Middle School Journal Prompts

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 20 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

Middle school is a great time to have students focus on writing, and encourage them to think critically about topics and elaborate on ideas. This lesson includes many examples of writing prompts appropriate for middle school students.

Middle School Writing

'Why do we have to write in our journals every day?' (said in a whining tone.) Middle school teachers probably hear this complaint from students on a regular basis. Nevertheless, it is very important for students to build their writing skills. Written communication is commonly used in business. Writing letters, emails, and file notes are all everyday activities for professionals. As with all skills, the more students practice writing, the more proficient and confident they'll become.

This lesson contains writing prompts perfect for middle schoolers. Prompts that ask 'why' encourage critical thinking. Prompts that ask students to compare two things help them focus their thoughts. The prompts are categorized based on writing style (narrative, informative, or persuasive), and there are also fun and compare/contrast prompts.

Style of Writing

There are three main styles of writing that students may be asked to use on standardized testing and in the adult world. Narratives are stories; they can be made up or based on real events. They should follow a timeline and clearly take a reader from one point to the next. Informative text does just that, inform. These prompts should ask students to talk about and describe a specific subject. Persuasive arguments call for a student to pick a side of a debate and list the reasons why that side is the right one. Middle school is a great age to encourage persuasive writing because it encourages students to make their own judgements and think clearly about controversial topics.

Narrative Prompts

  • Think about the best day you have ever had. Write a narrative about that day and why it was so good. Make sure that you are specific and detailed about the events, so the reader can follow you through the day.
  • Write a story about a boy with an imaginary friend. What does the boy do with the friend? Why does the boy need the friend? Does the imaginary friend stay forever, or leave the boy? Why?
  • You are on an airplane and meet a child from another country. She asks you about a typical school day for you. Write a narrative piece documenting your school day for your new friend. Make sure to include specifics.

Informative Prompts

  • What is the most important characteristic in a friend? Write an essay explaining your answer. Give examples to help support your ideas.
  • Have you ever been on vacation? Where did you go? Would you like to go on a vacation? Where would you go? Write an essay about your favorite place to vacation. Remember to use lots of detail to describe the place, and why you like it so much.
  • Do you have chores at home? What chore is your least favorite, and why? Give examples and details to explain your reasoning.

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