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20 Creative Writing Activities For Middle School: Poem Ideas, Prompts, Story Starters, And Worksheets

April 10, 2024 //  by  Stephanie Ledford

Some students are prolific writers, needing no help putting pen to paper and telling their stories. However, there are other students who need a little more direction in order to get their stories out. Whatever the case may be, these 20 creative writing activities for middle school will have all of your students showing their creative prowess.

1. I Am From

After reading the poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon, have students write their own “I Am From” poems. Using a template, all students will be able to create wonderful poems illustrating their own unique backgrounds.

Learn More: Made by Teachers

2. Found Poems

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Using the words of others, students create their own “found poems.” By taking a snippet here and a line there, they can arrange them in their own creative ways to create new, interesting poems. Reading a book as a class? Have them use the book to create a found poem!

Learn More: Read, Write, Think

Your middle schoolers are sure to feel like poets in the making with this creative assignment. Encourage them to connect themselves to something bigger, like their families, their culture, or their historical background as you task them with creating poems using their own names. Prompt them to begin their writing process by having them use the letters of their names to inspire a new line of poetry that they think reflects who they are as a person.

Learn More: Mama Smiles

4. Chain Stories

This assignment has each student start with a blank piece of paper. After giving them a writing prompt , every student begins writing a story. After your chosen time limit is up, they stop writing and pass their story to the next person in their group who then has to continue telling the story. When each story returns to its original author, the activity is complete.

Learn More: Creativities ESL

5. Visual Character Sketch

Being able to add depth to a character can be difficult for many students. By allowing a student to create a visual sketch, you are allowing them a different approach to writing a character description.

Learn More: Adobe Education Exchange

6. What If…

“What if” writing prompts are a great way to get your learners’ creative juices flowing. By posing a question, they’re given a starting point, and it’s up to them to decide what twists and turns their stories will take. Will they write a sad, action-packed, or scary story? The possibilities are endless!

Learn More: Journal Buddies

7. Descriptive Writing Prompts

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Descriptive writing activities are another way for middle school students to practice their creative writing skills. They can give their descriptions their own unique twists by using their different writing styles to describe common objects. And hey, they might have a different appreciation for the things in their everyday worlds after this assignment!

Learn More: Academic Writing Success

8. Scary Stories

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Go through the entire writing process and teach your students how to write scary stories! Before you begin writing, though, read them some (age-appropriate) scary stories to give them the chills and an idea of what is expected in a scary story.

Learn More: Keep ’em Thinking

9. Daily Journal Writing

There is no better way to improve students’ writing abilities than to do daily writing. Each day, give students a different prompt and allow them to write for fifteen minutes. After, allow them the opportunity to share their story with their peers or the class.

Learn More: Daily Teaching Tools

10. So Much Depends Upon…

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“ The Red Wheel Barrow “–such a simple yet eloquent poem. Following this lesson plan, your students will be able to write their own simple yet eloquent poems and feel like accomplished writers.

Learn More: NYLearns

11. An Ode to…

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Reluctant writers are often intimidated by complicated writing ideas. By using a template like the one pictured above, your students will all be able to feel like poets as they create their own odes about a person, place, or thing.

Learn More: Crafting Connections

12. Story Starters

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Story starters are a great way to help students begin their stories. If you have a digital classroom, the Scholastic story starter page is great because it can formulate much different writing prompts, helping engage all students.

Learn More: Scholastic

13. My Time Machine Trip

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What is everyday life like in 1902? How about in 2122? Have students write stories about their experiences traveling through time using the attached worksheet. For those that need a little extra help, allow them to research time periods so they have an idea of what life was like then.

Learn More: K12 Reader

14. Writing and Math

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This is a great assignment for a math class! Using the provided instructions, students are to write a story that explains to their boss the math they used while delivering packages. Since this assignment asks them to cover specific math concepts, make sure you cover them in class first (or hand this assignment to a math teacher and let them have at it!).

Learn More: Dr. Hamblin

15. How to Bake Cookies for Santa

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Seasonal writing activities are a great way to get kids excited around the holidays! One way to get descriptive paragraphs out of your students is through these instructions on how to bake cookies for Santa. The great thing about this assignment is all levels of writers can participate. Those that are more advanced can provide more details and struggling writers can still feel accomplished by explaining the cookie-making process!

Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers

16. Diary Entry of a Literary Character

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Another favorite among creative writing ideas is having students write diary entries in the voice of a character from literature. This can be a character from a book you read as a class or from a book they read on their own. Either way, it will showcase their creative writing skills and their knowledge of the character!

Learn More: Banana Magic

17. Write a Rant

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Writing a rant is a good assignment to use when you are trying to teach about the different voices we use when writing. When writing a rant, you are going to use an angrier, more aggressive voice than if you were writing a children’s story. This is a great warm-up to get students ready to write persuasive essays.

Learn More: Teachers and Writers Magazine

18. Write a Newspaper Story

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After reading through some newspapers to get ideas on how newspaper articles are formatted, have each of your students write their own article. When they are all done, you can compile a classroom newspaper!

Learn More: Nie Online

19. Coat of Arms

Studying Shakespeare? Maybe European countries where it was common to have a Coat of Arms? If so, this assignment is perfect for your class. Have students create a coat of arms and then write a few paragraphs explaining their choices.

20. A Letter to Yourself

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Have students write letters to their future selves. Give them specific questions to answer like “where do you see yourself in five years? Are you happy with your life? Is there anything you would change?” And then in five years, mail the letters to their parents!

Learn More: Ms. Carota

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50 creative writing prompts for middle school students.

  • September 11, 2023
  • 11 min read

Table of Contents:

Why creative writing matters, prompts to explore personal experiences, prompts for imagining fantastic worlds, prompts for exploring emotions, prompts to unleash adventure, prompts for humor and laughter, writing prompts for middle school mystery and suspense section, prompts to reflect on the future, prompts for historical time travel, writing prompts for middle school to target sci-fi and futuristic fantasies, writing prompts for middle school to dive into nature, writing prompts for middle school for alternate realities, are these prompts suitable for both classroom and individual use, creative writing.

Press The Play Button On The Audio To Listen Complete Article!

Middle school is a time of exploration, growth, and boundless imagination. It’s a phase where young minds are eager to express themselves, and what better way to channel this energy than through creative writing? This article explores 50 creative writing prompts for middle school students to worlds of wonder, emotion, and adventure. These prompts stimulate their creativity, boost their writing skills, and encourage them to think beyond the ordinary.

Creative writing holds a significance that extends far beyond the confines of a classroom. It is a form of expression that acts like a mirror reflecting human emotions, similar to what is explored in What are the three main purposes for writing? . It is a powerful medium through which individuals can express their innermost thoughts, emotions, and ideas, allowing them to connect with themselves and the world around them on a deeper level. This art form empowers individuals to unleash their imagination and paint vivid landscapes of words, enabling them to communicate in ways that traditional language often falls short of. For middle school students, creative writing is a journey of exploration and growth, much like the journey described in How to write a good story: A complete process . As they engage with a diverse array of writing prompts for middle school, they embark on a path that enriches their vocabulary, refines their grasp of grammar, and teaches them the invaluable skill of structuring their thoughts coherently and effectively. Through crafting narratives and weaving intricate tales, students learn the art of storytelling, a skill crucial in literature and various aspects of life. Whether it’s penning down a compelling essay, delivering a persuasive speech, or even drafting a well-structured email, the ability to organize ideas compellingly is a trait that serves students well throughout their academic and professional journey. However, the benefits of creative writing go well beyond linguistic and organizational services like book writing services . This form of expression acts as a mirror that reflects the complexities of human emotions. As students immerse themselves in crafting characters, settings, and plotlines, they inherently develop a deep sense of empathy. By stepping into the shoes of diverse characters and exploring the world from various perspectives, students cultivate an understanding of different viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. This broadens their worldview and nurtures their ability to relate to and connect with people from all walks of life.

  • Discovering a Hidden Door

Imagine stumbling upon a mysterious door in your school that no one else has noticed. Where does it lead, and what adventures await on the other side?

  • The Day I Traveled Through Time

You wake up one morning to find yourself in a different period. Describe your experiences and the challenges you face in this unfamiliar era.

  • My Conversation with a Talking Animal

While wandering in the woods, you encounter an animal that can communicate with you. Write about your unexpected conversation and the wisdom the animal imparts.

  • A Mysterious Message in a Bottle

You discover a message in a bottle washed up on the shore. What does the message say, and how does it change your life?

  • Life on a Floating Island

Describe a world where entire civilizations exist on floating islands in the sky. What are the unique challenges and wonders of this airborne realm?

  • Journey to the Center of a Candy Planet

You embark on a journey to the core of a planet made entirely of candy. Detail your adventures as you traverse the sugary landscapes.

  • The Robot’s Secret Rebellion

In a futuristic city, robots have secretly started rebelling against their human creators. Explore the events leading up to this uprising and the consequences that follow.

  • When Magic Came to the Modern World

Magic suddenly becomes real in the present day. How does society change, and how do you adapt to this new magical reality?

  • The Joy of Finding a Lost Toy

Revisit a childhood memory of losing a cherished toy and the overwhelming happiness of eventually finding it.

  • A Moment of Overcoming Fear

Write about when you faced a fear head-on and emerged stronger and braver on the other side.

  • The Bittersweet Farewell

Explore the emotions surrounding a farewell to a close friend moving away. How do you cope with the mixture of joy and sadness?

  • An Unexpected Act of Kindness

Describe an instance where a stranger’s small act of kindness profoundly impacts your life and perspective.

  • Quest for the Enchanted Crown

Embark on a quest to retrieve a stolen enchanted crown from a treacherous dragon’s lair. Chronicle your epic adventure and the challenges you must overcome.

  • Lost in a Haunted Forest

You find yourself lost in a mysterious and haunted forest. Describe your eerie surroundings and the spine-chilling encounters you experience.

  • Exploring an Abandoned Space Station

Write about your exploration of a deserted space station, uncovering its secrets and unraveling the mysteries of its past.

  • Time-Traveling to Historical Events

Where and when would you go if you could time-travel to any historical event? Describe your experiences and the impact they have on your perspective.

  • The Day I Turned into a Vegetable

Imagine waking up one day to find yourself transformed into a vegetable. How do you communicate, and what hilarious misadventures ensue?

  • Conversations Between My Pets

Write a humorous dialogue between your pets discussing their daily lives, adventures, and their peculiar perspectives on the world.

  • When My Room Became a Miniature Zoo

Describe a scenario where your room suddenly becomes a mini-zoo filled with various animals. How do you manage this unexpected turn of events?

  • The Misadventures of Super Socks

Create a quirky superhero story where a pair of socks gains extraordinary powers and embarks on comical crime-fighting escapades.

  • The Puzzle of the Whispering Walls

Detail a suspenseful investigation into the strange phenomenon of walls that whisper cryptic messages, leading to an unexpected revelation.

  • Footprints in the Forbidden Attic

You discover mysterious footprints leading to the forbidden attic in your house. Write about your daring exploration and the secrets you uncover.

  • The Disappearance of the Midnight Carnival

Describe the mysterious disappearance of a beloved carnival that only operates at midnight. What clues do you follow to solve the enigma?

  • The Secret Diary of a Famous Explorer

You stumble upon the secret diary of a renowned explorer. Unveil the adventures chronicled within its pages and the hidden truths it holds.

  • A Glimpse into Life as an Adult

Imagine yourself as an adult and write about a day in your future life. How have your goals, priorities, and perspectives evolved?

  • Inventing a Revolutionary Gadget

Design a revolutionary gadget that changes the world. Describe its features, benefits, and the impact it has on society.

  • My First Day on Another Planet

Transport yourself to an alien planet and narrate your experiences on the first day of your interstellar adventure.

  • The World After Solving Pollution

Describe a world where pollution has been successfully eliminated. How does this achievement reshape the environment, society, and daily life?

  • Prompts for Exploring Friendship

Write about a strong and unbreakable bond between two friends. What challenges have they overcome together, and how has their friendship evolved?

  • Adventures of the Dynamic Duo

Create a story about a dynamic duo who embark on thrilling adventures together. What makes their partnership special, and how do they complement each other?

  • A Magical Friend from a Book

Imagine a character from a book coming to life and becoming your friend. Describe your magical friendship and the escapades you share.

  • Messages in a Bottle Between Pen Pals

Two pen pals communicate through messages sent in bottles across a vast ocean. Write about their unique form of friendship and the stories they share.

  • An Interview with a Renaissance Artist

Travel back in time to interview a famous Renaissance artist. Explore their inspirations, struggles, and the impact of their art on the world.

  • Surviving the Titanic Disaster

Imagine being a passenger on the Titanic and surviving the tragic sinking. Chronicle your experiences and the lessons you learn from the ordeal.

  • Ancient Egypt: Through the Eyes of a Pharaoh

Experience life as an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Describe the grandeur of your rule, interactions with subjects, and leadership challenges.

  • Encountering Dinosaurs in Prehistoric Times

Describe an adventurous journey to prehistoric times, where you encounter dinosaurs and experience the wonders and dangers of the ancient world.

  • When Robots Ruled the World

Envision a world where robots have taken over as rulers. Detail the consequences of this robotic regime and the struggles of human resistance.

  • Galactic Explorers on a New Frontier

Join a group of galactic explorers as they venture into uncharted space territories. Describe their discoveries, encounters, and the mysteries they unravel.

  • The Day I Met an Alien from Mars

Write about the day you encounter a friendly alien from Mars. How do you communicate, and what do you learn from each other?

  • Earth 3000: A Utopian Dream or Dystopian Reality?

Transport yourself to the year 3000 and describe the state of the Earth. Is it a romantic paradise or a dystopian nightmare? What led to this outcome?

  • Conversations with Forest Creatures

Imagine having conversations with animals in a magical forest. Write about the wisdom they share and the adventures you embark on together.

  • My Adventure in the Enchanted Rainforest

Describe your thrilling adventure through an enchanted rainforest with mystical creatures and hidden secrets.

  • The Underwater Discovery: Mermaid’s Tale

You discover a hidden underwater world inhabited by mermaids. Chronicle your underwater journey and the interactions you have with these mythical beings.

  • Exploring a World Inside a Dewdrop

Write about a micro-adventure inside a dewdrop, where you encounter miniature worlds and experience nature from a new perspective.

  • Stepping into a Mirror Universe

Describe an experience where you step into an alternate reality through a mirror. How is this world different from yours, and what challenges do you face?

