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Lindsay Ann Learning English Teacher Blog

55 Journal Writing Prompts High School Students Love


September 28, 2020 //  by  Lindsay Ann //   10 Comments

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Do you use a writer’s notebook in your English classroom? Do you find yourself wishing that you had a list of journal writing prompts high school students will like? 

In this post, I will be sharing 55 different journal prompts. That’s enough for the whole year of fun writing prompts, used 1x per week, for the whole semester if used 2-3x per week, and enough for the whole quarter if used every day.

Digital vs. Paper Writer’s Notebooks

Two years ago, I was determined to have my students write. Every day. Inspired by 180 Days, I wanted to be the writer’s notebook queen of the world and change students’ lives through journal writing prompts. 


I went to the nearest Staples store and bought .20 cent composition notebooks. I gave them to students on the first day of school. We wrote in them, pasting in mentor texts for the first three weeks of school. Then, for various reasons, the writer’s notebooks stayed closed more often than not. It was not sustainable for me. 

Now, I’ve written in a previous post about choosing ONE thing to be your precious at the beginning of each school year. If paper writer’s notebooks are your jam, then rock on, friend! 

As for me, I now use and love digital writer’s notebooks. These fun writing journal prompts notebooks are created in Google Slides and shared with students via Classroom. These writing prompts for journals never get lost, are less time-consuming than regular writer’s notebooks, and can use all sorts of colors and design elements to capture students’ attention.

Journal Writing Prompts for High School Students

Below you’ll find 55 journal writing prompts. High school students will find plenty to say about these topics, but I suggest setting ground rules for writing and setting a time limit (with timer projected). 

First: Write for the whole time. 

Second: Don’t worry about making sense or making sure what you write is perfectly-edited. 

Third: Be honest and be specific. 

1st Set: Imaginative Journal Writing Prompts High School Students 💜

  • If you could invent anything, what would it be? Describe why you want to invent it, what it would look like, what it would do, etc. 
  • Choose the animals that best represent your family members and closest friends. Explain why you have chosen each animal. 
  • What if the world was made of Jello?
  • If your life was suddenly a hit reality television show, what would it be called and what would viewers say about it? 
  • Describe your survival plan in the event of a zombie apocalypse. 
  • Create the perfect alien. 
  • You have three doors in front of you: red, blue, and green. The red door says “wing.” The blue door says “want.” The green door says “woke.” Which door would you choose and why? Describe what you imagine to be behind each door.
  • Explain what a forest looks like to someone who cannot see. 
  • Write a recipe for happiness. What would the ingredients be? In what order and amounts would you add them? What instructions would you include for baking and serving? 
  • Create your own original, symbolic names for five locations you visit every day. 
  • Write a guidebook for the older generation to help them understand your generation.


2nd Set: Past, Present, Future Journal Prompts

  • If you woke up tomorrow with amnesia, what memories would you want to return? To forget forever? 
  • What would your five year old self have to say to your current self if you met for coffee? What would your current self say to your 10-years-from-now self? 
  • What are you most thankful for? 
  • Do you think the past is the best predictor of your future? Why or why not? 
  • How have you changed from when you were a child? Why?
  • What does the future hold for you? 
  • Do you think your generation will “change the world”? Why or why not? 
  • In what ways do you look to the adults in your life for guidance? In what ways can they learn from you? 
  • What present-day issues are you the most concerned about? Why?
  • What do you hope you will always remember about high school? 
  • What is trending right now on social media and what are your thoughts on it?


3rd Set: Personal Beliefs Writing Prompts

  • Do you believe in karma? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in the law of attraction? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe animals fully understand human conversation? Why or why not? 
  • What are your “rules to live by”? Which one is the most important and why?
  • Do you believe in “carpe diem”? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in an “eye for an eye”? Why or why not? 
  • How have your family and friends influenced your beliefs? 
  • Do you believe that people are the product of their environment? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe in second chances? Why or why not?
  • Do certain characteristics make people more likely to succeed? Explain.


4th Set: Top Ten Lists as Journal Prompts

  • 10 things I should have learned by now.
  • 10 words others would use to describe me. 
  • 10 of the weirdest things in my room. 
  • 10 things I want to do before I die. 
  • 10 of the best words in the English language.
  • 10 things that are highly underrated / overrated.
  • 10 reasons to wake up in the morning. 
  • 10 songs on my playlist right now. 
  • 10 of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had. 
  • 10 things I know to be true.
  • 10 things I want to give a “makeover” to.


5th Set: Hard Questions for Journal Writing

  • What is the meaning of life? 
  • Which is better: too much of something or too little of something? 
  • Which is better: truth or beauty? 
  • Is social media a blessing or a curse? 
  • What two questions would you ask to find out someone’s true self? Now, answer these questions yourself. 
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • Define intelligence.
  • To what extent do gender, ethnicity, social background influence your life? 
  • Is society today better off than it was 100 years ago?
  • What labels could others give you? Are labels helpful or harmful? Explain.
  • Do you believe human nature is evil or good?


Wrapping Up Writing Prompts for Journals

Feel free to save the images for each set of fun writing prompts questions and use them in an agenda slideshow or to post on Google Classroom.

If you are interested in ready-made digital journals, please take a moment to check out these popular journal prompts resources! I appreciate your support!

Hey, if you loved this post, I want to be sure you’ve had the chance to grab a FREE copy of my guide to streamlined grading . I know how hard it is to do all the things as an English teacher, so I’m over the moon to be able to share with you some of my best strategies for reducing the grading overwhelm.  Click on the link above or the image below to get started!


About Lindsay Ann

Lindsay has been teaching high school English in the burbs of Chicago for 18 years. She is passionate about helping English teachers find balance in their lives and teaching practice through practical feedback strategies and student-led learning strategies. She also geeks out about literary analysis, inquiry-based learning, and classroom technology integration. When Lindsay is not teaching, she enjoys playing with her two kids, running, and getting lost in a good book.

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Reader Interactions

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March 3, 2022 at 3:46 am

Hi Lindsay, I think that these writing prompts you have come up with are just brilliant. I mean granted these are merely thoughts and questions we either ask ourselves, others or just think about and never bring out. I personally think it is important for people to actualize and put thoughts out verbally and visually. In this case, fellow writers and English students and anyone for that matter are able to see it and realize that these are actually not silly ideas that you might have thought of and overlooked at some point in your lives. But good reflective pannels for us to channel our inner writers and inquisitive thinking into and curiosity upon. I am still a beginner English teacher but have always been fascinated with power of what a few words put together becoming, a sentence, a sentence becomes a paragraph, a paragraph becomes an essay, an essay becomes a thesis, a thesis becomes a spark of curiosity and that curiosity becomes a revolution that bit by bit becomes the answer to a question being asked somewhere. Thank you for the ideas!

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March 20, 2022 at 1:10 pm

My pleasure, William! You’ve put into words the beauty of inquiry and writing, even if it is only for one’s own eyes. Thank you for reading!

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March 23, 2022 at 11:02 pm

i really hope these work i really think they will thanks so much

April 7, 2022 at 7:22 pm

You’re welcome! I hope that they work well for you. 🙂

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April 26, 2022 at 8:13 pm

I really just LOVE these writing prompts! They are very concise and spark my imagination. Been teaching since fall Y2K and visited many of these types of posts. Yours are a cut above the rest.

April 30, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Thank you, James! I hope that you and your students have fun with these. 🙂

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June 3, 2022 at 1:08 pm

Do you have a TpT store where we can buy your digital writer’s notebook?

June 4, 2022 at 5:56 pm

Yes, absolutely! Here are a couple of options:

1. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creative-Writing-Mentor-Sentences-Digital-Notebook-2885186 2. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Digital-Creative-Writing-Journal-2729748 3. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/300-Google-Drive-Journal-Writing-Prompts-2715746

Hope this helps! Lindsay

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July 23, 2023 at 9:00 am

These are so, so good! It’s hard to find writing prompts that don’t make my high school students roll their eyes, lol, but these are fantastic and sure to spark creativity. Thank you!

[…] growth, and a clearer sense of identity. Sources such as Journal Buddies, Story Writing Academy, Lindsay Ann Learning, and Money Prodigy provide many creative writing prompts for journaling, article writing, and story […]

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The Integrated Teacher

50 Fun Prompt Writing Ideas for High School Students

May 16, 2023

Students either love or hate writing. Those who love it usually are the ones who enjoy reading as well. They might spend their time journaling, composing poetry, or writing short stories. These students not only enjoy the process; they embrace it with every part of their being and enjoy engaging in assigned prompt writing ideas!

For most students, however, writing is synonymous with drudgery. They hear that they are going to have to write something, and they automatically shut down. Because of this unfortunate mindset usually brought about by the feeling of overwhelm, we need to get our students to see the value of high school writing activities that include easy-to-teach Prompt Writing Ideas.

There are so many options beyond the traditional five-paragraph essay! Keep reading for 50 Prompt Writing Ideas for High School Students !

Need help with Test Prep? Check out this  FREE Pack of 3 Test Prep Activities to help students achieve success on standardized tests

Table of Contents

50 Prompt Writing Ideas for High School Students

Prompt Writing Ideas

10 Narrative Prompt Writing Ideas

Before starting my business, I didn’t really see the value of writing stories. I mean, I enjoy a good story. I love reading short stories by Edgar Allan Poe , some of William Shakespeare’s plays , and other random historical fiction. Beyond personal entertainment or academia, I could not really see why teaching narrative writing was so important.

Boy, was I wrong!

Narrative writing is so valuable. Think about it. When we buy something, we really want to hear the story behind it.

We listen to how something was created, how a person struggled with a problem, and how a product provided a solution!  We connect with each other through stories!

Here are some relatively simple ways to incorporate narrative writing in your high school classroom with 10 Prompt Writing Ideas:

  •   Write a Journal Entry- Students can respond to someone from a story as if they know the character personally.
  •   Create an Advertisement- Students can include a story from a “buyer” as an ad technique.
  •  Informational/Argument Essays- Students can use a short narrative as support.
  •   Post on Social Media- Students can create a post that tells a story about something…anything!
  •   Develop a Business Plan- Students can create a business plan and use narratives to relay the potential of a future business.
  •   Write a Poem/Song- Students can write a poem or song that actually tells a story.
  •   Create a Website- Students can create an About Me page for a fictitious online store that includes a story.
  •   Participate in a Job Interview- Students can conduct interviews with each other and include stories that demonstrate certain skills or knowledge.
  •   Give a Speech- Students can do research on an idea they are passionate about and include stories to support their ideas.
  •   Record a Video- Students can write and record stories about their lives and “post” them on various platforms.

10 Satirical Prompt Writing Ideas

When it comes to bridging the gap between reading satire and writing satire , students need guidance. I would start by reading both  “Sending Grandma to the Ovens” and “A Modest Proposal.”  These two texts are similar in structure, purpose, and topic. Your students can model their own essays after these texts. They can even propose something!

teaching satire

Here are some HOW TO satirical prompt writing ideas :

  • How to be a wonderful boyfriend or girlfriend
  • How to propose to someone
  • How to be a good student
  • How to be a productive employee
  • How to grow a business
  • How to be an amazing parent
  • How to be an effective writer
  • How to prepare for exams
  • How to get a job
  • How to create friendships

fun writing topics for high school students

10 Expository Prompt Writing Ideas

Essentially, an exposition seeks to explain something. And things in our world ALWAYS need explaining!

We crave information, and one of my major goals as a teacher is to encourage students to seek out information instead of what just pops up on social media feeds. We have so much knowledge, it can be overwhelming, so giving students a focus would be super helpful.

When writing an exposition, students have several options:

They can write about what they already know, write about what they don’t know by doing research, or write about a combination of the two.

Need help with teaching research? Click below!

Research Paper Writing Tips

Here are some expository prompt writing ideas that might require a bit of research:

  • Interesting hobbies I never knew about
  • Skills I will need for life
  • Getting a job interview
  • Jobs that we take for granted
  • Things to do when we don’t have electricity
  • What I never knew about my family
  • Popular foods in…(a culture/country)
  • Why certain songs are popular
  • Uses for a cell phone
  • History of chocolate

10 Argument Prompt Writing Ideas

One of the toughest types of writing involving prompt writing ideas for students is the argument essay. Now, I am talking about the “you need to do research to make your case” kind of argument paper.

Let’s be real. Instead of doing the research ourselves, we rely on one or two news outlets to tell us information, or maybe, God forbid, we scroll through social media to get our information.

And I don’t know about you. I usually just get an interpretation or opinion on the facts. I don’t get the actual stories, statistics, and facts. I get, at most, a watered-down version of what I should actually know.

This reality is why we MUST teach our students how to support their ideas with cited evidence. We don’t need to teach students merely to argue. They do this beautifully with their friends on a daily basis. They need to know how to locate credible evidence, and I am not just talking .gov, .org, or .edu! This requirement of credibility applies to pretty much any prompt writing ideas!

Here are some argument prompt writing ideas that will REQUIRE research:

  • Should student loans be forgiven?
  • Should everyone go to college?
  • Should social media companies be allowed to censor content?
  • Should students have to take higher-level math?
  • Should high school or college students be required to take a financial literacy course?
  • Should students take a gap year before going to college?
  • Should there be a minimum wage?
  • Should students earn grades in their classes (A, B, C, D, F)?
  • Should classes be organized by age or ability in a specific subject area?
  • Should volunteer hours be required for graduation?

Notice: You don’t have to ask students to write a ten-page argument paper in order to feel like your students are learning what they need to know to be successful. You could start with a page, a paragraph, a discussion, or even a 1-minute presentation. Not everything has to be formal in the introductory stage. Sometimes, we want to get our students thinking about the topic and excited before they begin!

Prompt Writing Ideas

10 Rhetorical Analysis Prompts

I am a big fan of requiring students to practice  writing a rhetorical analysis essay . At first, it can be daunting. Even the word “rhetoric” can be difficult to explain at times.

