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100 creative 6th Grade Writing Prompts
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100 Creative 6 th Grade Writing Prompts
Sixth grade is the right time to introduce students to activities that promote self-expression and improves their overall writing skills. In this post, we have come up with a list of 100 writing prompts — from storytelling and expository to research and creative writing prompts — to help students tap into their creativity and hone their writing skills.
In this post, we have for you:
- Storytelling writing prompts
- Research writing prompts
- Reflective writing prompts
- Narrative writing prompts
- Expository writing prompts
- Procedural writing prompts
- Creative writing prompts
So, let’s put this show on the road.
Storytelling writing prompts for 6 th grade
- When we found that the grandpa’s closet opens up to a deep forest, we decided to…
- As I was walking around the local park, a dog came up to me and said, “You have got to listen to my story.” And then he began speaking…
- The most surprising thing we have found in our school was…
- As I was cleaning the attic in my grandparent’s house, I found the genie’s lamp. I decided to…
- My brother and I were in the first fight ever. It all began when…
- Our dream family vacation to… got canceled my younger brother woke up with…
- As the world’s first 12-year scientist, I need to share my invention…
- My first road trip with my dad didn’t go as per the plan. First…
- When Lucy opened her lunch box, she couldn’t help exclaiming “Ugh” because the food looked as gross as…
- I got the biggest surprise of my life when my dog…
- I had never laid eyes on a dragon until that morning when our school took us to the nearby jungle as part of a trekking tour.
- I woke up one morning only to find I have been turned into a big bug. While I was still coming to terms with this, my mother shouted, “Hurry up or you’ll be late for the school.” So I did what I had to do, which was…
Research writing prompts for 6 th grade
- How much time do students spend on the internet?
- How much screen time students have per day?
- Does social media makes peer pressure worse?
- How long can human beings survive without water?
- How long can human beings survive without food?
- How long can fish survive out of water?
- Research your dream career? Mention all the things you must do to achieve it.
- Research the childhood of your favorite writer?
- When, why, and how was your country founded?
- How long camels can go without drinking water? Can they survive long? If yes, how do they manage that?
- How smoking affects your lungs?
- Which has been the most important discovery in the last 50 years?
- What steps can we take to minimize global warming?
- What are civil rights? Who fought for them?
- How do penguins survive in extreme cold?
- Are polar bears good swimmers? If yes, how are they able to swim efficiently in spite of their weight?
- How much food does an elephant needs in a day?
- How shark uses senses to hunt?
Reflective writing prompts for 6 th grade
- Write about a time when you were not able to keep a promise. What had happened? How did you feel?
- What’s the best thing about being in the 6 th grade?
- What’s the worst thing about being in the 6 th grade?
- What has been your biggest learning in the last six months?
- What are the qualities that a good friend must have?
- Write about three qualities you admire in your dad?
- Which sport you like the best and why?
- List your favorite extracurricular activities. What have you learned from them?
- Track the weather for five days? Which was the most comfortable day?
- How students can reduce their screen time?
- Is reading a more satisfying activity than watching television?
- What are the negative effects of social media?
Narrative writing prompts for 6 th Grade
- Do you think you can go three months without the internet?
- Write a letter to your emotional self?
- Is it important for kids to have responsibilities and chores at home?
- What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied at the school?
- Which animal in your opinion represents your personality the most and why?
- Do you like making new friends? Why or why not?
- If you could change one thing about your school, what would it be?
- Write a poem or essay about your parents?
- Describe your favorite family vacation?
- Think about the best day in your life so far. What made the day so memorable?
- Think about the worst day in your life so far. What made the day so miserable?
- Which is your favorite book? How has it impacted you?
- Which your favorite movie? Why do you like it so much?
- Think about your future self. Write about a day in your life, five years from today.
- Tell a family story from the perspective of your mom.
- Who is the fittest person you know? Would you like to become as fit as this person? Why or why not?
- Write about how it feels to spend a night at home alone?
- What are three great things about your school?