  • The Butterfly Effect: Changing a Single Moment

Explore the butterfly effect concept by narrating a story where changing a single moment in the past has a cascading impact on the present and future.

  • My Life as a Fictional Character

Imagine living the life of a fictional character from your favorite book. Describe your experiences as you navigate their world and story.

  • When Dreams Became Our Reality

Write about a world where dreams have the power to shape reality. How do people use their dreams to create their lives, and what challenges arise?

  • The Ethereal Library

Imagine a mystical library that holds books containing the stories of every possible life you could have lived. Write about a person who stumbles upon this library and can read the book of their alternate life stories.

  • The Reality Architect

In a future society, some specialized architects design alternate realities for individuals seeking escape from their own lives. Write about a reality architect and their journey to create the perfect alternate world for a client.

  • The Convergence Point

Describe a world where all alternate realities converge at a single point in time. People from different realities can meet and interact for a brief period. Write about the challenges and opportunities that arise during this unique convergence.

The suitability of writing prompts for middle school for classroom and individual use depends on their content and complexity. Prompts encouraging critical thinking, creative expression, and thoughtful discussion can work well in both settings. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the prompts are clear and easily understandable by individuals and a group of students. Avoid overly complex language or concepts that might be confusing.
  • Writing prompts for middle school allow various interpretations, and responses can engage individual learners and groups. This flexibility encourages students to express their unique perspectives.
  • Choose interesting and relevant writing prompts for middle school to the target audience, whether in a classroom full of students or individuals working independently. Engaging prompts are more likely to spark enthusiasm and thoughtful responses.
  • Prompts that invite discussion and debate can lead to rich and meaningful conversations for classroom use. These prompts should be open-ended and encourage diverse viewpoints.

Middle school is critical for nurturing creativity, similar to the journey detailed in How to launch a book: The ultimate guide for authors , young students’ creativity, and honing writing skills. These 50 creative writing prompts for middle school offer many opportunities to explore diverse themes, emotions, and scenarios while refining their writing abilities. Whether they’re crafting tales of time travel, exploring futuristic realms, or delving into the mysteries of the past, these prompts will ignite the imagination and open new avenues of self-expression for budding writers.

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17 Absolutely Gosh-Wow Writing Lessons for Middle School

creative writing unit middle school

Below you’ll find a breakdown of our 17 killer writing lessons for middle school, which you can get here .

No doubt you’ll want to check out the lessons first. Click the thumbnail below to preview these amazing middle school writing lessons.

Looking for middle school short stories? Go here .

Looking for 1,029 killer middle school writing prompts? Go here .

Middle School Writing Lessons

So what’s in our lesson plans? Check it out:

1: Who’s the Goat: Debating the Greatest of All Time

2: Mapping the Neighborhood: Creating Maps to Generate Story Ideas

3: My Obituary: The Story of Your Life

4: Double, Double, Toil & Trouble: Writing Recipes for Magic Potions

5: My Principal is an Alien: Writing for the Tabloids

6: You’re Hired! LinkedIn Profiles for Fictional Characters

7: Snow White & the 7 Genres: Rewriting Disney Classics

8: The Choice is Yours: Writing an Adventure as a Class

9: Nuts and Bolts: Writing an Instruction Manual

10: The Watermelons of Despair: Rewriting Classic Titles

11: My Ideal Bookshelf: Illustrating Your Favorite Stack of Books

12: Love Letters From the Undead: Writing Letters From Fictional Characters

13: Harold in the Matrix: Unreliable Narrators in Picture Books

14: Message in a Bottle: Writing Letters to Your Future Self

15: What the Candlestick Saw: Writing From the POV of Inanimate Objects

16: Story Maps: Creating Maps to Visualize Stories

17: The Great American Road Trip: Writing About Travel on the Road

How to Use These Lesson Plans

Our lesson plans are designed to be used in two ways. You can either use them as individual one-off lessons to liven up your writing curriculum. Or you can use them to build upon specific writing units.

For example, creative writing units can benefit from our lessons on point of view, unreliable narrators, and creating LinkedIn profiles for fictional characters.

However, you could use our Who’s the GOAT? and Great American Road Trip lessons as stand alone lessons that are fun and engaging but don’t necessarily connect to a wider unit.

What Grade Level Are These Lessons Appropriate For?

We design our lesson plans to be utilized by a wide range of educators. These writing lessons are not grade-specific, and they can be adapted for students from 5th grade up through 12th grade.

Depending upon the specific needs and ability levels of your students, they can be expanded or contracted. Want your students to dive more deeply into POV? Have them write longer pieces or produce multiple pieces from different points of view. Want them to focus on just the basics of their obituary? Assign two paragraphs instead of multiple pages.

We believe teachers deserve lesson plans that provide a clear path but that leave plenty of room for educators to adapt and adjust for their own purposes.

creative writing unit middle school

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Language Arts Classroom

Creative Writing Lesson Plans: Week One

Week on of creative writing lesson plans: free lesson plan for creative writing. Creative writing lessons can be scaffolded.

Looking for creative writing lesson plans? I am developing creative writing lesson ideas! 

I’ve written and revamped my creative writing lesson plans and learned that the first week is vital in establishing a community of writers, in outlining expectations, and in working with a new class.

What are some good creative writing exercises?

Some good creative writing exercises include writing prompts, free writing, character development exercises, and fun writing games.

The first week, though, we establish trust—and then we begin powerful creative writing exercises to engage young writers and our community.

How can add encouragement in creative writing lesson plans?

I’ve found students are shy about writing creatively, about sharing pieces of themselves. A large part of the first week of class is setting the atmosphere, of showing everyone they are free to create. And! These concepts will apply to most writing lesson plans for secondary students.

Feel free to give me feedback and borrow all that you need! Below, find my detailed my day-by-day progression for creative writing lesson plans  for week one.

Build the community in a creative writing class. A creative writing lesson can build young writers' confidence.

Creative Writing Lesson Day One: Sharing my vision

Comfort matters for young writers. I’m not a huge “ice breaker” type of teacher—I build relationships slowly. Still, to get student writing, we must establish that everyone is safe to explore, to write, to error.

Here are some ideas.

Tone and attitude

For day one with any lesson plan for creative writing, I think it is important to set the tone, to immediately establish what I want from my creative writing students. And that is…

them not to write for me, but for them. I don’t want them writing what they think I want them to write.

Does that make sense? Limitations hurt young writers. My overall tone and attitude toward young writers is that we will work together, create and write together, provide feedback, and invest in ourselves. Older kiddos think that they must provide teachers with the “correct” writing. In such a course, restrictions and boundaries largely go out the window.

Plus, I specifically outline what I believe they can produce in a presentation to set people at ease.

The presentation covers expectations for the class. As the teacher, I am a sort of writing coach with ideas that will not work for everyone. Writers should explore different methods and realize what works for them. First, not everyone will appreciate every type of writing—which is fine. But as a writing community, we must accept that we may not be the target audience for every piece of work.

Therefore, respect is a large component of the class. Be sure to outline what interactions you find acceptable within your classroom community.

Next, as their writing coach, I plan to provide ideas and tools for use. Their job is to decide what tools work for their creative endeavors. My overall message is uplifting and encouraging.

Finally, when we finish, I share the presentation with students so they can consult it throughout the semester. The presentation works nicely for meet-the-teacher night, too!

After covering classroom procedures and rules, I show students a TED Talk. We watch The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Adichie. My goal is to show students that I don’t have a predetermined idea concerning what they should write. This discussion takes the rest of the class period.

Establishing comfort and excitement precedents my other creative writing activities. Personalize your “vision” activities for your lessons in creative writing. Honestly, doing this pre-work builds relationships with students and creates a positive classroom atmosphere.

Activate prior knowledge when building a creative writing course. When building creative writing lesson plans, build off what students know.

Creative Writing Lesson Day Two: Activating prior knowledge

Students possess prior knowledge concerning creative writing, but they might not consider that. Students should realize that they know what constitutes a great story. They might not realize that yet. An easy lesson plan for creative writing that will pay off later is to activate prior knowledge. Brainstorm creative, memorable, unforgettable stories with students. Share your thoughts too! You will start to build relationships with students who share the same tastes as you (and those that are completely different!).

Activation activity

During this activity, I want to see how students work together, and I want to build a rapport with students. Additionally, activating prior knowledge provides a smooth transition into other creative writing activities.

This creative writing activity is simple:

I ask students to tell me memorable stories—books, play, tv shows, movies—and I write them on the board. I add and veto as appropriate. Normally doing these classroom discussions, we dive deeper into comedies and creative nonfiction. Sometimes as we work, I ask students to research certain stories and definitions. I normally take a picture of our work so that I can build creative writing lessons from students’ interests.

This takes longer than you might think, but I like that aspect. This information can help me shape my future lessons.

Creative writing lesson plans: free download for creative writing activities for your secondary writing classes. Creative writing lessons should provide a variety of writing activities.

With about twenty minutes left in class, I ask students to form small groups. I want them to derive what makes these stories memorable. Since students complete group and partner activities in this class, I also watch and see how they interact.

Students often draw conclusions about what makes a story memorable:

  • Realistic or true-to-life characters.
  • Meaningful themes.
  • Funny or sad events.

All of this information will be used later as students work on their own writing. Many times, my creative writing lessons overlap, especially concerning the feedback from young writers.

Use pictures to enhance creative writing lesson plans. With older students, they can participate in the lesson plan for creative writing.

Creative Writing Lesson Day Three: Brainstorming and a graphic organizer

From building creative writing activities and implementing them, I now realize that students think they will sit and write. Ta-da!  After all, this isn’t academic writing. Coaching creative writing students is part of the process.

Young writers must accept that a first draft is simply that, a first draft. Building a project requires thought and mistakes. (Any writing endeavor does, really.) Students hear ‘creative writing’ and they think… easy. Therefore, a first week lesson plan for creative writing should touch on what creativity is.

Really, creativity is everywhere. We complete a graphic organizer titled, “Where is Creativity?” Students brainstorm familiar areas that they may not realize have such pieces.

The ideas they compile stir all sorts of conversations:

  • Restaurants
  • Movie theaters
  • Amusement parks

By completing this graphic organizer, we discuss how creativity surrounds us, how we can incorporate different pieces in our writing, and how different areas influence our processes.

Build a community of creative writers. An impactful creative writing lesson should empower young writers.

Creative Writing Lesson, Days Four and Five: Creative Nonfiction

Students need practice writing, and they need to understand that they will not use every word they write. Cutting out lines is painful for them! Often, a lesson plan for creative writing involves providing time for meaningful writing.

For two days, we study and discuss creative nonfiction. Students start by reading an overview of creative nonfiction . (If you need mentor texts, that website has some as well.) When I have books available, I show the class examples of creative nonfiction.

We then continue through elements of a narrative . Classes are sometimes surprised that a narrative can be nonfiction.

The narrative writing is our first large project. As we continue, students are responsible for smaller projects as well. This keeps them writing most days.

Overall, my students and I work together during the first week of any creative writing class. I encourage them to write, and I cheer on their progress. My message to classes is that their writing has value, and an audience exists for their creations.

And that is my week one! The quick recap:

Week One Creative Writing Lesson Plans

Monday: Rules, procedures, TED Talk, discussion.

Tuesday: Prior knowledge—brainstorm the modeling of memorable stories. Draw conclusions about storytelling with anchor charts. Build community through common knowledge.

Wednesday: Graphic organizer.

Thursday and Friday: Creative nonfiction. Start narrative writing.

Students do well with this small assignment for the second week, and then we move to longer creative writing assignments . When classesexperience success with their first assignment, you can start constructive editing and revising with them as the class continues.

Lesson plan for creative writing: free creative writing lesson plans for week one of ELA class. Add creative writing activities to your high school language arts classes.

These creative writing activities should be easy implement and personalize for your students.

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Are you interested in more creative writing lesson ideas? My Facebook page has interactive educators who love to discuss creative writing for middle school and high school creative writing lesson plans. Join us!

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  • Writing Prompts

150 Writing Prompts For Middle School (+Free Printable)

Make writing fun and easy, with these 150 writing prompts for middle school students. 

The more you write, the better you become at writing. But the problem is not all middle schoolers enjoy writing. There’s always something better to do, playing video games , watching YouTube videos , hanging with friends , lazing about the house – Why bother writing, right? The trick is to understand that even the smallest piece of writing can make a huge difference in a student’s attitude towards writing. 

If you unload too many lengthy assignments, such as writing 1,000 words on topic X or 3,000 about something, something – Writing can seem like a long, boring chore for some students. But if you break it down, and mix it up a bit, then your students have a real chance of actually liking writing for fun. Think of creating small writing tasks that take no longer than around 10 or 15 minutes to complete. As students complete these small tasks with ease, their confidence will grow, eventually turning them into avid young writers.

To help inspire and motivate young writers, we have created this list of 150 quick and easy writing prompts for Middle School students. Keep reading for a free printable writing pack for middle schoolers as well! Here is a quick generator that will generate a random middle school prompt for you:

For more fun writing ideas, check out this list of over 300 writing prompt for kids .

