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20 Creative Writing Activities for Middle School

April 10, 2023 //  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


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


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


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…


“ 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…


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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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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  • 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!

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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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100 Creative Writing Prompts for Middle School

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Looking for some inspiration for your next short story? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of 100 creative writing prompts for middle school to help you get started. Chose your favorite story idea from the list of creative writing prompts below and get started right now.

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Why Story Starters and Writing Prompts Work

Writing is a complex skill. Not only do the hands of middle school students still cramp up when they write for more than a nanosecond, but they have to synthesize many new writing skills at once.

Young writers must generate creative writing ideas, assess their ideas to choose the best one, determine a compelling beginning, middle, and end, outline their story, write several drafts, and edit their own work. These are all necessary skills that must be developed, yes, but if we can isolate them, focusing on one or two at a time, we make it easier for middle school children to conquer each skill.

With writing prompts, they have lots of fun writing ideas to choose from. This takes away the stress of having to come up with their own high-concept idea. (And while these prompts only help with writing-induced stress, we recommend these tips for how to relieve stress in general. Being stressed doesn’t go well with creative writing.)

When they have a starting point to work from, writing gets a lot easier. Instead of spending a long time feeling frustrated about a lack of ideas, students can jump right in and write their first sentence. Even reluctant writers tend to get more excited about writing when presented with irresistible story-writing prompts.

In short, the best thing about using these fun writing prompts is that middle schoolers are more likely to fall in love with writing when they have a great time doing it.

Who Should Use These Story Writing Prompts

While these have been prepared with middle school and high school students in mind, many of them are also applicable to adult writers. Most of the prompts below will be too advanced or complex for most elementary school students, though some older kids from the lower grades, especially those with a real passion for writing, might find a few that peak their interest.

To make things a little simpler for you, we’ve also included a free printable version of these prompts that you can grab by entering your information below.

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Writing Prompts for Stories That Start Out Just Like Any Other Day

  • I tiptoed into the bathroom. If anyone caught me doing this, I’d be in big trouble. I grabbed my mother’s lipstick and brought it back to my bedroom where my brother slept…
  • I peeked through the curtains. There was a limo parked outside with two bodyguards. I heard a knock at the door…
  • I went over to say hello to the cute little baby under the umbrella, but when I reached her, I saw that…
  • The bell rang, and I sprinted toward my locker. I had to get out of there before…
  • I opened the front door to find the UPS man standing on the front stoop, his arm around a cylindrical package that was almost as tall as him. Oh no. Not again, I thought…
  • Irene gripped her mom’s hand harder as they walked through the doors of the imposing gray building. Her mom had promised her they’d never have to come here again, but…
  • The lights dimmed and the curtains opened. I felt like I was going to throw up. Why had I ever thought this was a good idea?…
  • As soon as I boarded the train, I began my letter to my sister.  I did it. I sold everything and am on my way to…
  • A kid’s birthday party seemed like an innocent enough place to blend in and relax for a moment. It’s been a while since I stopped moving. But when the balloon popped…
  • I sat down at my desk and sifted through the mail that had been placed in front of my computer. All junk, of course. I was about to dump it all in the recycling bin when I saw my favorite magazine at the bottom of the pile. Tossing the rest aside, I snatched it up, but something unexpected fell out from between the pages…
  • We were canoeing across the inlet when we noticed some unusual movement alongside the boat. A whale was surfacing next to us. Another one followed closely behind. Suddenly, our boat was being lifted out of the water and…
  • The Instagram account I created for my hamster just went viral and he’s getting calls with job offers from around the world, only …
  • At first, we thought the box contained the water guns we ordered online, so we tore it open eagerly, ready to load them up. Instead, what we saw inside completely changed everything.
  • I got off the boat furious and trembling. I was never getting back on there again, not with him at least. There was no way I was going to let him…
  • The pancakes were perfect—round and golden, soft but a little crispy near the edges. I slathered them in maple syrup and fruit. But then mom went to the fridge and took out the whipped cream, giving me an apologetic look as she did so. It was a treat, a very special one, and she only ever brought it out if…
  • We sat around the campfire in eerie silence, nobody wanting to bring up our predicament. Everything was going to have to come out anyway, we might as well get it over with. I was just about to clear my throat when I noticed Sam and Layla standing apart from the group, whispering. What were they plotting now?
  • I’d always wanted to be brave like my brother Simon. He wasn’t afraid of anything. I remember once, when he was younger, he…
  • We walked through the garden one last time, knowing we’d never return to this house again. I waved goodbye to each flower bed, to the apple tree that I’d climbed innumerable times as a child. I wanted to scream. Why were they making me…
  • My dad used to tell me these crazy stories when I was a kid. His life seemed so bizarre to me, but his sense of humor was mysterious, like I could never tell when fact blended into fiction. I still don’t know which ones to believe, like that one about…
  • Shivering, I tried to open the door of my car, but it was frozen shut. I looked up and scanned the parking lot to make sure nobody had seen me. Why did it have to be this freezing, today of all days? What if they…

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Writing Prompts for Stories That Start with Dialogue