- Describe your life if you lived during the Middle Ages?
- What is the biggest problem the world is facing today? How would you solve it?
- How did computers affect our lives?
- Imagine you were asked to pick a new holiday. Describe what you’ll be celebrating and how.
- Could you live without a cell phone for a year? How would you communicate with your friends?
- How hearing and listening are two different things?
- If you could go back in time, which year would you choose?
- You meet a wise man who knows answers to all questions, but you can ask him only one question. What would you ask?
- Who is the oldest person you know?
- Think about a time you were not able to keep a New Year’s resolution? What had happened? Why did you fail?
Expository prompts for 6 th grade
- Describe your favorite short story in your own words.
- Find an interesting story in the newspaper or a local magazine and write it in your own words.
- Write an essay explaining the similarities and differences between you and your sibling or your best friend.
- In what ways Barrack Obama and Abraham Lincoln are similar? In what ways they are different?
- Is life as a sixth grader today different than it was when your parents were studying in the sixth grade? If yes, how it is different.
- Compare and contrast your two close friends.
- How has been your school year so far? What are the main highlights?
- What was the cause of the recent argument you had with your mom or dad? How did it go?
- Compare and contrast two of your most favorite books?
- How is empathy different from sympathy? Explain the concept of empathy?
- How important is to have a hobby? Explain the benefits of having a hobby.
- Explain a problem in your school? How would you solve it?
- How has cell phone changed our lives?
- Is there really something as cell phone addiction? If yes, what it is?
- Gaming addiction is on the rise among kids? How do you think we can tackle this problem effectively?
Procedural writing prompts for 6 th Grade
- Your friend wants to learn how to play your favorite board game. Explain the steps to him or her.
- Explain a grandparent how to use Facebook.
- Explain a reader how to play your favorite computer game.
- Write step-by-step instructions to tie shoelaces.
- Explain a reader how to play your favorite card game.
- Write step-by-step instructions to create a post on Instagram.
- Explain how to complete all the levels of a video game.
- Describe how you get home from school.
Creative writing prompts for 6 th Grade
- If you could spend a week in any holiday destination in the world, where would you go?
- If you had the power to communicate with pets, what conversations would you have?
- Write a poem that describes your family.
- If you could meet one media personality, who would you choose and why?
- If you could change one thing about your country, what would you choose and why?
- You wake up one morning to find that you can fly. What adventures will you have?
- You wake up one morning to find that you have grown taller and your clothes and shoes don’t fit you anymore. What would you do?
We hope these writing prompts will help get your pen or pencil moving. Some of these writing prompts need research, some are intellectually challenging, and some others are fun and creative. If you would like more writing prompts, have a look at this post , which offers tons of additional writing prompts you can use to unleash your writing talent. Good luck!
- Get other writing prompts for kids here :
- 3rd-grade writing prompts
- 4th-grade writing prompts
- 5th-grade writing prompts
- Middle School Writing Prompts
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70+ Fascinating Informative Essay Topics for Kids and Teens
Tell them what you know.
Informative essays are a chance to show what you know. They’re all about informing the reader, without trying to persuade or offer an opinion. Informative writing can include how-to process essays, biographical writing, an in-depth analysis of a topic, research papers, or compare-and-contrast essays . Just remember to stick to the facts, and be clear and descriptive. These informative essay topics offer something for all interests and ages.
How-To Informative Essay Topics
Social studies informative essay topics, science informative essay topics, pop culture informative essay topics.
Teach your reader the steps or process to:
- Cook a recipe
- Set a table
- Make a quilt
- Change a tire
- Start a recycling program
- Play a game
- Build a birdhouse
- Plant a garden
- Make and care for a compost pile
- Care for an animal
- Start a business
- Catch a fish
- Tie a necktie
- Train for a marathon
- Prepare a campsite
- Make a campfire
- Clean a room
- Wrap a gift
- Plan a party
- Kick a bad habit
- Use social media responsibly
- Manage time effectively
- Make a budget
- Describe the life of a world leader.
