Expressive Writing Prompts for Middle School

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

As a teacher of middle school students, you may be interested in helping them express themselves without inhibition. This lesson provides expressive writing prompts that you can use with young adolescents.

Teaching with Expressive Writing

Are you someone who teaches or works with middle school students? If so, then you know what a tangle of emotions these young people can experience. Middle school students are often in the process of formulating their identities and working out a variety of complicated thoughts and feelings. One thing that can help with this is expressive writing.

Expressive writing is personal or emotional in nature, and when students do expressive writing, they do not have to worry about spelling, punctuation, or other conventions. The purpose of expressive writing is for the writer to speak from what is inside him or her without undue concern about how the audience will perceive or respond to the writing.

The prompts in this lesson are designed to help students at the middle-school level write expressively.

Prompts About Emotions

Middle school students often experience a wide array of emotions and may have few opportunities to sort them out. This section contains prompts for helping students work through their emotions.

  • Write about your happiest memory from when you were a small child. Why is this memory so happy? What did it mean to you to feel happy in this way?
  • Who is someone that makes you angry? What does the person do to make you feel that way? What does anger feel like to you?
  • Write about something that happened in your past to make you feel sad. Tell it like a story with an emphasis on the emotion of sadness.
  • What is a time that you feel jealous of someone else? What exactly are you jealous of? Describe an experience with jealousy.
  • Tell a story about a memory when you felt really frustrated with yourself. Write about what happened, how you felt, and how you handled the feeling.
  • Write about a place that makes you feel very peaceful inside yourself. Describe the place in detail and explain why it makes you feel at peace.

Prompts About Beliefs

Many students in middle school are articulating beliefs and philosophies in new ways for the first time in their lives. The prompts in this section help your middle school students work out and describe their personal belief systems.

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