  • “Drink it, quick!” I looked at the bottle. The contents were unlike any I’d ever seen. I closed my eyes and drank it in one gulp…
  • “Five more minutes,” my dad grunted, as I tried to pull him out of bed. “Dad, they’re here–we have to go!”
  • “Shh…” I said frantically, as Robin’s wheelchair squeaked again. “Don’t you know how much trouble we’ll be in if they find us…”
  • “Put me down!” I yelled as I was hoisted into the air by a giant…
  • “Stop it!” I cried as my little sister snatched my phone from the desk and tried to eat it. I couldn’t run the risk of anyone seeing the words I’d etched into the back of it, the ones that would save my life if anyone ever…
  • “Have you ever driven one of these before?” I asked James, trying not to let him see how nervous I was. “Is it safe?”
  • “Are you coming or not?” he demanded as he took a few steps further into the…
  • “Is there anyone in there?” I wondered aloud, staring up at the gothic castle. “The letter said they’d meet us…”
  • “We finally did it!” I exclaimed to my lab partner. “We’ve invented a cream that actually makes people more beautiful. We are going to be so rich!”
  • You have just five dollars to your name, and you decide to spend it on lunch at your favorite fast food joint. Just as you’re about to pay, a boy not much older than you leans in and whispers to you, “Hold onto your money. I’ll show you how to turn that five dollars into five grand.”
  • You’re standing in line at a coffee shop when you spot a shiny coin on the ground. You bend down to pick it up, but a big black boot stomps down on it just before your fingers grasp it. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” a deep voice warns.
  • “I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news,” she began, her arms crossed nervously over her chest. “You didn’t get in.” When I raised my eyebrows at her, she added, “And there’s more…”
  • He patted my hand reassuringly and said, “It’s okay, you can trust me,” in that voice of his that I’d learned meant I really couldn’t. “All you have to do is…”
  • “It’s for you!” she called, after answering the phone. When I went to take it from her, she covered the mouthpiece and whispered menacingly, “This better not be about what I think it’s about, got it?”
  • “I should have listened to you,” Greg acknowledged, as he lay curled up on the grass, his clothes caked in mud. “You were right about…”
  • “How could you?” I asked in disbelief. “After everything we’ve been through, I thought you were the one person I could trust. I can’t believe you…”
  • I kicked at the dust with my shoe. Her question had caught me off guard. I wasn’t prepared to answer it, not yet. I tried to stall. “Remember that time when…”
  • “Okay, okay, I’m here,” I said, rolling my eyes for effect. “What was this important news that you had to drag me away from pizza night for?”
  • “It’s okay, you can come out, you don’t have to be afraid. Here, take my hand.” The hand that reached out toward me was like any I’d ever seen before.
  • “Let go!” I screamed at the man holding me in a headlock. I tried to kick his shins, but he just grunted and held tight.  Think quick , I told myself.  Time is running out. If only…

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Writing Prompts with an Element of Suspense

  • Estella ran down the trail, her dog, Gerard, several feet ahead of her. A gust of wind ripped through the forest and a loud crack on her left caught her attention. She watched the tree fall, then turned back to the trail, but Gerard was gone…
  • The light started to flicker, first blue, then white. I looked around for a way out, but I was trapped. I guess I’d have to resort to the backup plan…
  • The footprints in the snow were fresh. They veered off the path and into the woods. I had to make a choice. It was now or never.
  • I tiptoed down the stairs of the prison. I had to break her out of here before…
  • It was really hot that day, so I went to my favorite lake. I was about to jump into the cool water when a big splash in the middle of the lake sent ripples over the water. Something was in there. Something…
  • My sister and I entered the fairgrounds suspiciously. The note we’d found had said that the mystery person would be here at five, and it was half-past four. We weren’t taking any chances. We had to find him before…
  • Ellen squeezed down the narrow aisle of the plane looking for row M. She stuffed her backpack under the seat in front of her with her feet and buckled up. As the plane lifted off the ground, the pilot welcome them aboard their flight to Iceland. Wait, what? This wasn’t the flight to…?
  • I walked out of the interview, still holding my breath. This was my dream job and I was afraid that the smallest of breaths would cause me to wake up. I exited the building and a little girl approached me. “The job’s yours,” she said, somewhat prophetically. “All you have to do is…”
  • Last night, I was taking a nap on the couch when the phone rang. When I answered it, the voice on the other end said, “Will you accept a collect call from Brazil?” I started to panic, was this the call John has warned me about? I answered it with trepidation…
  • It was my seventeenth birthday, and I’d been planning the party for months. Everything was perfect: the decorations were over the top, the food catered by my favorite restaurant, and every cool kid in school was there. The only problem? I was stuck in…
  • The shelves in the used bookstore climbed higher than I could see, I’d never seen so many books before in my life. I climbed the rolling ladder to get a better look. Just then, a woman approached and held out a thick, red leather-bound tome. “This is one you seek,” she called out to me. “Look no further. This one will…
  • I was sitting at a bus stop when a little girl came up to me and gave me a small box. It started trembling in my hands but when I looked up to ask her what it was, she’d disappeared.
  • I tiptoed into the haunted house, looking both ways to see what was in it. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw…
  • I was about to enter my house when I saw a little dog running down the street toward the busy intersection. There was nobody with him. Without thinking, I took off after him and…
  • A loud crash sent me thundering down the stairs to the kitchen. Wolf, my rottweiler was greedily licking lasagna off the tiled floor. Not unusual in and of itself, but what caught my eye was the shiny silver thing glinting underneath the tomato sauce. Was that what I thought it was?…
  •  It was well past dark and I was the last person in the library. It was eerily quiet, except for a faint tapping sound coming from the next aisle. I moved cautiously toward the end of the row and peeked my head around the corner…
  • I was running out of time. They’d said they’d give me until sundown, and that was only a few hours away. I had to…
  • That’s odd , I thought to myself as I reached the next landing and glanced up at the next set of stairs. I don’t remember there being another set of stairs here before. Is this what the old man was talking about when he said…
  • The computer beeped again. It was now pinging six times per minute. Whoever was sending these messages was getting impatient, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out why.
  • I woke up yesterday in a tree, without even a sweater to keep me dry. The weird thing is…

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Writing Prompts that Ask “What If?”

  • What if every character you wrote automatically came to life and a foreign government was after you to make spies for them?
  • What if a family member you’d never met left you a parcel of land in Norway, but when you got there you realized it was an enchanted forest?
  • What if your parents came home from work tonight and told you they were sending you to boarding school?
  • What if you were eating breakfast alone at your kitchen table when a newscaster interrupted your favorite TV show to break the story of a missing person, and the missing person was you?
  • What if you could live in Ikea for a month?
  • What if a cruise ship full of celebrities got stuck at sea for two weeks?
  • What if you were in a museum and discovered a stack of letters describing the location of a buried treasure in your hometown?
  • What if you were cast as the lead in an opera but you’d faked your way into the role and didn’t actually know how to sing?
  • What if a child saw her parents stealing, but chose to keep it a secret so that she wouldn’t be separated from them?
  • What if someone offered you the gift of being the best painter in the world, but in return, you could never stop painting?
  • What if your pet was elected mayor of your city?
  • What if you were an Uber driver in a world where people travel by hot air balloon instead of by car?
  • What if you found a time machine, traveled back in time to ancient Egypt, and discovered that their world was even more modernized than ours and included more advanced technology but that they’d destroyed all evidence of these advances in an effort to protect future generations from making the same devastating decisions that they had?
  • What if a screenwriter approached you about making a movie about your life, but every time she interviewed you, she completely ignored every answer you gave and made up her own?
  • What if you could type 1000 words per minute and could write a new novel every hour?
  • What if you woke up tomorrow morning speaking five new languages that you’d never heard before, only to discover that you’d been recruited by international spies and they’d filled your brain with secrets and information while you were sleeping?
  • What if you could never leave high school, but instead had to keep coming back year after year to try and get perfect grades before you were allowed to move on?
  • What if your parents were taking you on a dream vacation to Europe, but they got kidnapped at an airport and you had to navigate new countries on your own while trying to save them?
  • What if you invented a new tool that could clean your whole house in fifteen minutes and you became a millionaire overnight?
  • What if you were reading a list of writing prompts, and you realized that every sentence that came out of your mouth was, in fact, a writing prompt and that you were compelled to write a story for each one?