- How has the role of women in the workplace changed in the last hundred years?
- Explore the current path to becoming an American citizen.
- What are some of the possible ways the pyramids were built?
- Describe a time period in history.
- How does one country’s economy affect another country?
- What is the difference between socialism and communism?
- Explore the benefits and drawbacks of legalizing drugs.
- Describe the political system in a foreign country.
- Explore the causes of a specific war or armed conflict in history.
- How is a new law passed in the United States?
- Give an overview of the history of any country, state, or city.
- Describe the three branches of American government.
- Explain how the American judicial system works.
- Describe the evolution of fashion throughout history.
- Describe a science experiment, including the hypothesis, process, and conclusion.
- Explain what it means to lead a healthy lifestyle.
- What is the relationship between calories and fat?
- What is the physics behind a bicycle?
- How do plants convert sunlight into energy?
- Describe any element from the periodic table, including its makeup and uses.
- What is the difference between a crocodile and an alligator?
- Describe the life cycle of any animal.
- What are the benefits of recycling?
- Describe the life of a prominent scientist.
- Explain what E = mc 2 means.
- Describe any disease, including its symptoms and treatments.
- Why do leaves change color in the fall?
- Explain the difference between climate and weather.
- Describe a specific ecosystem, including the plants and animals that live there.
- Describe the history of video games.
- What are recent trends in the video game industry?
- Describe your favorite superhero.
- Explain the motivations of any fictional villain.
- Describe the life of your favorite celebrity.
- Explore the development and growth of a main character in any book series.
- Describe the process of making a movie or TV show.
- Tell the story of any band, including its founding, successes and challenges, and breakup (if applicable).
- Describe the life of a famous artist.
- Explore the history of Disney World (or any theme park).
- Plan the perfect fantasy football league team.
- Describe popular trends and fads from any decade.
- Explore the history of the Olympics.
- Describe the music of a generation and how it reflected that time.
- Explain the history of the internet.
What are some of your favorite informative essay topics? Come share your ideas in the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .
Plus, check out the big list of essay topics for high school (100+ ideas).
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The Big List of Essay Topics for High School (120+ Ideas!)
Ideas to inspire every young writer! Continue Reading
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50 Engaging 6th Grade Writing Prompts for Thoughtful Essays
Sixth grade marks a big transition in students’ lives. They’re no longer little kids, but they’re not quite teens either–that’s what middle school is all about. To help your students bridge this transition with ease, it’s important to give them plenty of opportunities to practice their writing skills since they’ll be doing a lot of writing in high school and beyond.
Over and above that, writing can be the perfect way for kids to express themselves and explore the world around them. That will only happen if you give them the space to do so, though, so here are 50 engaging 6th-grade writing prompts to help your students get their creative juices flowing.
Narrative Writing Prompts
Narrative writing revolves around telling a story with a plot that has rising action, a climax, and a resolution. These narrative writing prompts will give your 6th-grade students plenty to think about–and write about.
Students will often struggle with where to start their stories. These story starters will help them get past that initial hurdle by giving them some ideas to get their narratives going.
1. I had the biggest fight with my best friend yesterday. It all started when…
2. My first trip to the beach wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be…
3. I’ll never forget the time when I was lost in the city. It was…
4. I had the biggest surprise of my life when…
5. My family went on the craziest road trip last summer. We started out by…
As you guide your students through their writing journey, make sure to encourage them to be creative and have fun with it – but still have them include the essential elements of a story, like rising action, a climax, and a resolution, so that their stories are well-rounded and engaging.
Personal Narrative Prompts
Personal narratives are all about giving students the opportunity to tell their own stories in descriptive ways. Here are writing prompts to get them started.
6. What’s the best (or worst) birthday you’ve ever had? Why was it so great (or terrible)?
7. What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? What made you do it?
8. Think about your future self–where do you see yourself in 1 year? Write about it.
9. Think about the best day you’ve ever had. What made it so special?
10. Describe a time when the weather was really extreme. Describe it.
Reflective Writing Prompts
Reflective writing is a lot like journaling–it gives students the opportunity to process their thoughts and feelings on a given topic. These reflective writing prompts/journal prompts will encourage thoughtful reflection in your students while giving them some fun.