Most of the Prompt Writing Ideas below can be used or revised to fit any piece of rhetoric:

  • How does the speaker use logos in achieving the purpose of the speech?
  • What techniques are used by the author to relay the message that_____?
  • How does the writer include emotional language in order to appeal to the audience?
  • Why is repetition used throughout the passage?
  • What forms of evidence support the rhetor’s argument?
  • How are the rhetorical appeals used in relation to the audience’s perspective?
  • Why might the tone of the speaker change throughout the text?
  • What kinds of strategies are used in online ads versus physical ads?
  • How might you use different techniques when talking with your parents/guardians versus your friends?
  • What types of diction and/or syntax might a creator use when discussing a topic in college?

If you go step by step through the analysis writing process, your students can master this skill. It might take more time than you think, but most students will achieve some level of success. Plus, they can apply these skills to any essay they will have to write in the future! You can teach How to Write a Rhetorical Analysis Essay Step By Step !

teach how to write a rhetorical analysis essay

By modeling what you want, you will more likely get what you want from your students. This process also applies to writing a rhetorical analysis essay. Going through every step above is key to success.

Here are some reading and writing packs that may make the rhetorical analysis essay process that much easier:

  • Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • A Modest Proposal Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • The Declaration of Independence: Rhetorical Analysis Writing Pack
  • Gettysburg Address Activities: Rhetorical Analysis Short Response
  • Declaration of Sentiments Rhetorical Devices Analysis Activity Stanton
  • Sojourner Truth Speech Aint I a Woman: Summary, Rhetorical Analysis
  • Patrick Henry’s Give Me Liberty Give Me Death Speech Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • Florence Kelley Speech About Child Labor Rhetorical Analysis Pack
  • Sending Grandma to the Ovens Rhetorical Analysis Pack

Prompt Writing Ideas For Satire

Need more Prompt Writing Ideas for your middle or high school classroom ? Check out my store  Kristin Menke-Integrated ELA Test Prep !

fun writing topics for high school students


I primarily focus on  integrating multiple disciplines and subjects. The goal is to make teaching simplified and effective!

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You're trapped on a version of groundhog day... and the day that keeps looping for you is the day right before summer break starts..

fun writing topics for high school students

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The best writing prompts for high school

Ah, high school. The birthplace of future geniuses, the setting of a million Young Adult books — and the cutting ground of many a brilliant young author. Writing in the classroom is often the best outlet of creativity for kids, and what better way to get your students excited about it than through creative writing prompts for high school students?

Whether you use journal prompts or story ideas to kickstart your high school student’s imagination, writing prompts are sure to help broaden their thinking, sharpen their writing skills, record their thoughts, and get them to engage with the world around them.

If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of writing prompts for high school students:

  • In the form of diary/ journal entries, write about someone who's just experienced a big "first."
  • Just then, your phone rings. It's your friend and they have some interesting news...
  • Write a short story where the protagonist has a doppelgänger.
  • Write a story about a misunderstanding.
  • Write a story about a strange family tradition, with at least two characters from the family narrating in the course of the story.
  • Write a story about someone who would be described, above all else, as: kind.
  • Write a story that centers on an Instagram post.
  • Write a story that spans a month during which everything changes.
  • Write about a group of people determined to win an award for making the biggest cookie ever.
  • Write about someone going to extreme lengths to return an overdue library book.

If you have a high school student who’s interested in becoming an author, check out our free resources on the topic:

Develop a Writing Routine (free course) — Any high schooler who’s serious about becoming a published author should know that writing a book doesn’t just take talent. 90% of the process is sitting in front of a blank piece of paper, and having the drive and commitment to put words to paper. That’s why we created this free course, which shows people of any age how to develop a writing routine that works for you. It’s never too early to start the process today!

Want to encourage your high school students to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest , for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.


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  • Our Mission

4 Engaging Writing Tasks for High School Students

Short, authentic writing tasks can encourage high school students to compose richer long pieces.

fun writing topics for high school students

It’s quite likely that many of your students dislike writing. After all, they’re often expected to compose lengthy pieces that typically require lots of brainstorming, researching, planning, outlining, drafting, revising, and editing—and that can be exhausting. My class of high school boys had the same attitude, and their short, underdeveloped, and passionless pieces were most telling. I had to overhaul my approach.

During my quest for an alternative practice, I quickly learned that by building students’ knowledge about the topic on which they are expected to compose, and by initially assigning them shorter and more authentic writing tasks, we can successfully motivate them to write longer, richer, and more compelling multiparagraph pieces. Yes, baby steps—from a creep to a stable walk—can work wonders.

Incorporate Knowledge-Building Activities

Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler said it best in  The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades : “Writing and content knowledge are intimately related. You can’t write well about something you don’t know well. The more students know about a topic before they begin to write, the better they will be able to write about it.”

Documentaries, podcasts, TED Talks, and other authentic and engaging audiovisuals can facilitate this knowledge building. Field trips, as well as interviews with relevant community-based experts, can also offer students significant fodder for their writing.

Moreover, when students have interesting discoveries to share, they’ll be excited about the writing tasks, and their compositions are likely to be longer, more detailed, more affecting, and more compelling. Because they have a rich knowledge bank, they’re less likely to get stuck and frustrated as they write. Knowledge stimulates ideas.

But information gathering is not all. It’s also important to show students how to use the newly learned content. We don’t want them to plagiarize information or inadvertently silence their own voices by over-quoting others. Their research should enhance what they write, not substitute for their initial thoughts or suppress their creativity.

What can you do then?

Go beyond lessons in citation format. Model, through write-aloud, how to make decisions about the content included in written work, how to paraphrase and summarize from the original source, and how to ensure that the added content actually strengthens what you already have.

Offer Authentically Rooted Writing Assignments

Finally, make sure that the writing assignments are authentic—with realistic, real-world communicative goals and true-to-life audiences (not just the classroom teacher). Here are some suggestions that you can implement in your teaching practice:

Travel blogs:  Take students on virtual field trips. Nearpod , Google Earth, and YouTube are excellent for this. Following this activity, have students write a blog post to describe the place they visited. If your students have visited resorts or attraction sites locally, they could write about that experience, recommend activities for prospective visitors, and simultaneously persuade them to visit when it is safe to do so.

Their insights might even persuade others to travel to this site. Students could use pictures to supplement their writing. They could also convert their written piece into a mini-video production for a real or imagined YouTube channel that promotes exotic getaways. Their composition would become the audio narration, and, with some background reggae, R & B, or any other culturally popular music, their piece would be beautifully transformed into a riveting marketing pitch.

Movie reviews:  Due to the pandemic, we know that many of our students may be watching far more movies than ever before. Therefore, let’s repurpose this social activity and use what they love or do for pleasure to help them refine a key academic skill. Have students write a review of their most recently watched or favorite film.

Prompt them to provide a summary of the movie, share their impressions of major characters and the plot’s unfolding, and examine the techniques used to create suspense and mounting tension. Later, when they’re writing their own narratives or putting on drama productions, they can adopt and adapt some of these techniques.

Song or music video reviews: Some students enjoy listening to music, so a song or music video review could also motivate them and facilitate interest-based differentiation. State where the review may be published—a local tabloid, a social media page, etc. Have students keep that in mind as they write so that their finished pieces are authentic and fitting for the context and audience intended.

Social media:  Based on your content area, you could have students make discipline-specific posts and write related captions. For instance, if you are looking at rocks in geography or soil types in science, have students photograph different types and post related descriptive or explanatory captions. They’ll be learning and teaching concurrently.

Provide Mentor Texts

These activities are exciting, but before you scuttle off to assign them, find or create models of the kinds of writing that you want your students to produce. Discuss the sample by prompting students to keenly attend to the content and the writer’s craft (style and techniques) throughout the piece.

Finally, make arrangements to have your students publish their pieces—through a safe online space or through an in-school magazine or newsletter—for authenticity at its finest.

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10 Fresh Writing Prompts for High School English

They won’t be able to put their pens down.

Best Writing Prompts for High School

By the time students walk in the door of our secondary ELA classrooms, they’re not exactly new to writing assignments. They’ve done autobiographies. Short stories. Love stories. Scary stories. They’ve journaled and summarized and analyzed. So how do we bring the spark back into writing for them? What can we secondary teachers offer in terms of fresh and exciting writing prompts and assignments? Here are 10 writing prompts for high school students to get them excited about writing in the new year.

1. The TED Talk

There are a lot of amazing TED Talks out there that students love. Launch a TED Talk unit by showing this one, from Tim Urban, called “ Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator .” Talk about what makes it powerful. Have students create TED Talks of their own, sharing a startling story, a piece of wisdom, or an idea from their own lives. Wrap it all up with a mock TED conference at your school, inviting parents, other classes, and administrators, if you wish.

2. Video Writing Prompts

If you’re looking for some unusual, short and sweet writing options, check out John Spencer’s  Creative Writing Prompts for Students playlist.  It features short videos meant to inspire students to think in creative ways. With clips like “What Are Five Things You Want Your Teacher to Know About You?” and “Invent a New Class,” these short pieces can also help you learn more about your writers.

3. Love Poems

What teenager doesn’t harbor some (not so) secret crush? Creating a unit around great love poems, both canonical and modern (e.g. spoken word poetry like this ), will help students get excited about writing their own love poems. Explore various forms, from haiku to sonnet to totally free expression, then create a class anthology of love poems, including both the greats and selections from your own writers.

4. Graduation Speeches

We’ve all sat in the audience of a graduation and wondered what we would talk about if we were on stage speaking. Give students the chance to find out. As the year comes to a close, invite them to write their own charge to the graduating class. What would they say to inspire the seniors? Something to make them laugh? Something to make them cry? Consider having your class vote on the top three pieces and printing them to give to the graduates.

5. Choice Blogging

Students always perk up for an authentic audience and a connection to the real world. Introduce them to one of the many free blogging platforms and let them blog about a topic that truly interests them. Choice blogging makes a great genius-hour option. You can devote one day a week (or every other week) to letting students write about their passions on their own blogs, simply by assigning a different topic each week. Start with list posts, review posts, news posts, video posts, and top-ten posts. Eventually, you can let them choose their own format, as long as they produce a post each week. You can find a full walk-through for setting up this type of project in my own blog post, “ A Beginner’s Guide to Student Blogging .”

6. Fold and Pass

When you try the fold and pass, you’re guaranteed to end up with some very surprising stories. Ask each student to begin a story on a blank piece of paper, introducing a main character. After a while, have them stop and fold their paper then trade with another student. You want the next person to only be able to see the last couple of lines of the beginning. In this next round, everyone will write the middle of the story, taking the character into some kind of conflict before moving the story toward resolution. Finally, have those students fold their papers so only a few lines are visible and trade with another student. When the next writers begin, let them know that they should bring the stories to an end. Then they should return the story to the original writer. The results will no doubt make everyone laugh. This is a great activity for when students need a bit of a break but you still want to keep them writing and building community in your classroom.


This writing assignment is not for the faint of heart! The NANOWRIMO challenge invites anyone interested in writing a novel to do so in one month (November). If you’re interested in exploring this ambitious mission with your students, their  site  is full of helpful information. You could also do a spin-off, asking students to write a novella in a month or perhaps a short story a day for seven days. Take the idea of a big and exciting challenge and make it work for your classroom.

8. “This I Believe” Essays

If you’ve never heard NPR’s old radio series “This I Believe,” it’s a great listen. People from around the country sent in short essays expressing a core belief, which could be as funny and simple as: I believe in the pizza delivery guy. Along with sharing a belief, writers gave specific, vibrant examples of why they held that belief and how they came to have it. It’s an easy format that helps students develop their ability to support claims and write with specific and powerful descriptions. NPR has already created a complete curriculum that is ready and waiting for you to use.

9. Letters to Students Far, Far Away

Several years ago, I taught in Bulgaria, and I loved connecting my students there to students in the United States. We did several projects involving writing back and forth about our views and ourselves.

Finding a collaborative classroom partner gives your students a real reason to write, new friends, and the chance to break down some boundaries. Try connecting your classroom to one in another country or even just in another part of the US. Join a Facebook group for teachers (like one of these ) and make a post to find a partner.

Seriously. I’m not kidding. During their lives, your students will probably write a gazillion emails. Why not teach them how to write a good one? Take back electronic communication from the clutches of sentence fragments, emoticons, and confusing demands. I love  this post from teachwriting.org,  which features ideas for how to get started with an email etiquette unit.

What are your favorite writing prompts for high school? Share them in the comments below!

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How to Choose a Good Topic for a High School Essay

Brian H.

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Facing the challenge of writing an essay in high school?

This time, it's different. You have the freedom to choose your own topic. While this might sound exciting, it's not always as simple as it seems. The right topic can be the difference between a compelling essay and a forgettable one.

Feeling the pressure? Don't worry. We're here to help.

In this blog post, we're diving into the world of essay topics, specifically tailored for high school students. We've got you covered with a variety of ideas, ranging from persuasive and discursive essays to opinion, expository, and narrative essays. Plus, we're throwing in an extra treat - five unique topics perfect for crafting a five-paragraph essay.

Our list of 65 topics isn't just a random collection. We've carefully mixed creative, fun, easy, and more challenging topics to cater to all tastes and interests. Whether you're looking to impress with your creativity or tackle something more traditional, we've got something for you.

Ready to find the perfect topic for your high school essay? Let's get started!

List of 65 Good Essay Topics for High School Students

Dive into our carefully curated list of 65 engaging essay topics designed for high school students. From thought-provoking to fun, these topics will spark your creativity and set the stage for compelling writing.

