Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Writing Prompts for Students at Home

by Kelly Sassi

"Everything old is new again," it is said, and an older NWP resource, Wise Eyes, seems new at this moment when teachers are looking for writing prompts students can use at home. In Wise Eyes: Prompting for Meaningful Student Writing, the NWP Teacher authors Smith and Swain write, "Our focus is on tasks that may not have the benefit of classroom support or scaffolding . . . we want to understand how to design a writing prompt for situations when the teacher cannot otherwise elaborate on or repair the instructions." In other words, they wrote for the situation in which we find ourselves during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Here are a few prompts from the resource: 

Write about an object you are especially attached to, something that has deep personal meaning for you, something that has become a part of your life. You might want to consider the way you discovered it, the way it came into your life, the way it has taken on meaning through time.

Situation: The local newspaper is having a “Good Friend” contest. To enter your friend, you must think of an event in your life when your friend did something with you or for you that showed what a terrific friend he or she is. Writing Task: Select your friend. (Remember, a friend could be a child your age or a grownup.) Choose an event that shows how your friend is a good friend to you. Write a letter to the newspaper that tells about that event so that people will know why your friend deserves to win. (KDE 2007, 10)

Writing Situation: Think about all the literature—stories, novels, poems, plays, essays—you have read this year in your English class. Choose the one you have enjoyed the most. Directions for Writing: Write an essay for your English teacher in which you evaluate your favorite literary work. Give reasons for your judgment. Tell your teacher why this work is valuable or not valuable. Your teacher will use your evaluation in selecting literature for next year’s class. (California Department of Education 1990, I-3)

Everyone has a special place where they like to go. Write about your favorite place to go. Describe the place so your reader can imagine what it is really like. Tell about what you do there and how you feel when you are there. Help your reader see why this place is special. 

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