11. Make a list of your favorite things about yourself.
12. Take a walk in nature and describe what you see. What emotions does it evoke in you?
13. Describe your sports or extracurricular activities. What have you learned from them all?
14. Make a list of all the emotions you experience throughout the day.
15. Make a record of your daily objectives. Consider which one was the most simple to accomplish.
Journal prompts are usually effective because they make you think about a certain topic in a different, more introspective way, and so students should be encouraged to approach these writing prompts with open minds and hearts.
Informational Writing Prompts
Informational writing is an essential skill for middle-schoolers, especially as they head into high school and college, where they’ll be expected to write long-form essays rather than fiction. These informational writing prompts will give your students plenty of practice with this type of writing.
Expository writing is a type of nonfiction writing that requires students to investigate an idea, assess evidence, expand on the idea, and present an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. These prompts will help your students hone their expository writing skills.
16. Compare and contrast two of your friends.
17. Choose a challenge at your school. What’s the ideal solution for it?
18. Discuss a problem in a movie you enjoy. What was the outcome of the situation?
19. What was the cause of a recent argument you had? What was the effect?
20. Find an interesting story/narrative in your local newspaper and tell it in your own words.
Next, research writing prompts will help students practice their research skills by investigating a given topic and finding credible sources to support their claims. These research writing prompts will allow your students to conduct investigative research and write about what they’ve found in detail.
21. How long can fish survive without water?
22. What animals are on the verge of extinction?
23. What’s the history of your favorite sport, and how did it develop?
24. What are people’s civil rights, and who has fought for them?
25. Explore your dream career. What skills would you need to succeed in it?
This may be a good time to introduce your students they could use to reference their information and give credit where it’s due. Inform them that not all sources are created equal, and brainstorm some tips for evaluating the credibility of a website.
As their name suggests, procedural writing prompts provide students with the opportunity to write clear and concise instructions on a given topic. These prompts will help your sixth graders learn the essentials of procedural writing.
26. Make a user guide for anything you use frequently (e.g., your computer, smartphone, video game console).
27. Write a set of instructions for cleaning your room.
28. Teach a younger reader how to do homework without wasting time.
29. What’s the quickest way for you to go to the library if you’re in your classroom now?
30. Describe the steps involved in tying a shoe.
Argument Writing Prompts
The next type of writing prompt is argument writing. Argumentative writing is a type of nonfiction writing that requires students to investigate a topic, collect evidence, and assess their findings to defend a point of view while also considering the perspectives of others.
These argumentative writing prompts will give your young writers practice with this type of persuasive writing.
Argumentative Essay Prompts
The most common type of essay prompt on standardized tests is the argumentative essay question since it’s intellectually challenging. In these questions, students will be given a prompt and they’ll be asked to take a position on an issue or topic.
They’ll then need to provide satisfactory evidence from their research to support their position. Here are some prompts to get them started.
31. Should school uniforms be required in all schools?
32. Is it ever okay to break the law?
33. Do you think people should be required to vote? Why or why not?
34. Is Monday through Friday the best school schedule?
35. Is it important to learn science?
Emotional appeals can be a powerful tool in persuasive writing. In these prompts, students will need to use their powers of persuasion and other rhetorical strategies to convince their readers to see their point of view. Here are persuasive prompts to put your students’ powers of persuasion to the test.
36. Make a case for or against year-round schooling.
37. Should there be a limit on the amount of homework students can receive?
38. Persuade your parents to let you choose your own bedtime.
39. What’s the best way to deal with bullies in schools?
40. Who’s the greatest sports athlete of all time?
Poetry prompts are a great way to get your students to write creatively. These prompts will help your students tap into their imaginations and write poems that are both beautiful and moving. Whether in free verse or strict meter, your students will be sure to impress you with their poetic prowess.