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Story Starters that will Bend Readers’ Minds

  • The answer is 49. I looked around the room. There was nobody else there except Quincey. Could it be?
  • It’s all over the news. Random events are taking place. What if someone discovers that it’s my dreams coming true, literally? What will they do to me? I have to find…
  • On Saturday morning I went out to the backyard in my slippers and robe to feed my pet rabbits. When I reached their hutch, I gasped. A large hole had been torn in the wire door and the hutch was empty. Fearing the worst, I scanned the yard for signs of their whereabouts, when suddenly I was tapped on the shoulder. I spun around to find a black bear standing in his hind legs. “If you ever want to see your bunnies again,” he said, …
  • Never trust your dreams, they will get you in trouble every time. At least, if they’re anything like mine. Maybe trouble has a way of finding me, but still, you need to be safe. Just last week, I had a dream about…
  • I’d been tracking him all day, and I almost had him, but I had to wait until he was under a tree before I could pounce. I stood up and scanned the clearing. That’s when I realized that I’d been duped. I wasn’t the stalker, after all. He was the bait, and I was the target.
  • A baby sits alone in the plane’s first-class section, bright red headphones perched on his head. He stares at me a moment as I pass, then snaps his fingers at the flight attendant to get her attention. Was this another one of…
  • You’re forty years old and are happily married to your spouse of 15 years. You’re offered an opportunity to go back to your childhood and correct a horrible mistake you made, and you accept it. You fix the mistake and continue moving through the stages of your life as you did before. Only, the day you were supposed to meet your spouse for the first time, they never showed up.
  • You’re walking down a deserted street downtown when you pass a building with a mural painted on its wall. As you take it in, the faces on the mural suddenly start talking to you, warning you of crimes that are about to occur in the city. You’re unable to shut out their voices or ignore them.
  • You’re in the car when the person on the radio starts talking about something you did yesterday. Only, you didn’t actually do it, you only thought about it. And it wasn’t yesterday, it was five minutes ago.
  • You discover a book in your parent’s bedroom that describes everything you’ve ever said and done. But the book is a hundred years old, and you’re just twelve. Or so you thought.
  • She stepped off the plane looking different from how I remembered her, which was strange as it had only been a few months. But she was taller somehow, her eyes were darker, her features sharper. What had they done to her at that retreat?
  • Sometimes I wish I could just get into a waterproof bubble and float away, forever, away from all of this. Leave it all behind and start over. I never actually thought it would be possible, until…
  •  The house started to shake, and at first, I thought it was an earthquake. We’d trained for those at school. I ran to the nearest door frame and pushed my hands and feet into it as hard as I could. But this wasn’t a normal earthquake. None of the other houses outside were shaking, for one thing. And it went on much too long. As the shaking got more and more intense, a hole opened in the middle of the house, and from it rose…
  • I can talk to animals. It’s just something I’ve always been able to do. I didn’t even know it was weird until some kids at school saw me shooting the breeze with a murder of crows at recess one day. Now I have to keep it a secret. If anyone else finds out…
  • You’re walking home with your friends from school one day when your best friend vanishes down a manhole. You jump in without thinking and discover that in the sewer lives an entire species of…
  • Leonard sat down on the park bench to tie his shoelace. An old man walked up with his dog and asked Leonard if he’d watch the dog for five minutes. The man never returned, and Leonard…
  • I walked through the market timidly, unsure of what I was looking for, but somehow feeling sure that I would find it here. A flash of light flickered almost imperceptibly to my right, and instinctively I turned toward the stall that I’d just passed, but it was gone. In its place…
  • Yesterday, my mother was turned into a rock. Yes, a rock. The kind that’s small enough to put in my pocket and carry around. In fact, that’s where she is right now. I have one week to figure out who did this and find them if I ever want to see her face again.
  •  I knew robotics were dangerous. I’ve been warning them for years. Even when I was seven, I could see the harm they were capable of causing. But nobody listened to me. Until now. Now that an evil robot is threatening to destroy the world, suddenly they come running back to me for help. Good thing I’m thirteen now. Maybe they’ll actually listen this time.
  • It never occurred to me that it would actually work. Who would have thought that the teleporter at the Star Trek Museum was functional? You’d think they would have put up a sign warning kids about that, or something. Anyway, that’s how Jamie and I ended up in this barren land. Now we need to figure out how to get back.

Hopefully, these creative writing prompts for middle school have given you tons of new inspiration for your next class project. Whether you’re writing short stories, flash fiction, or novels, working from a sentence starter or writing prompt is a fun way to spark ideas.

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

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Tuesday 27th of June 2023

I love these! I've recently started a creative writing journal and have been struggling to find inspiration. I learned about story starters earlier this week and have been hunting down prompts ever since. This list is perfect, thank you!

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The best writing prompts for middle school

Writing has a funny way of bringing the world around us to sharp contrast — which is why creative writing prompts might turn out to be just the trick to get the imaginations of your middle school students going! Whether you make it a journaling activity in the classroom or an interactive project to get your middle schoolers swapping ideas with friends, a writing prompt can do it all for kids: improve their writing skills, skyrocket their creativity, and broaden their perspective beyond the confines of school.

This directory is bursting with the best writing ideas about animals, people, and nature. Feel free to use any of these writing prompts for middle school to help turn your students into young writers with a story of their own.

If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a list of top ten favorite writing prompts for middle schoolers:

  • A character finds an old roll of film, and takes it to be developed. What do they find?
  • A mundane ability suddenly becomes a superpower. Write about someone or something affected by this.
  • End your story with someone finally conceding to another's point of view.
  • Format your story in the style of diary entries.
  • Set your story in a confectionery shop.
  • Write a story about someone struggling to swallow some harsh (but fair) constructive criticism.
  • Write a story in the form of a top-ten list.
  • Write a story inspired by a piece of music (without using any lyrics).
  • Write a story that focuses on the relationship between siblings.
  • Write a story involving a character donating a box of clothes they have outgrown.

