Expository Essay Prompts

Expository (informative) writing communicates information to the reader to share knowledge or to convey messages, instructions, and ideas. It involves communicating information at various levels of understanding, such as describing information, explaining or interpreting information, clarifying a process, or evaluating information. Examples include writing reports or letters.

The informative topics in 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress writing assessment required students to write on specified subjects in a variety of formats, such as reports, reviews, and letters. Several of the informative topics asked students to respond to letters, cartoons, or articles. The writing assessment prompts presented students with a variety of tasks, such as offering advice to younger students and reporting to a school committee.

  1. If you could make changes in your school lunchroom what would they be?
  2. Most people like one particular animal more than others. What is your favorite animal? Why is it your favorite?
  3. Everyone has days that they will always remember as being very special. Think about a special day that you have had. Write an essay telling why it was so special.
  4. Rules are important. What are the most important rules at your school and why are they important?
  5. If you could choose any animal for a class pet, what would you choose and why?
  6. Explain why it is important to learn to read.
  7. If you could change places with another person for a whole day, who would you change places with and why would you choose that person?
  8. We are learning all the time. Some of our learning takes place in school and some outside of school. Write about something you have learned recently and how it has affected you.
  9. Think of the ideal job for you when you grow up. Now think of reasons why this would be a good job for you. Write an essay to explain why this is your ideal job.
  10. Think of a book that you have read and really enjoyed. Write an essay explaining why you really enjoyed that book.
  11. Imagine that time travel to the past was possible. Think of where and when you would like to go for a visit. Write an essay telling where and when you would go in the past and explain why you choose to go there.
  12. Your cousin is moving to your town. Write a letter explaining why your town is such a wonderful place to live.
  13. Imagine that you had no TV, computer, or video games for one week. Think of some activities that you can do instead to keep you busy and out of trouble. Write an essay to explain what you can do to keep occupied in a week of no TV, computer, or video games.
  14. We all have a place where we can imagine or go where we want to be alone and relax. Think of your favorite place. Now write an essay explaining why this place is your favorite.
  15. Think about your favorite year of school. Explain why it was your favorite year.
  16. Friends are important, but everyone has a different opinion of what makes a good friend. Explain what, in your opinion makes a good friend.
  17. Some teachers are special. Explain why one particular teacher in your life was so special.
  18. If your principal asked you to write your opinion about what needed to be changed in your school what would you write?
  19. Due to trouble on the playground, the principal has sent home a letter stating there will no longer be an after-lunch recess. Write a letter to convince your principal to continue after-lunch recess. Before you start writing, think about the problem during recess. Think about why students need recess. Think about the benefits for the teachers. Decide what students and teachers can do to correct the problem. Think about the results of keeping recess during school. Now write a letter to convince the principal to continue after-lunch recess.
  20. Your brother or sister is having a birthday. Your grandparents have asked for ideas for a present. Write a letter to your grandparents suggesting a gift your brother or sister might like. Before you start writing, think about what the gift could be. Think about why your younger brother or sister would like the gift. Think about how your grandparents can locate this gift. Now write a letter to your grandparents suggesting a birthday gift for your younger brother or sister.
  21. Your class has been studying ways of improving our environment. One of these ways is by recycling items you would normally throw away. This might be an empty paper towel roll, empty milk carton, or an old telephone book. Write 3 - 5 paragraphs for your teacher explaining how you can create or recycle something from a discarded item or throwaway. Before you start writing, think about what item you are going to recycle. Think about what new item you are going to create from it. Decide on the materials needed for this project. Think about the clear, step-by-step directions for making your recycled item. Decide how this recycled item will be useful. Now write a paragraph or more for your teacher explaining how you will create something new from a discarded item.
  22. Your teacher has asked you to write an essay answering the question, "Why do you like your favorite subject in school?" Before you begin writing, think about which school subject you like best. Consider exactly what it is you like about that subject. Think about interesting things you have learned or done in that subject. Now write an essay for your teacher telling why you like your favorite school subject.
  23. Your teacher has scheduled a unit test for Monday. Write a letter to your teacher requesting this unit test be rescheduled for another day. Before you start writing, think about why this test should be rescheduled. Think about what could be done to better prepare the students for the test. Consider the benefits for the students and the teacher for rescheduling. Now write a letter to your teacher requesting a unit test be rescheduled to another day.
  24. You lost your watch while visiting a friend in another town. Your friend's mother found your watch and mailed it to you. Write a letter to your friend's mother thanking her for returning the lost watch. Before you start to write, think about why your watch is important to you. Think about why you need your watch. Think about how you felt when your watch was returned to you. Now write a letter to your friend's mother thanking her for returning the lost watch.