41. Write about how you’re feeling right now in a haiku .
42. Create a poem in memory of a book, TV, or film character who has died.
43. Choose an onomatopoeia and use it five times in a poem.
44. Consider a metaphor for the current school year and create a poem about it.
45. Write a friendship poem in which every line includes a rhyme for “friend.”
Creative Writing Prompts
Last but not least, creative writing is all about using imagination to create a piece of writing that’s unlike anything else. This creative writing prompts will help your students tap into their imaginations and write some truly unique pieces revolving around self-expression.
46. If I could have any superpower, it would be…
47. Write about a day in the life of your favorite cartoon character.
48. If you could be a historical figure for a day, who would you choose to be?
49. Write a family story from the perspective of your pet.
50. Invent a new holiday and describe how it’s celebrated.
Jump In : Better prepare your 6th graders for this activity by improving their reading comprehension first! Proceed to read my list of fun comprehension exercises here — 11 Fun 6th Grade Reading Comprehension Activities (& Games) .
Dust Off Those Pencils and Get Ready to Write!
While many students lose motivation as their first middle school year goes on, these 50 6th grade writing prompts will help keep them excited about writing all year long. With tons of different genres and modes of writing to choose from, there’s something here for everyone! So get those pencils sharpened and those minds thinking—it’s time to start writing!
Last Updated on July 24, 2022 by Emily
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35 Meaningful 6th Grade Writing Prompts
May 28, 2021 // by Sean Kivi
Some students start to lose interest in writing in middle school, but this is a critical period for writing and an excellent time to help students discover themselves. Students want to be heard at this age, so we need engaging, and thought-provoking writing prompts to help with this. We have compiled a list of fun writing topics that will elicit emotional and meaningful pieces of writing for your students. Use these 35 sixth grade writing prompts to help your students develop their voices and opinions in writing.
1. How was your first hospital experience?
2. write a poem about a time that you felt outraged., 3. should we teach math in school why or why not, 4. do you think college is worth it why or why not, 5. what would you do if you could not use the internet for a month, 6. what would you do if cell phones stopped working tomorrow, 7. how can we stop an asteroid from hitting the earth, 8. if you could, would you go to live on an alien planet, 9. how do you think leaves would look if they could grow on mars why, 10. write a letter to a friend convincing them to go skydiving., 11. why do you think there are more insects than mammals, 12. if you could build an ecosystem, how would it be, 13. interview a grandparent and report how life was different when they were growing up., 14. interview a doctor and report their experience in the hospital during the covid-19 outbreak., 15. can plants grow in space why or why not, 16. how would the world function without the internet for a day, 17. what do you value most about your family, 18. who is the most important person in your life, 19. what would you do if you were the only person on the planet, 20. what would you do if you had unlimited money, 21. would you ever get a tattoo why or why not, 22. if you owned a country, how would it be, 23. can you tell me a time that you wished you could trade places with another person, 24. which harry potter house do you think best suits your personality and why, 25. whales don’t sing as much as before because of noise from boars on water. write a journal response explaining how we can help the whales sing again., 26. are scorpions spiders or insects why, 27. do blobfish look the same on land as they do at the bottom of the ocean why or why not, 28. do you think time is real why or why not, 29. which do you value more time or money why, 30. if you had to lose one sense, which would you choose to lose and why, 31. write a journal entry outlining what your response to covid would be if you were president., 32. what is your favorite childhood memory, and why, 33. would you rather live a short meaningful life or a long boring life why, 34. convince me that online learning is better than learning in a classroom. , 35. how was your first year of middle school why.
Home » Tips for Teachers » The 9 Best Creative and Argumentative Writing Prompts for 6th Grade
The 9 Best Creative and Argumentative Writing Prompts for 6th Grade
Keeping middle schoolers excited about writing is important. Writing is such an essential skill that students will need as they complete their education and move on to finding a real job.Many middle school-age students, however, often begin seeing writing as something that isn’t fun or worthwhile. Other students get discouraged about their abilities as a writer and may stop trying their best.