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

Develop a Writing Routine (free course) — It’s never too early to start developing a writing routine! While creative writing prompts can give a student the spark of an idea for a story, it will take time, effort, and commitment to turn it into a novel. This course will show an author of any age how to develop the discipline that they will need to write a book.

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


How to Write a Novel

Join Tom Bromley for a writing master class and finish your first draft in 3 months . Learn more →

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  • Grades 6-12
  • School Leaders

FREE Poetry Worksheet Bundle! Perfect for National Poetry Month.

10 Creative Writing Activities That Help Students Tell Their Stories

Lower the stakes and help them get started.

Share your story message written on three post it notes

“I don’t have a story. There’s nothing interesting about my life!” Sound familiar? I don’t know a teacher who hasn’t heard students say this. When we ask our students to write about themselves, they get stuck. We know how important it is for them to tell their own stories. It’s how we explore our identities and keep our histories and cultures alive. It can even be dangerous when we don’t tell our stories (check out this Ted Talk given by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and share it with your students for more on that). Storytelling is essential for every subject, not just English Language Arts; students dive deeper and engage when they practice thinking about how their own stories intersect with historical events, civic engagement, and the real-world implications of STEM. These 10 creative writing activities can work in every subject you teach:

Here are 10 of our favorite story telling activities that inspire students:

1. write an “i am from” poem.

A students I Am From creative writing activities

Students read the poem “I am From” by George Ella Lyon. Then, they draft a poem about their own identity in the same format Lyon used. Finally, students create a video to publish their poems. We love this one because the mentor text gives a clear structure and example that students can follow. But the end result is truly unique, just like their story.

2. Design a social media post to share an important memory

collage of historical images creative writing activities

How can you use your unique perspective to tell a story? We want our students to learn that they are truly unique and have stories that only they can tell that other people want to hear or could relate to or learn from. In this activity, students watch two Pixar-in-a-Box videos on Khan Academy to learn about storytelling and perspective. Then, they identify an interesting or poignant memory and design a social media post.

3. Create an image using a line to chart an emotional journey

creative writing project ideas for middle school

How do you show emotion using a single line? In this activity, students watch a Pixar in a Box video on Khan Academy to learn about how lines communicate character, emotion, and tension. Then they experiment with these aspects as they write their story. We love using this for pre-writing and to help students explore their story arc. Also, for students who love to draw or learn visually, this can help them get started telling their story and show them that there are many different ways to tell a story.

4. Tell the story behind your name

creative writing project ideas for middle school

Sharing the story behind our name is a way to tell a story about ourselves, our culture, and our family history. And if there isn’t a story behind it, we can talk about how we feel about it and describe what it sounds like. In this activity, students use video to introduce themselves to their classmates by discussing the origin of their name. This project asks students to connect their names (and identities) to their personal and familial histories and to larger historical forces. If you’re looking for a mentor text that pairs well with this one, try “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros .

5. Develop a visual character sketch

Give students the time to create a character sketch of themselves. This will help them see how they fit into their story. In this lesson, students create a visual character sketch. They’ll treat themselves like a character and learn to see themselves objectively.

6. Create a webpage to outline the story of your movie

creative writing project ideas for middle school

Building a story spine is a great way to show students how to put the parts of their story in an order that makes sense. It’s an exercise in making choices about structure. We like this activity because it gives students a chance to see different examples of structure in storytelling. Then, they consider the question: how can you use structure to set your story up for success? Finally, they design and illustrate an outline for their story.

7. Respond to a variety of writing prompts

Sometimes our students get stuck because they aren’t inspired or need a different entry point into telling their story. Give them a lot of writing prompts that they can choose from. Pass out paper and pencils. Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Then, write 3-4 writing prompts on the board. Encourage students to free-write and not worry about whether their ideas are good or right. Some of our favorite prompts to encourage students to tell their story are:

  • I don’t know why I remember…
  • What’s your favorite place and why?
  • What objects tell the story of your life?
  • What might surprise someone to learn about you?

8. Create a self-portrait exploring identity and self-expression

creative writing project ideas for middle school

Part of what makes writing your own story so difficult for students is that they are just building their identity. In this activity, students explore how they and others define their identity. What role does identity play in determining how they are perceived and treated by others? What remains hidden and what is shown publicly?

9. Film a video to share an important story from your life

creative writing project ideas for middle school

Encourage students to think about how to tell the story of a day they faced their fears. Students consider the question: How can you use different shot types to tell your story? They watch a video from Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy to learn about different camera shots and their use in storytelling. Then, they use Adobe Spark Post or Photoshop and choose three moments from their story to make into shots. We love using this to help students think about pace and perspective. Sometimes what we leave out of our story is just as important as what we include.

10. Try wild writing

Laurie Powers created a process where you read a poem and then select two lines from it. Students start their own writing with one of those lines. Anytime that they get stuck, they repeat their jump-off line again. This is a standalone activity or a daily writing warm-up, and it works with any poem. We love how it lowers the stakes. Can’t think of anything to write? Repeat the jump-off line and start again. Here are some of our favorite jump-off lines:

  • The truth is…
  • Some people say…
  • Here’s what I forgot to tell you…
  • Some questions have no answers…
  • Here’s what I’m afraid to write about…

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A New Community of Writers

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.


  • 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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2023’s Best Creative Writing Prompts for Middle School Students

26 Dec, 2023 | Blog Articles , English Language Articles , Get the Edge , Writing Articles

Open notebook and pen on a wooden desk

The Best Middle School Creative Writing Prompts of 2023

Imaginary worlds.

1. A boy wakes up one day and all modern technology has disappeared – nobody but him remembers it ever existing.

2. A woman meets an assortment of people who appear to be characters straight from her novel.

3. While on a school trip, a group of friends get lost and discover a bridge that leads to another world.

4. A girl wakes up one day and is transported to a world where children are leaders and adults are forced to go to school.

5. A crazy scientist discovers that magic is real and sets about proving it.

Mystery and suspense

1. Students in a school class are disappearing. One student realises they’re disappearing in the order their names are read out in the register. He has to work out what’s happening before his name is next.