Persuasive topics

Starting a persuasive essay means choosing a topic you like and that can also convince others. It's about finding the perfect topic and making strong arguments. For high school students who are eager to look at things in new ways, here are ten persuasive essay topics that mix creative ideas with smart thinking:

  • Should School Start Later to Allow More Sleep?
  • Is Learning a Musical Instrument Important for Students?
  • Should Junk Food Be Banned in Schools?
  • Are School Uniforms Necessary or Outdated?
  • Should High Schools Have Later Start Times?
  • Is Year-Round Schooling Better than Traditional Schooling?
  • Should Students Have Homework Every Day?
  • Are School Cafeterias Offering Healthy Meal Choices?
  • Should Schools Limit the Use of Technology in the Classroom?
  • Is It Important to Have Physical Education Every Day?

These topics are great for encouraging students to think critically and develop persuasive arguments about relevant issues. Remember, a successful persuasive essay doesn't just present facts; it convinces the reader to see things from a new perspective.

Discursive topics

Starting a discursive essay means picking a topic where you can explore different sides fairly. It's about discussing the pros and cons and sharing different viewpoints. Here are ten simple yet engaging discursive essay topics perfect for high school students:

  • School Cafeterias: Should Junk Food Be Banned?
  • Homework: Helpful Practice or Too Much Pressure?
  • Online Learning: Is It as Good as Being in the Classroom?
  • Uniforms at School: Good for Everyone or Too Restrictive?
  • Reality TV: Fun Entertainment or Bad Influence?
  • Zoos: Are They Safe Havens for Animals or Just for Show?
  • Social Media: Connecting People or Causing Stress?
  • Sports: Just for Fun or Important for Health?
  • Public Libraries: Still Needed or Outdated?
  • Group Projects: Best Way to Learn or Too Much Trouble?

These topics are great for discussing different views and will help you see things from more than one angle. Remember, a good discursive essay isn't about picking a side but rather about showing you understand both sides of the story. Pick a topic that makes you curious, and dive into the discussion!

Opinion topics

Writing an opinion essay is all about sharing your views and explaining why you feel that way. It's your chance to express yourself on topics that matter to you. Here are ten fun and easy opinion essay topics perfect for high school students:

  • Cartoons vs. Real-life Shows: Which Are More Entertaining?
  • Are Pets Better Friends Than People Sometimes?
  • Should Schools Start Later in the Morning?
  • Is Playing Video Games Better Than Watching TV?
  • Are Books More Fun to Read on Paper or on a Screen?
  • Should Everyone Learn to Cook?
  • Can Listening to Music Help You Study Better?
  • Is It Better to Travel or Stay Home During Vacations?
  • Are Superheroes the Best Kind of Movies?
  • Should Every Student Learn to Play a Musical Instrument?

These topics are perfect for sharing your personal viewpoint and can be really fun to write about. Remember, the best opinion essays come from what you're really interested in or feel strongly about. So pick a topic that sparks your interest and share your thoughts!

Expository topics

Expository essays are great for diving deep into a topic and explaining it clearly. It's all about laying out the facts and explaining how things work or why they are the way they are. Here are ten good and interesting expository essay topics perfect for high school students:

  • How Does Recycling Help the Environment?
  • What Steps Can You Take to Save Money as a Teenager?
  • How Do Video Games Affect Your Brain?
  • What Are the Benefits of Learning a Second Language?
  • How Does the Weather Affect Your Mood?
  • What Are the Best Ways to Stay Healthy in School?
  • How Do Plants Grow and Why Are They Important?
  • What Makes a Good Leader?
  • How Does the Internet Work?
  • What Are the Effects of Listening to Music on Productivity?

These topics are not only good for writing but also interesting to research and learn about. Expository essays are a chance to explore and explain, so pick a topic that you find fascinating and dive into the details!

Cause and effect topics

Cause and effect essays are about understanding why things happen (the cause) and what happens as a result (the effect). It's like being a detective, looking for clues and connecting the dots. Here are ten easy and creative cause and effect essay topics perfect for high school students:

  • What Happens When You Get Enough Sleep vs. Not Enough?
  • How Does Spending Time Outdoors Affect Your Health?
  • What Are the Effects of Eating Too Much Sugar?
  • How Does Being Organized Help You in School?
  • What Happens When You Regularly Exercise?
  • How Does Watching Too Much TV Affect Your Brain?
  • What Are the Effects of Having a Hobby?
  • How Does Bullying Affect Students in School?
  • What Happens When You Drink Enough Water Every Day?
  • How Does Using Social Media Affect Friendships?

These topics are not only easy to write about but also allow you to be creative in exploring the reasons behind things and their outcomes. Cause and effect essays help you think critically, so choose a topic you're curious about and start investigating!

Narrative topics

Narrative essays are all about telling a story. They allow you to be creative and share experiences or imaginative scenarios. Here are ten easy and interesting narrative essay topics perfect for high school students:

  • A Day You'll Never Forget
  • Your First Day at a New School
  • The Time You Learned a Valuable Lesson from a Mistake
  • A Memorable Trip with Your Family or Friends
  • The Moment You Stood Up for What You Believe In
  • An Unexpected Adventure in Your Neighborhood
  • The Day You Met Someone Who Changed Your Life
  • A Special Family Tradition You Cherish
  • Your Experience of Overcoming a Fear
  • A Funny or Embarrassing Moment You Experienced

Narrative essays are like your personal stories. They're a chance to share a part of your life or your imagination with others. So pick a topic that means something to you or that you find exciting, and let your creativity flow!

Five-paragraph essay topics

5 paragraph essays are a great way to organize your thoughts and keep your writing focused. Here are five creative topics perfect for high school students:

  • "If I Could Invent Something New": Imagine you're an inventor. Describe your invention, how it works, and how it would change the world.
  • "A World Without Smartphones": Describe how daily life would change if smartphones suddenly disappeared. Cover both the challenges and the unexpected benefits.
  • "The Secret Life of My Pet": Narrate a day from the perspective of your pet. What adventures do they have when you're not around?
  • "The Book That Changed My Life": Discuss a book that had a significant impact on you. Explain how it changed your thoughts or behavior.
  • "When Time Stopped": Imagine a day where the clock stopped ticking. How would you spend those endless hours? Describe the events of the day and how the experience changed your view of time.

These topics allow you to be creative and explore different scenarios while keeping your writing structured. Pick a topic that sparks your imagination and start crafting your story!

As we wrap up this journey through diverse and engaging essay topics for high school students, remember that the key to a memorable essay lies in the choice of topic. It's the spark that ignites your writing and captures the reader's interest. Whether you choose a persuasive, discursive, opinion, expository, cause and effect, narrative, or five-paragraph essay, ensure it's a topic that resonates with you personally. Your passion and interest in the subject will shine through your writing, making your essay stand out.

If you're still feeling unsure or pressed for time, remember, Writers per Hour is here to assist. Our essay writing service is tailored for high school students like you, offering guidance and support to help you craft the perfect essay.

But the most important tip :  Choose a topic that speaks to you, one that sparks your curiosity and ignites your desire to write. With the right topic in hand, your essay is already on the path to success.

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Literacy Ideas

10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer

fun writing topics for high school students


No doubt about it – writing isn’t easy. It is no wonder that many of our students could be described as ‘reluctant writers’ at best. It has been estimated by the National Association of Educational Progress that only about 27% of 8th and 12th Grade students can write proficiently.

As educators, we know that regular practice would go a long way to helping our students correct this underachievement, and sometimes, writing prompts just aren’t enough to light the fire.

But how do we get students, who have long since been turned off writing, to put pen to paper and log in the requisite time to develop their writing chops?

The answer is to make writing fun! In this article, we will look at some creative writing activities where we can inject a little enjoyment into the writing game.

Visual Writing Prompts


Fun Writing Tasks

25 FUN and ENGAGING writing tasks your students can complete INDEPENDENTLY with NO PREP REQUIRED that they will absolutely love.

Fully EDITABLE and works as with all DIGITAL PLATFORMS such as Google Classroom, or you can PRINT them for traditional writing tasks.

1. Poetry Scavenger Hunt


The Purpose: This activity encourages students to see the poetry in the everyday language around them while helpfully reinforcing their understanding of some of the conventions of the genre.

The Process: Encourage students to ‘scavenge’ their school, home, and outside the community for snippets of language they can compile into a piece of poetry or a poetic collage. They may copy down or photograph words, phrases, and sentences from signs, magazines, leaflets or even snippets of conversations they overhear while out and about.

Examples of language they collect may range from the Keep Out sign on private property to the destination on the front of a local bus.

Once students have gathered their language together, they can work to build a poem out of the scraps, usually choosing a central theme to give the piece cohesion. They can even include corresponding artwork to enhance the visual appeal of their work, too, if they wish.

The Prize: If poetry serves one purpose, it is to encourage us to look at the world anew with the fresh eyes of a young child. This activity challenges our students to read new meanings into familiar things and put their own spin on the language they encounter in the world around them, reinforcing the student’s grasp on poetic conventions.

2. Story Chains  

The Purpose: Writing is often thought of as a solitary pursuit. For this reason alone, it can be seen as a particularly unattractive activity by many of our more gregarious students. This fun activity exercises students’ understanding of writing structures and engages them in fun, creative collaboration.

The Process: Each student starts with a blank paper and pen. The teacher writes a story prompt on the whiteboard. You’ll find some excellent narrative writing prompts here . For example, each student spends two minutes using the writing prompt to kick-start their writing.  

When they have completed this part of the task, they will then pass their piece of paper to the student next to them. Students then continue the story from where the previous student left off for a given number of words, paragraphs, or length of time.

If organized correctly, you can ensure students receive their own initial story back at the end for the writing of the story’s conclusion .

The Prize: This fun writing activity can be used effectively to reinforce student understanding of narrative writing structures, but it can also be fun to try with other writing genres.

Working collaboratively motivates students to engage with the task, as no one wants to be the ‘weak link’ in the finished piece. But, more than that, this activity encourages students to see writing as a communicative and creative task where there needn’t be a ‘right’ answer. This encourages students to be more willing to take creative risks in their work.

3. Acrostic Associations

Writing Activities,fun writing | acrostic poems for teachers and students | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: This is another great way to get students to try writing poetry – a genre that many students find the most daunting.

The Process: Acrostics are simple poems whereby each letter of a word or phrase begins a new line in the poem. Younger students can start off with something very simple, like their own name or their favorite pet and write this vertically down the page.

Older students can take a word or phrase related to a topic they have been working on or have a particular interest in and write it down on the page before beginning to write.

The Prize: This activity has much in common with the old psychiatrist’s word association technique. Students should be encouraged to riff on ideas and themes generated by the focus word or phrase. They needn’t worry about rhyme and meter and such here, but the preset letter for each line will give them some structure to their meanderings and require them to impose some discipline on their wordsmithery, albeit in a fun and loose manner.

4. The What If Challenge

Writing Activities,fun writing | fun writing tasks 1 | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: This challenge helps encourage students to see the link between posing interesting hypothetical questions and creating an entertaining piece of writing.

The Process: To begin this exercise, have the students come up with a single What If question, which they can then write down on a piece of paper. The more off-the-wall, the better!

For example, ‘What if everyone in the world knew what you were thinking?’ or ‘What if your pet dog could talk?’ Students fold up their questions and drop them into a hat. Each student picks one out of the hat before writing on that question for a suitable set amount of time.

Example What If Questions

  • “What if you woke up one day and found out that you had the power to time travel?”
  • “What if you were the last person on Earth? How would you spend your time?”
  • “What if you were granted three wishes, but each one came with a terrible consequence?”
  • “What if you discovered a secret portal to another world? Where would you go, and what would you do?”
  • “What if you woke up one day with the ability to communicate with animals? How would your life change?”

The Prize: Students are most likely to face the terror of the dreaded Writer’s Block when they are faced with open-ended creative writing tasks.

This activity encourages the students to see the usefulness of posing hypothetical What If questions, even random off-the-wall ones, for kick-starting their writing motors.

Though students begin by answering the questions set for them by others, please encourage them to see how they can set these questions for themselves the next time they suffer from a stalled writing engine.

5. The Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World

Writing Activities,fun writing | disgusting sandwich writing task | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: Up until now, we have looked at activities encouraging our students to have fun with genres such as fiction and poetry. These genres being imaginative in nature, more easily lend themselves to being enjoyable than some of the nonfiction genres.

But what about descriptive writing activities? In this activity, we endeavor to bring that same level of enjoyment to instruction writing while also cleverly reinforcing the criteria of this genre.

The Process: Undoubtedly, when teaching instruction writing, you will at some point cover the specific criteria of the genre with your students.

These will include things like the use of a title, numbered or bulleted points, time connectives, imperatives, diagrams with captions etc. You will then want the students to produce their own piece of instruction writing or procedural text to display their understanding of how the genre works.

 But, why not try a fun topic such as How to Make the Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World rather than more obvious (and drier!) topics such as How to Tie Your Shoelaces or How to Make a Paper Airplane when choosing a topic for your students to practice their instruction writing chops?

Example of a Most disgusting Sandwich Text

The Prize: As mentioned, with nonfiction genres, in particular, we tend to suggest more banal topics for our students to work on while internalizing the genre’s criteria. Enjoyment and acquiring practical writing skills need not be mutually exclusive.

Our students can just as quickly, if not more easily, absorb and internalize the necessary writing conventions while engaged in writing about whimsical and even nonsensical topics.

if your sandwich is entering the realm of horror, be sure to check our complete guide to writing a scary story here as well.


Daily Quick Write

Our FUN DAILY QUICK WRITE TASKS will teach your students the fundamentals of CREATIVE WRITING across all text types. Packed with 52 ENGAGING ACTIVITIES

6. Diary Entry of a Future Self

Writing Activities,fun writing | future self writing task | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: This activity allows students to practice personal writing within the conventions of diary/journal writing. It also challenges them to consider what their world will be like in the future, perhaps stepping a foot into the realm of science fiction.

The Process: Straightforwardly, after working through some examples of diary or journal writing, and reviewing the various criteria of the genre, challenge the students to write an entry at a given milestone in the future.

