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60 Free Writing Prompts and How to Use Them

My friend Jamie from "Not So Wimpy Teacher" is here to share an amazing freebie for you! Read on to learn more! - Anna

Hey there! It’s Jamie from Not So Wimpy Teacher, and I’ve got a special gift for you today: 60 Free Writing Prompts. There are five prompts for every month of the year. Some are fun, seasonal prompts, and others are evergreen—you or your students can pick and choose and use them any time. I know you’ll find some you and your students love.  

 

This gift is actually a little bit ironic. For years I’ve been known as the writing teacher who hated writing prompts. I made a big deal about how I didn’t use prompts in my classroom and told anyone who would listen why writing prompts are not the best way to teach writing. And I still stand behind my reasons.

 

I believe that when we tell students what to write about, we take away some of their excitement about writing. Nobody likes being told what to write about all the time. It’s hard to enjoy writing when you don’t like the topic. And students don’t work as hard on a piece that is not meaningful to them.

 

Often, when we give kids writing prompts, we aren’t really teaching them how to write. Instead, we are giving them detailed instructions on how to complete one specific project. But the skills aren’t transferable to other writing projects. They also miss out on the opportunity to practice valuable writing skills like learning how to generate topics, conduct research, use evidence, or write exciting leads and interesting details. 

 

And let’s not even talk about how boring it is to read 25 papers about the same topic. 

 

But I also recognize that there are times when writing prompts are really useful! So, along with these 60 free writing prompts I’m giving you, here are my 5 favorite ways to use them.

 

Pre- and Post-Assessments


I like to start and end each writing unit with an on-demand writing assessment. The point of the pre-assessment is to see what skills your students already know. This helps you to choose the correct lessons and provide appropriate support throughout the unit. It also gives you a baseline from which to measure growth. 

 

The post-assessment shows you how much your students learned over the course of the unit. It’s nice to have the pre-assessment for comparison, especially when a student’s final writing project isn’t perfect (so, pretty much always).  

 

Prompts are helpful for these assessments because students only have a limited amount of time to complete the writing sample. You don’t want them to waste half the time trying to decide on a topic. Also, in the case of pre-assessments, students may not even understand a genre well enough to generate their own topic. 

 

Substitute Lesson Plans


Another great time to use writing prompts is in substitute plans. Even if your writing curriculum is straightforward (and most traditional writing curriculum is not), there might be a lesson you want to deliver personally. Or your district might be plagued with a sub shortage, and you have no way of knowing who might step in to cover your class when you’re gone. 

 

Writing prompts are a great way to keep things simple while ensuring your students still practice writing. Your kids will likely enjoy the break from working on their masterpiece. And the sub will appreciate an easy lesson. Your students should be able to complete the prompt pretty independently. All the substitute has to do is monitor their work. They might even get a chance to look ahead at the plans for the next lesson.

 

I always keep a few non-seasonal prompts in my emergency plans folder too, because you just never know.


Bellwork


Bellwork is a great way to help students transition from home to school and keep them occupied at the beginning of the day. In many classrooms, students wander in throughout the morning. Morning work provides a meaningful way for students to stay busy while others are arriving and unpacking. And it gives you time to take care of attendance and other paperwork.  

 

If you’re looking for something simple to add to your morning routine, writing prompts are a great solution. I like to focus on a different activity each day of the week. Try rotating writing prompts into your morning work activities every Friday. With five prompts for each month, you’ll have more than enough to choose from. Students can complete these activities on their own and relatively quickly. Just make sure you don’t let bell work drag on and take time away from reading, writing, or math.

 

Fast Finishers


One student always finishes first and asks, “what do I do now?” You know the one I mean. A fast finisher basket is the answer to keeping her occupied. But the key to making this work is to keep the options in the basket super simple. Your students should know exactly what to do and be able to do it on their own. 

 

Writing prompts make a great addition to a fast finisher basket. Kids often choose to write in their free time, and they enjoy the freedom to write about something different than what they are working on in writing workshop. Prompts make it easy for them to choose a different topic. Try rotating four or five prompts each month. You don’t have to grade these pieces, but students still get extra practice writing. 


60 FREE Writing Prompts


To make your life easier, I created an entire year’s worth of writing prompts for you to use in your classroom. Click here to download your 60 FREE Writing Prompts. You’ll receive them in two formats: Google Slides and a printable PDF. This will make it even easier to use in your classroom! You can display them on your whiteboard, assign them in Google Classroom, or print and copy them. Easy! I even included an editable template for you to create your own. I hope you enjoy them!

 

Have a Not So Wimpy day,

 

Jamie Sears


Springtime in the Classroom

Is there anything better than a warm spring day after a long, cold winter? I want to share some of my favorite springtime activities to use with your students! 
By the spring, most 3rd graders have worked hard to learn and master their multiplication facts! One of my favorite activities are these multiply & color pages (also has some division pages). They were always a hit with my students. They can make a fun hallway display, or they work perfectly for a sub folder! You can find these pages HERE in my TPT store! 