  25. Describe a favorite place you have visited. Write 3 - 5 paragraphs or describing the place. Before you begin writing, think about the location of your favorite place. Think about when and why you like to visit this place. Think about the benefits of visiting this place. Now write a description of your favorite place.
  26. Your friend wants to come to your house. Write directions telling how to get to your house from school. Before you start writing, think about the details you will need in your directions. Think about landmarks you pass and the order in which you pass them. Think about any roads you will need to travel. Consider having a map to illustrate your directions. Now write a paragraph or more explaining to your teacher how to get to your house from school.
  27. You have just received a letter from a friend inviting you to go along on a family hiking trip in the Cascade Mountains. Write a letter to your friend accepting the invitation. Before you start writing, think about what you need to know about the trip. Think about what activities might take place. Think about any special equipment you may need. Now write a letter to your friend accepting your friend's invitation to go on a hiking trip.
  28. A classmate of yours had an accident on the playground during recess and had to be taken to the doctor's office. Write 3 - 5 paragraphs for the principal explaining what you saw. Before you start to write, think about exactly where you were and when the accident took place. Think about the others who were involved in the accident. Consider (think about) any details that would be helpful in your report. Now write a paragraph or more to your principal explaining what you saw when your classmate had an accident on the playground.
  29. Most people have a favorite toy. Think about your favorite toy and why it is your favorite. Now write 3 - 5 paragraphs to tell about your favorite toy and explain why you like it.
  30. The gym teacher has just announced that field day will be at the end of the month. Write 3 -  5 paragraphs to describe the events that take place at field day to a new student at your school.
  31. What do you think is the most significant invention ever made and why do you think so.
  32. Each child has a special position in their family. Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the position you hold in your family--youngest child, only child, middle child etc.
  33. You are an astronaut on a peaceful, exploratory mission to Planet Q. As a representative from Earth, you are to present three gifts from our planet. What items will you take? Write a proposal to the sponsors of your mission explaining why you think these will make excellent tokens.
  34. When solving a math problem, you and your neighbor reached the same answer, but had different calculations and processes. Explain to your math teacher how this can happen.
  35. Select one of the math problems completed for homework. Explain to a classmate who got the answer wrong how you computed your answer.
  36. You are (an element, a seed, a piece of precipitation). Introduce yourself to a young child, explaining your typical day, your life processes, and how you deal with any dangers you routinely face.
  37. In our science class, we have completed several lessons on the six simple machines: lever, pulley, wheel and axle, wedge, inclined plane, and spiral incline plane. Select one machine and clearly explain to a younger student how it works.
  38. You have been asked to help your classmates make decisions about meals they would like added to the cafeteria menu choices. As a nutrition expert, recommend choices for athletes. Explain the advantages of your selections.
  39. Explain how music can affect one's mood. As the person in charge of providing the background music for a (shopping mall, law firm, doctor's office, sports stadium, fast food restaurant, fine dining establishment), explain to your employer what type of music you will use and why.
  40. Using your knowledge of (science, geography, health), explain to a new inhabitant how to orient to a new place, such as a desert, or the jungle, or a new planet.
  41. As a student familiar with this school, explain the procedure for (fire drills, forming a line, moving between classes, moving into learning groups, finding a sentence pattern, outlining a chapter, solving an equation) to a new student.
  42. There are many concerns facing the student council in your school. As a member of the student council, write an editorial for the school newspaper about one concern and what you think can be done to solve the situation.
  43. Choose something you know about (a place you have visited, something you saw while traveling, something you have studied in school, a hobby you wish to share). Write a letter to your pen pal in another country telling about your topic.
  44. You are the class president and have been asked to write an introduction for a person you admire greatly. Write an essay describing the most admirable qualities of the person.
  45. Think of some things you learned outside of school. For example, you learn from pet care, television, or grandparents. Explain what you learned.
  46. The restaurant association of Snohomish County is seeking nominations for "Local Restaurant of the Year." Nominate the restaurant you like by writing a letter to I.M. Phul (the restaurant association president) describing why this restaurant should win. Sign your letter, "M.T. Stomak."
  47. Cascade Valley Hospital is seeking volunteers. Your friend asks you to write a letter to the Hospital Volunteer Coordinator recommending this friend for the volunteer job. Sign your name, "F.S. Perfect."
  48. Your local paper has been running a series of articles on local attractions to inform new comers of places they might visit. Describe such a place in a letter to the editor of the local newspaper. Sign your name, "A. B. See."
  49. Write a letter to the editors of Invention magazine. Name three inventions you could not live without and explain why they are so important to you.