This may be when they leave school, begin work, go to university, get married, have kids, retire etc. You may even wish to get the students to write an entry for a series of future milestones as part of a more extended project.

Example of Message to Future Me Text

The Prize: Students will get a chance here to exercise their understanding of this type of writing , but more than that, they will also get an opportunity to exercise their imaginative muscles too. They will get to consider what shape their future world will take in this engaging thought experiment that will allow them to improve their writing too.

7. Comic Strip Script


The Purpose: Give your students the chance to improve their dialogue writing skills and to work on their understanding of character development in this fun activity which combines writing with the use of a series of visual elements.

The Process: There are two ways to do this activity. The first requires you to source, or create, a comic strip minus the dialogue the characters are speaking. This may be as straightforward as using whiteout to erase the words in speech bubbles and making copies for your students to complete.

Alternatively, provide the students with photographs/pictures and strips of cards for them to form their own action sequences . When students have their ‘mute’ strips, they can begin to write the dialogue/script to link the panels together.

The Prize: When it comes to writing, comic strips are probably one of the easier sells to reluctant students! This activity also allows students to write for speech. This will stand to them later when they come to produce sections of dialogue in their narrative writing or when producing play or film scripts.

They will also develop their visual literacy skills as they scan the pictures for clues of tone and context before they begin their writing.

Keep It Fun

Just as we should encourage our students to read for fun and wider educational benefits, we should also work to instil similar attitudes towards writing. To do this means we must work to avoid always framing writing in the context of a chore, that bitter pill that must be swallowed for the good of our health.

There is no getting away from the fact that writing can, at times, be laborious. It is time-consuming and, for most of us, difficult at the best of times. There is a certain, inescapable amount of work involved in becoming a competent writer.

That said, as we have seen in the activities above, with a bit of creative thought, we can inject fun into even the most practical of writing activities . All that is required is a dash of imagination and a sprinkling of effort.

8. Character Interviews

Writing Activities,fun writing | 610f9b34b762f2001e00b814 | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: Character interviews as writing activities are excellent for students because they encourage creative thinking, character development, and empathy. The purpose of this activity is to help students delve deeper into the minds of the characters they are creating in their stories or reading about in literature. By conducting interviews with these characters, students gain a better understanding of their personalities, motivations, and perspectives.

The Process of character interviews involves students imagining themselves as interviewers and their characters as interviewees. They can either write out the questions and answers in a script-like format or write a narrative where the character responds to the questions in their own voice.

The Prize: Through character interviews, students learn several valuable skills:

  • Character Development: By exploring various aspects of their characters’ lives, backgrounds, and experiences, students can develop more well-rounded and authentic characters in their stories. This helps make their fictional creations more relatable and engaging to readers.
  • Empathy and Perspective: Conducting interviews requires students to put themselves in their characters’ shoes, considering their thoughts, emotions, and struggles. This cultivates empathy and a deeper understanding of human behavior, which can be applied to real-life situations as well.
  • Voice and Dialogue: In crafting the character’s responses, students practice writing authentic dialogue and giving their characters unique voices. This skill is valuable for creating dynamic and believable interactions between characters in their stories.
  • Creative Expression: Character interviews provide a creative outlet for students to let their imaginations run wild. They can explore scenarios that may not appear in the main story and discover new aspects of their characters they might not have considered before.
  • Critical Thinking: Formulating questions for the interview requires students to think critically about their characters’ personalities and backgrounds. This exercise enhances their analytical skills and storytelling abilities.

Overall, character interviews are a dynamic and enjoyable way for students to delve deeper into the worlds they create or the literature they read. It nurtures creativity, empathy, and writing skills, empowering students to become more proficient and imaginative writers.

9. The Travel Journal

Writing Activities,fun writing | fun writing activities | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: Travel journal writing tasks are excellent for students as they offer a unique and immersive way to foster creativity, cultural awareness, and descriptive writing skills. The purpose of this activity is to allow students to embark on a fictional or real travel adventure, exploring new places, cultures, and experiences through the eyes of a traveller.

The process of a travel journal writing task involves students assuming the role of a traveler and writing about their journey in a journal format. They can describe the sights, sounds, tastes, and emotions they encounter during their travels. This activity encourages students to use vivid language, sensory details, and expressive writing to bring their travel experiences to life.

The Prize: Through travel journal writing tasks, students will learn several valuable skills:

  • Descriptive Writing: By describing their surroundings and experiences in detail, students enhance their descriptive writing skills, creating engaging and vivid narratives.
  • Cultural Awareness: Travel journals encourage students to explore different cultures, customs, and traditions. This helps broaden their understanding and appreciation of diversity.
  • Empathy and Perspective: Through writing from the perspective of a traveler, students develop empathy and gain insight into the lives of people from different backgrounds.
  • Research Skills: For fictional travel journals, students might research specific locations or historical periods to make their narratives more authentic and accurate.
  • Reflection and Self-Expression: Travel journals offer a space for students to reflect on their own emotions, thoughts, and personal growth as they encounter new experiences.
  • Creativity and Imagination: For fictional travel adventures, students get to unleash their creativity and imagination, envisioning fantastical places and scenarios.
  • Language and Vocabulary: Travel journal writing tasks provide opportunities for students to expand their vocabulary and experiment with expressive language.

Overall, travel journal writing tasks inspire students to become more observant, empathetic, and skilled writers. They transport them to new worlds and foster a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. Whether writing about real or imaginary journeys, students develop a deeper connection to the places they encounter, making this activity both educational and enjoyable.

10. The Fairy Tale Remix

Writing Activities,fun writing | Glass Slipper | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer | literacyideas.com

The Purpose: A fairy tale remix writing activity is a fantastic creative exercise for students as it allows them to put a unique spin on classic fairy tales, fostering imagination, critical thinking, and storytelling skills. This activity encourages students to think outside the box, reinterpret well-known tales, and explore their creative potential by transforming traditional narratives into something entirely new and exciting.

The process of a fairy tale remix writing activity involves students selecting a familiar fairy tale and altering key elements such as characters, settings, plot twists, or outcomes. They can modernize the story, change the genre, or even mix different fairy tales together to create a wholly original piece.

The Prize: Through this activity, students will learn several valuable skills:

  • Creative Thinking: Students exercise their creativity by brainstorming unique concepts and ideas to remix the fairy tales, encouraging them to think imaginatively.
  • Critical Analysis: Analyzing the original fairy tale to identify essential elements to keep and areas to remix helps students develop critical thinking skills and understand storytelling structures.
  • Writing Techniques: Crafting a remix requires students to use descriptive language, engaging dialogue, and well-developed characters, helping them hone their writing techniques.
  • Perspective and Empathy: Remixing fairy tales allows students to explore different character perspectives, promoting empathy and understanding of diverse points of view.
  • Genre Exploration: Remixing fairy tales can introduce students to various genres like science fiction, fantasy, or mystery, expanding their literary horizons.
  • Originality: Creating their own narrative twists and unexpected plots encourages students to take ownership of their writing and develop a unique voice.
  • Storytelling: Students learn the art of compelling storytelling as they weave together familiar elements with innovative ideas, captivating their readers.

By remixing fairy tales, students embark on a creative journey that empowers them to reimagine well-loved stories while honing their writing skills and imaginative prowess. It’s an engaging and enjoyable way for students to connect with literature, explore new possibilities, and showcase their storytelling talents.


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130 New Prompts for Argumentative Writing

Questions on everything from mental health and sports to video games and dating. Which ones inspire you to take a stand?

fun writing topics for high school students

By The Learning Network

Note: We have an updated version of this list, with 300 new argumentative writing prompts .

What issues do you care most about? What topics do you find yourself discussing passionately, whether online, at the dinner table, in the classroom or with your friends?

In Unit 5 of our free yearlong writing curriculum and related Student Editorial Contest , we invite students to research and write about the issues that matter to them, whether that’s Shakespeare , health care , standardized testing or being messy .

But with so many possibilities, where does one even begin? Try our student writing prompts.

In 2017, we compiled a list of 401 argumentative writing prompts , all drawn from our daily Student Opinion column . Now, we’re rounding up 130 more we’ve published since then ( available here as a PDF ). Each prompt links to a free Times article as well as additional subquestions that can help you think more deeply about it.

You might use this list to inspire your own writing and to find links to reliable resources about the issues that intrigue you. But even if you’re not participating in our contest, you can use these prompts to practice the kind of low-stakes writing that can help you hone your argumentation skills.

So scroll through the list below with questions on everything from sports and mental health to dating and video games and see which ones inspire you to take a stand.

Please note: Many of these prompts are still open to comment by students 13 and up.

Technology & Social Media

1. Do Memes Make the Internet a Better Place? 2. Does Online Public Shaming Prevent Us From Being Able to Grow and Change? 3. How Young Is Too Young to Use Social Media? 4. Should the Adults in Your Life Be Worried by How Much You Use Your Phone? 5. Is Your Phone Love Hurting Your Relationships? 6. Should Kids Be Social Media Influencers? 7. Does Grammar Still Matter in the Age of Twitter? 8. Should Texting While Driving Be Treated Like Drunken Driving? 9. How Do You Think Technology Affects Dating?

10. Are Straight A’s Always a Good Thing? 11. Should Schools Teach You How to Be Happy? 12. How Do You Think American Education Could Be Improved? 13. Should Schools Test Their Students for Nicotine and Drug Use? 14. Can Social Media Be a Tool for Learning and Growth in Schools? 15. Should Facial Recognition Technology Be Used in Schools? 16. Should Your School Day Start Later? 17. How Should Senior Year in High School Be Spent? 18. Should Teachers Be Armed With Guns? 19. Is School a Place for Self-Expression? 20. Should Students Be Punished for Not Having Lunch Money? 21. Is Live-Streaming Classrooms a Good Idea? 22. Should Gifted and Talented Education Be Eliminated? 23. What Are the Most Important Things Students Should Learn in School? 24. Should Schools Be Allowed to Censor Student Newspapers? 25. Do You Feel Your School and Teachers Welcome Both Conservative and Liberal Points of View? 26. Should Teachers and Professors Ban Student Use of Laptops in Class? 27. Should Schools Teach About Climate Change? 28. Should All Schools Offer Music Programs? 29. Does Your School Need More Money? 30. Should All Schools Teach Cursive? 31. What Role Should Textbooks Play in Education? 32. Do Kids Need Recess?

College & Career

33. What Is Your Reaction to the College Admissions Cheating Scandal? 34. Is the College Admissions Process Fair? 35. Should Everyone Go to College? 36. Should College Be Free? 37. Are Lavish Amenities on College Campuses Useful or Frivolous? 38. Should ‘Despised Dissenters’ Be Allowed to Speak on College Campuses? 39. How Should the Problem of Sexual Assault on Campuses Be Addressed? 40. Should Fraternities Be Abolished? 41. Is Student Debt Worth It?

Mental & Physical Health

42. Should Students Get Mental Health Days Off From School? 43. Is Struggle Essential to Happiness? 44. Does Every Country Need a ‘Loneliness Minister’? 45. Should Schools Teach Mindfulness? 46. Should All Children Be Vaccinated? 47. What Do You Think About Vegetarianism? 48. Do We Worry Too Much About Germs? 49. What Advice Should Parents and Counselors Give Teenagers About Sexting? 50. Do You Think Porn Influences the Way Teenagers Think About Sex?

Race & Gender

51. How Should Parents Teach Their Children About Race and Racism? 52. Is America ‘Backsliding’ on Race? 53. Should All Americans Receive Anti-Bias Education? 54. Should All Companies Require Anti-Bias Training for Employees? 55. Should Columbus Day Be Replaced With Indigenous Peoples Day? 56. Is Fear of ‘The Other’ Poisoning Public Life? 57. Should the Boy Scouts Be Coed? 58. What Is Hard About Being a Boy?

59. Can You Separate Art From the Artist? 60. Are There Subjects That Should Be Off-Limits to Artists, or to Certain Artists in Particular? 61. Should Art Come With Trigger Warnings? 62. Should Graffiti Be Protected? 63. Is the Digital Era Improving or Ruining the Experience of Art? 64. Are Museums Still Important in the Digital Age? 65. In the Age of Digital Streaming, Are Movie Theaters Still Relevant? 66. Is Hollywood Becoming More Diverse? 67. What Stereotypical Characters Make You Cringe? 68. Do We Need More Female Superheroes? 69. Do Video Games Deserve the Bad Rap They Often Get? 70. Should Musicians Be Allowed to Copy or Borrow From Other Artists? 71. Is Listening to a Book Just as Good as Reading It? 72. Is There Any Benefit to Reading Books You Hate?

73. Should Girls and Boys Sports Teams Compete in the Same League? 74. Should College Athletes Be Paid? 75. Are Youth Sports Too Competitive? 76. Is It Selfish to Pursue Risky Sports Like Extreme Mountain Climbing? 77. How Should We Punish Sports Cheaters? 78. Should Technology in Sports Be Limited? 79. Should Blowouts Be Allowed in Youth Sports? 80. Is It Offensive for Sports Teams and Their Fans to Use Native American Names, Imagery and Gestures?

81. Is It Wrong to Focus on Animal Welfare When Humans Are Suffering? 82. Should Extinct Animals Be Resurrected? If So, Which Ones? 83. Are Emotional-Support Animals a Scam? 84. Is Animal Testing Ever Justified? 85. Should We Be Concerned With Where We Get Our Pets? 86. Is This Exhibit Animal Cruelty or Art?