Finding the best writing prompts for 6th grade is so important in keeping students excited and writing and seeing it as something that is worth their time.A few years ago, I took a job as a 6th grade writing teacher. I almost immediately noticed that many of my students seemed bored with writing, while others seemed to shut down when asked to write.I searched and found some engaging writing prompts that sparked my students’ interest. What a difference it made! Students that claimed writing was ‘useless’ were now engaged and sharing their work with others!
I’d love to help you bring about this change in your students, too! Continue reading, and I’ll share:
- The 6th grade writing standards →
- Advantages of using writing prompts with your lessons →
- My favorite creative writing prompts for 6th grade →
- My favorite argumentative writing prompts for 6th grade →
5 Creative Writing Prompts for 6th Grade
Providing students with opportunities for creative writing is important. Creative writing can help students process their emotions, build their confidence, express their individuality, and increase their imagination.
Below are some of my favorite creative writing prompts for 6th grade. You can use document cameras in order to follow your student’s writing.
Prompt: When you become disappointed, what do you do to manage your emotions?
Before having students begin writing, brainstorm some possible reactions as a class. These may include crying, breathing deeply, counting to 10, taking a break/removing oneself from the situation. After brainstorming, have students select the strategy (or strategies) that best describe their reactions and write about what they do.
2. Flying Superpower
Prompt: One morning, you wake up and realize that you are suddenly able to fly. What adventures would you like to go on?
This writing prompt will really tap into students’ creativity and imagination. Since flying is something they clearly have never done, they will have to think about all the things that would be possible and choose a few to write about.
3. Letter to Future Self
Prompt: Write a letter to your future self. What would you want yourself to know?
Tell students that they will be writing a letter to themselves to read when they are older. You can either pick an age/milestone (graduating from college, getting their first job, having children, etc.), or allow students to pick. Ask students to think about what they believe would be important to know at that juncture in their life and include it in their letter.
You could also modify this by having students write a letter to their past selves. What would they have wanted to know at the beginning of the school year, before they lost their first tooth, or before they even learned how to walk?
4. No Internet for a Month
Prompt: If there was no internet available for a month, what would you do?
This could be a fun one to do with middle schoolers who are so dependent on technology and the internet. Before students begin writing, get them to brainstorm a list of all the ways their lives are dependent on the internet.
Encourage them to think beyond the ‘obvious’ online game play and video streaming to consider other impacts such as ordering items online or communicating via email with friends and family.
5. Genie in a Bottle
Prompt: You released a genie from her magic bottle, and she said she would give you any talent that you ask for. What talent would you want and why?
This is another great creative writing prompt for sixth graders. They’ll have fun thinking about a talent they would like and what they would like to do with that talent.
4 Argumentative Writing Prompts for 6th Grade
Argumentative writing is another important skill for students to practice and develop. With argumentative writing, students must decide their opinion or position related to an issue and provide reasons that support their position. These reasons should be evidenced based, so research to find the support is often required.
You’ll find some of my favorite argumentative writing prompts to use with 6th grade students below.
Prompt: Which animal makes the best pet? Support your opinion with facts and examples.
I like this writing prompt for introducing students to argumentative writing. The topic of pets is something all students are familiar with, even if they don’t personally own a pet.
You can also use this topic to introduce students to providence factual reasons, versus opinions, to support their answers. For example, if students want to say that a cat is the best pet, a factual reason can’t be that cats are cute. However, they could say something like cats are the best pet because they do not have to be taken outside to go to the bathroom on a cold or rainy day.
2. Teaching Math in School
Prompt: Is it necessary to teach math in school? Why or why not?
I liked using this writing prompt with my 6th graders. Before I had students start, I took an initial poll by having the students raise their hands. Not surprisingly, a fair number of hands went up to vote against teaching math in school.
However, after we discussed the pros and cons of eliminating math instruction and students had to make their final decision before starting on their prompt, a lot of students changed their minds. It was encouraging to see them looking at the stronger reasons for leaving math in the curriculum and letting them outweigh their desire for ‘easier’ school.