  50. If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would it be and why would you want to visit there? What things would you do there? Write a letter to the judges of a travel agency contest for a free vacation trip.
  51. If you had the opportunity to meet any person (living or dead) who would it be, why would you choose that person, and what would you want to say when you met?
  52. You have been asked to write an essay about a day in the life of a fourth grader to be placed in a time capsule that will be buried this year and opened in 2500.
  53. Think about how new computers can benefit your school. Your principal has decided that students in your school can have several new computers in your classroom. Write an essay for the school newspaper about how the new computers will be used to benefit your learning.
  54. Transportation is a necessary part of modern life. Write an essay that explains how American families use the car. Explain how it is used for business, pleasure, and emergencies. Your essay will be in a new social studies book.
  55. Write an essay about the differences between two different types of insects. Give examples of how each type is adapted to its environment.
  56. Write a letter to your (future) grandchildren. Choose any two major events occurring during your lifetime that you believe would be important enough to pass along to your grandchildren.
  57. A home in the community has burned. Tell how you would help the family recover from the loss.
  58. Choose one of your favorite authors. Write a letter telling why you like his/her work.
  59. Write the directions for "how to" do something.
  60. Choose a book or TV show that that you have enjoyed. You are to write an essay telling the reader why you enjoyed it.
  61. The telephone has become a most important part of everyone's life. Most of us have difficulty imagining what it could be like to live without it. Write an essay explaining how the American family uses it for business, pleasure, and emergencies. Assume that this will be published as a part of an encyclopedia article.
  62. Each of us had a teacher that we consider to have been really good. It may not have been a person that we really like at the time. But, in looking back, we realize that that person presented and saw to it that we knew some things that would be really important. Sometimes it was how that person presented things and not just what opportunities were supplied. That person does not have to be a classroom teacher. Think about that person and the reasons that they are positively memorable. Write a five-paragraph essay and explain why this person is an excellent teacher.
  63. The arts (music, art, drama, dance etc.,) and sports have important effects on people's lives. When begun at a young age, they can be pursued for a long time and can shape future interests, careers, and life styles. One does not have to become a superstar, but the effect can be there and shown in many ways. Choose one of the arts or a sport. Explain how it could shape a person and influence one's life if begun when one is young.
  64. Everyone has jobs or chores. Explain why you do one of your jobs or chores.
  65. The fourth grade at your school has decided to elect a class president. The class president will take attendance each morning, help plan parties, and collect money for field trips. Write an article for the class newspaper describing what kind of person would make a good president and why.
  66. We hear all the time about endangered species. Write an account of the rediscovery of an animal once considered extinct.
  67. Choose an existing animal and write an article about it as if it were an endangered species.
  68. Weigh the risks and rewards of space flight by explaining why you would or would not like to be a passenger on the Space Shuttle.
  69. Describe an experiment to be conducted on board the Space Shuttle.
  70. Think of something that you just learned how to do. Explain how to do it.
  71. Your friend was absent from school yesterday. Write a note to tell what he or she missed.
  72. Think of something nice that your teacher did for you or something important that your teacher taught you. Write a thank-you note to your teacher.
  73. Your class is having a party. You want other students to come to it. Write a sign about the party.
  74. Write in your journal about a time that someone helped you.
  75. Imagine that you could visit any place in the world. Describe where you would like to go.
  76. Imagine that you are going on vacation and need to leave your pet with a friend. Make a list of things your friend needs to do to take care of your pet.
  77. What is your favorite book? Write an advertisement that will convince your classmates to read it.
  78. A new restaurant that is fun for kids is opening in your town. Write a sign for the Grand Opening.
  79. Your class has decided to have a "Get-To-Know-Each-Other" party. Write an invitation asking students throughout your school to come to your party.
  80. Where is the most unusual place you have ever been? Write a description of the place.
  81. Your class is making a classroom cookbook. Write a recipe for something you like to eat at home to include in the book.
  82. A baby-sitter is coming to your house. What does the baby-sitter need to know? Write a letter telling her/him important information.
  83. The mayor has to make a big decision--should some land in your community be used for a new shopping mall or for a park? Write a letter to the mayor telling what you think.
  84. A musical group that everyone likes is going to perform a special concert, and it's at your school! Write an announcement to read over the school intercom.
  85. Your school cafeteria wants to try a new menu--one with foods that kids will really like. Your principal has asked each student to write an opinion about what the cafeteria should serve.
  86. It is Science Week at your school. Write a report about your favorite science topic.
  87. You are on a committee that is doing a presentation on good health for kids. It is your responsibility to write an announcement for the presentation.