150 Writing Prompts For Middle School Students

This list of prompts is great for whenever your middle-schooler is bored and needs some quick ideas to write about:

  • Make a list of at least three different opening lines for this story idea: A space knight living in outer space wants to fight a real fire-breathing dragon.
  • Complete this sentence in at least three different ways: When I’m bored, I like to…
  • Draw a picture of your dream house, and describe some of the coolest features it has.
  • Make a top ten list of the scariest animals in the animal kingdom. You could even write down one scary fact about each animal.
  • Write an acrostic poem using the letters that spell z-o-m-b-i-e.
  • Describe the scariest monster that you can think of. You could even draw a picture of it.
  • Complete the following sentence in at least three different ways: My goal for the next month is to…
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite foods of all time. You could even write down one reason for why each food is your favourite.
  • Create your own A-Z book or list of monsters. For A is for Abominable Snowman, B is for Bogeyman and so on.
  • Research and write down five facts about an endangered species of your choice. Examples of endangered species include the blue whale, giant pandas, snow leopards and tigers.
  •  Create a postcard for your local town or city. What picture would you draw on the front? And what message could you include on the back?
  • Write an acrostic poem using the letters that spell out your own first name. This poem could be about yourself. 
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite movies of all time.
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite songs of all time.
  • Complete the following sentence in at least three different ways. When I grow up I want to…
  • Which is your favourite season, Winter , Spring , Summer or Autumn? Write a haiku poem about your favourite season.
  • Create a party invite for a dinner party at your house. Think about the party theme, entertainment, food and dress code.
  • Write down a recipe that uses eggs as one of the ingredients.
  • Write a how-to guide on how to take care of a kitten or puppy.
  • What do you enjoy doing on the weekends? Start by making a list of activities that you do on the weekend. Then you can pick one to write about in more detail.
  • Using a photograph (or one of these picture writing prompts ), write a short caption or description to go alongside it. 
  • Imagine you are the owner of a new restaurant. Create a menu of the dishes you will serve at this restaurant. 
  • What has been the best part of your day so far? And what has been the worst part of the day?
  • Imagine that you have a time machine. What year would you travel to and why?
  • If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
  • If you could keep one dinosaur as a pet, which dinosaur would you pick and why?
  • Write down everything you remember from a recent nightmare that you had. 
  • What is your favourite country in the whole wide world? List at least five fun facts about this country.
  • Make a list of at least 3 different story ideas about aliens.
  • Create a character description of the world’s most evil supervillains.
  • What is your greatest achievement to date? What are you most proud of and why?
  • Write an action-packed scene that contains the following: A car chase, a lucky pair of socks and a talking parrot.
  • What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied? You could make a list of at least three pieces of advice that you might give.
  • Imagine you are stuck on a desert island. Write a diary entry of your first day on the island.
  • Imagine you are a pirate sailing the seven seas. Talk about the scariest thing you faced while out at sea.
  • You just discovered a new planet . Can you describe this new planet in detail? What would you call it? Does any life exist on the planet? What type of climate does it have?
  • Would you rather have a magical unicorn as a pet or a fire-breathing dragon?
  • Complete the following sentence in at least three different ways: One day I was walking through the forest and discovered…
  • Write a letter to your friend about a favourite memory you have of them. You can use the following starter as inspiration: Remember that time…
  • Make a list of book title ideas for a story about a girl who can go invisible whenever she wants.
  • A talking cat is fast asleep, then suddenly someone wakes it up. Write down a short script between the cat, and the person arguing. 
  • What is the nicest thing that anyone has done for you recently?
  • Make a list of 10 online safety tips to help you stay safe online.
  • Can you think of at least 5 ways to prevent climate change in your daily life?
  • Make a list of your top ten favourite books of all time.
  • Think about a movie that you’ve seen recently. What did you enjoy most about this movie, and what did you dislike about it?
  • You are just about to take a bite of an apple. And then suddenly the apple starts screaming. What do you do next?
  • Describe a magical forest in great detail. What makes this forest so magical?
  • Write a super scary scene, using the following starter: As I walked into the haunted house…
  • What is your greatest fear? Is it possible to ever overcome this fear? If so, how would you do it?
  • Make a list of at least five things you like about yourself. And then make a list of five things that you would change about yourself.
  • What would the perfect day look like for you? How would it start? What activities would you do? And how does it end?
  • You are standing in the playground when you hear two of your classmates making fun of your best friend. What do you do next?
  • A young boy yells at his pet eagle to fly away into the wild. The eagle does not respond. Write down this scene between the two characters in great detail. 
  • Describe a pencil in the greatest detail possible.
  • Create your own superhero character. What are their strengths and superpowers? What about their weaknesses? Also, think of a cool superhero name for them!
  • What is your dream job? What skills and traits do you need to do this job well?
  • Imagine that you have had the worst day ever. Write down what happened to make it so bad.
  • What is your favourite colour? Now write a short rhyming poem about this colour.
  • If you had three wishes, what would you wish for and why? Wishing for extra wishes is not allowed.
  • Write an action-packed scene of a lion chasing a zebra in the wild from the perspective of the lion. 
  • Imagine you own a video gaming company. Your task is to come up with a new video game idea. Explain this new video game idea in detail.
  • What would you do if you were given $1 million dollars? 
  • What is your favourite hobby or interest? Can you provide at least five tips for beginners who might be interested in starting this hobby?
  • Make a top ten list of your favourite celebrities or YouTube stars.
  • Write the opening paragraph of a fairytale about a zombie prince who has returned from the dead.
  • Write an alternative ending to a fairytale that you are familiar with. For example, you could write a sad ending for Cinderella or a cliff-hanger style ending for Jack and the Beanstalk.
  • Write down a conversation in a script format between two people waiting for the bus at a bus stop.
  • Would you rather get abducted by aliens, or discover a magical portal to another realm in your bedroom? Explain your answer.
  • Write a shape poem about your favourite food in the shape of this food.
  • If you had to prepare for a zombie invasion, which three items would you pack in your bag, and why?
  • Describe the most beautiful garden in the world in detail. What type of flowers would it have? Would it have any garden furniture?
  • You receive a strange parcel in the middle of the night. You open the parcel to discover… Write down at least one paragraph of what you discover in the parcel.
  • Use the word, ‘Stampede’ in at least three different sentences.
  • Complete the following metaphor in at least three different ways: Your smile is like…
  • Describe the city of the future. What would the buildings look like? How will people travel? What kind of homes will people live in?
  • What is Marie Curie (the physicist) famous for? Research and write down five facts about her research and studies. 
  • You have just been made leader of the Kingdom of Kinloralm. As the leader, what rules would you set for the kingdom? Make a list of at least 10 rules that you will enforce. 
  • A witch has cast a spell on you. Every night at midnight, you turn into a werewolf. Describe this transformation in great detail. What does it feel like when you are transforming? How does your skin change? What about your teeth and fingernails?
  • Using the following starter , write at least one paragraph: When I look outside the window…
  • After a deep sleep, you wake up to find yourself locked inside a cage. No one else is around. What do you do next?
  • You keep on having the same nightmare every night. In your nightmare, you are running as fast as you can, and then you suddenly fall. When you turn around you see… Write at least one paragraph about what you see. 
  • Write down at least 10 interview questions that you can ask your favourite celebrity. If you have time, you can even write down the potential answers to these questions from the perspective of the celebrity.
  • Write a how-to guide on how to grow tomatoes at home.
  • Make a list of at least five tips for keeping your bedroom clean.
  • Would you rather drive the fastest car on Earth for one hour or own a custom-made bicycle? Explain your choice.
  • Write a limerick poem about an old snail. 
  • Find something in your room that begins with the letter, ‘R’, and write a paragraph describing this object in detail.
  • Research the history of how the first mobile phone was invented. Create a timeline of mobile phone inventions from the very first mobile to the current time. 
  • If you were the headteacher of your school, what changes would you make and why? Try to list and describe at least three changes. 
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of having access to the internet? Try to think of at least five benefits and five drawbacks.
  • Write about the best day of your life so far. Then write about the worst day of your life so far.
  • Imagine that you are an agony aunt for a newspaper. A reader has written to you with the following problem: Dear Agony Aunt, I have no friends at school. And my classmates are always making fun of me… What advice would you give this reader?
  • Imagine that you are a salesperson. Your task is to sell a new chocolate bar to customers. Write down a sales pitch that was selling this chocolate bar. What features would you highlight? What are the benefits of this chocolate bar?
  • Can you complete the following sentence in three different ways: When I feel upset, I …
  • What is the most difficult part about being in middle school? What is the best part of middle school?
  • Imagine that your best friend has just revealed a huge secret. How would you react? Write down a script of the conversation between you and your best friend.
  • Have you learned any new skills recently? How did you learn these?
  • Imagine you are sitting at a dinner party with a group of strangers. Describe the atmosphere in great detail. Who are you sitting next to? What sort of conversations are the other guests having? What food is being served?
  • Five years from now, where will you be? Will you be the same person? How would you have changed?
  • Write about your plans for the weekend.
  • Describe a day in the life of being a goldfish in a fishbowl at a pet shop.
  • While at the seaside, a message in a bottle washes up onto the shore. You open the bottle and read the message. The message reads: Help Me! I’m stranded on an island! What do you do next?
  • A mother and her son are baking some muffins in the kitchen. Write down a conversation that they might have while they bake together.
  • Make a list of indoor activities you can do when it’s raining outside. Try to think of at least ten activities.
  • Write down a diary entry from the perspective of an alien secretly living undercover on Earth. 
  • Write at least three different opening lines for the following story idea: A king needs to keep his kingdom safe from the ravenous trolls that come out at night.
  • Imagine you are a secret agent cat, write about your most recent mission.
  • Complete the following sentence in at least three different ways: If I could change the world, I would…
  • If you could program a robot, what tasks would you program it to do, and why?
  • Imagine you are the owner of a toy shop. Your task is to hire some toy makers. Write a job description for a toymaker. Think about the skills and traits required to become a toymaker. 
  • You are the owner of a zoo. Suddenly you hear people screaming as the lions are accidentally released. What do you do next?
  • Your future self comes from the future to warn you about something. Write a conversation that you would have with your future self. 
  • If you had a choice to become a superhero or a supervillain, which one would you be and why?
  • Can you think of at least three things that no one knows about you? Why have you kept these things a secret?
  • During a science experiment, you mix up the wrong chemicals. The liquid turns blue and jumps out of the glass container. It then slides into your backpack. What do you do next?
  • Write down at least five things that you are grateful for in your life right now.
  • You notice some strange footprints in your backyard leading to your shed. You follow these footprints and discover…
  • When was the last time someone upset you or hurt your feelings? How did they hurt your feelings? Do you remember what was said?
  • You walk inside a magic shop. You see all sorts of weird and fun things. Describe the inside of the shop in as much detail as possible. 
  • Write at least three different opening lines for the following story idea: A young werewolf wants to be a human again.
  • Make a list of three different story ideas about dragons.
  • Write from the perspective of a kite flying high in the sky. Think about what you feel, see and hear.
  • Write about your favourite subject at school. Why do you like this subject?
  • Write a haiku poem about the full moon.
  • Imagine you are the manager of a TV channel. Make a list of at least three new TV show ideas you can air on Saturday evening.
  • You find a baby alien in your basement. What do you do next?
  • Think of at least three newspaper headlines for the following article idea: The new mayor of your town/city is planning on creating more homes.
  • Imagine that your pet dog has gone missing. Create a missing poster to find your dog. Remember to describe any important details relating to the dog in your power.
  • Write an advertisement for the brand new mixer 3000. It mixes all the best music tracks with sounds to create the ultimate track.
  • Write down three sentences. One of something interesting that happened to you today. Another of something positive that happened. And finally another sentence of something negative. 
  • Write down four different character descriptions. Each character must have a different background story or history when growing up.
  • Imagine you had a terrible experience at a restaurant. Write a complaint letter to the restaurant manager, outlining the problems you had. 
  • Imagine your family is planning to go on a cruise. As you drive to the boat, a person walks up to your car window, holds up a flyer, and demands that they do what they were told. What is your family’s reply?
  • As you’re making your way home, you pass by a group of people. It turns out the person who was walking next to them is a ghost. What do you do next?
  • Your best friend has had a terrible year. You need to plan the best birthday party ever for them. Make a list of items that you will need for the party. 
  • Using the 5 W’s and 1 H technique, outline the following newspaper article idea: A new breed of wolves was discovered nearby. The 5 W’s include: What, Where, When, Who and why. The one H is How.
  • Write a positive self-talk poem, using the following starter: I am…
  • Take a recent picture that you have drawn at home or during art class. Using this picture, can you think of at least three ideas for stories from it?
  • How can you prevent bullying in your school? Make a list of at least five different ways to prevent bullying.
  • Write a list of at least 10 interview questions that you can ask your favourite teacher at school. If you want, you can actually ask these questions and write down the responses your teacher gives.
  • Describe a day in the life of being a mouse that lives in your school.
  • What qualities to look for in a friend? Make a list of at least 3 qualities. Also, think about what qualities you try to avoid. 
  • Complete the following sentence in at least three different ways: When I wake up in the morning, I feel…
  • Do you ever wish you could do more to help people? Make a list of at least five ways you can help a friend who is going through a tough time.
  • When was the last time you felt angry? How did you deal with this anger? Do you think it is okay to be angry all the time?
  • Write down at least three predictions for the future. These predictions can be personal or about the world. You can use the following starter: In 10 years time…
  • Do you enjoy writing? If yes, then what kind of things do you enjoy writing about. Explain your answer.
  • Think about the last book you read. Which scene in the book stood out to you the most? Why did it stand out for you?
  • Complete the following sentence in at least three different ways: The biggest question on my mind right now is…

What did you think of this list of quick and easy writing prompts for Middle School students? Did you find this list useful or difficult to use? Let us know in the comments below!

Printable Writing Pack for Middle Schoolers

Thank you for reading this post! You can download the free PDF writing prompts for Middle School students pack here .

Writing Prompts For Middle School

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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Our 2020-21 Writing Curriculum for Middle and High School

A flexible, seven-unit program based on the real-world writing found in newspapers, from editorials and reviews to personal narratives and informational essays.

creative writing unit middle school

Update, Aug. 3, 2023: Find our 2023-24 writing curriculum here.

Our 2019-20 Writing Curriculum is one of the most popular new features we’ve ever run on this site, so, of course, we’re back with a 2020-21 version — one we hope is useful whether you’re teaching in person , online , indoors , outdoors , in a pod , as a homeschool , or in some hybrid of a few of these.

The curriculum detailed below is both a road map for teachers and an invitation to students. For teachers, it includes our writing prompts, mentor texts, contests and lesson plans, and organizes them all into seven distinct units. Each focuses on a different genre of writing that you can find not just in The Times but also in all kinds of real-world sources both in print and online.

But for students, our main goal is to show young people they have something valuable to say, and to give those voices a global audience. That’s always been a pillar of our site, but this year it is even more critical. The events of 2020 will define this generation, and many are living through them isolated from their ordinary communities, rituals and supports. Though a writing curriculum can hardly make up for that, we hope that it can at least offer teenagers a creative outlet for making sense of their experiences, and an enthusiastic audience for the results. Through the opportunities for publication woven throughout each unit, we want to encourage students to go beyond simply being media consumers to become creators and contributors themselves.

So have a look, and see if you can find a way to include any of these opportunities in your curriculum this year, whether to help students document their lives, tell stories, express opinions, investigate ideas, or analyze culture. We can’t wait to hear what your students have to say!

Each unit includes:

Writing prompts to help students try out related skills in a “low stakes” way.

We publish two writing prompts every school day, and we also have thematic collections of more than 1,000 prompts published in the past. Your students might consider responding to these prompts on our site and using our public forums as a kind of “rehearsal space” for practicing voice and technique.