2. A couple go missing the night before their wedding, leaving behind a trail of clues. It’s up to the best-man and the bridesmaid to solve the mystery before the big day.

3. A man wakes up in a strange room with no memory. The only clue he has about his former life is a diary written in code.

4. A girl buys a necklace from a flea market and quickly realises it used to belong to a murder victim. She believes the necklace holds the clues to catching the killer.

5. A boy’s vivid dreams begin to come true in real life.

Magical adventures

1. A girl is tasked with finding the last living giant in a world that doesn’t believe they ever existed.

2. A young King Arthur wakes up in the body of a schoolboy in 2023.

3. A medieval knight discovers a smartphone that has been left behind by a time traveller and uses it to outwit his enemies.

4. A modern woman discovers she’s a witch and begins to curse people who wrong her.

5. A girl discovers she’s the direct descendent of a group of evil sorcerers.

Historical journeys

1. A girl’s family cat transports her to ancient Egypt.

2. The model who posed for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa wakes up in the present day and has to deal with being the most recognisable figure in the world.

3. A boy finds himself on a 16th-century pirate ship and has to befriend his new shipmates.

4. A girl wakes up in Pompeii days before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and has to convince the townspeople to flee their homes.

5. A boy finds himself in Elizabethan England and must convince a young William Shakespeare not to give up on writing.

Outer space and sci-fi

1. When a boy’s parents are replaced by aliens, it’s up to him to uncover the truth.

2. A group of friends discover a portal that leads to a planet which looks identical to Earth, but isn’t what it seems.

3. A woman discovers that her boss has been colluding with an alien race in order to take over the world.

4. An evil billionaire creates an army of robots in order to take over the planet. A group of amateur hackers decide they can hack the system and prevent destruction.

5. A developer launches a virtual-reality game so realistic that people begin to worry that he has actually created an alternate universe.

Everyday adventures

1. When a town with a small population completely floods, it’s up to the handful of residents to protect themselves and each other.

2. A car chase between an ordinary truck driver and a gang of criminals spans the length of America.

3. A group of hikers become trapped in a cave and don’t have long before their supplies run out completely.

4. A man witnesses a murder while working as a delivery driver in the small hours of the morning.

5. A woman discovers a conspiracy within the company she works for and seeks to uncover it.

Family and relationships

1. A family is made to wrestle with a dark and shocking discovery about their ancestors.

2. An estranged mother and daughter are forced to reconnect when one of them is diagnosed with a rare, terminal illness.

3. A successful politician deals privately with the abrupt end of her marriage.

4. A woman meets the love of her life on her travels and has to decide whether to go back home or move to a new country.

5. A brother and a sister put their differences aside to help support their ageing mother.

Magical creatures

1. A boy finds a unicorn living at the bottom of his garden, but only he can see it.

2. Siblings discover that their mum is secretly a witch.

3. A girl discovers that all the pictures she draws of mythical creatures come alive.

4. A boy gets lost in the woods and is adopted by a family of giants.

5. A wicked witch turns a boy into a frog to punish him for bullying his schoolmates.

Humorous adventures

1. A boy who hates studying history gets sent back in time.

2. A man is mistaken for a celebrity and gets to live his dream.

3. An escaped convict accidentally finds themselves on a reality TV show.

4. A vampire who loves human blood but is otherwise a strict vegan.

5. A teenager who is addicted to social media wakes up in a time before technology.

Superhero scenarios

1. A superhero has to get an office job because they run out of money.

2. A girl with the power to predict the future has to decide whether to use her powers to get rich or to help others.

3. An elderly man discovers he has super strength.

4. A superhero with the ability to read minds tries to foil the evil plans of a popular presidential candidate.

5. A girl discovers she has superpowers but only for one day a week and she forgets she has powers for the rest of the week.

Dystopian worlds

1. The wealthiest people in the world stage a fake apocalypse so they can create a new society in which they’ll be powerful forever.

2. The government announces that due to overpopulation, having children will be made illegal. A woman discovers she is pregnant and must go on the run.

3. A new continent is discovered that’s been secretly running the rest of the world.

4. A war breaks out in which robots fight instead of soldiers, but one person discovers that the soldiers are, in fact, real people.

5. In the year 2090, technology has been banned and people live simpler but harder lives. The final generation of people who remember technology come up with a plan to bring it back.

Time travel tales

1. A boy goes back in time to save his parents who tragically died when he was a baby.

2. A girl wakes up in an ancient civilisation and is hailed as a mythical Goddess because of her strange, modern clothes and her phone.

3. A boy who is struggling with his maths homework goes back in time and is tutored by the ancient Greek mathematicians.

4. A brother and sister travel back to Victorian England and realise how differently they’re treated because of their gender.

5. A boy travels back to the 1960s and accidentally stops The Beatles from forming.

Survival stories

1. A group of friends must save their classmates when their teachers are killed by a mysterious force during a school trip.

2. Passengers on a train are held hostage and it’s up to one woman to save the day.

3. After retreating to an underground bunker during a nuclear disaster, three friends begin to run out of supplies and have to decide whether it’s safe to emerge.

4. While a group of friends are camping in the woods, they are attacked and imprisoned by a group of criminals and must escape.

5. When a group of influencers are stranded on a luxury desert island, they must battle the elements and each other to survive.

Monstrous adventures

1. A ghost begins terrorising a group of friends at a boarding school.

2. A group of hikers come face to face with a troll who is intent on feeding them to his family.

3. A girl wakes up in Transylvania and must outwit an evil vampire who is luring locals to his castle.

4. A friendly giant is appalled by the behaviour of his family and tries to save the local humans they trap.

5. A schoolteacher turns out to be a werewolf and is preying upon the pupils he dislikes most.

With the help of our creative writing prompts, you’re just a step away from beginning your own storytelling journey. 

Remember, all your favourite books started out as just a flash of inspiration!


Sam is a recent English graduate from the University of Bristol whose interests include twentieth-century fiction, film, and cultural criticism.

Hone your creative writing skills this summer!

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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.


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:


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.  


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. 


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

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


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 :


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.


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


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


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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17 Absolutely Gosh-Wow Writing Lessons for Middle School

creative writing project ideas for 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.

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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.

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ChatGPT for Teachers

Trauma-informed practices in schools, teacher well-being, cultivating diversity, equity, & inclusion, integrating technology in the classroom, social-emotional development, covid-19 resources, invest in resilience: summer toolkit, civics & resilience, all toolkits, degree programs, trauma-informed professional development, teacher licensure & certification, how to become - career information, classroom management, instructional design, lifestyle & self-care, online higher ed teaching, current events, these 4 end-of-the-year writing projects are sure bets for engaging and exciting your students.