  88. You have been hired by the mayor to promote your city as a wonderful place to live. Write an advertisement to convince people to move there.
  89. Most people go on vacation to have fun, but sometimes vacations don't turn out as expected! Think about a vacation you went on that had some unexpected surprises. Write a travel diary about your experience.
  90. Imagine receiving an invitation to the Boston Tea Party or the first Thanksgiving dinner! Choose an historical event and write an invitation to it.
  91. You are on the school safety committee. Write directions for fire-drill procedures for your class.
  92. Many schools in the United States require students to participate in service projects in order to graduate. Do you think community service should be mandatory for students? Write an editorial for your school newspaper.
  93. Think of a saying, such as "Every cloud has a silver lining" or "Don't count your chickens before they hatch." Write about an experience you had that proves that the saying is true.
  94. It's "Career Day" at your school, and your classmates want to know about different occupations. Choose a job that interests you and write a report about it.
  95. You saw a help wanted ad for a job that is perfect for you. Write a letter to apply for the job.
  96. Imagine that you could "invent" the perfect sibling. What would this dream brother or sister be like? Write a description.
  97. You are a reporter for your school newspaper. You write about products kids like and use. Besides giving basic information about the products, you tell what you think of them. Write a news article for the next edition of the newspaper.
  98. Next year you'll be in a different class with a new teacher. Write a letter to your next teacher, telling the most important things you learned this year.
  99. A friend asked you to come to a party. Write a note telling your friend whether or not you will be able to attend.
  100. You are a helper at a party for young children--and the children are bored! Think of a game for the children to play. Write directions for playing the game.
  101. Your school did a special project. Write a letter to a newspaper telling what you did.
  102. A tract of land is being sold in your community. Fictitious bidders include the National Park Service, a children's hospital, a shopping-mall developer, an oil drilling company, and the U.S. Armed Forces. Choose one and become a lobbyist for one that group writing arguments on behalf of their interests.
  103. Assist your students in learning how to use laboratory equipment by having them choose a scientific instrument form your lab, and write directions on how to use it.
  104. Your students can learn about the history of inventions by writing about the origin of everyday objects, such as roller skates, safety pins, or ice-cream cones.
  105. Form "exploration groups" of about five students. Starting with an opening line for a story, pass the story around the group, each student adding a sentence or two to the story.
  106. Write down as many questions about a new unit of instruction as you can BEFORE the unit begins.
  107. Choose some thing that you could imagine being (an asteroid, a cactus, a volcano), and describe why you would choose to be that thing.
  108. Write a word on the board. Have your students make a list of words that they associate with that term. Compare the lists to demonstrate to students that they do not all have the same mental picture of the concept.
  109. Picture yourself as part of a scientific phenomenon, and write about the experience. Phenomena include respiration, blood flow, transmission of nerve signals, chemical reactions, heat transfer, lightning, combustion, and propagation of radio waves.
  110. Describe a museum exhibit that might have been, but was not, present at a museum that you visited.
  111. Make up a new planet. Describe the important features of the landscape, what the climate is like, and what lives there. Write from the viewpoint of the first visitor to this planet.
  112. Gather illustrations of plants with unusual names. Give students one name, and ask them to describe what it might look like. Give the same name to more than one student so that they can compare their descriptions. Show them the illustration of the plant after they have completed their descriptions.
  113. You have discovered a new type of plant. Give it a name and describe it for the newspaper.
  114. Almost everyone has had at least one teacher who is hard to forget. Think about what makes it so hard to forget. Tell what happened.
  115. Describe a person or an animal that you will never forget.
  116. Your students can grapple with issues concerning form and function by writing about how the world would be different if cockroaches were the size of poodles (or other such distortions of scale and size).
  117. Write directions telling how to do something. Name/describe the items to be used and describe the steps needed to complete the task.
  118. Write an invitation to a party.
  119. Write a letter to your keypal recommending your favorite book.
  120. Choose a person you admire and write a letter nominating that person for an award.
  121. Write a letter thanking an adult (teacher, bus driver, Scout leader, Sunday school teacher, etc.).
  122. Write a letter thanking someone for being a good friend.
  123. Your teacher has told your class that you may have a class pet. Explain what animal you would like to have as a classroom pet.
  124. Write a letter to an inhabitant of another planet explaining basic things on Planet Earth.
  125. Imagine that you are a talk-show host getting ready to interview a famous person. Prepare for the interview by writing some questions that will elicit useful, interesting information from your guest.
  126. Make up a writing prompt for your class. Use your imagination; they sharpen their language skills in a science class.