Daily opportunities to practice writing for an authentic audience.

If a student submits a comment on our site, it will be read by Times editors, who approve each one before it gets published. Submitting a comment also gives students an audience of fellow teenagers from around the world who might read and respond to their work. Each week, we call out our favorite comments and honor dozens of students by name in our Thursday “ Current Events Conversation ” feature.

Guided practice with mentor texts .

Each unit we publish features guided practice lessons, written directly to students, that help them observe, understand and practice the kinds of “craft moves” that make different genres of writing sing. From how to “show not tell” in narratives to how to express critical opinions , quote or paraphrase experts or craft scripts for podcasts , we have used the work of both Times journalists and the teenage winners of our contests to show students techniques they can emulate.

“Annotated by the Author” commentaries from Times writers — and teenagers.

As part of our Mentor Texts series , we’ve been asking Times journalists from desks across the newsroom to annotate their articles to let students in on their writing, research and editing processes, and we’ll be adding more for each unit this year. Whether it’s Science writer Nicholas St. Fleur on tiny tyrannosaurs , Opinion writer Aisha Harris on the cultural canon , or The Times’s comics-industry reporter, George Gene Gustines, on comic books that celebrate pride , the idea is to demystify journalism for teenagers. This year, we’ll be inviting student winners of our contests to annotate their work as well.

A contest that can act as a culminating project .

Over the years we’ve heard from many teachers that our contests serve as final projects in their classes, and this curriculum came about in large part because we want to help teachers “plan backwards” to support those projects.

All contest entries are considered by experts, whether Times journalists, outside educators from partner organizations, or professional practitioners in a related field. Winning means being published on our site, and, perhaps, in the print edition of The New York Times.

Webinars and our new professional learning community (P.L.C.).

For each of the seven units in this curriculum, we host a webinar featuring Learning Network editors as well as teachers who use The Times in their classrooms. Our webinars introduce participants to our many resources and provide practical how-to’s on how to use our prompts, mentor texts and contests in the classroom.

New for this school year, we also invite teachers to join our P.L.C. on teaching writing with The Times , where educators can share resources, strategies and inspiration about teaching with these units.

Below are the seven units we will offer in the 2020-21 school year.

September-October

Unit 1: Documenting Teenage Lives in Extraordinary Times

This special unit acknowledges both the tumultuous events of 2020 and their outsized impact on young people — and invites teenagers to respond creatively. How can they add their voices to our understanding of what this historic year will mean for their generation?

Culminating in our Coming of Age in 2020 contest, the unit helps teenagers document and respond to what it’s been like to live through what one Times article describes as “a year of tragedy, of catastrophe, of upheaval, a year that has inflicted one blow after another, a year that has filled the morgues, emptied the schools, shuttered the workplaces, swelled the unemployment lines and polarized the electorate.”

A series of writing prompts, mentor texts and a step-by-step guide will help them think deeply and analytically about who they are, how this year has impacted them, what they’d like to express as a result, and how they’d like to express it. How might they tell their unique stories in ways that feel meaningful and authentic, whether those stories are serious or funny, big or small, raw or polished?

Though the contest accepts work across genres — via words and images, video and audio — all students will also craft written artist’s statements for each piece they submit. In addition, no matter what genre of work students send in, the unit will use writing as a tool throughout to help students brainstorm, compose and edit. And, of course, this work, whether students send it to us or not, is valuable far beyond the classroom: Historians, archivists and museums recommend that we all document our experiences this year, if only for ourselves.

October-November

Unit 2: The Personal Narrative

While The Times is known for its award-winning journalism, the paper also has a robust tradition of publishing personal essays on topics like love , family , life on campus and navigating anxiety . And on our site, our daily writing prompts have long invited students to tell us their stories, too. Our 2019 collection of 550 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing is a good place to start, though we add more every week during the school year.

In this unit we draw on many of these resources, plus some of the 1,000-plus personal essays from the Magazine’s long-running Lives column , to help students find their own “short, memorable stories ” and tell them well. Our related mentor-text lessons can help them practice skills like writing with voice , using details to show rather than tell , structuring a narrative arc , dropping the reader into a scene and more. This year, we’ll also be including mentor text guided lessons that use the work of the 2019 student winners.

As a final project, we invite students to send finished stories to our Second Annual Personal Narrative Writing Contest .

DECEMBER-January

Unit 3: The Review

Book reports and literary essays have long been staples of language arts classrooms, but this unit encourages students to learn how to critique art in other genres as well. As we point out, a cultural review is, of course, a form of argumentative essay. Your class might be writing about Lizzo or “ Looking for Alaska ,” but they still have to make claims and support them with evidence. And, just as they must in a literature essay, they have to read (or watch, or listen to) a work closely; analyze it and understand its context; and explain what is meaningful and interesting about it.

In our Mentor Texts series , we feature the work of Times movie , restaurant , book and music critics to help students understand the elements of a successful review. In each one of these guided lessons, we also spotlight the work of teenage contest winners from previous years.

As a culminating project, we invite students to send us their own reviews of a book, movie, restaurant, album, theatrical production, video game, dance performance, TV show, art exhibition or any other kind of work The Times critiques.

January-February

Unit 4: Informational Writing

Informational writing is the style of writing that dominates The New York Times as well as any other traditional newspaper you might read, and in this unit we hope to show students that it can be every bit as engaging and compelling to read and to write as other genres. Via thousands of articles a month — from front-page reporting on politics to news about athletes in Sports, deep data dives in The Upshot, recipes in Cooking, advice columns in Style and long-form investigative pieces in the magazine — Times journalists find ways to experiment with the genre to intrigue and inform their audiences.

This unit invites students to take any STEM-related discovery, process or idea that interests them and write about it in a way that makes it understandable and engaging for a general audience — but all the skills we teach along the way can work for any kind of informational writing. Via our Mentor Texts series, we show them how to hook the reader from the start , use quotes and research , explain why a topic matters and more. This year we’ll be using the work of the 2020 student winners for additional mentor text lessons.

At the end of the unit, we invite teenagers to submit their own writing to our Second Annual STEM writing contest to show us what they’ve learned.

March-April

Unit 5: Argumentative Writing

The demand for evidence-based argumentative writing is now woven into school assignments across the curriculum and grade levels, and you couldn’t ask for better real-world examples than what you can find in The Times Opinion section .

This unit will, like our others, be supported with writing prompts, mentor-text lesson plans, webinars and more. We’ll also focus on the winning teenage writing we’ve received over the six years we’ve run our related contest.

At a time when media literacy is more important than ever, we also hope that our annual Student Editorial Contest can serve as a final project that encourages students to broaden their information diets with a range of reliable sources, and learn from a variety of perspectives on their chosen issue.

To help students working from home, we also have an Argumentative Unit for Students Doing Remote Learning .

Unit 6: Writing for Podcasts

Most of our writing units so far have all asked for essays of one kind or another, but this spring contest invites students to do what journalists at The Times do every day: make multimedia to tell a story, investigate an issue or communicate a concept.

Our annual podcast contest gives students the freedom to talk about anything they want in any form they like. In the past we’ve had winners who’ve done personal narratives, local travelogues, opinion pieces, interviews with community members, local investigative journalism and descriptions of scientific discoveries.

As with all our other units, we have supported this contest with great examples from The Times and around the web, as well as with mentor texts by teenagers that offer guided practice in understanding elements and techniques.

June-August

Unit 7: Independent Reading and Writing

At a time when teachers are looking for ways to offer students more “voice and choice,” this unit, based on our annual summer contest, offers both.

Every year since 2010 we have invited teenagers around the world to add The New York Times to their summer reading lists and, so far, 70,000 have. Every week for 10 weeks, we ask participants to choose something in The Times that has sparked their interest, then tell us why. At the end of the week, judges from the Times newsroom pick favorite responses, and we publish them on our site.

And we’ve used our Mentor Text feature to spotlight the work of past winners , explain why newsroom judges admired their thinking, and provide four steps to helping any student write better reader-responses.

Because this is our most open-ended contest — students can choose whatever they like, and react however they like — it has proved over the years to be a useful place for young writers to hone their voices, practice skills and take risks . Join us!

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300 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students

February 15, 2024 by Richard Leave a Comment

300 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students

Here are 300 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students, when looking to engage middle school students in daily writing, it can be difficult to come up with enough creative yet educationally meaningful prompts to fill the school year. That’s why I was thrilled to uncover an incredible list of over 300 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students. With about 180 school days, this mega list of prompts could last nearly two school years without repeating! As a middle school teacher striving to make writing fun while also pushing my students to think deeper, stretch their perspectives, and grow their skills, I appreciate prompts tuned specifically to 11-14 year olds on topics that resonate with their developmental stage and experiences.

The list has prompts spanning popular middle school genres and themes ranging from relationships with friends, family, teachers, and community; to personal growth around emotions, hardships, ethics, and decision making; to navigating their changing identity and society around them. Examples that caught my eye include: “How can peers positively stand up to bullying?” and “What leadership lesson challenged you?” Imagine how students will light up responding to prompts that speak their language and tap into what they care about! With 300 on deck, I can target different skills and rotate in new prompts easily. This treasury of writing ideas unlocks an exciting year ahead!

These prompts are organized in the following categories:

On Relationships

On technology, on emotions.

