper (or the computer screen).

Time to get started!

Fun Writing Prompts for Elementary Students

Writers of all ages get writer's block, including children. Kids often experience writer's block when they have an assignment that's too broad or open-ended. This is why writing prompts for kids should be fun, easy to understand, and relatively straightforward. Taking the time to make fun writing prompts for elementary students will get their creative juices flowing and inspire them to write freely. 

A great way to integrate story starters for kids into your everyday lessons is to let the students select one new writing prompt each day. If you want to make the activity more challenging, encourage them to attempt writing for at least five minutes without stopping. Once they get used to that timeframe, start increasing it bit by bit.

Remember to reassure your students that there's no right or wrong way to write! For example, incorporating first grade journal writing prompts into your daily lesson plan gives students a starting point while allowing them to write whatever comes to mind. Any writing is good writing, especially at such a young age. 

If you're looking for free writing prompts for 1st grade students or lacking ideas for creative writing topics for grade 5 and below (elementary level), take a look at the following suggestions:

  • The strangest dream I ever had was…
  • When I become an adult, the first thing I want to do is…
  • Describe your most unusual talent.
  • My biggest goal in life is…
  • Dear teacher, I would like to know…
  • The happiest moment in my life was when…
  • The person I admire the most is… 
  • Describe the best present you have ever received.
  • What is your favorite animal, and why?
  • If I could change one thing about the world, it would be…

These social emotional journal prompts for elementary students will help improve their writing skills while encouraging inner reflection.

Fun Writing Prompts for Middle School

Writing skills are essential for building a solid educational foundation in children. However, if you're a teacher, you already know that! If you want to get your students to write regularly, you must show them that writing is not a dull, slow process but rather a fun and exciting activity for the imagination. One way of doing this is introducing them to journaling.

When creating engaging and fun writing prompts for middle school students, try giving them subjects that they can elaborate on and write about in a more advanced, detailed way. Often, middle school is when kids start discovering who they are and begin developing a deeper understanding of the world around them.

This is why regular journaling is an excellent practice for middle school students, as it allows them to wade through their thoughts and feelings. Of course, daily practice will also improve writing skills, which is a huge plus! Wondering how you can get your students to start journaling? Here are some quick writing prompts for middle school students:

  • Describe a time when you helped someone. Why did you help them?
  • What does it feel like to be wrong? What does it feel like to be right?
  • Tell the story of the first time you did something. Examples: The first time you tried a particular food, the first time you went swimming, the first time you got sick.
  • How would you describe your best friend? 
  • If you could end one problem in the world, which one would you choose and why?
  • Who are you in a group: the first person to speak up or the last one? Why?
  • Write about something that your parents always tell you. Explain how you feel about it.
  • Create a short story about two friends going on an adventure. It can be a real story from your life or a made-up story.

When you implement short story writing prompts for middle school students, it can also be fun to set up a “sharing hour” or a special place on Google Classroom where students can comment on their peers’ work.

Fun Writing Prompts for High School

The journey to self-discovery doesn't happen all at once, but high school-aged students certainly go through a lot of transformations. Students in this age range are often beginning to seriously consider what they want to do in life, their opinions and morals outside of family, and their view of the world. This is why philosophical and creative writing prompts are often the way to go for high school students.

By the time students enter high school, they've done their fair share of writing assignments. They have probably already answered basic questions about themselves and the world and are now interested in more speculative and conceptual topics. This is especially true for older students that are headed off to college soon, meaning that writing prompts for high school seniors should be considered even more carefully.

If you need some ideas for prompts, consider the following thought-provoking journal topics for high school students: 

  • Think about your worst family vacation. Write about it from one of your family members' perspectives. Try to understand what they were feeling and thinking, and tell the story from their point of view.
  • Choose an environmental or social justice topic that you feel passionate about. What do you think the main issue is regarding this topic, and what do you think the solution is?
  • Write to someone that lives in a country you know nothing about. What would you ask them? 
  • In your opinion, which of the following traits is most likely to lead to success in life: Intelligence, Discipline, or Motivation/Passion? Explain your answer in-depth.

Fun Writing Prompts for College Students

Though college students are technically adults, being a 19-year-old in college is not the same as being a 30-year-old with a career and, possibly, a family. Regardless, college students have had enough life experiences to think critically about themselves, the people around them, and the world.

Furthermore, a college student's life is often turbulent, stressful, busy, and exciting. They always have new experiences, and many are wholly independent for the first time. In other words, it can be hard to get college students focused on and invested in writing with so much else going on, but they should certainly have a lot to write about. 

Fun writing prompts for college students might include topics surrounding philosophy, global issues, self-discovery, short story writing prompts for adults, interdisciplinary questions, and more.

Here are some daily creative writing prompts for adults that you might want to share with your students: 

  • Describe a part of your identity that is essential to who you currently are. Try to pinpoint where this part of yourself came from and why it developed.
  • Tell the story of your biggest failure. Consider the following: How it affected you, what you learned from it, and how you would react to the same situation now.
  • Write about a time when you questioned your worldview or realized that a deep-rooted opinion you held might be wrong. What led to this occurrence, and did you end up changing your mind? Why?
  • Describe the moment that made you realize you had shifted from childhood to adulthood. Describe your reaction to this realization.
  • Write about the last time you were presented with a choice to take a risk or play it safe. Which option did you choose and why? What was the result of this choice? Would you make the same decision again?