  127. Most people know of an animal they would like better than any other as a pet. Before you write, think about what animal you would like most as a pet. Think about why you would like that animal as a pet. Write to explain why the animal you like would be a great pet.
  128. There has recently been much discussion about violence in the music, film, and television that children enjoy. Some experts argue that the media is one major reason crime rates are on the rise. They believe the violence that youths hear and see through TV, film, and music leads them to behave in violent ways. On the other side of the issue, people say kids can make their own decisions concerning such influences and filmmakers and musicians must be free to create their art. Write an editorial for your local newspaper in which you tell what you think about the issue.
  129. Write a letter to a friend who has moved away to tell how third grade is different from second grade.
  130. Write a letter to a friend about why you like to read books or magazines about a certain topic.
  131. Write a letter to a friend telling about something you do well.
  132. Write a letter to your favorite television star telling why you like his/her show.
  133. Write a formal letter to the President asking him for an autographed picture.
  134. Write a letter to a city recreation department requesting information about park in your area.
  135. Write a letter to a local animal shelter requesting information about their volunteer program.
  136. Write a letter to your town's newspaper explaining why someone you know should get a Special Person of the Year Award.
  137. Write directions for a new student explaining how to get to the town's library from your school.
  138. Write a paper giving step-by-step instructions on how to make your favorite sandwich.
  139. Write instructions to your friends on how they can recycle at school.
  140. Write a paper explaining how to study for a test.
  141. Write a paper explaining how to find a book in the school library.
  142. Write a paper explaining how to earn good grades at school.
  143. Write a paper explaining the lunch room rules to a new student.
  144. Write about what you do and don't understand about multiplication.
  145. Go into a natural setting and write a log of your observations and questions.
  146. Describe your favorite or your least favorite meal.
  147. Describe a person you respect.
  148. Describe something you collect or would like to collect.
  149. Describe the perfect picnic lunch.
  150. Describe your favorite teacher.
  151. Eating healthy food is important for good health. Think about healthy foods and why it's important to eat them. Now explain why it is important to eat healthy foods.
  152. Most people have a television show they like to watch. Sometimes they like it because of one of the stars and sometimes they like it because of what it is about. Think about the TV show you like the best. Think about the things that make the show interesting or the start of the show. Explain why this TV show is a good one.
  153. Everyone has at least one thing that he/she does well, something he/she is an expert at. It may be something he/she does at home or at school. Think about something you do well, something you are an expert at doing. How did you became an expert. What do you do that shows you are an expert? Explain why you are an expert at doing something.
  154. Everyone has something that is special to them. This may be something special that people like to do or it may be a special place to go. Think about what is special, when do you do it, where do you do it, who you are doing it with, and how often you do it. Explain why you feel this is something special to do or a special place to go.
  155. Congratulations! You have just won a million dollars in the lottery. Think about the things that you would do with your money. Tell what you will do with the money that you have just won.
  156. You are a gum drop on the grocer's shelf. A young person has just put you in their cart. Think about your adventures in the cart. Write a story about this gumdrop's adventure.
  157. One day you woke up and discovered that you had been turned into an animal. Think about what animal you have become. Tell what happened to you on the day you discovered that you had been turned into an animal.
  158. Most of us have had an experience that we will never forget. Think about an experience that you remember very clearly. What happened? How did you feel? Tell about an experience that you will never forget.
  159. Tonight you have been asked to cook dinner for your family. Think of the foods you will make, how you will prepare them and serve them. Explain how you will prepare a dinner for your family.
  160. You are a principal. You have to hire some new teachers for your school. Think about the qualifications that this person should have to be hired for this job. Explain what would make a good teacher.
  161. DANGER!!! Occasionally, we find ourselves in a dangerous situation. Think about what types of situations you consider dangerous. Explain what types of situations you consider dangerous.
  162. Parents would rather have handmade gifts from their children than store-bought gifts. Think about the handmade gifts that you could make for one of your parents. Explain what types of gifts you might make.
  163. Most of us have had to do something that was difficult. It might have been catching a softball, making the bed, washing the dog or saying "I'm sorry." Think about something that was difficult for you. Explain to the reader of your paper something difficult that you had to do.
  164. We all have something we really want. What do you really want? Why do you want it? Write about something you really want. Explain why you really want it.
  165. We all have things we like to do. Think about something you really like to do. How do you do it? Write about something you really like to do. Explain exactly (step by step) how you do it.
  166. We all have things we like to do with our friends or family. Think about something you really like to do with your friends or family. Why do you really like to do this thing? Explain what you like to do and why you like to do it.
  167. Have you ever made mud pies? Think about what you do to make mud pies. What would you need? What would you have to do? Write step by step, what someone would need to do to make mud pies.