  • Issues in Schools
  • Entertainment
  • On Hero/Role Models
  • Write about what being a good friend means to you.
  • Describe your best friend and what makes your relationship special.
  • Write about a time a friend disappointed you. What happened and how did you handle it?
  • What is the best advice about friendship you have ever received? Who gave you the advice?
  • Describe a time you and your friend had an argument. How did you resolve it? What did you learn?
  • What qualities do you look for in choosing friends? Explain why those qualities are important.
  • What is your favorite memory with your best friend? What happened that makes it so memorable?
  • Should friends always agree with each other? Explain your opinion using an example from your life.
  • Write about a person who has been a mentor for you. How have they impacted your life?
  • Describe how you balance time between family and friends. Give examples.
  • Do you find making new friends easy or hard? Discuss a time you made a new friend.
  • Explain three qualities that make someone a good family member. Provide examples from your experiences.
  • Describe your relationship with your siblings or extended family members. Use examples.
  • Should family always come before friends? Discuss why or why not using examples from your experiences.
  • Write about a family tradition or ritual you have. Why is it meaningful to you?
  • How can families best support teenagers? What is something you wish your family understood better?
  • Have you ever had a teacher that was an important mentor for you? If yes, describe how they supported you.
  • Describe an adult aside from your family who has been a positive influence on you. Explain how they have helped you.
  • Do teachers have lasting impacts on students? Describe one of your teachers who inspired you.
  • Write about a figure you admire but do not personally know, like a celebrity, author, or athlete. Explain why you admire them.
  • Describe a disagreement you witnessed between two people. How did each handle it? Who handled it better in your view?
  • Think of someone you had a disagreement with in the past. Looking back, how could you have handled it better?
  • Why is it important to admit when you are wrong? Describe a situation when you had to admit you were wrong. What was it like?
  • Write about a time you compromised with someone who had an opposing view from yours. How did you find common ground? What did you learn?
  • Do you find it easy or difficult to get along with people different from you? Explain using examples.
  • How can people move past stereotypes? Share a time when you or someone else overcame a stereotype.
  • Describe a situation where jealousy impacted a friendship or relationship. What damage did it cause? What did you learn?
  • Why is trust so essential in relationships? Describe the building or breaking of trust in one of your relationships.
  • What have you learned from both good and bad relationships? How have those lessons shaped how you interact with people?
  • How do you define respect? Write about a time when respect was present or absent from a relationship.
  • Describe a time when words were very hurtful or healing in a relationship. What impact did this have on you?
  • Think about a relationship that is difficult. How could you act to improve it?
  • Write about a stranger who did a kind deed for you or someone else. How did this small act of kindness make a difference?
  • Should people give second chances? Share a story from your own life on second chances.
  • For what reasons do conflicts happen between family or friends? Share a personal story.
  • How can people prevent or resolve conflicts between each other? Share a time when conflict was prevented or resolved positively.
  • Think about a relationship that recently improved. What specifically changed for the better? What can be learned?
  • What does it mean to truly listen to someone? Why is listening skills important in relationships? Give an example.
  • Choose one word to describe each member of your family and explain why you chose those words.
  • What are fun ways for families to spend quality time together? What does your family do and what do you enjoy most? Explain.
  • If you had the chance to give advice to a good friend right now, what would it be and why?
  • What goals can people set to become better friends or family members? What’s one goal you have set for yourself?
  • Who do you turn to when you have problems? Why have you chosen to talk to this person/people?
  • Should we forgive friends or family who lie to us? Share your thoughts and experiences with forgiveness.
  • Is it ever okay to keep secrets from friends or family? Explain why or why not.
  • What does “being responsible” with friendships and family relationships mean to you? Give examples.
  • Do you think rules should be different for friends than family? Explain your thoughts with examples.
  • Describe a time you felt support from your friends or family during a difficult situation.
  • For you, what is the difference between a close friend and an acquaintance? Give examples from your life.
  • Explain why friendships and family relationships should be valued and prioritized. Use personal examples.
  • Describe your extended family like grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins. How often do you see them? What do you enjoy about those relationships?
  • What traditions or rituals does your family have? Why are they meaningful?
  • Has a relative ever given you great advice? What was it and why was it helpful?
  • How can families best support pre-teens and teenagers? What do you wish your parents understood better?
  • What qualities make someone a good brother or sister? Do you think you have those qualities? Explain.
  • Describe your mom, dad, or another caregiver’s personality. What are 3 great qualities they have?
  • If you had magical abilities, what problem would you solve for a family member? Why?
  • What does “unconditional love” mean to you? Describe how your family shows love.
  • Should parents be friends with their kids? Explain your view using examples and reasons.
  • How should parents handle teens who break rules or make poor choices? Discuss their responsibilities.
  • Describe one of your favorite memories with your family. What happened that makes it extra special?
  • For what reasons do conflicts happen in families? Share a story from your own family.
  • How can families prevent or resolve conflicts positively? Share a time your family resolved a conflict well.
  • If you could add a new family rule, what would it be and why? Would others agree it’s needed? Explain.
  • What does being a good listener mean in your family? Provide a time when good listening skills were helpful at home.
  • Describe one issue your parents had to compromise on while raising you and your siblings. Explain their perspectives.
  • What is one clue that a family member needs extra support? Describe a time you or someone else needed support.
  • How can trust be built, lost, or repaired in families? Provide a personal example.
  • What does “respect” require inside families? Describe how your family shows respect or could improve.
  • Share an example of how your family cooperates and supports one another. Why is this important?
  • How can families balance personal interests with responsibilities to the family unit or household? Give examples.
  • Have religious or spiritual beliefs impacted your family positively? Explain how.
  • What does “forgiveness” require in families? Describe someone forgiving or being forgiven. What was the outcome?
  • Is venting anger appropriately important in families? Share an example from your household.
  • What is one problem you think many families struggle with? Explain ideas for how to address this issue.
  • What is a rule that has helped create order or safety in your home? Why was it needed?
  • How do parents model good behavior for their children without realizing it? Give examples you’ve observed.
  • Write about an annoyance or frustration you have experienced with a parent, guardian, or sibling. How have you worked through this issue?
  • Explain why keeping promises and commitments to family matters. Provide a related example.
  • What are fun ways for families to spend quality time together? What does your family do that brings you together?
  • Should families pray or perform spiritual rituals together? Explain why this can be meaningful or not needed.
  • Is getting advice from elders important? Share an example of getting advice from your parents or grandparents.
  • How can parents and kids better understand each other’s perspectives? Explain with a personal example.
  • Describe one house rule you did not understand as a younger kid. Now that you are older, does it make more sense? Explain.
  • How should parents educate kids about racism or discrimination? Discuss using personal examples or observations.
  • Do you make friends easily outside your family? Explain how your family gives you confidence or holds you back socially.
  • What quality about your parents inspires you to be like them? Explain using examples.
  • What is one thing you wish you and your siblings would stop fighting about? Why does this issue cause problems? What could improve it?
  • Describe one thing you argue about a lot with your sibling(s) and one thing you get along well doing together. Compare the two relationship dynamics.
  • Explain one of your family’s funny little habits or traditions outsiders would find interesting or strange. Where did it originate?
  • For what reasons are family relationships often complicated? Share an example from personal experience.
  • If a new kid was joining your family as an adopted sibling, what advice would you give him or her about fitting into your established household?
  • Should parents give kids advice about friendship or let them learn those skills independently? Discuss, backing your view with reasoning.
  • Describe an ethical dilemma or complex problem your family faced together. How did working through it strengthen relationships? What did family members learn about each other?
  • How can parents and kids respect each other’s privacy? Discuss setting boundaries while still providing guidance.
  • How might experiencing hard times like illness, grief, job loss, etc. bring a family closer together? Describe a difficulty that ultimately strengthened bonds between your family members rather than weakening them.
  • Even in difficult or complex family relationships, what makes the bond stronger than conflict? Explain why you think family ties still endure.
  • Even if family relationships are challenging or imperfect, why work to understand versus give up on each other? Provide evidence that trying leads in a positive direction.
  • When do you think parents should stop influencing adult children’s choices? Explain where the line should be drawn and why.
  • What have you learned from your parents’ strengths and weaknesses? How will you carry these lessons into your future as an adult?
  • What is your favorite app or website? Describe what you like about it.
  • Explain 3 responsible ways you use the internet and social media.
  • Should there be laws about how people your age use the internet? Why or why not?
  • Describe when it’s okay or not okay to share information or photos online.
  • Write about a time technology like GPS maps or the internet really helped you or someone you know.
  • Explain why spending too much time on devices can be unhealthy. Provide evidence.
  • Describe problems or distractions technology like cell phones can cause at school. Should policies be made to address this issue?
  • How is communicating online and via text different from talking face-to-face? Include pros and cons of each.
  • Stories are spreading about technology like virtual reality. Describe what you think virtual reality will be like someday based on current information.
  • Do you think technology brings people together more than it isolates them? Use reasons and evidence to back your opinion.
  • How does the internet make researching for school easier and harder at the same time? Explain with examples from experience.
  • Write about a time technology failed to work properly. What problems did it cause? What was the backup plan to address needs?
  • How have smart phones impacted how youth and adults spend leisure time? Explain pros and cons.
  • Describe an app that helps make people’s lives easier somehow. Explain its standout features.
  • What are ways social media connects people positively? Also discuss risks and how to use social media responsibly.
  • Should everyone have access to affordable home internet? Explain pros and cons of internet access becoming an essential utility provided via programs for low income families.
  • Discuss an innovative medical technology that improves healthcare. How exactly does it help doctors treat patients better?
  • Would receiving instruction through technology at home some days help students learn? Explain the possibilities and challenges you envision.
  • How have delivery drones and self-driving vehicles started changing the way people transport items? Describe what future possibilities exist to revolutionize transportation.
  • Explain how smartphones both waste and make the best use of people’s time. Provide evidence.
  • How do various communication methods impact trust and relationships between people both positively and negatively? Cite examples.
  • Should schools invest in providing laptops or tablets to each student for learning? Explain reasoning using pros and cons.
  • How does advancing technology like electric cars, solar power, etc. positively and negatively impact the environment now and in the foreseeable future?
  • How have smartphones changed people’s behaviors for better or worse? Provide evidence from real world observations.
  • Should youth be on social media? At what age is appropriate? Cite reasons.
  • How does the online world impact body image perceptions? Discuss using observations or evidence. Provide solutions.
  • Explain pros and cons you see regarding video games’ impacts on things like kids’ brains, creativity, social skills, and values.
  • Discuss positive and concerning impacts highly advanced robotics may have on jobs, the economy, how people treat each other in relationships, self-worth and identity when more labor becomes automated.
  • How can the internet and connected technology increase existing inequities? Offer ideas to responsibly address this concern.
  • Explain why developing future technology sustainably matters. Provide examples like electric car batteries, solar panels, etc.
  • Should tech CEOs or companies do more about issues like device addiction? What exactly should change?
  • How does immediate access to so much information impact how people view issues? Explain how quality versus quantity of data impacts judgments made. Cite real world examples like politics, news stories, etc.
  • Discuss ways technology harms or helps entertainment quality and enjoyment like movies, shows, music, etc. Compare changes you see over time as innovation progresses.
  • How does the internet impact the spread of truth versus lies? Describe how credibility should be evaluated.
  • What existing technology truly excites you? Explain what you find interesting and innovative about it.
  • Share what harm has occurred when people use technology irresponsibly. Also discuss fixes to address concerns you see being neglected.
  • Should schools better educate students about using technology safely and wisely? Explain importance.
  • Discuss technology’s influence during an election. Consider media, voter engagement, political messaging, etc. Are changes mostly beneficial or concerning in your view? Explain.
  • Explain why websites and apps should value user privacy and security. What should companies transparently share and responsibly protect?
  • Has social media made peers kinder or less sensitive to each other? Explain your observations and solutions.
  • How does always on the go device access impact family relationships? Provide positives and hints for avoiding pitfalls.
  • How does being constantly plugged in emotionally impact people over time based on your observations?
  • Discuss an existing technology that worries you. Explain problems it fuels. What regulations could responsibly and ethically decrease harm?
  • How does social media impact mental health? Support your perspectives with observations, credible research sources, and possible solutions.
  • Share why empathy remains important even as technology progresses. Provide real world evidence supporting your claim.
  • Discuss how smartphones both hurt and help people fully live “in the moment.” Use personal examples and suggestions.
  • Explain effective tactics for determining if online content and interactions are credible versus manipulative or false. Cite real world examples like clickbait ads. What tips do you recommend?
  • Describe pros and cons of computers grading students’ writing versus teacher feedback. Which approach is better in your opinion? Support perspectives with reasoning.
  • How does always on technology impact people’s sense of wonder, curiosity to learn new things the old fashioned way, and ability to have insight? Provide observations.
  • What existing or emerging technology do you believe is getting too little or too much hype? Explain reasoning using evidence and examples.
  • Describe a time when you felt really proud. Why did this accomplishment make you feel that way?
  • When was the last time you felt grateful? What happened that made you appreciate something or someone?
  • Write about a situation where your emotions felt out of control. How did you eventually handle them?
  • What calms you down when feeling nervous or worried? Explain step-by-step what helps you.
  • What does courage feel like to you? Describe a situation where facing your fears made you braver.
  • Share about a hardship or failure after which you felt resilience. What gave you strength during the tough time?
  • Describe a memory where curiosity led to a fun adventure, interesting discovery, or new understanding.
  • What sparks your sense of joy or happiness most? Paint a picture with words sharing what that feels like.
  • How can friends show kindness to classmates who feel left out or lonely at school?
  • What should someone do when social media interactions stir up feelings like anger or envy? Explain smart strategies.
  • How might words impact someone’s self-worth without the speaker realizing it? Provide examples.
  • How can overcoming a challenge build grit to handle future tough situations emotionally? Recall a time this happened for you or someone else.
  • What values guide your life choices? Where did those become important to you?
  • How can students show more empathy and compassion at school? Provide examples.
  • How do responsibilities like chores influence attitudes and maturity levels? Explain using personal experience.
  • What action should people take if they witness bullying? Offer solutions.
  • Should students notify an adult if a peer’s joke goes too far emotionally? Explain why or why not.
  • How do colors impact someone’s mood? Describe colors that tend to make you feel peaceful, energized, cheerful, etc. and why.
  • What makes someone feel understood? Describe mindsets and behaviors that convey acceptance of others’ feelings.
  • Is letting anger out always required? Why or why not? Offer healthy strategies for processing anger.
  • Which is more important – self-confidence or self-awareness? Support your choice with sound reasoning.
  • How can students respect differences in learning abilities, cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, etc.? Provide positive examples.
  • Describe mindsets kids should avoid like blaming others for disappointments vs. taking responsibility for choices.
  • What advice would you offer someone who feels marginalized for being different like nationality, disability, etc?
  • Is perfectionism about looks and grades harmful? Explain problems and smarter mindsets to feel good enough.
  • How can families show members they matter through simple gestures like greeting questions, eye contact, etc?
  • Should people give second chances? Share why this does or does not make sense in certain relationships or situations.
  • When has a pet’s companionship lifted your spirits? Paint an upbeat picture sharing that memory.
  • Recount a time laughter healed hurt feelings between family or friends. What humor techniques restore connection?
  • Coach someone from your own past on building self-esteem despite mean kid behavior. Offer concrete empowering strategies.
  • How can students incorporate more emotional intelligence on social media? Consider acts of exclusion, meanness, etc. and remedies.
  • Provide examples of tone and body language that convey trust and acceptance of someone venting feelings. Offer additional tips.
  • Share how music enriches your life emotionally. Pick a song that impacts your mood and explain why.
  • Should people give compliments just to be nice? Explain pros and cons of this using personal examples.
  • How can focusing on gratitude, blessings, self-care, etc. safeguard mental health when undergoing stress? Discuss research-backed techniques.
  • Recount a time you put yourself in someone else’s shoes during a tense interaction. How did trying to understand them positively transform empathy?
  • Coach a shy student on making a tough social situation better through small acts of kindness. Provide uplifting guidance.
  • Suggest healthy emotional habits students should build to handle future challenges like first jobs, college, adulthood, etc.
  • How can recess sports and games nurture social skills like teamwork, good sportsmanship, managing disappointment after losses, etc.? Use examples.
  • Should students speak up about wrong assumptions peers make regarding diverse groups? Politely clarify truth to dispel stereotypes. Use examples.
  • Pick an emotion like awe, angst, delight, despair, wrath, bliss, etc. and paint a vivid personal picture where you felt that way.
  • How can social media interactions demonstrate more emotional intelligence? Consider exclusion, meanness, etc. and remedies.
  • When is it acceptable to hide feelings to spare someone pain versus speak truth with compassion? Explain where lines should be drawn.
  • How can focusing on society’s past moral progress fuel present optimism? Discuss using civil rights victories, democracy wins, etc.
  • Recount a time swallowing pride strengthened a valuable relationship. What wisdom did you gain?
  • How do fair leaders appeal to citizens’ highest ideals rather than stoke dark emotions like blame, fear, etc.? Share real examples like Lincoln.
  • Paint an inspirational picture of society lifting up youth wired to live meaningfully versus seek fleeting thrills. What specifically makes their lives shine?
  • How can rules promote ethical, wise digital community behavior versus thoughtless harm? Consider implementing guidelines for more supportive interactions.
  • Paint an inspirational picture of people uniting across political divides to solve real problems jeopardizing emotional and physical health like addiction, poverty, human trafficking, etc.
  • Recount a time you transformed hurt into helpfulness or comfort for someone else grappling with hardship. What emotional tools and insights can uplift both giver and receiver?