Another fun idea is to host a multiplication egg hunt. Buy a few packs of plastic eggs and mix/match the colors. Use a sharpie to write multiplication problems on one side and answers on the other. Then take your kids outside to the playground or a grassy area. Separate the egg halves and toss them around. Then, let students hunt around searching for the answer to each problem. They love it! Plus it's a great opportunity to go outside. 
We always learned about weather during the springtime! One of my favorite activities is creating water cycle bags. All you need are ziplocks, sharpies, water, blue food dye, and box tape. After we learn the steps of the water cycle, I give students a sharpie and ziplock. They draw the water cycle on their baggie. Next, put a few drops of blue food dye in the bag and add some water. I use box tape to hang them in our classroom windows (box tape holds up well so the bags won't fall!). Then watch the water cycle in action! The kids were obsessed with checking them daily! 

With our weather unit we also learned about different kinds of severe weather and how to prepare for each. I let students choose a type of weather-- and they did research using books from our library and online books (Myon or Epic). Then each student filled out a severe weather brochure. You can find these FREE brochures in my Free Resource Library
Our last unit in social studies usually involved maps! For one project we mixed up large batches of salt dough-- then I gave each student a paper copy of the state of Missouri. They shaped their lump of dough on the paper to fit the map. Once the salt dough dried (took a day or so)-- we used different colored paints to show the regions of Missouri (which also tied into our 3rd grade state standards). The kids LOVED this activity! 

Lastly, we learned about map keys and used the first letter of our names to create "Me Islands". The kids had to think of things they loved and turn it into symbols for a map. They also had to fill in the compass rose. Find this project for FREE in my resource library

If you want to save these ideas use the image below to save it on Pinterest! I hope you have a great spring full of lots of fun with your students!

Celebrating Valentine's Day in the Classroom

I LOVE celebrating Valentine's Day with my students! It's such a fun time for them-- plus, all those adorable tiny cards full of puns! Unfortunately some teachers dread this day, so I'm here to offer some fun ideas to keep your kids engaged and excited! 

KINDNESS BULLETIN BOARD
I use this bulletin board as a study in adjectives AND kindness! Each student randomly draws a name and has to list adjectives to describe that person. I have my kids keep their person a secret-- and I usually display a page of adjectives (we discuss any unknown words) to help them get started! The entire process is easy-- makes a FABULOUS bulletin board display-- and it is FREE. Click here to read more in-depth directions and get the free printables to help you get started! 

VIRTUAL LEARNING
If you find yourself teaching virtually on Valentine's Day, I have some bright and colorful Google slides to help you out! This product also comes with editable PowerPoint slides (in case you want to create your own slides or use them in person). I have a growing holiday/season bundle -- so you can save money by purchasing that-- or you can buy the Valentine slides separately! Click HERE or on the pic above to see more! 

VALENTINE MATH IDEAS
I LOVE using these math centers with my 3rd graders. Such a fun way to sneak in math practice while letting them play games and complete various tasks! Plus, once you get everything prepped you will have it ready for every Valentine's Day. This download comes with 8 different centers that cover:
  • 3 Digit Addition & Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • 2 Step Word Problems
  • Time to the minute/Elapsed Time
  • Area
  • Perimeter
  • Graphing (bar graphs)
  • Fractions

Another activity my students love are these multiply and color pages! Also helpful to keep in a sub folder (just in case you need emergency plans)!


VALENTINE BAG CRAFT

One thing I have my students do every year is create a Valentine bag to hold all their treats and cards. We usually do this at the beginning of the day (or even the day before) so that we can get started on passing out cards early! A few days ahead of time, I let students choose which animal they want to create-- that way I can have the correct number of copies! 

Click HERE to see the bags I purchase off of Amazon (please note this is an affiliate link)-- they are super sturdy and can hold a lot! 

VALENTINE BEHAVIOR NOTE FREEBIE
One last way I like to celebrate with my kids is by celebrating their amazing behavior all month long! I print off a set of these notes-- and every day I pick a student who I felt did an incredible job the day before. I write a little note on the back and leave it on their desk with a small prize (candy, play-doh, pencil, eraser, etc.) I use a tiny mailbox from Target to keep it in. The student returns the mailbox, but keeps what's inside. They were always so excited to come in and see who had the mailbox on their desk! 
Find those FREE printable notes HERE in my TPT store!