  168. We all have someone important in our lives. It might be a teacher, a friend or family. Think about the important people in your life. Pick one person who is especially important to you. Why are they important? What are they like? Why are they important to you? Explain who is an important person in your life and why that person is important to you.
  169. Think about a pencil. What does it look like? How do you use it? What makes a really good pencil? Explain what a pencil looks like so someone will be able to see it through your words.
  170. Think about your desk. What makes a really good desk? What would you do to make a desk? Explain exactly what you would need to do to make a desk.
  171. We all have jobs or chores to do to help out at home or at school. Think about a job (or chore) you have at home or in school. Why is this job important? How does it help? Explain why your job is important.
  172. Your class has been given money to buy a classroom pet and no one knows how to go about choosing it. Think about how that pet should be chosen. Who should decide which pet is best? Should the class vote? Should the teacher choose? Explain how your class should choose a pet to be the class pet.
  173. Imagine that you are to choose an animal to be your classroom's pet. Think about the animal you would choose. Why would you choose that animal? Why would it be good for the classroom? What would your class learn from having this pet? Explain what animal you would choose to be a class pet and why.
  174. You are going to decide which animal your class pet will be. Think about that animal. What is it and what would you need to do to keep it healthy? What would it eat? Would it need exercise? How would you get it to exercise? What kind of cage would it have to have? Tell about what pet you would choose for your classroom and what you would do to care for it.
  175. Write a composition for your classmates, describing the most interesting place you have ever visited, Describe in detail where the place is, how you got there, what you saw, and how you felt.
  176. For a children's magazine, describe your first attempt at playing a particular sport. The sport might be one that looked easy but turned out to be a real challenge, or it might be one that came quite naturally to you. Be sure to describe everything you did and how you felt.
  177. What are some of the more important or interesting experiences you have had in your life? Have you moved, lost something that was important to you, or overcome a big fear? As you grow older your memory of the events is bound to fade. So capture one of these experiences now in as much detail as possible by writing a journal entry about it. Be sure to tell why the event was important to you.
  178. Enter a magazine contest by writing an essay about somebody you admire. According to the contest rules, your hero should be a person you know well or a historical figure - male or female, living or dead - that you've heard or read about. Tell how you feel about your hero, what qualities you admire, and the ways in which you would like your life to be like your hero's.
  179. Have you seen a particularly skillful feat or performance by an athlete, a dancer, or an acrobat recently? Try to visualize the physical movements of the person, and write a description of the performance for the sports and entertainment section of your local newspaper. Use concrete details and imaginative comparisons to help your readers appreciate what you saw.
  180. Is there a special object or family tradition that is important to everyone in your family? For example, do you have an heirloom that has been handed down through generations, a quilt your grandmother made, or a special way of celebrating birthdays? For a younger relative - perhaps even for someone who hasn't been born yet - describe this family treasure or tradition in as much detail as you can.
  181. For an audience of your classmates, write a description of a particular time and place that you know well, such as your room on a rainy afternoon, the video arcade after school, or the waiting area at your doctor's office on a busy day. Use as many specific sensory details a you can. Try to capture the moment - and share how you felt about it.
  182. For a class anthology, describe a bird, an insect, or animal that you have strong feelings about. Choose one that scares amuses, or puzzles you. Be sure you know enough about the animal to describe it fully. Use sensory details that will make your classmates feel the same.
  183. Imagine you've been asked to explain to a group of students from a foreign country how to prepare a hot dog for lunch. They have never eaten a hot dog before and do not know anything about them. Tell them each step you take in preparing a hot dog.
  184. You have been chosen to represent your school at an international convention for students. This convention will take place during your family's scheduled summer vacation, and it is being held in Paris, France. You will be traveling alone. Write a composition as if you were explaining this situation to a friend. Write about the good and bad aspects of attending this convention. Explain each of your points completely.
  185. Many young people your age read very little. They get their news and information from television and the movies. They would rather read a magazine than a novel. No one is quite sure why this is true, but many people are concerned about the situation. Your teacher has asked you and your classmates to write essays which explain your thoughts about the causes of this situation. Your essays will be shared with other students in your school. Your teacher hopes that these essays will help the school develop a program to increase the popularity of reading for pleasure.
  186. Are there any problems in your school? Do you get too little time to eat lunch? Between classes is it hard to find a water fountain that works? In a letter, make your school principal aware of the problem and suggest a solution. Be sure to explain what the causes of the problem are, who is affected by it, and how something could be done to solve it.