Issues in School 

  • Describe a challenging project and how you completed it successfully.
  • Explain why cheating on schoolwork is unethical. Have you dealt with a cheater? Discuss honestly.
  • Share about a teacher who inspired you to work hard. Traits? Qualities? Teaching style? How were they excellent?
  • Tell how you improved at something that was difficult at first like sports, music, math, etc. Hard work pays off!
  • Pick an ethical dilemma at school and explore solutions. Consider rights, rules, safety, fairness.
  • Discuss pros and cons of letter grades verses pass/fail evaluation systems. Which promotes actual learning?
  • Describe obstacles when group projects frustrate and solutions teachers could try instead.
  • How do pressures like getting into college impact student priorities? Reflect on whether the tradeoffs are worth it.
  • Discuss technology’s impact on school both positively and concerningly. Consider distraction, behavior, values, etc. Share ideas.
  • How can teachers and students unite when controversial real-world issues arise in class conversations? Explore respectful solutions.
  • What should teachers say and allow regarding politics, religion, activism etc.? Explain appropriate policies and ethical reasoning.
  • How can school sports best prevent injury? Consider health risks of head trauma, ACL tears, etc. Offer student perspective on rule changes, gear requirements, rest guidelines etc. needed to protect players.
  • Describe an ethical way you used tech for schoolwork versus a rule you’d add to curb misconduct. Consider cheating potential, theft, privacy invasions, harmful uses, etc. and consequences.
  • Discuss public school funding debates. Consider formulas, competing priorities, misperceptions, pros/cons of programs cut or supplemented by parent fundraising. Should policies shift? Why/why not?
  • How should schools handle mental health crises? Consider stress, anxiety, depression, trauma’s impacts. Discuss counseling, staff training needs etc. Destigmatize struggles!
  • How might school safety improve? Consider emergency protocols, building modifications, security roles, technology aids. Balance protection with warm environments.
  • What extracurricular activities matter most to you? Explore their life lessons like teamwork, resilience, commitment. Fund programs empowering students.
  • Discuss controversies around school uniforms and dress codes. Consider disciplinary fairness, cost factors, Pros? Cons? Alternatives?
  • How can students improve school spirit? Consider event turnout, community service participation etc. Share fun ideas!
  • Describe a great teacher. Traits? Qualities? Teaching Style? Why were they excellent? How did they inspire students?
  • Share a time good writing instruction made ah-ha connections for you. What teaching approach finally demystified skills? How does this help adults see school positively?
  • Discuss positive side effects when youth pitch service projects. Consider impacts on agency, purpose, skill-building.
  • How can peers positively stand up to bullying? Consider strategies matching context like severity, ages, power imbalances, supervision etc. Apply compassion.
  • What career discovery approach best serves students? Consider guest talks, job shadows, project relevance etc. How can exploration pair with current coursework?
  • Should cash incentivize good grades? Consider pros, cons and alternative motivations.
  • How might better nutrition improve school performance? Consider food quality, budget disconnects, health ripple effects.
  • What advice would you give struggling peers? Consider perspectives affecting motivation like learning differences, attention challenges, skill gaps, emotional blocks. Share supportive guidance.
  • What leadership lesson challenged you? Consider group projects, captain positions, committee roles. How can educators further grow student leadership?
  • Should middle schoolers use social media? Explain appropriate usage, privacy, ethics. Explore impacts face-to-face versus online communication, identity-building.
  • How do sports build character and community? Consider award/recognition systems also encouraging nonsport interests.
  • Share a time good teaching eased subject struggles. Consider learning style pairings, tutoring, visuals etc. What finally made content click? How can teachers apply such insights schoolwide?
  • How can students practice self-advocacy asking for help? Consider communication method pros/cons. Normalize speaking up!
  • How should schools handle grief support? Consider student perspectives on memorials, counseling, handlings of loss. What sensitivity helps healing?
  • Should cellphones be allowed in schools? Consider classroom complexities. How to responsibly integrate usage?
  • What career skills should schools teach? Consider financial literacy, interview tactics, job applications, workplace ethics alongside math, literature etc. Blend knowledge fields.
  • What homework policies best serve students and family lives? Consider hour limits, vacation blackout periods. How can schools support balance?
  • Should middle schoolers have recess? Consider mental health benefits balancing packed academic schedules.
  • How can dress codes embrace personal style without straying from professionalism? Consider flexibility for religious diversity.
  • What grading system most accurately reflects learning? Consider test reliance, extra credit, participation, skill gains versus deficits.
  • How young should career advising begin? Consider early goal-setting, age views of self/interests. What roles can teachers play?
  • Should community service become a graduation requirement? Consider purpose, logistics.
  • How can better school-parent communication occur? Consider platforms, frequency, accessibility etc. Building partnerships around the whole child matters!
  • Should teachers incorporate art forms into standard subjects? Consider benefits of music, visual art etc. blending into math, literature, science etc. Explore cross-disciplinary learning pros.
  • Pick a controversial real-world issue arising in class study. Outline respectful discussion ground rules enabling equitable idea sharing. Consider rule modification by grade.
  • Should schools screen students for mental health needs? Consider care connectors, warning signs role in prevention. Destigmatize support.
  • Should schools provide career counseling? If so, what issues should be addressed and what topics avoided? Consider student feelings discussing economic challenges.
  • Describe an imaginative teacher capturing learning in creative ways you enjoyed. What did their innovations teach in terms of thinking differently?
  • Should students evaluate teacher performance? Consider aspects like tone, control, care shown. Explore survey goals – accountability, improvement insights etc. Discuss complex power dynamics sensitively.
  • Is starting school days later better for health and learning? Consider research on adolescent sleep needs.
  • How can team and individual activities coexist in gym class Cooperatively rotating through stations enabling choices might help those loving and loathing competition. Discuss solutions valuing all skill preferences.

entertainment 

  • What is your favorite movie and why?
  • What is your favorite song and why does it make you happy?
  • Who is your favorite singer or musical artist? Describe their music.
  • What is your favorite TV show? Describe the characters and plot.
  • If you could star in any TV show or movie, what would you choose? Why?
  • What is the funniest video you’ve seen? Describe what happens in it.
  • What is your favorite book? Describe the main character and plot.
  • Who is your favorite author? What do you like about the stories they write?
  • Describe your perfect day watching movies or TV shows. What would you watch all day?
  • What is your favorite smartphone or tablet app for having fun? How do you use it?
  • If you could attend any concert, who would you see perform live? Why?
  • Describe the most entertaining YouTube video you’ve seen lately.
  • What entertainer or celebrity would you most like to meet? What would you talk about?
  • Describe a time when you laughed really hard at something funny. What happened?
  • What is the funniest joke you’ve heard? Why did you find it so funny?
  • Pick three famous people you’d invite to a dinner party. Why did you choose them? What would you talk about?
  • Describe a time when you performed in front of an audience. How did it make you feel?
  • What games or activities entertain your family when you’re all together? Why do you enjoy them?
  • Imagine you could enter any fictional world from a book, TV show or movie. What would you choose and why?
  • What local attractions or amusement parks have you visited for fun day trips? Describe what you did there.
  • What teachers at your school make learning the most fun? Describe their teaching styles.
  • Describe your ideal birthday party for entertainment. What would you do? Who would you invite?
  • What is the best school play, concert or other performance you’ve seen? Describe it.
  • What do you like doing on weekends for fun?
  • What entertainer or celebrity do you think has the best job? Why?
  • Describe your favorite hobby. How did you get started doing it? What do you like about it?
  • What is your favorite holiday? What entertainment traditions does your family have for it?
  • What outdoor activities entertain you? Describe one.
  • If you opened your own entertainment business for kids your age, what would you offer?
  • When you want to relax and destress, what TV shows, music or other things do you turn to? Why are they relaxing?
  • How do reality talent competitions like American Idol or America’s Got Talent entertain you? Do you want to someday audition for one?
  • Describe your perfect entertaining day off from school. What fun would you have?
  • What were the best fireworks you ever saw? Describe the display.
  • Write a short, imaginary dialogue between you and your favorite entertainer or fictional character. What do you talk about?
  • What is the funniest joke you know by heart? Why can you remember this one?
  • Describe an entertaining family tradition or celebration your family enjoys. What happens each time? What do you like about it?
  • What is your favorite live event you’ve attended, like a concert, play, or sporting event? Describe it. What entertained you?
  • Have you ever entered a talent show or performed for an audience? Describe your act and the performance. How did you feel?
  • Pick three famous historical figures you’d invite to dinner and describe why you chose them and what you might talk about.
  • What is the most beautiful place that you have visited that made you happy? Describe what you saw and did there.
  • What music always makes you smile and dance? Why does it have that effect on you?
  • Watching movies at home or going to the movie theater – which do you prefer and why? Describe your perfect movie experience.
  • What were your favorite school subjects as a younger kid? What made learning fun then?
  • Have you ever met someone famous? Who was it? Describe the experience.
  • If you had the power to become a fictional character for just one day, who would you be and why? Describe some things you would do as that character.
  • You can have superpowers for just one whole day. What powers would you choose and how would you use them for entertainment or to help yourself and other people?
  • You just won front row concert tickets to see your favorite band perform live. Who is the band and how excited are you as you take your seat? Describe the incredible night.
  • Describe your dream vacation – where would you go, who would you take, and what fun things would you make sure to do when you get there? Make your planning committee happy!
  • What outdoor summer hobbies and activities do you most look forward to each year? Describe your favorites in vivid sensory detail so the reader feels like they are there with you.
  • What do you find entertaining that most other people probably don’t? Describe or demonstrate it and try to convince readers to give it a try!

On Hero/role Model 

  • Who is your personal hero? Describe why you admire this person.
  • What qualities make someone a hero? Describe your idea of a hero.
  • Who in your family do you look up to the most? Explain why.
  • Describe a fictional character that you consider a hero. What do you admire about them?
  • If you could spend a day with any hero (real or fictional), who would you choose and why? Describe what you would do together.
  • Have you ever met someone you consider a hero? Tell about your experience.
  • What does being a role model mean to you? Describe someone who is a good role model.
  • Who is a positive role model in your community? What makes them a good role model?
  • Describe a time when you helped someone. Do you think that made you a role model or hero to them?
  • If you had a special power, how would you use it to be a hero in your town? Describe the ways you would help people.
  • What central traits do all heroes share? Explain some key qualities heroes have.
  • Explain why teachers can be everyday heroes. What makes a teacher a hero to students?
  • Describe a fictional superhero origin story for yourself. How did you get your powers and decide to become a hero?
  • Whose poster would you hang on your wall: a sports star, entertainer, historic leader, inventor, or someone else? Explain why you admire this person as a role model.
  • Who do you think is a hero in your family’s history? Write about one of your ancestors who inspires you.
  • When have you felt like a hero? Describe a time you helped someone in an important way.
  • What song best describes the qualities of a hero? Explain your choice.
  • What is the most heroic career , in your opinion? Describe why.
  • Have you read about an inspirational figure who overcame difficulties? Write about why their life story is heroic.
  • What fictional place would you want to live where you could train to become a hero? Describe your training.
  • Which of your friends shows heroic qualities? Share why you think they are hero material.
  • Describe a way you would like to help animals and become their hero.
  • What career would you like to have one day where you could be a hero? Explain the ways you could help people in that career.
  • Tell about a time you stood up for someone. Do you think that took strength or heroism?
  • Describe a character in book who is a good role model for teens. Explain why.
  • Who is your hero in sports? Why do you find them inspirational?
  • Have you ever written a story featuring yourself as the hero? Share some details.
  • What is the most courageous thing you have ever done? Why did it require courage?
  • Describe a way you would protect others from bullies if you could.
  • Explain why nurses, doctors and other medical professionals are everyday heroes.
  • Who is a “hometown hero” where you live and why are they admired?
  • What animal is your favorite hero from a movie? Explain why.
  • What is more important for being viewed as a hero – talent or good character? Discuss why you think so.
  • Describe someone at your school who you think behaves like a hero to others.
  • Tell about a time you exercised wisdom in a difficult situation. Does that make you feel heroic?
  • Design a new superhero. Describe their costume, superpowers, vehicle, mission and who they protect.
  • Parents often tell kids – “Be careful climbing too high or you might get hurt!” Do you think a hero would be careful or bold? Discuss why.
  • What 3 traits best describe a hero? Explain your choices.
  • How can ordinary people become heroes? Give some examples of ways everyday people have been heroic.
  • Pick two fictional mentors you have read about and would want to learn life lessons from about being a hero. Explain your choices.
  • Should people think of themselves as heroes or is it best to be humble? Discuss this idea.
  • What inspires you to want to make a positive difference in the world? How does this relate to being a hero?
  • How are teachers and students heroes for each other? Describe their heroism.
  • Tell about a historical hero who inspires you. Why do you look up to them?
  • How can music and movies motivate people to be heroes? Give examples of inspirational songs and films.
  • What will be the next great challenge that tomorrow’s heroes need to tackle and overcome? Speculate what that challenge might realistically be.
  • How can young people reveal their “inner hero” more? What would help them develop heroism?
  • How do images of heroes vary across different cultures? How might your idea of a hero change if you lived in another country?
  • Do you think there will ever be a time period that doesn’t need any heroes? Explain why you think so.
  • Imagine yourself at age 60 looking back – what do you hope young people say about your life that might inspire them or make them see you as a hero?

With over 300 thoughtful writing prompts for middle school students, the possibilities for sparking student engagement are endless. I’m energized imagining how students will dive into these age-appropriate topics and questions that resonate with their experiences and invite them to explore identity, relationships, responsibility, and more.

Whether it’s debating policies around technology in schools or opening up about a time they felt marginalized for being different, students will surely find prompts on this comprehensive list that interest them while also pushing their perspectives and building key literacy skills. Teachers can easily integrate these into warm-ups, journal entries, discussion springboards, and more activities.

Best of all, using so many prompts over a school year prevents repetition and boredom while allowing teachers to customize difficulty, vary formats to meet different learning styles, and scaffold writing skill development. With around 180 school days, weaving these 300 gems in daily exposes students to less redundant ideas so they sharpen a greater diversity of skills through unique responses rather than formulaic approaches. I foresee this prompting richer writing and deeper engagement that unlocks students’ potential. I can’t wait to incorporate these into my lesson planning and unit development this summer to start the year strong and set my young writers up for ongoing success! We have many more writing prompts on our site if you found these useful. 

Related posts:

  • Writing Prompts for High School Students
  • Daily Writing Prompts
  • Daily writing prompts for high school 
  • 184 Daily Writing Prompts for Students
  • 50 Thanksgiving Writing Prompts

About Richard

Richard Everywriter (pen name) has worked for literary magazines and literary websites for the last 25 years. He holds degrees in Writing, Journalism, Technology and Education. Richard has headed many writing workshops and courses, and he has taught writing and literature for the last 20 years.  

In writing and publishing he has worked with independent, small, medium and large publishers for years connecting publishers to authors. He has also worked as a journalist and editor in both magazine, newspaper and trade publications as well as in the medical publishing industry.   Follow him on Twitter, and check out our Submissions page .

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creative writing unit middle school

20 Creative Writing Activities for Middle School

  • Middle School Education

creative writing unit middle school

1. Freewriting: Have students write continuously for a short time (5-10 minutes) without worrying about grammar or punctuation, allowing ideas to flow onto the page and encouraging creativity.

2. Round-robin storytelling: Divide the class into small groups, and have each member contribute a sentence to create a collaborative story. Pass the stories around the group, with each person adding their own unique touch.

3. Story starters: Provide students with an opening line or scenario to jumpstart their imagination and encourage them to write a complete story from the prompt.

4. Journaling: Encourage students to keep a journal or diary, recording their daily thoughts, ideas, and events as an outlet for self-expression.

5. Picture prompts: Find interesting photographs or illustrations and have students create stories based on the images.

6. Character creation: Have students brainstorm character traits and develop a detailed profile of a fictional character to use in their writing.

7. Poetry writing: Explore different types of poetry, such as haiku, acrostic, or limerick, allowing students to experiment with rhythmic language and structure.

8. Rewrite a favorite story: Challenge students to rewrite a well-known story or fairy tale from a different perspective or in a new setting.

9. Comic strip stories: Have students create comic strips with dialogue and narration that tell an original story.

10. Dystopian/Utopian worlds: Invite students to develop their own futuristic societies with unique rules and customs, then write stories set in these worlds.