However you choose to celebrate in your classroom-- I hope this post was able to give you some fun, new ideas! Have a great day! 
PIN THIS TO SAVE THESE IDEAS FOR THE FUTURE:

Hipster Animal Decor

 I am so excited to present one of my all-time favorite decor sets: Hipster Animals! 
I put a ton of time and effort into my decor bundles-- printing and trying out most of the items before posting them! I include a ton of editable options, so if you feel like something is missing you can most likely create it yourself! I will add where I purchased most of the storage items at the end of this post!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

A lot of the pieces in this bundle can be purchased individually, but you will save money by bundling (but it's really about what fits your needs). Some of the items included are:
*Editable binder covers and spines
*Class birthday display
*3 Drawer labels
*Editable book bin labels
*Large wall calendar
*Editable class job display
*Editable clip chart
*Editable class rules
*Editable labels
*Editable schedule cards
*Editable teacher toolbox labels
*Motivational posters
*"Work Coming Soon!" Posters
*Google Slide Templates
*Welcome Bulletin Board Kit
This bundle also comes with exclusive freebies (things you can only get with the purchase of the bundle)! Some of them include: 
*Place value display
*10 Frame posters
*Cursive and print alphabet lines
*Editable blank posters
*Crayon box numbers
*Editable alphabet posters
*Editable banners
*Motivational mini posters
*Watercolor number line
I think kids (and teachers) will LOVE looking at this theme all year long! If you are teaching from home you can definitely still use pieces and hang them for a display as you teach from your computer! 

You can find the decor bundle HERE (or clicking any of the photos in this post). 
Additional items I used:

*3 Inch Binders

*Plastic Storage Tubs

*Black Teacher Toolbox

*Teal Book Bins

*Birthday Cups Post & Links  

*White 8 Cube Shelf

*Grey Baskets: IKEA

*'Try Your Best' Sign: Simply Stained Shop on Etsy

*Bulletin Board: Hobby Lobby

*White Picture Frames: Walmart

*Teal Supply Caddy: Walmart

*3 Drawer Organizer (white): Walmart


I hope you have a great day! 

Easy DIY Baby Closet Prep

Hey everyone! Not my usual "teacher" post here-- but I wanted to share a recent project! If you didn't know, my husband and I are expecting our first child in November! Super exciting-- but also super scary! One thing I'm doing to ease my anxiety is to make sure we are prepped for our girl! 

So I decided to make these closet clothing divider hangers! I don't plan to hang all her clothing-- just the fancier items. I couldn't find a pattern to match the colors I want to use in her nursery (blush, navy, and white)-- so I made my own! 
I simply printed on cardstock and used my home laminator to make them a little more sturdy (although I think they would've been sturdy enough without the lamination #teacherproblems) Then I cut each hanger out-- and added a cut on the side of the circle so it could slip onto the closet rail. 

I thought I would share this project with future or current moms/dads! So you can download the file for FREE right HERE

I hope you're having a great day! Thanks for stopping by! 

Reading Raffle


Looking for an easy way to celebrate reading? I use a "Reading Raffle" in my room! Here is how it works: 

1. Print off the Reading Raffle FREEBIE from my tpt store. Choose which style of slip you like most and copy using bright/colorful paper (I love using Astrobrights!)
2. Find a box, bucket, or container and attach a "Reading Raffle" label
3.  Decide on the rules to enter your raffle. Here are some ideas: Turning in a nightly reading log; Finishing a chapter or picture book; Passing an AR quiz; Passing a Reading Counts quiz; Answering questions correctly during Reading class (there are many possibilities-- you just need to decide what's going to work best for you and your students)

4. Decide how often you will hold the raffle (and how many names you will draw). I have mine every Friday afternoon-- the kids ask all day long because they are looking forward to it!

5. Lastly, decide what to use as a prize. Some teachers collect odds and ends from home (like old toys, books, etc.) to give away. Maybe you let the reader choose a $1 Scholastic book? I let my students choose a prize from our Dojo Rewards. Here is a post I wrote about some reward ideas-- feel free to browse! 
I hope this helps to stir up some reading excitement in your classroom-- I know it's been great in mine! Have a fabulous day! 

Setting Up Classroom Rules & Expectations

If you are a teacher you NEED to have your classroom management plan in mind (make it THE priority at the beginning of the year) In order for any learning to take place in any classroom-- there has to be rules and expectations. I like to make a list of the behaviors I value-- and think about the things that bother me. 

A well run classroom will always have a firm classroom management plan. You can create your rules ahead of time, or work with your students to write them (this can also help with student buy in). Ownership = more happiness!

I like to begin the first day of school with these activities (which I have linked below): 
Also, it's important to display your classroom rules for students (and guest teachers) to see. I go over my rules every day for the first few weeks-- and then at least once a week as a quick reminder. 
Once we establish our classroom rules and have those on display-- we move on to what type of classroom environment we want-- so we work on creating a classroom pledge! 
Your pledge doesn't have to be long-- but you should definitely include the behaviors most important to you and your students. 

Here's an example of a few pledge sentences:
Work with your students to set up the type of classroom you've always dreamed of having! Then, and this is important, stick to your rules and pledge. Hold them accountable. Practice, practice, practice. Be consistent and fair. And watch your classroom flourish!

Click HERE (or on the picture below) to access this resource for FREE in my free resource library! 

Click HERE (or on the picture below) to access the editable hipster dog rules: 

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