As a student and now as a teacher, I have seen the pendulum swing many times. When I was in elementary school, everything was focused on reading and writing. Then in middle school, it was heavily focused on science and technology. In high school, it was swinging into the realm of reading and math. Writing has sort of fallen off people’s radars. If you’ve been in the classroom for the last 10 years, you may see how many students just don’t know how to write or enjoy writing. I just had to find a way to at least get my students writing for fun, and then I hoped maybe, just maybe, they would learn something. That’s when I thought about how much I love creative writing, so I put together a list of elementary writing prompts and got to work!
Why Use Elementary Writing Prompts?
When you implement writing prompts into your classroom, you may think that students will write a sentence or two and say, “I’m done!” I’m not going to lie to you. Some of your students will. But if you present them with writing prompts that get their brains thinking, are relatable, and give them the confidence to become writers. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Some of the biggest advantages of using journal writing prompts are:
- The ability to practice our writing
- Focus on a specific type of writing
- Easy to use
- Spark an idea
I’ve used my writing prompts in so many ways, and I have definitely noticed a lot of these benefits!
Ways to Use Elementary Writing Prompts in the Classroom
Yes, most elementary teachers will say to use a writing prompt as a writing center, but if you are in the upper-grade levels, like cough cough, 5th-grade cough cough. You know that they will find any way to get around work, and leaving them to their own vices at a “writing” center probably won’t involve a lot of writing. But I’ll still include it because teachers often find success with it!
Fun Writing Center
If you know your students, you can probably already have some writing prompts that you know will excite them and get them to write. This is great if you want to put these elementary writing prompts into a writing center.
I suggest using half notebooks like these. You can also find them at the beginning of the year at Walmart for CHEAP! I love these notebooks because the half-size sheet of paper is a little less intimidating. I want students to enjoy the writing process and prompt, not just try to fill the page.
You can also use writing prompt writing pages if you are looking to collect the writing after!
A super fun activity that can be done when you have downtime, during center work, or within small groups. Take a clipboard, attach a few sheets of paper, and glue a writing prompt to the top. Have students write two to three sentences and then pass the paper to the next person. The only rule is the sentences have to add on to the ones before, and they must be school appropriate. You can keep the story out for each group to add to or switch it out as a new group comes. Then you read it aloud.
I keep these round-robin writings and add them to my lessons or pull them out as round-robin writing later in the year. It’s always so funny when my students realize they had started this crazy story at the beginning of the year and get to revisit it and change it. After the second time, I also can see how students’ writing has improved. Many even like to add elements of writing we’ve learned about throughout the year so far!
Annotating Completed Journal Prompts
If you have a class of students who are not the best at writing or who just do not know where to start, it is always best to start with completed, grade-level writing prompts. By reading and annotating the completed writing pieces, students can see what their writing should look like.
You may have students use sticky notes or sticky arrows to annotate things like the beginning, middle, and end. If you are focusing on figurative language in class, let them label metaphors or personification.
I have always put completed writing prompts out as a center during different writing units. It gives students the opportunity to practice identifying the different writing elements and skills without the pressure of being able to implement them right away!
I get that it can be challenging to come up with an effective writing prompt. One thing is for sure, I know there is never any time actually to sit down during the school day and think. So let me help you out!
25+ Fun Writing Prompts
I have used these elementary writing prompts in my classroom for many years, and each year my students surprise me with new ideas, adventures, and fun! I always ensure I mix narrative, creative, persuasive, and expository! Let’s expose students to all types of writing.
- What qualities make a good student? Why?
- What qualities make a good friend? Why?
- If you could have any animal for a pet, what would you choose and why?
- Write about something that you are good at.
- Write about your family.
- One day, I went to the beach, and all of a sudden, it started to rain.
- Write about a place you would like to go to with your friends.
- Think of some ways that kids can help homeless people.
- If you were the principal of the school, what would you change?
- Describe why you think it is important to participate in a team sport.
- Explain why it is important to know how to read.
- What are the best things about a rainy day?
- List 10 different foods that are green. Which one is the healthiest? Why?
- Free Day – Choose anything you want to write about
- Imagine it was over 100 degrees outside. What would you do to cool down?
- Imagine you had a pet that could talk! What would it say to you?
- Exercising is important. Explain why it is important for kids to exercise.
- Would you rather have siblings or be the only child? Why?
- Write about something that really makes you happy. Why does it make you happy?
- If you could be the star of a TV show, which TV show would you like to be on and why?
- I woke up one morning and noticed that I was the only person on Earth…
- What is your favorite month? Why is it your favorite?
- How would you feel if a friend borrowed something but didn’t return it? What would you do?
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
- Describe a typical day in your life from the time you wake up until you fall asleep.
- Name three inventions that you could not live without. Explain why.
- If you had a robot, how would it help you in your daily life?
- Almost everyone has one teacher they won’t forget. Describe a teacher you will always remember.
- Describe the perfect summer vacation.
- The best thing my teacher did this year was…
- What do you want to do on the last day of school? Persuade your teacher to let you do it.
I always try to switch up my writing prompts and love having enough prompts for each month, so I created a resource of over 150 writing prompts, which gives me 20 prompts to choose from each month!
You can grab all of my writing prompts here. The best part? I’ve done all the organizing for you. The prompts are organized by month, and you even have some monthly themed prompts for Thanksgiving, Halloween, etc.
Elementary Journal Prompts
Whether you are looking for creative writing prompts or already have some story starters, you want to bring them into the classroom. Having an already set list is a great way to give students some writing ideas. You never know if a student in your classroom could write the next great time machine novel or imagine your next favorite book to read aloud to your class!