11. Personal narratives: Guide students in writing personal essays that reflect on memorable experiences or events from their lives.

12. Scavenger hunt writing: Create a list of random items or ideas for students to ‘find’ by incorporating them into their original stories.

13. Two-sentence stories: Teach students how to craft suspenseful two-sentence stories that leave readers wanting more.

14. Flash fiction: Develop short stories of only 100-500 words, emphasizing brevity and powerful storytelling.

15. Autobiography of an object: Ask students to write from the perspective of an inanimate object, providing insight into its experiences and interactions with the world.

16. Social issues: Encourage students to write persuasive essays on topics of social importance, addressing the arguments and counterarguments for their chosen stance.

17. News reports: Teach students how to write engaging news articles about recent events or fictional happenings in their communities or schools.

18. Dialogue practice: Have pairs of students create realistic dialogues between characters by writing conversations that demonstrate effective communication and character development.

19. Write a script: Guide students in writing their own one-act plays or screenplays, focusing on plot, dialogue, and stage directions.

20. Trading spaces: Have students trade pieces of writing with a partner, then expand upon or revise each other’s work, providing constructive feedback along the way.

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creative writing unit middle school

Middle School Writing Lessons

Use these middle school writing lessons in your ELA classes.

Middle school writing lessons can be found in this blog post. Writing is a pillar of an ELA classroom. Keep your foundation strong with new ideas and inspiration. This blog post contains a collection of popular writing blog posts from the blog:  journal writing, informational and argument writing, writing workshops, student choice writing and more! Looking for new lesson ideas? You’ll also find some of my top rated Teachers Pay Teachers writing products here.

Middle School Writing Lesson Ideas

Ideas For Teaching Informational and Argument Writing

  • Teaching students to properly write an effective argument can be difficult. Trying to balance this important skill along with teaching other forms of writing is also a balancing act. Read how other middle and high school teachers are teaching both of these writing forms in their classes.

7 Tips For Implementing Journal Writing In Your ELA Classroom

  • Help your students ignite their passion for writing through journaling in your classroom. Journaling can be an important tool for student self-expression. Read 7 tips on how to implement an effective journal writing component in your ELA classroom.

Student Engagement Through Choice Writing

  • Provide choice on English Language Arts writing assignments to increase student engagement and work completion.

5 Tips For a Successful Argument Writing Unit

  • Create and teach an effective and engaging argument writing unit with these 5 tips.

Creative Writing Lesson Ideas

  • It can be hard to remember that students enjoy the opportunity to flex their creative muscles with creative writing assignments. In this blog post, teachers share their best ideas for incorporating creative writing opportunities in the ELA classroom.

creative writing unit middle school

Interactive Writing Prompts

  • These no prep interactive writing prompts gets students up and moving during Writer’s Workshop. This interactive whole class or small group activity is a great warm up for your writing program. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD .

My Life In Logos Paragraph Writing Assignment

  • Students will practice paragraph writing in a unique and engaging way by writing about logos that represent: their friends and family, entertainment choices, favourite foods and things that remind them about school, enabling their teachers and classmates to get to know them better. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD . 

Rant Writing Unit

  • Rant writing is an engaging way to bring public speaking and persuasive writing into the classroom. Students rant and complain to each other daily, why not channel that creative energy into some high-quality writing? Rants are an engaging way to get students writing and sharing their thoughts and opinions in the classroom. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD .

Creative Writing Year Long Lesson Bundle

  • This no prep – just photocopy and teach, yearlong creative writing bundle will keep your students engaged in their writing. This bundle provides holiday writing prompts (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter) as well as seasonal writing prompts (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Back to School) to support an inclusive classroom environment. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD .

Related Posts

creative writing unit middle school

This FREE persuasive writing unit is

  • Perfect for engaging students in public speaking and persuasive writing
  • Time and energy saving
  • Ideal for in-person or online learning

By using highly-engaging rants, your students won’t even realize you’ve channeled their daily rants and complaints into high-quality, writing!

FREE persuasive writing unit is

Mama Teaches

Fun Writing Activities for Middle School

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Does your middle schooler heave a sigh when it’s time for writing? 

Add some appeal to the subject of writing with these fun writing activities for middle school. 

Fun Writing Activities for Middle School

Writing Activities for Middle School

The six types of writing are descriptive, expository, persuasive, technical, and poetic.  (I know, I know, your middle schooler is nodding off already.)

The truth is these writing types can be enjoyable if you have some fun topic ideas. 

Not only does it make writing fun, but it also gives students a chance to practice those dreaded middle school spelling words that they need to master.

Read on for some writing activities that are fun and (ssh! Don’t tell!) educational.

This article contains affiliate links to things that you might like.

Descriptive Writing Activities for MIddle School

As the name implies, descriptive writing describes something. 

You want to create mental pictures for your reader so they can see in their mind’s eye exactly what you are describing. 

This writing style can be a delight to compose if you like the topic, so pick one that resonates with your student.

Describe the car of the future  

Use your imagination to describe all the amazing features it will have.  What will it look like?  

Imagine an alien is your pen pal  

How would you describe yourself so your alien friend knows what you look like?

Describe the ideal pet

Some people love hamsters, and others love hounds. 

Some adore cats, while others keep chameleons. 

What is your ideal pet?  Describe it in detail. 

What does it feel like? Look like? Eat? How does it act?

Expository Writing Activities for Middle School 

Expository writing gives information, but it does so in a different way from descriptive writing. 

It is all about the facts and lacks flowery language. 

Like a newspaper article, it investigates an idea, subject, or event.  

Newspaper articles written by dogs  

Imagine there is a secret underground dog newspaper that dogs write and distribute that tells the news of the day from their perspective. 

Write an article for that paper as a doggie journalist. 

Consider possible titles like “Scuffle at the Dog Park,”  “Duck Befriends Dog,”  or “Frisbee Competition Wows All.” 

Compare and contrast the best and worst pizzas

Everyone has an opinion on pizza.  Compare your favorite pizza with your least favorite. 

Consider all the elements: size, crust, temperature, and toppings.

Write a how-to  

Topics could be how to be happy, how to play Minecraft, how to be a good friend, how to make perfect pancakes, or anything else you know how to do (or would like to think through how to be).

fun writing activities for middle school

Persuasive Writing Activities for Middle School

Ah, middle schoolers, how they love to argue.  Channel that natural proclivity to argue into persuasive writing.

Whether children should have chores

Let them choose pro or con (can you imagine a child choosing pro?). 

Whether parents should limit their kids’ screen time 

Consider having them outline both pro and con and choose one to write about. 

It’s always good to think through both sides before you write about one.

Whether companies should market their products to kids

Aren’t you curious as to which side your student will pick?

Technical Writing Activities for Middle School

Some students say they are not good writers because they dislike creative writing, but your logical, detail-oriented students will shine doing technical writing. 

Although this writing style is, well, technical, you can introduce it in middle school.

Write a manual on how to use a certain phone app or device

My son has to show me how to manage the settings on my Roku, so he could write me a manual for that…

Create a sales pitch brochure 

Imagine a product you invented, and write a brochure convincing someone to buy it. 

Be informative and persuasive. You can include pictures!

Fun Writing Activities for Middle School

Poetic Writing Activities for Middle School

Children were raised on poetry (think of Dr. Seuss), so although writing poetry may seem like a daunting task to some, they have already been steeped in it. 

Reawaken the poetic with these poetry activities. 

Think of a word or phrase like “SUMMER” and write it vertically down the page. 

Then compose a line that starts with each letter.  For example, “Sunny, unstructured, magazines at the beach, etc…”

Haikus are three-line poems that have 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third. 

They are traditionally about nature. 

These tiny poems can be fantastic first poems for the poetry intimidated.

Texting poem (or poem for two voices)

Write a poem that can read like a text conversation between two people

Middle School Writing Activities

Not every writing assignment has to be a five paragraph essay.  Writing should be fun and personal as well as educational and informative.  Keep it fun and fresh with these fun writing activities for middle school.

You May Also Like:

  • Teaching Creative Writing
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  • HOW TO GET STUDENTS WRITING IN 5 MINUTES OR LESS

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Writer’s Workshop Middle School: The Ultimate Guide

Feb 23, 2021

Middle school students discussing writing with computer

Writer’s Workshop Middle School: The Ultimate Guide defines the writer’s workshop model, its essential components, pros and cons, step-by-step set-up, and further resources.

writing-workshop-defined

What is the writer’s workshop model?

Writer’s workshop is a method of teaching writing developed by Donald Graves and Donald Murray , amongst other teacher-researchers.

The writer’s workshop provides a student-centered environment where students are given time, choice, and voice in their learning. The teacher nurtures the class by creating and mentoring a community of writers.

So, why does the writer’s workshop in middle school matter?

Students learn more during the writer’s workshop because you can mentor them toward what they need to know and practice, and they have lots of time to write and read in order to improve at their own pace (to an extent). 

For example, if the skill I need to teach is how authors use mood and tone to create meaning , then I would use a mentor text to teach that concept. However, after reading, the focus will not be on answering questions about the text in written form. Instead, I demonstrate how writers choose particular words and the arrangement of those words to create a mood and tone. 

Students then try creating mood and tone with their own pieces of writing. Only after students have practiced their own creations, do I then circle back around to other literature for students to practice literary analysis of mood and tone and its effect on meaning.

Why I focus on writing in the ELA classroom?

I’ve found students are more likely to read assigned texts if I’ve given them a reason to use those texts. That reason? To apply what they learn from mentor texts to their choice writing. Middle school students love to express themselves in creative ways, and by giving students this choice, you build engagement and motivation to continue learning.

The essential components of the writer’s workshop in middle school are:

  • Time to write daily 
  • Student choice 
  • Exploring the writer’s voice
  • Building a community of writers
  • Mentor teaching 

1. Time to Write Daily

Students need a chance to write daily. Various ways you can do this are through Bell Ringers at the beginning of the class, writing during the mini-lesson, and writing projects during workshop time. My students use writing journals because they need a space to think before they face a blank computer screen.

Students do read in my classes. However, their purpose for reading is to become better writers. This reading is either assigned, student choice, or a choice between the assigned reading and student choice, depending on the skill or concept I’m targeting that week. 

This is how I break up our daily writing:

  • Write Now (bell ringer) 
  • Mini-lesson and sharing 
  • Writing/Reading Workshop while I confer with writers 
  • Short turn and talk, log off computers and pack up 

Below is an example of my story writer’s workshop time transformation. This is what I use when we are writing narratives. I’m using a fantasy magic theme here:

transforming-time-in-writing-workshop

2. Student Choice

To keep students motivated to write, you want to build in student choice whenever and wherever possible. Just to clarify, you don’t have to give them choices for everything they do. 

For one thing, that would be as overwhelming as shopping on the cereal aisle at your local grocery store. Just too many choices. 

When I introduce a concept, I may give them a few choices on how students can practice that concept. If I give them a writing assignment, I often allow them ONE choice in topic, genre, audience, or mode of writing. 

If you need students to complete an assignment/activity within a certain time period, tell them ahead of time. Let them know they can turn in an excerpt if they want to write something longer than you expect. 

Of course, this is not always possible. They need to learn how to write within certain time parameters. So, let them practice this through timed writings or word sprints .

One way to help students with choice is to have them do listing activities frequently. They could even have a section in their writing notebooks just for lists of ideas.  

5-tricks-break-writers-block

3. Exploring the writer’s voice

Writer’s voice – that elusive term that most writers have no idea how to achieve until they’ve written for a while, and then finally realize they have it. The ultimate goal for me as a writing teacher is to help my students to find their voice.

I want students to be able to explore what is important to them personally and to explore how they can share this with others. From encouraging students to participate in small group sharing to author’s celebrations, students need the opportunity to see their writing voice matters.

There are so many different ways for kids to publish safely online – Edublogs, Adobe Spark, Google Sites, FlipGrid, etc. 

writing-classroom-2018

4. Building a community of writers in your writer’s workshop for middle school

Middle school students are very social, but even the quiet writers need to socialize often with other writers. This component of the writer’s workshop for middle school is what makes this model an actual workshop.

Students share their writing with each other. Usually, I allow for natural partnerships and groups to form. However, at the beginning of the year, I often pair up students for short activities. This helps everyone feel more comfortable with each other.   

One way I build a community of writers is to play the name game at the beginning of the year. We all stand in a circle and we toss a ball to each other and say our name and all the people who have had the ball tossed to them. It gets fun when students start to forget names. They all start out being self-conscious but end up laughing and smiling.  

Another way to build a community is during share time. I have students write in their notebooks as soon as they come into the classroom as a warm-up, starter activity that I call Write Nows. These Write Nows are projected up on the screen, and students write for 2-5 minutes. After this, I ask students to turn and talk to a neighbor about what they wrote. 

Sometimes this writing is a review of the previous day or another activity that goes along with the skill we are learning. Other times it is a prewriting activity that helps break writer’s block .

Write a Letter to your Students

To help students get to know me as a community member, I write a letter to them and they write back to me. This starts the relationship-building between my students and me within the first week, and I conference with the students about their letters. This also gets them into the swing of a writer’s workshop.

My students love this letter-writing activity that I’ve done every year for the past 24 years. It’s a hit every year and establishes the tone and mood of our workshop.

girl writing in journal with colored pens

5. Teacher as Writing Mentor

One of the most important components of the writer’s workshop in middle school is you – the writing teacher.

To teach writing well, you should write along with your students. Over the years, I’ve written on transparencies, used a document camera, and filmed myself writing. All of these methods work. Generally, I write along with students during the bell-ringer activity, which I call Write Now, but sometimes I’ve prewritten the Write Now.

Additionally, I show students my various writing projects, both published and unpublished, during daily lessons.

My students have seen this blog, heard my podcasts , listened to me read aloud from stories I’ve written and/or published. My students are the ones who pushed me to publish my first YA books . You’ll be amazed at what you come up with and how this creates a bond with your students that lasts a lifetime.

Also, by completing the writing assignments you assign, you’ll be able to empathize with and anticipate the writer’s struggle with each assignment.

terms-to-know-for-writing-workshop

Terms to Know for Writing Workshop

This is not an exhaustive list, but one that will be added to as I find more terms that should be added here.