Fun Writing Prompts for Fiction

Until this point, most of the prompts have revolved around self-discovery. However, writing fiction can be an excellent activity for personal expression and exercising imagination. If you're looking for some inspiring fiction writing prompts for middle school students or fiction writing prompts for high school students, take a look below at some fun fiction story ideas:

  • Write about a character that accidentally gets transported to a world just like ours except for one major difference: _____. Explain how your character handles this and write about some of their adventures.
  • Share the story of an astronaut that just found life on another planet. What does the planet look like? What do the life-forms look like? Are they friendly or not?
  • Write from the perspective of an animal of your choice. What do they see, think, and do?

When it comes to creating fun writing prompts fiction-related, you can give as much or as little direction as you want, depending on the amount of freedom you want your students to have. For example, you could also use micro-prompts that tell the writer three things to include in the story while the rest is left up to them. Here are some examples:

  • A stubborn old man, an owl, and a chance meeting. 
  • A golden cup, a restaurant full of hungry patrons, and an unusually foggy day.

Remember that writing is not just a skill to be developed with worksheets and assignments but a fun way for students to learn more about themselves and connect with the world around them. So have a blast with your students, and keep writing!

Real Classroom Success

“I’ve used Six-Word Memoirs in my class for many years and the limitation of six words forces students to break big ideas down to smaller bites, think deeper about their stories, and unlock personal expression. In my classroom, I’ve seen kids work through writer's block; in just thirty minutes they feel like they have accomplished something.”

TERRY ASHKINOS, 7TH & 8TH GRADE TEAM LEAD
CHILDREN'S DAY SCHOOL
SAN FRANCISCO, CA

“The six-word approach was a way for my students to express themselves without writing a long narrative, one that may not speak to the reader as strongly as their Six-Word Memoir. Above all, they thought hard about their word choice, punctuation, and how they could illustrate the emotion/tone they wanted to express.”

Ginger Giessler, M.Ed & teacher
New Tech Academy
Fort Wayne, IN 

"I’ve long been enamored with the Six-Word Memoir project. I’ve read all the books, written a pile of my own Six-Word Memoirs, and sometimes do my best reflecting in six-word increments. Six-Word Memoirs are a masterful way to tell a story and was the perfect way to have our students be part of an all-school writing project. As a staff, we believed a single writing project was a wonderful way to capture the voices, stories, and reflections of all our students. When we compiled all the student writing, we had 700 student stories told — in just 4,200 words — and every child could quickly and easily read the stories of their friends and peers. I'm not sure how we could have accomplished such an admirable feat without the gift of Six-Word Memoirs."

Jennifer Schwanke
AUTHOR OF "YOU'RE THE PRINCIPAL! NOW WHAT?"
Deputy Superintendent, Dublin City Schools

The day I used Six-Word Memoirs was the day my students came alive. Finally, being free to not only write long narratives helped them to discover the essence of themselves and the heart of their writing.”

CANDRA McKenzie, HallPassBreak PODCAST Host & HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
NEW YORK CITY, NY

Six-Word Memoirs bring out the best in my students. They are able to showcase their creativity and personal experience in a humorous, fun-loving way, but may also choose to display deeper, more complex emotions if they so choose.”

Sarah Nguyen, 6th grade English teacher
High Point Academy
Pasadena, Ca

“We often think of creativity as being open, free of rules with room to explore. But one thing that struck me when writing Six-Word Memoirs is that having strict parameters can sometimes lead to even more creative thinking!”

Paul Ackers, English teacher
Year 3 Brookes Moscow International School
Moscow, Russia

“Six-Word Memoirs is the perfect site to be ‘published’ while being creative.”

Hannia Dergongan Marohombsar, Year 8 and Year 10 First Language English teacher
National High Jakarta School of Piaget Academy
Jakarta, Indonesia

"The Six-Word Memoir is the perfect instrument for students to exercise their self-awareness in meaningful ways. Having this type of personal success on the first assignment of the school year sets the tone of the year on a positive and productive path."

Elizabeth Kennedy, 7th grade Academic Enrichment instructor
Riverwatch Middle School
Suwanee, GA

They feel liberated by having to only produce six words in a concise, poetic format. This is especially important to dyslexic students as they have experienced angst and ridicule surrounding written expression and quantity has been an encumbrance.”

Kat DeWees, teacher
Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexic Students
Austin, TX

“Six-Word Memoirs has just taught me that if you sit long enough with a kid and you ask the right questions and you challenge them in the right ways, you will hear a story that you probably never would have imagined."

Tabitha Cooper, Senior English teacher
Metamora High School
Metamora, IL

“Many students in our class shared deeply personal experiences in their Six-Word Memoirs, and sharing them helped to bring our class closer together and build a team spirit.”

Leah Ruediger, teacher
NYC’s P.S. 86
The Bronx, NY

“Six-Word Memoirs taught us a lot about our students and also taught the kids that efficiency of language can be a powerful way to make a point or share something poignant about themselves.”

JENNY PLATOW, TEACHER
ESSEX STREET ACADEMY
NEW YORK CITY, NY