These 4 End-of-the-Year Writing Projects are Sure Bets for Engaging and Exciting Your Students

Each school year is packed with lessons, activities and memorable moments. Encouraging students to reflect on those experiences can help them end the school year strong and give you a chance to fit in one last creative writing assignment that’s purposeful and poignant.

Here are four end-of-the-year writing assignments you can try out:

Create a roller coaster

A writing assignment can help students create a metaphor for the school year’s ups and downs.

  • Ask students to build or draw a roller coaster that represents what this year was like for them.
  • Encourage them to get creative with materials and colors to represent different emotions and specific moments.
  • Have them write a personal essay or brief statement describing the specific meaning of each aspect of their roller coaster.

This activity helps students visualize their journey from the beginning of the school year to now, recognizing their struggles and accomplishments. Having time to share can also open up a meaningful class discussion about getting through difficult times, trying to learn from mistakes and understanding how a year’s worth of emotions and experiences help shape us.

Make an advice-filled music video

This is a new take on the classic “write a letter to the next class” assignment.

  • Organize your students into small groups.
  • Have each group choose a song and rewrite its lyrics to give advice to the next class.
  • Guide each group in planning their music video and recording it.
  • Share the videos with the class, and discuss recurring themes and interesting gems of wisdom.

If some students loathe the idea of singing or rapping, have them rewrite a famous poem and record that performance in a unique way. Both approaches give students an opportunity to write, reflect, express themselves creatively, collaborate and demonstrate what they’ve learned this year.

Write a found poem using old assignments

If you’ve asked students to save certain assignments like journal entries, essays, projects, etc., then this is a fun way to use them.

  • Have students lay out a variety of old assignments and tell them to circle 30 words or phrases that jump out at them. They can be words tied to memories or emotions.
  • Tell them to make a list with those circled words.
  • They must use all of them to create a poem that expresses how they feel about this year.

It’s also fun to have them actually cut the words out of those assignments to create a collage effect, but this might be difficult depending on what types of old assignments they use.

To make it more challenging, require a certain number of lines in the poem, or only let them add a certain extra number of words. It’s an interesting way of connecting what they’ve done throughout the year with poetry and self-expression, and it helps them see their work and the words they choose in different ways.

Build a memory wall

This activity is less writing-intensive, but it still gives students an opportunity to look back on the year individually and as a group.

  • Cover one of your classroom’s walls with butcher paper and divide it into four sections: Academics, Personal, Laughs, and Lessons Learned.
  • Give students four colors of sticky notes so they write at least one sticky note for each section.
  • Ask them to think back on everything they’ve learned in their classes and in life during this school year and have them write down words or phrases about those key moments or concepts learned.
  • Collect all of them in four baskets and then post the notes up in each category for the class to see and discuss together.

Giving students four categories directs their thinking in different ways so they can remember the good times and the struggles. Keeping it anonymous allows them to share a bit more than they might if they had to put their name on each sticky note.

In the Academics section, specific tests or projects can be recalled fondly or with groans, but it’s nice to see what sticks with students when the year comes to a close. The Personal section might increase students’ awareness of their classmates’ feelings about the year if they see notes about personal struggles and triumphs such as losing a pet or working hard to improve bad grades.

The Laughs section can remind students of funny and enjoyable moments like field trips, contests and games. The Lessons Learned category is a great way for them to learn from each other — whether they say they’ve learned to always ask for help or to never binge watch shows online when it’s a school night.

Kara Wyman has a BA in literature and an MEd from University of California-Santa Barbara. She has worked with adolescents for a decade as a middle school and high school English teacher, the founder and director of a drama program, and a curriculum designer for high school and college courses. She works with 13- to 19-year-old students as a project manager of a nonprofit organization.

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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 project ideas for 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.


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.


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 .


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.


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.


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.


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!

Informational Text Projects That Build Thinking and Creativity

Ideas for helping you move student work from ordinary knowledge to extraordinary thinking

illustration of city with connections to science and social studies

New demands for literacy instruction require an emphasis on both literature and informational text. But student work with informational text doesn’t have to be a dry regurgitation of facts. In fact, putting a creative spin on student performance tasks can turn informational text projects from ordinary into extraordinary.

You don’t have to undertake a massive instructional shift to keep students from rote work and a simple copy and paste. Here are some ideas for unique and creative projects and products that get students thinking about the content they are reading.

1. Trading Cards

Trading cards are a form of informational text that even young students are familiar with, even if they aren’t baseball or Pokémon fans. Creating a classroom set of trading cards for historical figures, rainforest animals, or even elements on the periodic table, provides a fun way to learn, and review, information about a topic you are studying.

panel one of a student-created trading card about Ruby Bridges

The first time a child gets a pack of trading cards, they may read each one top to bottom and right to left; but once they start a collection, they learn to use the features of nonfiction texts to quickly find information. Asking them to create their own trading cards, builds their fluency in utilizing headings, labels, and images as they use informational texts in the future.

Because trading cards are small, students must also carefully choose which information they need to include for their user. As they work to summarize, students must evaluate information and determine its importance , improving their comprehension of the topic.

The process of creating a trading card, printing it out, and sharing it with classmates, also helps students connect the work they are doing in the classroom with their lives outside of it.

Like trading cards, students are seeing more and more people outside the classroom reading electronic books and may even be using a digital textbook at school. Students are motivated to create and publish their own eBooks, and see their efforts as valuable; especially when the intention is to publish them for an audience outside of the classroom .

Emerging readers and writers may need to scaffold their research and writing with worksheets that outline what they should include, but older and more experienced learners may need to be pushed so that they don’t simply copy and paste information directly from their research into their eBooks. You can avoid this problem by asking them to create books in ABC, Associative Letter, or even Fact or Fiction style.

ABC Books The content in an ABC book is organized around the letters of the Alphabet. For example, an ABC Book on the Desert of the American Southwest might include pages like: A is for Armadillo, B is for Bighorn Sheep, and C is for Coyote. The example below highlights the ocean environment.

Associative Letter You might also try an associative letter project. In this format, all information is organized around a single letter. For example, an associative letter report on the Revolutionary War might contain pages like: Militia, Massacre, and Midnight Ride.