3. Screen Time Limits
Prompt: Should parents place limits on how much screen time their children can have? Why or why not?
However, once they start thinking about reasons to limit screen time and examine evidence showing the impact of too much screen time on children, they may change their mind.
4. Conserving Energy
Prompt: What is the most important thing all households should be doing to conserve energy?
This writing prompt can pair nicely with a science unit on energy conservation. Clearly, there are a number of things that families can do to reduce their environmental impact.
However, for this writing prompt, students must decide which one thing is the most important and provide evidence to support their opinion.
Writing Standards for 6th Grade
Sixth graders will continue to build on the knowledge and skills they learned in elementary school. As the first of the middle school years, the writing expectations for sixth grade will be greater than those during the elementary school years.
Sixth grade is a critical year for students in regards to writing and other subject matters. They are transitioning from elementary school to the upper grades and will need the right supports to help them master the grade-level standards.
Below is an overview of the writing standards for 6th grade related to the writing process, writing purposes, writing evaluation, conventions, and research and inquiry.
Students should receive instruction and practice on each stage of the writing process. They should independently implement each of the stages when producing their own written work.
The stages of the writing process that sixth graders are expected to know and use include:
Sixth graders should be composing texts for a variety of purposes and intents. Many of these texts should be at least 500 to 700 words long.
Some of the different forms/intents that students should be writing about in sixth grade include:
- Research Reports
- Responses to Literature
In sixth grade, students should practice evaluating and giving constructive feedback for another student’s wiring.
They should also begin evaluating their own work and identify their strengths and weaknesses as a writer. Then, they should use this information to set persona writing goals for improving their work.
Below are some of the key convention skills that sixth graders should be proficient with:
- Sentence structure
- Cursive or manuscript
Research and Inquiry
Research and inquiry is another important standard for sixth graders to show proficiency with. By the end of the year, students should be able to:
- Compile information from multiple sources to complete a report
- Use graphic organizer to show prior knowledge about a subject
- Create a plan for research and take notes about a topic
- Create appropriate questions to research
- Choose appropriate and authoritative sources
- Locate relevant information from resources
- Summarize the information found from various sources
- Document and cite sources
- Understand and articulate the importance of avoiding plagiarism
Advantages of Writing Prompts at the Lessons
You may be wondering why you should use writing prompts with your sixth graders. There actually are a number of benefits associated with using writing prompts, some of which may surprise you.
A few of the benefits of using writing prompts during your writing instruction include:
- The ability to focus student writing on a specific form of writing (informative, narrative, expository, etc.).
- Giving students the opportunity to practice writing and strengthen their skills as a writer.
- Presenting students with engaging tasks and assignments.
- Helping us as teachers come up with new ideas to get our students interested and engaged.
- You can find many writing prompts online for free, which is always a benefit when you are a teacher.
Got to sub in 6th grade today, the predictions were coming fast and furious for today’s writing prompt. Got to love engaged students! pic.twitter.com/nBfzMxxP0T — Nick Jurrens (@NickJurrens) February 20, 2021
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15 Engaging Explanatory Writing Prompts
When you want your students to practice explanatory writing, present them with one or more of the following prompts, grouped by difficulty. You can also introduce students to the PAST strategy to help them understand what each explanatory prompt is asking them to do.
Beginning Explanatory Prompts (Grades 4–5)
The following explanatory prompts are meant for students who are moving from paragraph writing to essay writing.
1. Defining Friendship
Everyone needs friends. What qualities make someone a good friend? How can you be a friend for someone who needs one? Write an essay that explains ways to be a good friend.
2. A Job for Me
People do all kinds of jobs. Some people build. Others serve. Some teach. Others sell. Some people work on ships at sea, and others in skyscrapers in cities. What kind of job would you like to do? As a future worker, write an essay that names a job you would like, describes the work, and tells why you would like it.