Activity:   the practice of a skill or process, especially when gaining new knowledge

Assignment: a product created by the student after practicing a skill or process that may be revised up until a particular due date

Bell ringer: a beginning of the period activity (I call these Write Nows in my class)

Blended learning environment: in-person LIVE teaching and learning or digital learning with recorded lessons

Conference: a meeting between teacher and student about their writing

Journal write:  handwriting in a journal for ideas, bell ringers, collecting information, etc.

Mini-lesson: a short 5-10 minute lesson that teaches either a whole or partial skill or process

Mastery Learning: quizzing students on their conceptual knowledge, giving them different activities based on the results of their quizzes – either reteach or extend – and quizzing again. Revisions can also be mastery-learning pieces. 

Mentor texts: well-written, multicultural texts used to demonstrate a literary concept or style

Rubric: a breakdown of the skill into levels of learning – students revise to earn a higher level

pros-and-cons-writing-workshop

Writing Workshop Middle School Pros and Cons

  • Builds student relationships with you and each other – lots of SEL
  • Easier to differentiate for students than the traditional classroom model
  • Grading can be accomplished during conferences
  • Students are more engaged and begin to enjoy writing
  • They might even enjoy reading more, too
  • Mini-lessons are short, sweet and to the point, less prep time for presentations 
  • Breaking through writer’s block
  • Teaching students how to use the technology 
  • Helping students revise if they don’t have access to technology
  • Adapting to technology challenges that arise (switch to writing journals or change Internet browsers) 
  • Deadlines can be difficult to manage sometimes

As far as time management is concerned – one of the things I am going to stress to my students is the need for getting assignments turned in, even if it’s not perfect. I need to be able to keep them to deadlines. So, this year, I’m going to teach my student’s Parkinson’s Law :

parkinsons-law-of-productivity

How to start a writer’s workshop for middle school

These are the steps I’m taking this year to start my writer’s workshop, and I’ve used these for quite a few years now. Some steps may be done simultaneously on the same day. There will be future blog posts about each of these steps.

  • Create a welcoming classroom space.
  • Decide what technology you will be using – hardware and software. If you need help with Canvas LMS, click here .
  • Send out your course syllabus with materials students will need for your course.
  • Create a course outline based on your school’s curriculum guides or state standards. 
  • Plan and post your first 2 weeks of lessons and assignments into your online course (if you are using technology in your course).
  • Establish classroom expectations and routines.
  • Build a classroom community of writers.
  • Show students how to navigate your course online.
  • Write a letter to your students and have them write back to you as their first assignment.
  • Confer with your writers as they are writing their letters and make a list for yourself of things students need to work on with their writing.
  • Set up writing journals and begin writing workshop routines.
  • During mini-lessons, teach the 5 tricks that break writer’s block .
  • Students write in journals to gather ideas and begin writing pieces.
  • Assign a short writing piece and confer with writers during workshop time. 
  • Teach ONE revision strategy during a mini-lesson, depending on your curriculum.
  • Teach ONE editing strategy during a mini-lesson, depending on your curriculum.
  • Allow writers to revise and edit before turning in their first short writing assignment.
  • Celebrate your writers with the Author’s Chair presentations.
  • Continue writer’s workshop by using daily bell ringers, mini-lessons about writing and reading, sharing, writing/reading workshop, conferencing, and turn and talk.
  • Breakaway from the writer’s workshop routine every once in a while to play – escape rooms, read-arounds, watch a movie, celebrate authors, group brainstorm, catching up on overdue assignments.

middle-school-writing-resources-writing-workshop

References for Writing Workshop in Middle School

Atwell, Nancie. In the Middle: A Lifetime of Learning about Writing, Reading, and Adolescence. Heinemann, 2014.

Graves, Donald H. “All Children Can Write.” http://www.ldonline.org/article/6204/  

Lane, Barry. After The End: Teaching and Learning Creative Revision. Heinemann, 2015.  

Murray, Donald. “The Listening Eye: Reflections on the Writing Conference”  https://secure.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Journals/CE/1979/0411-sep1979/CE0411Listening.pdf

Learning materials for Writing Workshop for Middle School

6th-grade-writing-for-all-reading-standards

Writing Literary & Informative Analysis Paragraphs

Students struggle with writing a literary analysis , especially in middle school as the text grows more rigorous, and the standards become more demanding. This resource is to help you scaffold your students through the process of writing literary analysis paragraphs for CCSS ELA-Literacy RL.6.1-10 for Reading Literature and RI.6.1-10 Reading Information. These paragraphs can be later grouped together into writing analytical essays.

PEEL, RACE, ACE, and all the other strategies did not work for all of my students all of the time, so that’s why I created these standards-based resources.

These standards-based writing activities for all Common Core Reading Literature and Informational standards help scaffold students through practice and repetition since these activities can be used over and over again with ANY literary reading materials.

Included in these resources:

  • step-by-step lesson plans
  • poster for literary skills taught in this resource
  • rubrics for assessments standards-based
  • vocabulary activities and notes standard-based
  • graphic organizers that incorporate analysis of the literature and information standard-based
  • paragraph frames for students who need extra scaffolding standard-based
  • sentence stems to get students started sentence-by-sentence until they master how to write for each standard
  • digital version that is Google SlidesTM compatible with all student worksheets

writing-strategies-bundle-printable-middle-school

List Making: This resource helps students make 27 different lists of topics they could write about.

Sensory Details:  This resource will help you to teach your students to SHOW, not tell. Descriptive writing with a sensory details flipbook and engaging activities that will get your students thinking creatively and writing with style.

Included in this resource are 2 digital files:

  • Lesson Plans PDF that includes step-by-step lesson plans, a grading rubric to make grading faster and easier, along with suggestions for what to do after mind mapping.
  • Google SlidesTM version of the Student Digital Writer’s Notebook allows students endless amounts of writing simply by duplicating a slide.

digital-mind-maps notebook

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Free creative writing unit plans

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Cinco De Mayo Activities Reading Comprehension Print and Digital Boom Cards

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Walking by the Way

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Eight Free Creative Writing Lessons

February 17, 2012 by Ami 17 Comments

creative writing unit middle school

I know I throw around the word favorite all the time. But this is the truth: teaching creative writing lessons is my favorite. 

I have taught creative writing enrichment for summer school students. I have taught creative writing in various homeschool settings and co-ops. I have taught big students and little students. And I love it. 

Since I love to share homeschool co-op class ideas , I have compiled the creative writing lessons from a co-op class that I taught. 

Creative Writing Lessons for a Homeschool Co-op Class

First, please remember that any teacher can use these creative writing lessons. You don’t need to be teaching homeschoolers. You can be a classroom teacher or a homeschool teacher at home with one student. You can even be a librarian who needs a fun program series.

Second, I used these creative writing lesson plans with upper elementary students (with maybe a few 7th graders thrown in). However, you can adapt and use them for older students or younger students!

Creative Writing Lesson Plans

Creative writing lesson one.

The first lesson focuses on cliché and metaphor. It prompts students to consider how words matter.

Grab lesson one here .

Creative Writing Lesson Two

The second lesson teaches students about sensory details: why they are important and how to include them in their writing. Students will begin using sensory details to evoke smells and sounds and sights.

Grab lesson two here.

Creative Writing Lesson Three

The third lesson introduces showing vs. telling. Students learn how to recognize authors who utilize showing, and students are able to articulate the difference between showing and telling.

Grab lesson three here.

Creative Writing Lesson Four

The fourth lesson teaches students how to capture images. We use examples of poetry and prose to discuss this important writing skill.

Grab lesson four here.

Creative Writing Lesson Five

The fifth lesson introduces the story elements of character and conflict.

Note: You may choose to split this lesson into two lessons since it covers two big elements. I only had nine weeks with my students, so I had to jam character and conflict together.

Grab lesson five here.

Creative Writing Lesson Six

The sixth lesson introduces the students to point of view and perspective. We have fun reading poems and using pictures to write descriptions from different points of view.

Grab lesson six here.

Creative Writing Lesson Seven

The seventh lesson puts everything we’ve learned together. I read the students some fractured fairy tales, and we watch some, too. Students then use the prewriting activities and their imaginations to begin drafting their own fractured fairy tales.

Grab lesson seven here.

Creative Writing Lesson Eight

The eighth lesson focuses on revision. After a mini-lesson, students partner up for peer editing.

Grab lesson eight here .

For our final class day, students bring revised work, and I host coffee shop readings. This is a memorable experience for students (and their teacher).

Creative Writing Lessons FAQ

Since posting these creative writing lessons, I have had lots of questions. I decided to compile them here in case you have the same question.

Q: What are copywork quotes? A: Copywork quotes are simply great quotes that students copy as part of their homework assignments. You can use any quotes about writing. I’ve included my favorites throughout the printable packs.

Q: Can I use this with a younger or older student? A: Absolutely! Just adapt it to meet the needs of your student.

Q: Can I use this for my library’s programming or my homeschool co-op class? A: Yes! I just ask that it not be used for profit.

Do you have any questions about teaching creative writing? What’s your biggest hang-up when it comes to teaching creative writing? I’d love to hear from you and help you solve the issue.

creative writing unit middle school

January 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Hi Theresa,

As long as you are not profitting from using them, they are yours to use! Enjoy! Wish I could be there to help facilitate all those young writers! 

[…] Creative Writing Class […]

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IMAGES

  1. 100 Creative Writing Prompts for Middle School

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  2. The Innovative Creative Writing Unit You've Been Needing

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  3. Writing Prompt: Creative Writing Unit

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VIDEO

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  3. How I Teach Writing for 4th, 5th, 6th grade

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    Whatever the case may be, these 20 creative writing activities for middle school will have all of your students showing their creative prowess. 1. I Am From . After reading the poem "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon, have students write their own "I Am From" poems. Using a template, all students will be able to create wonderful ...

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  5. Creative Writing Lesson Plans: Week One

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  6. 150 Writing Prompts For Middle School (+Free Printable)

    Keep reading for a free printable writing pack for middle schoolers as well! Here is a quick generator that will generate a random middle school prompt for you: Click the 'Random' button to get a random middle school writing prompt. Random. For more fun writing ideas, check out this list of over 300 writing prompt for kids.

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    Here are 300 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students, when looking to engage middle school students in daily writing, it can be difficult to come up with enough creative yet educationally meaningful prompts to fill the school year. That's why I was thrilled to uncover an incredible list of over 300 Writing Prompts for Middle School Students.

  9. 25 Great Writing Activities for Middle School Students

    8. Draft a Newspaper Article. For this middle school writing activity, students will write newspaper articles that cover the essential "Who, What, When, Where, and Why" of a given current event or assigned topic. 9. Complete Quick Writes. Set a short time limit, and have students respond to a series of quick writes.

  10. 20 Creative Writing Activities for Middle School

    20 Creative Writing Activities for Middle School. ... Middle School Education. Middle School Education. by Matthew Lynch - November 30, 2023. 1. Freewriting: Have students write continuously for a short time (5-10 minutes) without worrying about grammar or punctuation, allowing ideas to flow onto the page and encouraging creativity. 2. Round ...

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    This no prep - just photocopy and teach, yearlong creative writing bundle will keep your students engaged in their writing. This bundle provides holiday writing prompts (Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Easter) as well as seasonal writing prompts (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Back to School) to support an inclusive classroom environment.

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    Descriptive Writing Activities for MIddle School. As the name implies, descriptive writing describes something. You want to create mental pictures for your reader so they can see in their mind's eye exactly what you are describing. This writing style can be a delight to compose if you like the topic, so pick one that resonates with your student.

  13. Writer's Workshop Middle School: The Ultimate Guide

    Writer's workshop is a method of teaching writing developed by Donald Graves and Donald Murray, amongst other teacher-researchers. The writer's workshop provides a student-centered environment where students are given time, choice, and voice in their learning. The teacher nurtures the class by creating and mentoring a community of writers.

  14. 12 Super Fun Poetry Lesson Plans for Middle and High School

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  15. PDF How to Teach Creative Writing

    6 Ways to Teach Writing reatively Teach your students the fun aspects of writing. Students of all ages write short stories and papers, from younger elementary-school writers through college-age students.

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    Created by. Ashley Johnson. This Informative and Explanatory Paragraph Writing freebie is a sample of my 300+ paged Informative and Explanatory Paragraph Writing unit. It is a great way to introduce and give your students practice writing informative and explanatory paragraphs. The unit is aligned with the Common Core Standards grades K-3.

  17. Eight Free Creative Writing Lessons

    Creative Writing Lesson Eight. The eighth lesson focuses on revision. After a mini-lesson, students partner up for peer editing. Grab lesson eight here. For our final class day, students bring revised work, and I host coffee shop readings. This is a memorable experience for students (and their teacher).

  18. 6 Creative Lessons to Inspire Secondary Writers

    Dive into a spooky-type short story and character analysiswith "The Most Dangerous Game.". "Most Dangerous Game" Character Analysis Workbookfrom Teach BeTween the Lines. MAKER SPACE. This creative lesson to inspire secondary writers is a newer approach. Turn your writer's workshop into a maker spacewith these unique ideas from Spark ...

  19. Middle School Advanced Writing Exploration Program (AWE)

    The Middle School Advanced Writing Exploration Program (AWE) invites 7th and 8th-grade writers to be part of a community of dedicated, focused writers looking to explore, expand, and deepen their literary passions. The program includes multi-genre workshops, as well as genre-specialized master class sessions.

  20. Noginsky District

    Noginsky District ( Russian: Ноги́нский райо́н) is an administrative [1] and municipal [2] district ( raion ), one of the thirty-six in Moscow Oblast, Russia. It is located in the east of the oblast. The area of the district is 893.90 square kilometers (345.14 sq mi). [2] Its administrative center is the town of Noginsk. [1]

  21. File:Coat of Arms of Elektrostal (Moscow oblast).svg

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  22. Elektrostal

    Pool «Kristall» - school of the Olympic reserve: diving, synchronized swimming, swimming. Home arena hockey team Kristall Elektrostal - Ledovyi Dvorets Sporta «Kristall» in 1995 year. The city ice hockey team Kristall Elektrostal was established in 1949 and plays in the Junior Hockey League Division B. Notable people Nikolay Vtorov Street

  23. Take IELTS test in or nearby Elektrostal'

    Language School Baker Street , Papanintsev Str 105, office 3. Tel: +7 (495) 956 1923. Email: [email protected]. Website: www.ielts-moscow.ru. Other locations nearby Elektrostal' ... The IELTS measures an individual's ability to communicate in English across four areas of language: listening, reading, writing and speaking. The IELTS is ...