Parenting & Childhood

87. Who Should Decide Whether a Teenager Can Get a Tattoo or Piercing? 88. Is It Harder to Grow Up in the 21st Century Than It Was in the Past? 89. Should Parents Track Their Teenager’s Location? 90. Is Childhood Today Over-Supervised? 91. How Should Parents Talk to Their Children About Drugs? 92. What Should We Call Your Generation? 93. Do Other People Care Too Much About Your Post-High School Plans? 94. Do Parents Ever Cross a Line by Helping Too Much With Schoolwork? 95. What’s the Best Way to Discipline Children? 96. What Are Your Thoughts on ‘Snowplow Parents’? 97. Should Stay-at-Home Parents Be Paid? 98. When Do You Become an Adult?

Ethics & Morality

99. Why Do Bystanders Sometimes Fail to Help When They See Someone in Danger? 100. Is It Ethical to Create Genetically Edited Humans? 101. Should Reporters Ever Help the People They Are Covering? 102. Is It O.K. to Use Family Connections to Get a Job? 103. Is $1 Billion Too Much Money for Any One Person to Have? 104. Are We Being Bad Citizens If We Don’t Keep Up With the News? 105. Should Prisons Offer Incarcerated People Education Opportunities? 106. Should Law Enforcement Be Able to Use DNA Data From Genealogy Websites for Criminal Investigations? 107. Should We Treat Robots Like People?

Government & Politics

108. Does the United States Owe Reparations to the Descendants of Enslaved People? 109. Do You Think It Is Important for Teenagers to Participate in Political Activism? 110. Should the Voting Age Be Lowered to 16? 111. What Should Lawmakers Do About Guns and Gun Violence? 112. Should Confederate Statues Be Removed or Remain in Place? 113. Does the U.S. Constitution Need an Equal Rights Amendment? 114. Should National Monuments Be Protected by the Government? 115. Should Free Speech Protections Include Self Expression That Discriminates? 116. How Important Is Freedom of the Press? 117. Should Ex-Felons Have the Right to Vote? 118. Should Marijuana Be Legal? 119. Should the United States Abolish Daylight Saving Time? 120. Should We Abolish the Death Penalty? 121. Should the U.S. Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Weapons? 122. Should the U.S. Get Rid of the Electoral College? 123. What Do You Think of President Trump’s Use of Twitter? 124. Should Celebrities Weigh In on Politics? 125. Why Is It Important for People With Different Political Beliefs to Talk to Each Other?

Other Questions

126. Should the Week Be Four Days Instead of Five? 127. Should Public Transit Be Free? 128. How Important Is Knowing a Foreign Language? 129. Is There a ‘Right Way’ to Be a Tourist? 130. Should Your Significant Other Be Your Best Friend?


Teach Creative Writing In High School With 10 Fun Activities

Creative writing is a meaningful aspect of literature that mandates you to utilize your expertise, ingenuity, and story to depict a critical message, emotion, or plot. It defies the traditional bounds of other forms of writing and is completely subjective to our preferences and experiences. In creative writing, it’s all about imaginativeness!

Using creative imagination and originality to convey feelings and concepts in a unique way is at the heart of creative writing. Simply stated, it’s about infusing your own ‘flair’ into your writing, moving beyond academic or other technical kinds of literature. 

In this post, we will explore the various activities which would be advantageous for a high schooler who wishes to indulge in creative writing!

fun writing topics for high school students

What Happens When Creative Writing Is Put To Use?

Creative writing is any form of writing that deviates from traditional professional, investigative journalism, educational, or technological forms of literature. It is typically distinguished by emphasizing narrative craft, character development, literary tropes, or various poetic traditions.

Here are the few ways how high schoolers can benefit from creative writing –

1. Imagination

When you write creatively, you expand your imagination by creating new environments, scenarios, and characters. This way, you are also boosting and stretching your imagination, as well as “thinking out of the box.” This allows you to concentrate your energy on many other things and improve your ability to find fresh ideas and alternatives to problems you’re having. Whether you’re a researcher or a businessman, creative writing will increase your imagination and help you think more creatively, and push the boundaries.

2. Empathy and Communications skills

When you create characters, you’ll be constructing emotions, personalities, behaviors, and world views that are distinct from your own. Writers must conceive personalities, emotions, places, and walks of life outside of their own lives while creating universes with fictional characters and settings.

This can give children a good dose of empathy and understanding for those who aren’t like them, who don’t live where they do or go through the same things they do daily. Writers are better equipped to communicate when they have a greater understanding of other points of view. They can come up with creative ways to explain and debate subjects from multiple perspectives. This ability is crucial in both professional and personal situations. 

3. Clarification of Thoughts 

Creating structures in creative writing allows you to organize your impressions and emotions into a logical procedure. You may express both your thoughts and your sentiments through creative writing. For example, if you’re a marketing executive, you could create a short tale in which your clientele reads your promotional emails. You can guess what they’re up to, where they’re seated, what’s around them, and so on.

This enables you to focus on the language and strategies you employ. Alternatively, if you’re a technical writer writing on a new desktop platform, you could create a creative scenario in which a user encounters a problem. 

4. Broadens Vocabulary and gets a better understanding of reading and writing

You’ll learn a larger vocabulary and a better understanding of the mechanics of reading and writing as you begin to practice writing exercises regularly. Even if you’re writing a budget report, you’ll know when rigid grammar standards work and when they don’t, and you’ll know what will make your writing flow better for your readers. Exploring different ways of expressing yourself when writing creatively allows you to extend your vocabulary.

You’ll notice a change in your use and range of language as you improve your writing over time, which will be useful in any professional route and social scenario. You’ll be able to bend and break the rules when you need to, to utilize your voice and make what you’re writing engaging without coming off as an amateur, dull, or inauthentic once you’ve grasped the fundamentals of writing professionally and creatively.

5. Building Self-Belief 

When you write creatively, you’re actively involved in an activity that allows you to fully develop your voice and point of view without being constrained. You have a better chance to investigate and express your feelings about various issues, opinions, ideas, and characters. And you’ll feel more at ease and secure stating your thoughts and perspectives in other things you write as a result of this.

Writers who don’t write creatively may be concerned about appearing authoritative or trustworthy. They accidentally lose their voice and sound like drones spouting statistics by omitting to include their perspective on the topics they’re writing about. As a result, they miss out on using their distinct voice and presenting themselves as an expert with real-world expertise.

Creative Writing Activities That Will Strengthen Your Writing Skills  

Short spurts of spontaneous writing make up creative writing activities. These writing exercises push a writer to tackle a familiar topic in a new way, ranging from one line to a lengthy tale. Short, spontaneous projects are common in creative writing programs, but any writer should make them a regular practice to extend their abilities and learn new tactics to approach a series of stories.

These activities must be performed for ten minutes at a time, several times a week – by creative writers. They’re designed to help you improve your writing abilities, generate fresh story ideas, and become a better writer.

1. Free Writing

Writing is the first and foremost activity that is going to give your creative writing a boost. Start with a blank page and let your stream of thoughts and emotions flow. Then simply begin writing. Don’t pause to think or alter what you’re expressing. This is known as “free writing.” This writing activity is referred to as “morning pages” by Julia Cameron, the author of ‘The Artist’s Way.’ She recommends that authors do this every day when they first wake up. Stream of consciousness writing can provide some intriguing concepts.

Allow your intellect to take the lead as your fingers type. Or write a letter to your younger self.  Consider a topic you’d like to discuss, such as a noteworthy event, and write it down. Give guidance or convey a message that you wish you had heard as a youngster or a young adult.

2. Modify a Storyline – Read

Most of us like to read. However, just reading won’t really help augment your creative writing skills. While reading bestows insight into the deeper meanings of numerous things, you need a more concrete approach to better your aptitude. To do this, you can modify any storyline. Take an episode from a chapter, if you’re feeling brave—from one of your favorite books and recreate it. Write it from the perspective of a different character. Swap out the main character in this exercise to examine how the story may be conveyed differently.

Take Percy Jackson’s thrilling conclusion, for instance, and rework it with Annabeth as the primary character. Another way to approach this creative activity is to keep the primary character but switch viewpoints. Rewrite a scene in the third person if the writer has told a story in the first person. 

3. Add Creative Writing Prompts or Create Flash Fiction

Use writing prompts, often known as narrative starters, to produce writing ideas. A writing prompt is a sentence or short excerpt that a writer uses to start composing a story on the spot. You can look up writing prompts online, pick a sentence out of a magazine at random, or use a brilliant line from a well-known work as the start of your short scene.

fun writing topics for high school students

Another thing you can do to accentuate your writing is to create flash fiction. Sit down at your desktop or pick up a pen and paper and write a 500-word story on the spur of the moment. This isn’t the same as just writing whatever comes to mind. With no fixed guidelines, free writing generates a stream of consciousness. All of the basic components of a story arc, such as plot, conflict, and character development, are required in flash fiction, albeit in a shortened form.

4. Create a Fictitious Advertisement

Pick a random word from a nearby book or newspaper and create a fictitious commercial for it. Write one ad in a formal, abbreviated newspaper classified format to require you to pay special attention to your word choice to sell the item. Then write one for an online marketplace that allows for longer, more casual text, such as Craigslist. Describe the item and persuade the reader to purchase it in each one.

5. Engage in Conversations 

Engaging in conversations with your friends/family – or simply communicating can help brush up your writing skills. Talk to your loved ones about their hobbies, career, views on societal issues – any suitable topic for that matter. This helps implement others’ points of view and expands your mental ability. Another useful thing that you can do is – make another person’s tale and create it by implementing your own thoughts. Then talk about it in an impeccable manner. Also, talk in complete sentences. This goes to show your Linguistic intelligence proficiency – and helps augment your creative writing skills.

6. Create Your Own Website/Blog

Start your search for blogging. There are a million writing suggestions out there, but they all boil down to the same thing: write. Blogging is excellent writing practice because it gives you a place to write regularly.

fun writing topics for high school students

To keep your fingers and mind nimble, write a post every day. Like most bloggers, you’ll want to restrict your subject—perhaps you’ll focus on parenting or start a how-to site where you can tell stories from your point of view.

7. Participate in Debates/Extempores  

Participating in debates, extempores – anchoring for your school function, giving a speech, all of these activities help boost your creative spirit. These group events make you understand what other people are envisioning, which in turn helps you generate new ideas, approaches, and methods. Not only do they improve your articulation and research skills, but they also develop critical thinking and emotional control abilities. All of these promote a better creative writing aptitude.

8. Start a YouTube Channel or Podcast 

Starting a YouTube channel or podcast will definitely level up your creative game. YouTube is a never-ending platform, covering myriads of topics. Choose a particular niche for your channel.

fun writing topics for high school students

Then do your topic research, create content, manage SEO, approach brands, talk to clients and influencers – do all the good stuff. Communicating with other influencers and creating content will take your creative writing skills to another level. Starting a podcast will have a similar impact. 

9. Love them? Say it with your words!

We have many festivals, occasions, birthdays, parties, anniversaries and whatnot! You can employ these special days and boost your creative writing skills. You can make a token of love for them – writing about your feelings. You can also make gift cards, birthday cards, dinner menus, and so on. So let’s say, it’s your mother’s birthday, you can write her a token of love, elucidating your feelings and letting her know what all she’s done for you and that you’re grateful. Do this for all your near and dear ones. This not only spreads positivity and love but helps you develop your creative aptitude.

10. The What-if Game

The What-If game is an incredible way to upgrade your creative abilities. You can play this game with your friends, cousins, relatives, or solo. Here, you need to find links to many interesting hypothetical questions. For instance, what if the sun doesn’t rise for a week? What if there’s no oxygen for one minute? Play it with your peeps, or ask these questions to yourself. It can be anything random but concrete. If you don’t know the answers to the questions, look them up on Google. This way, you’re training your mind to learn new concepts all the while enhancing your visualization process. 

We can conclude that creative writing encourages students to think creatively, use their imaginations, imply alternatives, expand their thinking processes, and improve their problem-solving skills. It also allows the child to express themselves and grow their voice. Besides, it enhances reasoning abilities. The principle behind the creative writing concept is that everyone can gain the qualities that are needed to become a successful writer or, rather become good at writing. Creative writing is all about using language in new and innovative ways.

fun writing topics for high school students

Sananda Bhattacharya, Chief Editor of TheHighSchooler, is dedicated to enhancing operations and growth. With degrees in Literature and Asian Studies from Presidency University, Kolkata, she leverages her educational and innovative background to shape TheHighSchooler into a pivotal resource hub. Providing valuable insights, practical activities, and guidance on school life, graduation, scholarships, and more, Sananda’s leadership enriches the journey of high school students.

Explore a plethora of invaluable resources and insights tailored for high schoolers at TheHighSchooler, under the guidance of Sananda Bhattacharya’s expertise. You can follow her on Linkedin

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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 57 fun creative writing prompts for kids.

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General Education


With many kids learning from home due to Covid-19, easy-to-organize educational activities for students are more important than ever. Writing helps improve students' creativity, communication skills, and ability to focus, among other benefits.

Whether you're a teacher, a parent now homeschooling, or a student looking for something new and interesting to write about, these writing prompts are for you. We've collected 57 writing prompts for students of various ages, from elementary school through high school. From spooky story writing prompts to debating how to improve schools, this article has writing prompts that will appeal to all students.

Tips for Using These Writing Prompts

What's the best way to use these creative writing prompts for kids? It depends on a lot of factors, including the student's age, current schooling structure, and their own interests and abilities. Here are some suggestions:

Use as a daily writing prompts exercise. You can assign one of these prompts at the beginning or end of the school day, as a way to prepare for the rest of the day or unwind after schoolwork.

Set up a quiet space to write. Many people have a hard enough time writing even with no distractions, and it can be nearly impossible to respond thoughtfully to a prompt if there's a television on, people talking, etc. Having a distraction-free space can help your student focus on the work at hand and produce their best writing.

Suggest an estimated writing length. Most of these journal writing prompts are designed to be answered both briefly or much more in depth. By giving a number of words/pages to aim for, you'll give your student a better idea of how detailed their response should be.