Fact or Fiction? In this format, students craft individual statements about their topic followed by the words “fact or fiction?” on a page. Then, they write the answer (fact or fiction) and provide evidence to support their conclusion.

Creating a comic strip is also a great way to get students thinking about the informational texts they are reading. Like trading cards, the limited amount of space in a comic’s panels requires students to choose the most significant points in a text or story. This summarizing, combined with the extensive use of nonlinguistic representations in comics, improves student comprehension.

overview of a student-created comic on soil

Great writing combines all three forms of written communication expressed in the Common Core State Standards; narrative, informational, and argument writing. Creating comics based on informational texts helps students more easily connect this information as they develop narratives to share information or arguments to raise awareness and change behavior. Sequencing and logic are crucial to good storytelling, and students quickly learn that they can’t simply jump forward in time or around in space.

4.Wanted Posters

Creating a Wanted poster for a person, place, or thing is a highly engaging performance task that requires students to think but doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise to create.

image of student-created wanted posters

Students can begin Wanted posters with simple identifying physical features and then move further to include information about qualities that make an object or person unique and connect to its time and place in the world. For example, asking students to identify a “ last seen ” or “ often found in ” location provide an opportunity for them to demonstrate what features and characteristics look like in action.

5. Infographics

While infographics are popular in the media right now, they are more than just a passing fad. These visual representations of knowledge and information make complex ideas and large amounts of data easy to understand and have quickly become a powerful form of digital-age communication.

Wixie infographic on types of rock

Crafting an infographic to help convey the important information and ideas is a great way to get students thinking more deeply about the information they are reading. To craft an effective infographic, students must identify:

  • What is important?
  • How can information be organized?
  • Is there a hierarchy, sequence, or pattern?
  • What ideas and information connect to other ideas and information?

Yes, infographics can be highly complex if they are based on large amounts of complex data. But infographics can also be clear statements of priority and action, like a Top Ten list .

6. Interviews

Science and social studies are filled with big ideas and concepts, not to mention remote time periods and locations. To help students make sense of some of these concepts, ask them to craft an interview with a connected object. For example, students could interview:

  • The hydrogen atom that is part of the water molecule
  • The Great Sphinx of Giza
  • The life of a trafficked pangolin
  • The feather in Paul Revere's hat or even Paul Revere himself.

Crafting a fictitious interview can help bring abstract scientific concepts to life and make history more personal. It also helps students learn how to ask questions. Their formulation of the questions also helps you better evaluate their comprehension of big ideas behind the facts they find.

Because they are written in first-person perspective, students must empathize with their subject and can’t simply copy and paste information or regurgitate facts. Interviewing helps students identify the perspective of a historian or scientist as they personify the object with gender and other human characteristics.

7. News Broadcast

News broadcasts are much more sophisticated and time consuming but make for a great culminating task in the content classroom. Before an end of the year review, or even exam, ask teams of students to choose a topic you studied and share their knowledge in this engaging format.

Like comics, writing a News Broadcast requires students to use narrative writing techniques to deliver information. Crafting a News Broadcast helps students think about techniques the media uses to attract viewers and keep them watching, building essential media literacies.

8. Public Service Announcements

Many important issues today, like climate change and health, can help you connect your students to the content they are learning in science and social studies. Asking students to craft a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness or change behavior, lets them know their work and efforts are valuable and can have a real impact on the world around them.

Science, with its connection to issues that many students are passionate about, is a great place to ask students to develop public service announcements. Creating a PSA is also a powerful performance tasks for social studies and requires students to practice skills in all four dimensions of the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards .

  • Dimension 1 . Developing Questions and Planning Inquiries
  • Dimension 2 . Applying Disciplinary Concepts and Tools
  • Dimension 3 . Evaluating Sources and Using Evidence
  • Dimension 4 . Communicating Conclusions and Taking Informed Action

Developing PSAs provides a great connection to skills learned in English Language Arts classes as well. Students must research deeply, identify fact versus opinion, develop claims and the evidence to back them to write an effective argument.

Getting Started

Choose the product or performance task that you think will work best in your classroom with your students and which most effectively provides them with an opportunity to practice reading and writing in real-world situations, with a real-world audience. Creative performance tasks like these products not only lets students know their work has value and meaning it provides an opportunity for students to ask their own questions as they make sense of content and find meaning in the curriculum, not just provide a “correct” answer.

Melinda Kolk

by Melinda Kolk

Melinda Kolk ( @melindak ) is the Editor of Creative Educator and the author of Teaching with Clay Animation . She has been helping educators implement project-based learning and creative technologies like clay animation into classroom teaching and learning for the past 15 years.

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10 Creative Writing Research and Passion Project Ideas for Middle and High School Students

creative writing project ideas for middle school

By Jordan Ellington

Project Support Manager at Polygence

5 minute read

Are you someone who uses a journal to write as a way to escape reality? Or, maybe you love reading and writing poems? If your creative outlet revolves around using your imagination to bring thoughts alive on paper, you can explore the written word with a research or passion project you design!

How to Choose Your Creative Writing Project Topic or Focus

When embarking on a creative writing project, selecting the right topic or focus is essential to ensuring your project is engaging and fulfilling. Here's how to go about it:

Follow Your Passion: Start by considering what truly excites you in the realm of creative writing. Is it poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or a specific genre within these categories? Your passion will be the driving force behind your project.

Identify Your Unique Perspective: Think about what sets you apart as a writer. What experiences, interests, or viewpoints do you bring to the table? Identifying your unique perspective can help you choose a topic that resonates with your voice.

Explore Unanswered Questions: Consider the questions or ideas in creative writing that have piqued your curiosity. Are there aspects of storytelling, character development, or poetic forms that you'd like to explore further? These unanswered questions can lead to intriguing project ideas.

Seek Inspiration: Delve into the works of your favorite authors, poets, or literary movements. Inspiration often strikes when you immerse yourself in the writings of others. Pay attention to what resonates with you and sparks your creativity.

Consider Your Audience: Think about who your project is intended for. Are you writing for peers, educators, or a broader audience? Understanding your audience can guide your choice of topic and writing style.

Balance Challenge and Enjoyment: While it's essential to challenge yourself, ensure that your chosen topic brings you joy. Balancing challenge and enjoyment will keep your motivation high throughout the project.