  187. Your school is having a health awareness day. For the occasion, write a short composition about a health problem you think is avoidable. Begin with a brief explanation of the problem - how it comes about, who is affected by it, and how. Then tell how you think people could prevent this problem. In conclusion, either urge your readers to follow your advice or warn them what may happen if they don't.
  188. Does somebody do something that really drives you crazy? Do you have a friend who always insists on being in charge? Is there someone in your class who always takes credit for other people's work? Choose something that bothers you. Now take a moment to figure out a way to solve this problem. Then write a composition in which you describe the problem and explain your proposed solution to it. Address your composition to others who are also troubled by this behavior.
  189. Think about some of the problems in your community that affect you and your friends. Choose a problem that concerns you. Then prepare a brief written report in which you state the problem, and offer a solution to it. In your report, make clear to your neighbors why they should do something about the problem.
  190. Do you have a special relationship with someone? Take a moment now to consider why this person matters to you and what he or she adds to your life. Then write an essay in which you define the role of this individual in your life. You might begin with words like "An aunt is someone who..." Plan to share this essay with the person about whom you are writing.
  191. Most hobbies and sports have special words to describe the equipment and the plays unique to that activity. For example, chess players talk of rooks and pawns, and baseball players speak of knuckle balls and sliders. Imagine you are helping to write a manual for beginners in a hobby or sport you know well. Write an explanation of an important term that all beginners need to understand.
  192. Choose a custom or holiday that you enjoy or that has special meaning to you. For instance, do you love celebrating Independence Day? Hanukah? In a letter to a pen pal, explain the practice or event you have chosen. As you write, remember that this pen pal lives in another country and knows nothing of your customs or holidays.
  193. A magazine for children is conducting a survey on children's taste in movies. The editors want you to compare and contrast a movie that is in the theaters now with your favorite film of all time, and then draw a conclusion about what makes a movie great. The best responses will appear in a future issue of the magazine, so be sure to write for an audience of magazine readers your own age.
  194. Your principal is considering a new dress code requiring all students to wear uniforms. State whether you think this is a good policy. Support your answer.
  195. Name a favorite book and give reasons why you think it's worth reading.
  196. Think about your favorite activity when you are out of school. Write about this activity and tell why it is your favorite activity.
  197. Think about an animal you would like to be for one day. Write about this animal and tell why you would like to be this animal for one day.
  198. If you could go anywhere in the world, think about the place where you would go. Write about this place and tell why you would go there.
  199. Think about the famous people you know and choose one you would like to meet. Write about this person and tell why you would like to meet them.
  200. Think about a place where you like to go to be alone. Write about this place and tell why you like to go there to be alone.
  201. Lucky you! You are going on a trip to the moon. Think about three things you would take with you and tell why you would take these three things.
  202. Name one goal you would like to accomplish and give specific reasons why. Give enough details so that your teacher will understand your ideas.
  203. Your teacher has asked you to write about one person you would choose to be if you could be someone else for one day. Name that person and give specific reasons why you would like to be that person for one day. Give enough details so your teacher will understand your ideas.
  204. Your teacher has asked you to write about one person who has made a difference in your life. Name that person and give specific reasons why that person has made a difference in your life. Give enough details so your teacher will understand your ideas.
  205. You wake up at night and find your room filled with smoke. Describe the problem and explain how you would solve it.
  206. After he takes your lunch money every day, a bigger kid warns he'll hurt you if you tell anyone. Since you don't believe in fighting to solve problems, what other actions might you take?
  207. Your family has just moved to a country where you don't speak the language. What will you do to get through your first week of school?
  208. Students in your school are unhappy with the student bathrooms. Write a letter to your principal describing the problem and suggesting ways to solve it.
  209. The students in your school think that there is a problem at recess. Write a letter to your principal stating the problem and suggesting ways to solve it.
  210. A classmate is being picked on during recess. Describe the problem. What could you do to help him/her solve it?
  211. Write a letter to your principal explaining a problem in your school cafeteria (library, playground, bus, etc.) and offer a solution to the problem.
  212. Think about a problem in our environment such as air pollution, overcrowding or endangering species. Write a letter to a younger child identifying this problem and offering a possible solution to the problem.
  213. Imagine you have just been given the name and address of a penpal. Describe yourself to that person.
  214. Describe your favorite park or playground.
  215. Describe your favorite relative.
  216. Describe a really fun day.
  217. Describe your favorite meal.
  218. Describe your favorite outfit including any accessories.
  219. Think about a new invention you would like to create. Describe this invention and tell what it can do.
  220. Think about an outdoor scene, such as a mountain, a beach, a waterfall, a park, that you consider interesting. Describe this sight so that your reader will be able to picture it.