3. An Admirable Person
We all have people we admire. They might be family members or friends. They might be singers, dancers, or actors. They might even be fictional characters. Whom do you admire most? Write an essay that names a person you admire and describes the qualities that make you like the person.
4. Sweet or Spicy?
Most people have a favorite food. What is yours? Is the food a common one that most other kids would know about, or a really special type? Is it sweet or spicy? In an essay, name your favorite food and describe to your classmates how it looks, smells, and tastes. Tell why you like it so much.
5. My Ideal Home
Most people can imagine a dream home. What would yours be? Big or small? In the country or in the city? How many floors? Would it be underground or up in a tree? As a young person, write an essay describing your dream home to a parent or guardian.
Intermediate Explanatory Prompts (Grades 6–8)
The following explanatory prompts are meant for students who do regular multi-paragraph writing.
6. Connectivity Culture
Smartphones, tablet PCs, social media, and constant connectivity are changing the ways that people live, think, work, and connect. How do these technologies shape your life? Are you plugged in or tuned out? Why? Write an essay that explains to your fellow students the ways that you connect digitally and predicts how people will connect in the future.
7. Pets vs. People
Pets are not people. After all, dogs don’t go to school and cats don’t hold down jobs. But pet owners often consider their dogs and cats to be members of their families. In what ways are pets like people and in what ways are they not? Write a comparison-contrast essay explaining the similarities and differences between pets and people.
8. Defining Responsibility
A parent is responsible for taking care of children. A criminal is responsible for committing a crime. And teens are encouraged to make responsible choices. Just what does it mean to be “responsible”? Does it mean something different for young people than for adults? As a young person who is taking on more and more responsibilities, write an essay that defines what responsibility means to you, and explain the idea to those older than you.
9. Unique Celebrations
The Chinese celebrate New Year with a dragon dance. How do you celebrate New Year? What other special days do you observe? In an essay, explain a celebration or ritual that you know about. Tell what is usually done and why. Explain it to a reader who is new to the event.
10. Here's How It's Done
What are you really good at? Perhaps you can sink a free throw every time. Maybe you can identify birds by their songs, or make a very delicious homemade pizza. Think of a particular skill you have and could teach others. Then write an essay describing the process you use to accomplish this special feat. Provide enough detail so your reader can learn how to do the same thing.
Advanced Explanatory Prompts (Grades 9–12)
The following prompts are meant for high-school level writers. Students may need to research the topics in order to respond with sufficient depth and complexity.
11. Addressing Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying involves using technology to harm, intimidate, and embarrass others. One form of cyberbullying called “trolling” occurs when anonymous Internet users intentionally post inflammatory content in an attempt to provoke and upset other users. While much effort has been made to counteract bullying in schools, the online and anonymous nature of cyberbullying makes it difficult to regulate. Write an essay that explains to your fellow students ways to counteract cyberbullying.
12. Moral Dilemmas
Consider a moral dilemma that a character in a novel or other piece of literature must face. It could be an issue you yourself have faced or one that is new to you. Explain what you would do if you were caught in the same situation. Then explain why you would handle it that way.
13. Talking About My Generation
Today’s youth are sometimes perceived as tech savvy, optimistic, and accepting. Other times, they are perceived as spoiled, coddled, and lazy, more interested in checking Instagram than in bearing down and working hard. In an essay, define the general characteristics of your generation. Provide evidence and reasons to support your definition.
14. Fashionable Expressions
Author Sarah MacLean believes “The most confident of women are those who believe in every scrap of fabric they wear.” Indeed, clothing is a form of self-expression for many people. Evaluate the clothing choices that you or someone else (famous or not) makes and explain what these fashion choices express about the person.
15. Comparing Future Career Paths
What do you want to do after you graduate from high school? Attend college? Hone your skills at a trade school? Or go straight into the professional world? Choose two options (college, trade school, job) and write an essay in which you analyze similarities and differences between the two options.
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The State Standards provide a way to evaluate your students' performance.
- LA 12.2.1.b
- LA 12.2.2.a
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6th grade informative writing
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