Consider having students handwrite their responses. Writing by hand can help students be more thoughtful about their responses because they'll typically write slower than they can type. It can also help students improve their handwriting skills.


57 Fun Writing Prompts for Kids

Below are over 50 journal topics for kids, organized into three categories: narrative writing prompts, fiction/creative writing prompts, and argumentative writing prompts for kids.

Narrative Writing Prompts for Kids

#1: What is your favorite holiday or holiday tradition?

#2: If you could go back in time for one day, which time period would you choose?

#3: If you could learn one thing about your future, what would it be? Or, if you prefer not to know anything, why would you make that choice?

#4: Pretend you're writing an autobiography and need to create a table of contents. What would you name each chapter?

#5: What is your earliest memory? Write every detail you can remember about it.

#6: If you had the power to change one thing about school, what would you change and why?

#7: Describe three goals you have for yourself.

#8: Imagine you are creating your dream restaurant. What kind of food would you serve, what would the menu look like, and how would the restaurant be decorated?

#9: If you could build your dream house, what would it look like? What rooms would it have? What would the yard be like?

#10: What is the bravest thing you've done in your life? Why did you make the choice you did? How did you feel during and after the situation?

#11: What is the funniest thing you've ever seen?

#12: What is your dream job?

#13: What is one thing you're really good at?

#14: Pretend you are a professional reviewer and write a review of a book you recently read or a TV show/movie you recently watched. How many stars would you give it? What did you like about it, and what didn't you like?

#15: Write about a time you did something kind for someone else. What did you do, how did it make you feel, and how did it make the person you helped feel?

#16: Imagine your life in ten years. What do you think you will be like? What will you be doing?

#17: Write about the craziest dream you've ever had.

#18: What would your perfect weekend look like? What things would you do? Who would you see? What would you eat?

#19: Do you like your name? If so, why? If not, what would you change it to?

#20: Make a list of your favorite activities for each season.

#21: Write about your least favorite chore. What don't you like about it? What would you invent to make the chore easier?   

#22: What three pieces of advice would you give to your younger self?

#23: If you could be famous for anything, what would it be? 

#24: If you could create a new law, what would it be? Do you think it would be hard to enforce?

#25: Write about a time you think one or both of your parents made a mistake. What did they do, and what do you think they should have done? Did they admit their mistake?

#26: How would your best friend describe you? How would you describe your best friend? (You can also have your friend do this prompt and read each other's responses.)


Fiction and Creative Writing Prompts for Kids

#27: Write a story about a character taking a submarine ride under the sea. What sort of things do you think they would see there? Would they be afraid or excited?

#28: Write a new chapter for your favorite book or new scene for your favorite movie. Which characters would be there, and what would they be doing?

#29: Invent a new pet. What would it look like, and what would you call it? What would it eat, and how would you care for it?

#30: Start a story with a lyric from a song.

#31: Pick something nearby (toy, pet, flower, etc.) and write a haiku about it. Bonus points if it rhymes!

#32: Write a story about a character who gets lost in the woods and discovers a mysterious person there.

#33: Write your own silly internet quiz.

#34: Choose an object in the house and describe it in as much detail as you can without saying what it is. Then, have a parent or sibling try to guess what you described.

#35: Write a scary story that includes: a spooky pumpkin patch, a vampire afraid of garlic, and a black cat.

#36: Do some people watching out your window. Write a story using one or more of them as the characters. Make up backstories and imagine what they're doing.

#37: Write a story about what you think your parents were like when they were younger.

#38: Your character survives a shipwreck and washes up on a mysterious island. What is on the island and how does (s)he get back home?

#39: Imagine you can choose to be any animal for a day. Which animal would you choose? What would you do?

#40: Write a poem about your favorite season.

#41: Imagine you are chosen for the first mission to Mars. What would you bring with you, and what do you think exploring the planet would be like?

#42: Write a sympathetic story from the point of view of the "bad guy." (Think fractured fairy tales like Wicked or The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! , although the story doesn't have to be a fairy tale.)

#43: Imagine your pet gets a day to roam free before returning home. Where would it go, and what would it see?

#44: If you could have dinner with any three people (real or fictional), who would you choose and what would you talk about? What would you eat?

#45: Look through photographs, drawings, and paintings. Choose one and write a story about it, imagining where it is and the types of people/things there.

#46: Imagine aliens landed on earth. What would they look like, and how would they act? Would they be friendly or not?


Argumentative Writing Prompts for Kids

#47: Are there dangers of teenagers spending too much time on social media?

#48: Does homework actually help students learn?

#49: Should students doing e-learning this year get letter grades, pass/fail, or no grades?

#50: At what age should children get their own cell phone?

#51: Which is best: ebooks, audiobooks, or traditional print books?

#52: What's more important, PE classes or art classes?

#53: Which celebrity is the best role model for kids? Which is the worst?

#54: Should parents or teachers be able to ban certain books from schools?

#55: Which season is the best?

#56: Should students recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school?

#57: Should students go to school year-round and have shorter breaks throughout the year rather than one long summer vacation?


What's Next?

Also looking for science activities for kids?  Check out our 37 science experiments for kids that you can do at home!

Want to make some slime? We tell you how to make slimes without borax and without glue as well as how to craft the ultimate super slime .

Pipe cleaners can provide endless craft ideas. Read our guide for simple instructions for 31 fun pipe cleaner crafts for kids.

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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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30 Fun Creative Writing Prompts for High School

Fun Creative Writing Prompts

There are situations when one gets stuck in the middle of the writing process. Sometimes it happens at the very beginning when you have no clue what to start with, lacking creativity and inspiration even to come up with something brief. Usually, such mishaps happen to young high school students who need more experience in writing. In such cases, professors and tutors assist their students by providing them with so-called writing prompts. It may be a motivating question or instruction which helps to catch the idea and purpose of the assignment and thus helps to generate a writing plan.

TOP 7 Creative Writing Prompts for High School Students

Plus TOP 9 ideas for high school essay in presentation updated for 2020

Writing Prompts for High School Students

Writing prompts come in different shapes and sizes. Such writing “tips” serve as a starting point for students, boost imagination and help to concentrate on the topic. Funny and amusing prompts are given to students when they have to share some creative stories with each other. Here are some interesting writing prompts for high schools students:

  • Write about your childhood toys.
  • What would you do if you were able to communicate with animals?
  • Write a short poem about your classroom.
  • Describe some holiday or celebration. Welcome the others to join you and have fun.
  • Describe your best friend.
  • Write about the most important thing in your life.
  • Write a poem about your favorite hobby and/or game.

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All of the mentioned prompts are aimed to evoke writing inspiration. This kind of assignment helps to develop writing habits and abilities, discover some hidden talents and improve students’ skills to express themselves.

On the other hand, creative writing prompts help students to broaden their outlook and improve thinking. It is important for students to be assigned tricky tasks which would make them think, therefore, writing prompts should sometimes be challenging and even controversial.

Example of The Best Writing Prompts for 9 th Grade

The Best Writing Prompts for 9th Grade

Next 23 Writing Prompts for High School from Writing Elites Team

  • Write a letter to your manager.
  • What would you do if you traveled back in time?
  • If you were the president, what would you change?
  • Write about a homeless animal that you brought home.
  • What would you do if you found out you had the magic powers?
  • Write about a vacation that you will never forget.
  • Describe the best show you have ever attended.
  • Write about the time when you outsmarted someone you had always wanted to.
  • If you were to be an animal, which one would you choose and why?
  • Describe your worst nightmare.
  • Imagine you woke up and found that you are invisible?
  • Describe the experience you had with an alien that took you with him to his planet.

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  • Imagine you found a golden ring on the floor?
  • Would you prefer having a brother or a sister? Why?
  • Write a poem about your father.
  • You meet a fairy, and she tells you to wish for only three things, what would those be?
  • Write about your worst fear.
  • Describe your future life.
  • Who is your role model? Why?
  • It was an unusual Wednesday morning when I heard...
  • Write about a moment that you were put to shame
  • Write a letter to the future you.
  • Write about the moment when you broke an important promise.

List of Writing Prompts That May Be of Interest to High School Students in 2023

  • Describe a time when you faced a difficult decision and how you overcame it.
  • If you could travel back to any historical event, which event would you choose and why?
  • Write a short story about a character who must overcome a major obstacle to achieve their goal.
  • Argue for or against using social media in schools in a persuasive essay.
  • Write a descriptive essay about a place important to you and explain why it holds significance.
  • Share a personal essay about a lesson you learned from a mistake you made.
  • Write a poem about the changing seasons and what they represent to you.
  • Compare and contrast two different cultures or religions in an essay.
  • Craft a short story about a character who must confront their fear to succeed.
  • Argue for or against using standardized testing in schools in a persuasive essay.
  • Describe a person who has had a significant impact on your life in a descriptive essay.
  • Share a personal essay about a time when you had to stand up for what you believed in.
  • Write a fictional letter to a future version of yourself, describing your hopes and dreams for your future.
  • Write a poem about a significant moment in your life and the emotions it evokes.
  • Compare and contrast two different works of literature or movies in an essay.

Original Writing Prompts to Reflect on in Middle School

Writing Prompts to Reflect on in Middle School

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30 Creative Writing Prompts for Teens | Fun Journal Topics

If you are looking for the best writing prompts for middle school or high school, you are at the right place! We have the 30 most creative writing prompts for teens. You can use these topics for writing assignments or journal writing. Middle school journal prompts or high school journal prompts make it easier for instructors to guide the students, and they also make it easier for students to keep a journal without having to overthink what the

topic is going to be about. So, continue reading to get the best writing topics for journals and writing activities .

creative writing topics for teens

Creative Writing Topics for Teens

What is Writing Prompts?

Writing prompts are topics or questions that will work as a fun guide to writing or keeping a journal. If you want your students or yourself to enjoy writing and get in the habit of keeping a journal, it is most helpful to use fun writing prompts. It doesn’t have to be journals. You can use these writing topics for assignments, quick write, brainstorming, short stories, and more. The point of these topics is to make writing more fun! So, these can be helpful for a middle school class and high school writing classes or ESL writing activities.

Take a look at this post if you are looking for writing topics for ESL beginners .

Creative Writing Prompts for Teens Part 1

Check out the list of the 30 most creative and fun writing prompts for middle school and high school students.

  • How are you different online and in real life?
  • What is something that everyone else believes to be true but you don’t?
  • Choose your favorite machine, and explain how it works.
  • Describe snow to someone who has never seen it. Use at least five adjectives when describing snow.
  • Write a letter to a person you really like (it can be a parent, friend, someone you secretly admire, or partner). Include three reasons why you like that person in the letter.
  • What are ten things that make you happy and why?
  • What is a good friend?
  • What does it mean to be a family?
  • If you could thank one person from history, who would it be and why?
  • If you could go back in time and say one thing to your mother or father, what would it be and why?
  • Describe the best present you’ve received. What was it, and who gave it to you?
  • Write a letter to yourself in the future (one year from now).
  • Would you rather be able to only read books forever or watch movies forever?
  • Describe your favorite restaurant. Would you tell other people about the place?
  • What was the song that you listened to the most last year (check the music streaming platform you use)? Why was it your favorite song?

journal writing topics for teens

Journal Writing Topics for Teens

Creative Thinking & Writing Prompts Part 2

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • Choose five symbols or objects that represent you. Explain how they represent you.
  • What are three things you want to achieve before 30?
  • If you didn’t have to worry about salary or cost of living, what do you truly want to study at university?
  • Describe a perfect vacation. Where is the destination, and who would you go with?
  • What is your role in your family?
  • Write a poem about friendship.
  • What is one reason you look forward to becoming an adult?
  • Describe a time when you would have rather made a different choice. What were the options and consequences?
  • What do you do when you feel depressed or lonely?
  • Would you rather know everyone’s secrets or not know any secrets?
  • What is your favorite subject in school, and what is your least favorite one? Explain why.
  • Would you rather have many okay friends or a few very close friends?
  • Explain your ideal date.
  • Describe a time when you had to do detention or got grounded.

Journaling with Creative Writing Prompts for Teens

Students tend to feel pressured to comply with what is popular among teens. This affects them in a way to lose opportunities to express themselves and stay true to who they really are. This is where journaling can really help. Journaling is a great way to reflect on who you are and concentrate on yourself without having to worry about others’ opinions. No one will judge what they write in their journals. Therefore, it gives an opportunity for students to think, reflect, learn, and be creative. Most importantly, they will have fun while doing this! That’s the great part of journaling with fun writing prompts.

Not only will students have a chance to learn about themselves, but they will also have a chance to think hard about topics that they have never done in the past. That is why as an instructor, you want to provide students with some challenging topics that can also be fun! It will really help students develop thinking skills, comprehension skills, writing skills, and analyzing skills.

Journaling is a very powerful way to make your students better writers . Encourage your teen students to support their responses with details and examples. Providing students with samples could help.

Fun Writing Activities

If you are looking for additional writing activities than journaling, check out these two options.

3 Things Writing Activity

Put students in pairs and make everybody write down 3 things. Then, have them exchange the paper with their partners. With the list of 3 things provided by their partners, each student has to write a short story. It doesn’t matter if it is silly, serious, or sad. It will heavily depend on what the three things are. If you want to make this activity a little bit more challenging, have a time limit and make sure students finish their stories within that time.

Learn more about the 3 things writing activity.

Round Robin Story

This is a very fun writing activity that requires everyone to contribute to creating a story. Everyone starts a story off with, “Once upon a time….” After writing the first sentence, everyone will pass their paper to the person on their right. The next person has to continue the story based on what the previous person has written. When there are only two or three more turns left until all the papers go back to the original writer who started the first sentence, let the students know that they should prepare to wrap up the story. Have fun reading the collaborative stories!

Learn more about the Round Robin Story writing activity.

writing prompts for teens

Good Writing Prompts for Teens

FAQs About Writing Prompts for Teens

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about high school and middle school writing prompts.