Brainstorm and Reflect: Take time to brainstorm ideas and reflect on their potential. Write down your thoughts, jotting down any project concepts that emerge during this process.

Remember that your creative writing project should be a reflection of your interests and passions. Choosing a topic or focus that genuinely resonates with you will make the entire project more rewarding.

Creative Writing Project Ideas

1. literature and pandemics.

Write a play script revolving around previous pandemics! You’ve lived through COVID-19 and can interview others who have been through pandemics that you haven’t. This is a great way to inform others about different tragedies that have occurred.

Idea by creative writing research mentor Will 

2. Solicit multiple perspectives about a big idea

Come up with a question that could have multiple different meanings depending on who you ask. For example, what does it mean to be a good friend? Once you come up with your question, obtain three different perspectives of the question and respond within three different outlets. You could write a poem about your perspective, a short story about your friend’s perspective, and a blog post about a family member's perspective!

Idea by creative writing research mentor Isabelle 

3. 10 minute writing from the soul: what will it reveal?

It’s time to “free” write! Think back to a special memory and write about every little detail. If not a special memory, it can be something as simple as your morning experience on the train. Think about your surroundings at that moment, the colors people around you were wearing, what you were feeling, write it all down!  Write without thinking and let the creativity of your brain flow. Once done, draw and paint your story.

Idea by creative writing research mentor Anna  

4. Creative Writing research

Learn the basics of poetry and creative nonfiction writing! For this project, you can start by reading and exploring the different styles of these two types of writing. The goal is for you to become inspired by one of the pieces that you read so you can create something of your own. This project is about self exploration and enjoying what words have to offer.   

Idea by creative writing research mentor Wisteria 

5. Poetry chapbook

Focus on all things poetry! Start by studying the different types of poetry to better understand the ins and outs of each style. Once your skills are well enough developed, create a chapbook of your poetry.

Idea by creative writing research mentor Lawrence

6. Fiction writing

Exaggerate your truth by writing a fiction story! Learn more about fiction writing as a whole in order to develop your writing skills even further. Focus on finding your voice and your preferred writing style by reading and learning through the work of different authors.  From there, write your own story to create something beautiful. 

Idea by creative writing research mentor Christopher

7. Stories! Essays! Poems! Oh My!

Are you someone who has sticky notes all around your house with random ideas or thoughts that spontaneously come to mind? Or maybe the “notes” section in your phone is more like a random jumble of words.  It’s time to put all of your ideas together to create a story! Choose your favorite writing style, grab all of your brainstorming notes, and let your imagination flow. 

Idea by creative writing research mentor Catalina

8. Blending genres, exploring form

Remix different writing forms to make them your own! Learn about the different styles of poetry and then think outside the box by inventing something original and unique. Move away from doing something traditional and see what your mind can do on its own with no boundaries. 

Idea by creative writing research mentor Kira

9. Family recipe zine

If you are someone who is passionate about your culture and the food that you grew up eating, create something to express that passion! For this project write your own, printable, cookbook. Include your own family photos, family recipes, and stories filled with memories to go along. 

Idea by creative writing research mentor Sarah

10. Short stories

Read through an array of different fictional short stories within your genre of choice. Studying different stories will assist you with developing your own writing style. Write your own short story to see what you can come up with! 

Idea by creative writing research mentor Vahid

Create a research project tailored to your interests and your schedule

Polygence pairs you with an expert mentor in your area of passion. Together, you work to create a high quality research project that is uniquely your own. We also offer options to explore multiple topics, or to showcase your final product!

How to Showcase Your Creative Writing Research or Passion Project

Once you've completed your creative writing research or passion project, it's time to showcase your hard work and creativity. Here's how to effectively present your project to your audience:

Create a Compelling Presentation: Design a presentation that effectively communicates your project's key aspects. Use visuals, slides, or multimedia elements to enhance engagement.

Craft an Engaging Introduction: Begin your presentation with a captivating introduction that sets the stage for your project. Explain why you chose the topic, its significance, and what readers or viewers can expect.

Highlight Your Writing Process: Share insights into your creative process. Discuss how you developed your ideas, overcame challenges, and refined your work. This provides context for your audience.

Showcase Your Work: Present excerpts or samples of your creative writing. Whether it's a poem, short story, or essay, let your audience experience your writing firsthand.

Discuss Inspirations and Influences: Mention the authors, literary movements, or works that inspired your project. This helps your audience understand the broader literary context of your work.

Explain the Project's Impact: Share how your project has impacted your growth as a writer. Discuss any new skills, insights, or perspectives you've gained.

Invite Questions and Discussion: Encourage your audience to ask questions or provide feedback. Engaging in a discussion about your project can deepen the connection with your audience.

Consider a Portfolio: If your project includes multiple pieces of creative writing, consider organizing them into a portfolio. This provides a comprehensive view of your work.

Publish or Share Online: If possible, publish your project on a blog, website, or social media platform. Sharing your work online can reach a wider audience and connect you with fellow writers.

Reflect on Your Journey: Conclude your presentation by reflecting on your creative journey throughout the project. Share what you've learned and how it has shaped your writing.

By effectively showcasing your creative writing research or passion project, you can not only share your creativity but also inspire others in their writing endeavors. Remember that presenting your work with confidence and enthusiasm can make a lasting impression on your audience.

Related Content

The Importance of Showcasing your Research

Publishing Research vs. Showcasing Research

Writing Contests for High School Students

Why You Should Apply for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Writing Projects Completed by Polygence Students

How an Autobiography About Growing Up With Cerebral Palsy Became the Very First Polygence Project

High School Research Student Padma Writes a 107-page Creative Narrative About the Spanish Civil War

High School Research Student Skye Writes Brave and Vulnerable Prose Poem About Living With Marginalized Identity

Want to start a project of your own?

Click below to get matched with one of our expert mentors who can help take your project off the ground!


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  22. Informational Text Projects That Build Thinking and Creativity

    Here are some ideas for unique and creative projects and products that get students thinking about the content they are reading. 1. Trading Cards. Trading cards are a form of informational text that even young students are familiar with, even if they aren't baseball or Pokémon fans. Creating a classroom set of trading cards for historical ...

  23. Project on Creative Writing: 10 Ideas for Students

    Creative Writing Project Ideas. 1. Literature and pandemics. Write a play script revolving around previous pandemics! You've lived through COVID-19 and can interview others who have been through pandemics that you haven't. This is a great way to inform others about different tragedies that have occurred.