  221. Select a particular place you have come to know well and that is special to you. It can be a back yard, a setting in the woods or on the water, a store, a secret hideout, a certain room or any other spot that is special to you. Name the place and describe it so your reader can picture it.
  222. What is your favorite room in your house. Explain why it is your favorite.
  223. What is your favorite pastime? Name the activity and give reasons why you like it.
  224. You have the chance to be the first student astronaut to explore another planet. Would you accept the job? Give reasons why or why not.
  225. Almost everyone has had at least one teacher who is hard to forget. Think about what makes it so hard to forget. Tell what happened.
  226. What's your pet peeve? Is it graffiti? Too many television commercials? Violence in movies? Write an editorial for your school newspaper. Clearly state what your gripe is and what you think should be done about it. Try to persuade your readers to accept your opinion.
  227. It is ten years from now. Write a letter to an old classmate telling where you are. Where do you live? What do you do? How did you get where you are? What goals have you reached? etc.
  228. Write a letter to a teacher you've had in your past that really made a difference in your life. Describe a specific experience that you remember vividly. Thank this person for taking the time to care about you. (replace teacher with person or adult.)
  229. Write a story about something that has been recycled, like a can, newspaper, or plastic bag, and its adventures along the way.
  230. Write a story about a ride in a hot air balloon.
  231. Choose a problem from last night's homework assignment, and write an explanation to your teacher of the steps you used to solve that problem. Be sure you list and explain the steps you took to solve the problem. Include enough information and details so the reader will understand your steps.
  232. You are a Confederate/ Yankee soldier of the Civil War. You fought valiantly in the Battle of Gettysburg. You are cold, tired, and hungry, yet before you fall asleep, you must first write a newspaper account of your experiences for your hometown paper. Describe your experience. Give details that are specific and relevant to your experience.
  233. Imagine that someone invented a time travel machine and offered you the opportunity to invite and transport any person to your classroom from any time in the past. If you had your choice of the most interesting person with whom you could share the class day, who would it be? This person could someone from any part of life: politics, military, media, the arts, sports etc. Write a five-paragraph essay to explain how this person could be of benefit and interest to your class.
  234. Invention and technology have always been an important part of changing the way one lives. Things that did not exist when your parents or grandparents were young, now have changed the way most people in this country live. Some of those inventions are large and others are small. No mater what their size, they have altered the lives of the average person today. Think about an invention that came about in the last hundred years or so. Write an essay on how that invention changed the lives of the people. Explain how life was then, how it is different today, and whether the result is positive or negative.
  235. You have studied about the early settlers to this country. You know about the hard times that they encountered and know that most of the settlements survived and prospered. They lived in environments that were often difficult, but they overcame those difficulties. Many of the simple everyday acts required individual creativity and effort. They had to live everyday being resourceful enough to meet their needs and the needs of their family and community. Even at an early age, each member was expected to contribute. Write an essay about how the colonists used their creativity and resourcefulness to survive and succeed.
  236. You probably have read many interesting books or watched an exceptional TV show recently. It probably stands out in your mind for many reasons. It is the kind of show that many people really enjoyed and would not mind watching again. Maybe it was a painless way to learn, perhaps it dealt with a subject that you particularly enjoy. Maybe it stimulated the imagination. Whatever the reasons, you know that many people found it interesting. Choose a book or TV show that that many people enjoyed. Write an essay telling the reader why many people enjoyed it.
  237. Your class has been discussing the problems in our environment such as littering the land and water, using products that cannot be recycled, burning toxic chemicals and other waste products, cutting down trees, filling in the wetlands, and killing rare kinds of birds and animals. Your teacher has asked each of you to choose one problem in our environment, explain why it is a problem, and suggest things that can be done to help solve it.
  238. Your class discussed the different kinds of workers in our society and the things they do to make our community a better place. Your teacher has asked you to choose one type of worker and explain how the work is important to your school, your community, or the country as a whole. Write an essay telling how the work is important for you and your town, the school or the country.
  239. Describe your best friend.
  240. Describe how you make your favorite sandwich.
  241. What this class needs to make it better is...
  242. Describe your favorite place to eat.
  243. We all have favorite objects that we care about and would not want to give up. Think of one object that is important or valuable to you. For example, it could be a book, a piece of clothing, a game, or any object you care about. Write about your favorite object. Be sure to describe the object and explain why it is valuable or important to you.
  244. Regardless of where they live, everybody knows of a special place. Describe your special place, wherever it is. What does it look like? How does it feel to be there? Who shares it with you?

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Contact Paula Barnard at Pioneer Elementary School, Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, WA, USA
Updated 06/17/2005