What are some writing prompts for high school?

Three good writing prompts for high school students:

  • Describe your favourite subject and least favourite subject.
  • What would you study at university if you didn’t have to worry about money?
  • Write a poem about your high school life.

What are the three types of writing prompts?

The three types of writing prompts are descriptive, narrative, and expository. Descriptive topics ask writers to create or describe an experience or thing. Narrative topics ask writers to tell a story about a real or made-up scenario. Lastly, expository topics ask students to provide information about a given topic.

What are some good journal topics?

Good journal topics provide a chance to reflect on yourself and think creatively. Check out some examples of good journal topics:

Writing Prompts for Teens: Join the Conversation

What are your thoughts on these top 30 writing prompts for teens? What is your favourite topic? Do you regularly keep a journal or diary ? If there is a good writing topic for teens, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.

fun writing topics for high school students

About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including Business English Vocabulary Builder and 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

You can find her on social media at: YouTube Facebook Pinterest TikTok LinkedIn Instagram

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8 Reading Activities for High Schoolers That They'll Actually Enjoy

Reading and writing skills are important at any age, but we know it's not always easy to keep older kids engaged. Reading activities for high school have to be really compelling to compete with all the other things vying for teens' attention. These fun literacy activities will have them putting down their phones and picking up their pencils.

Need to Know Literacy is a broad term used to describe skills related to reading and writing. While much of the focus on literacy takes place in elementary school, there's definitely a need for continued development of skills at all grade levels.

Fun Reading Comprehension Activities for High School

There's no denying that a major component of literacy is reading comprehension, or the ability to make sense of the words on a page. The thing is, it's not always an easy thing to teach because it's such a broad topic. Students need to understand different kinds of texts across many aspects of life including work, home, and family.

These activities help you zero in on specific aspects of reading comprehension while keeping kids' attention.

Create a Quiz

Instead of having students take quizzes or tests after reading a novel, we love the idea of allowing the students to create the quiz. A test is meant to see what a student has learned after studying specific materials. This activates a student's ability to remember information, but it doesn't do the job of teaching reading comprehension.

Creating a quiz will make students think more specifically about what information was important and how to examine whether someone else has learned that information. This is a tricky way to teach reading comprehension because they have to work hard to know the material before they can write a quiz about it.


Create a list of short stories appropriate for your class

Instructions :

  • Ask each student to choose a short story from your approved list.
  • After reading the story, challenge students to create a comprehensive quiz about the story. Quizzes can be no less than 10 questions and no more than 20. Questions can cover a variety of topics such as characters, plot, and theme.
  • Once the quiz is complete, have students create an answer key.
  • Assign the selected stories as homework, or read and discuss them as a class. Use the student-created quizzes to gauge individual understanding of the story.

Online Profile of a Villain

We love this creative literacy activity that really lets kids get into the details of characters. The concept is simple; readers must select a book based only on a fake online profile created using its content. There are no cover images, author names, or plot summaries visible. This is fun way to get students focused on understanding characters and reading outside of their comfort zones.

An awesome bonus is that a student will need to consider all context clues if they hope to find a book in their preferred genre. If they end up with a genre they might not choose, they get to see how they feel about it (it might just be a new fave).


  • Ask each student to think of a book they would recommend to a friend. Supply reading lists if necessary.
  • From the chosen book, each student should then write a character summary of the most villainous character.
  • You'll need to have card stock and markers on hand.


  • Using the character summary, students should create an online profile of the villain. Remind students that a profile highlights positive qualities so they will need to put a positive spin on any negative traits.
  • Write the completed profile on the piece of card stock. Illustrations and creative text techniques are allowed to enhance this new cover for the selected book as long as they do not include an obvious clue as to the villain's identity.
  • All students should place their completed book covers at the front of the room.
  • Choose an order and have students select a character that they might want to learn more about. The book they select will be the next reading assignment.

World Mapping

Many children's stories and fantasy books have a map of the fictional world included. These maps can provide a fun backdrop for a unique listening and reading comprehension activity. Students will be challenged to hear their partner above all others and interpret their words into an image.

Need to Know Active listening skills are an integral aspect of adolescent literacy and a big component of reading comprehension. Listening not only involves hearing a word but also interpreting its meaning, and that's great practice for understanding and processing what you read.
  • Select two to five "other world" maps illustrated in popular fantasy books, like Winnie the Pooh or Lord of the Rings .
  • Prepare a step-by-step script of directions for drawing each map.
  • You'll need to have blank paper and colored pencils for each pair of students.


  • Separate the class into pairs. Give one person from each pair the script and the other person a blank paper and colored pencils. It's suggested that no two groups have the same world.
  • All pairs should start the activity at the same time. This will create a loud atmosphere full of distractions.
  • To start, the script reader should begin telling his partner the directions in the correct order. The person with the paper will need to listen to his partner, follow the directions, and create a world map.
  • Once all maps are complete, groups with the same script can show a comparison of their world map.
  • Open a discussion about what part of the activity was most difficult and why.

Activities to Connect Literacy and Modern Media

Viral videos, countless social media platforms, and entertainment flood the lives of teenagers today, but reading and writing don't have to compete for attention with them. We love the idea of incorporating all kinds of media into reading activities for high school to entice teens to participate and help them expand their knowledge to real life.

Make Your Own Photo Meme

Our phones are absolutely flooded with photos these days, and Instagram is a fixture at this point. Memes are all about combining words with photos, and coming up with the right words is a big part of literacy. The goal of this activity is to give students some light-hearted practice at writing. Students will be challenged to come up with text on the spot, but the humorous nature of the photos should help keep stress levels low.

  • Print funny images from the internet, leaving space on the paper to write under the image. On the back of the image write a genre such as romance, dystopian, science fiction, comedy, drama, or mystery.
  • Give each student one image and a few minutes to examine it.
  • Instruct students to write a funny sentence or two describing their image as it pertains to the given genre, basically creating their own meme. For example, an image of a kitten wrestling a rabbit with the word "mystery" on the back might prompt a caption like "I'm not kitten. Somebunny got hurt, and we need to find out whodunnit."
  • One by one, ask students to share their meme with the class.
  • After each speech, have the class guess what genre the meme would fit in.

Re-Tweet Poetry

Communicating effectively without a ton of words is a skill that can take some practice. On X (previously known as Twitter), the limited character count of posts challenges writers to get a point across in a concise manner.

Preparation :

Assign a poem to each student. Have the students read the poem before the activity.

  • Familiarize the class with the guidelines for X, namely the maximum character count of 280.
  • Students must first rewrite each stanza of the poem to fit into a single 280-character post while still conveying the tone, mood, and point of the stanza.
  • Once the entire poem has been rewritten as a series of tweets, students should create two hashtags to accompany the posts. The hashtags should relate to either the theme, title, or author of the poem.

Analyze Song Lyrics

Teenagers live by their soundtracks, maybe even more than they did in previous generations. Incorporating this love for music into a lesson about comprehension and writing can be pretty powerful. Students will need to interpret the meaning behind song lyrics, specifically if there is one controversial message that stands out.

Ask each student to choose a favorite song and submit it ahead of time. Check lyrics for availability and appropriateness before approving students' song choice.

  • Present each student with a copy of the lyrics for their chosen song.
  • Ask each student to write a literary analysis essay using the chosen song.
  • As an added learning experience, you could ask students to present their song and analysis to the class.

Activities to Focus on Words and Their Meanings

Vocabulary lessons can be incredibly dull and boring when they involve memorizing lists and reciting them back to the teacher. The thing is, being familiar with an extensive vocabulary can help students sound more professional in adult settings. These fun activities can help.

Beach Ball Vocab Lesson

Active lessons are awesome when you need to gain and keep the attention of teenagers. This age group is best suited for an active in-class game because they should be able to keep on task while having fun.

  • Use a permanent marker to create distinct sections on a beach ball, create as few or many as needed.
  • In each section, write a command dealing with the use of a vocabulary word. Some examples would be: change to an adverb, define the word, use it in a sentence, think of a rhyming word, and think of another word with the same root.

How to Play:

  • Instruct students to sit on their desks or have all the desks arranged in a circle before game play.
  • Write a vocabulary word on the white board, call out a student's name, and throw them the ball.
  • The student should then shout the answer to whichever prompt is closest to their left thumb as it pertains to the word on the board.
  • If the student answers correctly, the teacher should choose a new vocab word before the student calls out a classmate's name and throws the ball to that person. If the student answers incorrectly, the same vocab word is used and the ball is thrown to the next player.
  • Continue game play until all vocabulary words have been used or time is up.

Comic Strip Scene

Comic strips offer a place to showcase an entire story in very few words (plus their just really fun). This activity will require students to tap into their creativity and vocabulary skills in rewriting a scene from a play.

  • Scenes from a play
  • Blank paper
  • Colored pencils or markers
  • Assign a scene from a play to each student.
  • Instruct students to create a comic strip inspired by this scene. The purpose of the comic should mirror that of the scene, but the tone should be humorous as that is typically how comic strips are written. The basic idea is to capture the essence of the scene in images and only a few choice words. No text from the scene should be copied in the comic aside from character and location names.
  • Display and discuss the comic strips as a class. What were some of the most effective ways a particular scene was portrayed?

Connect the Dots and Have Fun

The best reading activities for high school involve covering a wide variety of skills related to the use of language. Help high school students prepare for successful adulthood by incorporating different activities that include each of these skills, but don't forget to have fun at the same time.

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Classroom Q&A

With larry ferlazzo.

In this EdWeek blog, an experiment in knowledge-gathering, Ferlazzo will address readers’ questions on classroom management, ELL instruction, lesson planning, and other issues facing teachers. Send your questions to [email protected]. Read more from this blog.

How to Help Students With Their Writing. 4 Educators Share Their Secrets

fun writing topics for high school students

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Teaching students to write is no easy feat, and it’s a topic that has often been discussed on this blog.

It’s also a challenge that can’t have too much discussion!

Today, four educators share their most effective writing lessons.

‘Three Practices That Create Confident Writers’

Penny Kittle teaches first-year writers at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She was a teacher and literacy coach in public schools for 34 years and is the author of nine books, including Micro Mentor Texts (Scholastic). She is the founder and president of the Book Love Foundation, which annually grants classroom libraries to teachers throughout North America:

I write almost every day. Like anything I want to do well, I practice. Today, I wrote about the wild dancing, joyful energy, and precious time I spent with my daughter at a Taylor Swift concert. Then I circled back to notes on Larry’s question about teaching writers. I wrote badly, trying to find a through line. I followed detours and crossed out bad ideas. I stopped to think. I tried again. I lost faith in my words. I will get there , I told myself. I trust my process.

I haven’t always written this easily or this much. I wouldn’t say I’m a “natural” writer because I don’t believe they exist. Writing is work. When I entered college, I received a C-minus on my first paper. I was stunned. I had never worked at writing: I was a “first drafter,” an “only drafter.” And truthfully, I didn’t know how or what to practice. I was assigned writing in high school and I completed it. I rarely received feedback. I didn’t get better. I didn’t learn to think like a writer; I thought like a student.

I’ve now spent 40 years studying writing and teaching writers in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and high school, as well as teachers earning graduate degrees. Despite their age, writers in school share one remarkably similar trait: a lack of confidence. Confidence is a brilliant and fiery light; it draws your eyes, your heart, and your mind. But in fact, it is as rare as the Northern Lights. I feel its absence every fall in my composition courses.

We can change that.

Confidence blooms in classrooms focused on the growth of writers.

This happens in classrooms where the teacher relies less on lessons and more on a handful of practices. Unfortunately, though, in most classrooms, a heap of time is spent directing students to practice “writing-like” activities: restrictive templates for assignments, with detailed criteria focused on rules. Those activities handcuff writers. If you tell me what to do and how to do it, I will focus on either completing the task or avoiding it. That kind of writing work doesn’t require much thinking; it is merely labor.

Practice creating, on the other hand, is harder, but it is how we develop the important ability to let our ideas come and then shaping them into cohesive arguments, stories, poems, and observations. We have misunderstood the power of writing to create thinking. Likewise, we have misunderstood the limitations of narrow tasks. So, here are my best instructional practices that lead to confidence and growth in writers.

1. Writing Notebooks and Daily Revision. Writers need time to write. Think of it as a habit we begin to engage in with little effort, like serving a tennis ball from the baseline or dribbling a basketball or sewing buttonholes. Writers need daily time to whirl words, to spin ideas, to follow images that blink inside them as they move their pen across the page. In my classroom, writing time most often follows engagement with a poem.

Likewise, writers need guidance in rereading their first drafts of messy thinking. I’ve seen teachers open their notebooks and invite students to watch them shape sentences. They demonstrate how small revisions increase clarity and rhythm. Their students watch them find a focus and maintain it. Teachers show the effort and the joy of writing well.

Here’s an example: We listen to a beautiful poem such as “Montauk” by Sarah Kay, her tribute to growing up. Students write freely from lines or images that spring to them as they listen. I write in my notebook as students write in theirs for 4-5 minutes. Then I read my entry aloud, circling subjects and detours ( I don’t know why I wrote so much about my dog, but maybe I have more to say about this … ). I model how to find a focus. I invite students to do the same.

2. Writers Study Writing . Writers imitate structures, approaches, and ways of reaching readers. They read like writers to find possibilities: Look what the writer did here and here . A template essay can be an effective tool to write for a test, but thankfully, that is a very small and insignificant part of the whole of writing for any of us. Real writing grows from studying the work of other writers. We study sentences, passages, essays, and articles to understand how they work, as we create our own.

3. Writers Have Conversations as They Work . When writers practice the skills and embrace the challenges of writing in community, it expands possibilities. Every line read from a notebook carries the mark of a particular writer: the passion, the voice, the experiences, and the vulnerability of each individual. That kind of sharing drives process talk ( How did you think to write about that? Who do you imagine you are speaking to? ), which showcases the endless variation in writers and leads to “writerly thinking.” It shifts conversations from “right and wrong” to “how and why.”

Long ago, at a local elementary school, in a workshop for teachers, I watched Don Graves list on the chalkboard subjects he was considering writing about. He read over his list and chose one. From there, he wrote several sentences, talking aloud about the decisions he was making as a writer. Then he turned to accept and answer questions.

“Why do this?” someone asked.

“Because you are the most important writer in the room,” Don said. “You are showing students why anyone would write when they don’t have to.” He paused, then added, “If not you, who?”


Developing ‘Student Voice’

A former independent school English teacher and administrator, Stephanie Farley is a writer and educational consultant working with teachers and schools on issues of curriculum, assessment, instruction, SEL, and building relationships. Her book, Joyful Learning: Tools to Infuse Your 6-12 Classroom with Meaning, Relevance, and Fun is available from Routledge Eye on Education:

Teaching writing is my favorite part of being a teacher. It’s incredibly fun to talk about books with kids, but for me, it’s even more fun to witness students’ skills and confidence grow as they figure out how to use written language to communicate what they mean.

A lesson I used to like doing was in “voice.” My 8th graders had a hard time understanding what I meant when I asked them to consider “voice” in their writing. The best illustration I came up with was playing Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” for students. Some students groaned while others clapped. (Doesn’t this always happen when we play music for students? There’s no song that makes everyone happy!) But when they settled down, I encouraged them to listen to the style: the arrangement, her voice as she sang, the dominant instruments.

Then, I played a cover of “Blank Space” by Ryan Adams. Eyes rolled as the song unfurled through the speakers, but again I reminded students to listen to the arrangement, voice, and instruments. After about 60 seconds of the Adams version, heads nodded in understanding. When the music ended and I asked students to explain voice to me, they said it’s “making something your own … like your own style.” Yes!

The next step was applying this new understanding to their own writing. Students selected a favorite sentence from the books they were reading, then tried to write it in their own voice. We did this a few times, until everyone had competently translated Kwame Alexander into “Rosa-style” or Kelly Link into “Michael-style.” Finally, when it was time for students to write their own longer works—stories, personal essays, or narratives—they intentionally used the words and sentence patterns they had identified as their own voice.

I’m happy to report this method worked! In fact, it was highly effective. Students’ papers were more idiosyncratic, nuanced, and creative. The only change to this lesson I’d make now is trying to find a more zeitgeist-y song with the hope that the groans at the beginning die down a little faster.


Teaching ELLs

Irina McGrath, Ph.D., is an assistant principal at Newcomer Academy in the Jefferson County school district in Kentucky and the president of KYTESOL. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville, Indiana University Southeast, and Bellarmine University. She is a co-creator of the ELL2.0 site that offers free resources for teachers of English learners:

Reflecting on my experience of teaching writing to English learners, I have come to realize that writing can be daunting, especially when students are asked to write in English, a language they are learning to master. The most successful writing lessons I have taught were those that transformed the process into an enjoyable experience, fostering a sense of accomplishment and pride in my students.

To achieve this, I prioritized the establishment of a supportive learning environment. At the beginning of each school year, I set norms that emphasized the importance of writing for everyone, including myself as their teacher. I encouraged students to write in English and their native language and I wrote alongside my English learners to demonstrate that writing is a journey that requires hard work and dedication, regardless of age or previous writing experiences. By witnessing my own struggles, my students felt encouraged to persevere.

My English learners understood that errors were expected and that they were valuable opportunities for growth and improvement. This created a comfortable atmosphere where students felt more confident taking risks and experimenting with their writing. Rather than being discouraged by mistakes, they viewed them as steppingstones toward progress.

In my most effective writing lessons, I provided scaffolds such as sentence stems, sentence frames, and word banks. I also encouraged my students to use translation tools to help generate ideas on paper. These scaffolds empowered English learners to independently tackle more challenging writing assignments and nurtured their confidence in completing writing tasks. During writers’ circles, we discussed the hard work invested in each writing piece, shared our work, and celebrated each other’s success.

Furthermore, my most successful writing lessons integrated reading and writing. I taught my students to read like writers and utilized mentor texts to emulate the craft of established authors, which they could later apply to their own writing. Mentor texts, such as picture books, short stories, or articles, helped my students observe how professional writers use dialogue, sentence structure, and descriptive language to enhance their pieces.

Instead of overwhelming students with information, I broke down writing into meaningful segments and taught through mini lessons. For example, we analyzed the beginnings of various stories to examine story leads. Then, collaboratively, my students and I created several leads together. When they were ready, I encouraged them to craft their own leads and select the most appropriate one for their writing piece.

Ultimately, my most effective lessons were those in which I witnessed the joyful smiles on my English learners’ faces as they engaged with pages filled with written or typed words. It is during those moments that I knew my writers were creating and genuinely enjoying their work.

To access a self-checklist that students and EL teachers can use when teaching or creating a writing piece in English, you can visit the infographic at bit.ly/ABC_of_Writing .


‘Model Texts’

Anastasia M. Martinez is an English-language-development and AVID Excel teacher in Pittsburg, Calif.:

As a second-language learner, writing in English had not always been my suit. It was not until graduate school that I immersed myself in a vast array of journals, articles, and other academic works, which ultimately helped me find my academic voice and develop my writing style. Now, working as an ESL teacher with a diverse group of middle school multilingual learners, I always provide a model text relevant to a topic or prompt we are exploring.

When students have a model text, it gives them a starting point for their own writing and presents writing as less scary, where they get stuck on the first sentence and do not know how to start.

At the start of the lesson, prior to using a model text, I create a “do now” activity that guides my students’ attention to the topic and creates a relevant context for the text. After students share their ideas with a partner and then the class, we transition to our lesson objectives, and I introduce the model text. We first use prereading strategies to analyze the text, and students share what they notice based on the title, images, and a number of paragraphs. Then, depending on the students’ proficiency level, I read the text to the class, or students read the text as partners, thinking about what the text was mostly about.

After students read and share their ideas with partners and then the whole class, we transition to deconstructing the text. These multiple reengagements with the text help students become more familiar with it, as well as help students build reading fluency.

When deconstructing the model text, I guide my students through each paragraph and sentence. During that time, students orally share their ideas determining the meaning of specific paragraphs or sentences, which we later annotate in the model text using different colored highlighters or pens. Color coding helps visually guide students through similar parts of the model text. For instance, if we highlight evidence in paragraph 2 in one color, we also highlight evidence in the same color in the following paragraph. It helps students see the similarities between the paragraphs and discover the skeleton of the writing. Additionally, color coding helps students during their writing process and revision. Students can check if they used all parts of the writing based on the colors.

Furthermore, one of the essential pieces during deconstructing model texts that I draw my students’ attention to is transition words and “big words,” or academic vocabulary. We usually box them in the text, and I question students about why the author used a particular word in the text. Later, when students do their own writing, they can integrate new vocabulary and transition words, which enhances their vocabulary and language skills.

As the next step, I invite students to co-create a similar piece of writing with a partner or independently using our model text as their guide. Later, our model text serves as a checklist for individual and partner revisions, which students could use to give each other feedback.

Model texts are an essential part of the writing process in any content-area class. As educators, we should embrace the importance of model texts, as they provide a solid foundation upon which students can develop their unique writing skills, tone, and voice.


Thanks to Penny, Stephanie, Irina, and Anastasia for contributing their thoughts!

Consider contributing a question to be answered in a future post. You can send one to me at [email protected] . When you send it in, let me know if I can use your real name if it’s selected or if you’d prefer remaining anonymous and have a pseudonym in mind.

You can also contact me on Twitter at @Larryferlazzo .

Just a reminder; you can subscribe and receive updates from this blog via email . And if you missed any of the highlights from the first 12 years of this blog, you can see a categorized list here .

The opinions expressed in Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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Best Websites for High School Students

By Med Kharbach, PhD | Last Update: February 16, 2024

Websites for High School Students

In today’s fast-paced educational landscape, high school students have an unprecedented access to a wealth of knowledge right at their fingertips. Recognizing the immense potential of digital resources to supplement traditional learning, I’ve dedicated myself to meticulously combing through the vast expanse of educational technology websites.

My goal? To curate a selection that offers substantial learning value specifically tailored for high school students. Drawing from my extensive experience in reviewing EdTech tools, I present to you a compilation that not only enhances the academic journey but also inspires a deeper engagement with the material. These websites span a broad spectrum of disciplines, ensuring that students can find reliable, enriching resources regardless of their area of interest.

Websites for High School Students

Here are some good websites for high school students:

The library of Congress

The Library of Congress, home of U.S. Copyright Office, offers a wide range of educational materials and primary source documents including books, recordings, images, manuscripts, maps, and newspapers. 

The mission of the Library is to “to develop qualitatively the Library’s universal collections, which document the history and further the creativity of the American people and which record and contribute to the advancement of civilization and knowledge throughout the world, and to acquire, organize, provide access to, maintain, secure, and preserve these collections.”

The Smithsonian Learning Lab

The Smithsonian Learning Lab offers a diverse collection of resources to help students enhance their learning. These materials include recordings, digital images, texts, art and culture, and more. 

The Lab also provides tools that students can use to upload, adapt, create, and share educational resources with colleagues, teachers, and parents. Students can use the Lab’s search service to search for resources to use in their own learning projects. 

Google Arts and Culture

Google Arts & Culture is another great website for high school students. It provides students access to a huge repository of human knowledge stored in over 2000 cultural institutions from all over the world.

Students can use Google Arts & Culture to take virtual guided tours to different museums and exhibits in the world. They can also search for museums and exhibitions in their vicinity and explore their artwork. 

Other features provided by Google Arts & Culture include games to teach students cultural literacy , museum explorer to explore world museums, today in history featuring major art and cultural events and historical figures, Street View to help you tour famous sites and landmarks, discover artists from all around the world, and many more.

Applied Digital Skills

Applied Digital Skills by Google for Education offers a wide variety of educational resources to help students develop the skills necessary for thriving in and out of school. The site embeds video-based lessons that students can access anytime anywhere for free. 

The way it works is simple: students sign in as learners, once in their dashboard they can then start searching for lessons and begin their learning journey. 

There are over 100 lessons organized into different collections. Students can search for lessons by audience (e.g., late elementary, middle school, high school, adult learners), by digital tool (e.g., Apps Script, Docs, Drawings, Drive, Forms, Gmail, Maps, Meet, AutoDraw, Photos, etc) or by topic (e.g., Art, Business, Math, Science, Social Studies, Study Skills and Organization,  Foreign Language, Financial skills, communication, etc). 

BrainPOP offers a wide variety of educational games, animated videos and activities to enhance students learning and help them develop a better understanding of the world around them. 

BrainPOP’s  materials cover different topics and content areas including science, health, reading and writing, social studies, math, arts and technology. BrainPOP also provides tools ‘that challenge students to reflect, make connections, and engage in deeper, curiosity-driven learning’.

Besides the main BrainPOP, there is also BrainPOP Jr for kids K-3 and offers learning resources that cover STEM, social studies, reading/writing, health, and arts. BrainPOP ELL is for English language learning for students of all ages. It offers educational materials on vocabulary, grammar, listening, reading, and writing.

Prodigy is a free, adaptive math game that integrates Common Core math (1st-7th grade) into a fantasy style game that students absolutely love playing. Prodigy takes game-based learning a step further and provides teachers with a powerful set of reporting and assessment tools that allow them to easily identify trouble spots, differentiate instruction, and better manage classroom time.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy provides students access to a huge library of educational resources that include videos, interactive exercises, in-depth articles covering various content areas such as Math, science, economics, history, finance, and civics. Students can browse lessons by grade and topic.

Each lesson comes with video tutorials and step by step guides. There are also ‘practice exercises, quizzes, and tests with instant feedback and step-by-step hints’. More importantly, Khan Academy uses advanced algorithms to provide relevant learning materials tailored to each learner’s individual levels and skills. 

Brainly is knowledge-sharing platform where students get help with their homework. Brainly resources are crowd-source and students. Answers to students inquiries are provided by members of the site’s community including fellow students, teachers, educators, PhDs, experts, among others. 

Topics covered include Math, History, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Social Studies, Geography, Arts, Computer Science, Business, Law, Engineering, World Languages, Health and many more. For more similar sources check out best homework websites for students .

Math Homework Tools

This is a collection of some of the best tools to help students with their homework. Students can use them to seek help with their math problems and learn from their peers and tutors. 

Using these tools and calculators, students will be able to access step by step explanations of complex math concepts related to various math topics including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, calculus, statistics, and many more. Also, these tools work both on desktop and mobile devices enabling students sync their learning experiences across different platforms.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, as we navigate the ever-evolving realm of educational technology, it’s crucial to remember the core purpose of these resources: to enrich and support the learning journey of high school students. This collection represents just a starting point, a springboard into the vast ocean of knowledge that digital education offers. Whether it’s exploring the rich archives of the Library of Congress, embarking on virtual tours with Google Arts and Culture, or tackling math challenges on Prodigy, these websites are gateways to discovery and growth. I encourage students and educators to delve into these resources, experiment with them in and out of the classroom, and continue to share insights and recommendations.

fun writing topics for high school students

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fun writing topics for high school students

Meet Med Kharbach, PhD

Dr. Med Kharbach is an influential voice in the global educational technology landscape, with an extensive background in educational studies and a decade-long experience as a K-12 teacher. Holding a Ph.D. from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Canada, he brings a unique perspective to the educational world by integrating his profound academic knowledge with his hands-on teaching experience. Dr. Kharbach's academic pursuits encompass curriculum studies, discourse analysis, language learning/teaching, language and identity, emerging literacies, educational technology, and research methodologies. His work has been presented at numerous national and international conferences and published in various esteemed academic journals.

fun writing topics for high school students

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