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You can never really have enough writing prompts, right? Enjoy!
- Imagine you had a hundred dollars, but you couldn’t keep it. You had to give it away to a person or charity. Who would you give it to? Why?
- Imagine you woke up and saw a dinosaur in your backyard. Should you keep it or give it to a zoo? Why?
- Which is better: to be an only child or to have siblings? Why?
- Most parents don’t let their kids paint anything they want on their bedroom walls. Write a convincing argument to your parents explaining why you should be able to paint your bedroom however you want.
- Do you think a monkey would make a good pet? Explain why or why not.
- Imagine you worked at a football stadium. (examples: quarterback, cheerleader, coach, referee, ticket seller) Describe what you think is the best job and why.
- Describe your favorite season (fall, spring, summer, or winter). Convince the reader that your favorite season is the best.
- Imagine a company is choosing one kids to visit the moon. Explain why you should be chosen for the trip.
- What is the best superpower to have? Why?
- Imagine a scientist has developed a special potion to make people invisible, but he’s not sure he wants to let people use it. Write an argument convincing the scientist why he should or should not let people use the potion.
- Imagine you want to run for school or class president. Why should your classmates they should vote for you?
- What is your favorite room in your home and why?
- What is the best thing parents can do to their children?
- What three things are most important in your life?
- Which quality best describes your life–exciting, organized, dull–and why?
- Which quality do you dislike most about yourself–laziness, selfishness, childishness–and why?
- Which place would you most like to visit–Africa, China, Alaska–why?
- Which holiday has the most meaning for you-Canada Day, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day–and why?
- Which is least important to you–money, power, fame–and why?
- Which is most important to you–being popular, accomplishing things, being organized–and why?
- Which is your favorite Star Wars character (or other movie/book/t.v. show, etc.)? Why?
- Is it important to be honest? Why or why not?
- Is it important to have good manners? Why or why not?
- Is exercise important? Why or why not?
- Why is it wise to save your money?
- Think of the best teacher you ever had. Why were they a good teacher?
- Do you think there is too much fighting on t.v. Why or why not?
- Do you think it is necessary to spend money to have a good time? Why or why not?
- Does it bother you to be around someone who has bad manners?
- Should there be a dress code in places such as school, restaurants, and places of business? Why or why not?
- Families are important because…
- Would you like to be famous? Why (What would you like to be famous for?) or why not?
- What 3 things have a strong influence on your life?
- Where would you prefer to be right now–mountains, desert, beach–and why?
- Should you have to do chores around the house? Why or why not?
- Should you be required to wear a bike helmet? Why or why not?
- Should skateboards be allowed on sidewalks?
- Where do you think we should go on our class fieldtrip this year? Why?
- Should you have to take tests in school?
- Should cell phones be allowed in school?
- Can television (or videogames) influence your behavior? How?
- Should schools be year-round? Why or why not?
- Should junk food be banned from schools? Why or why not?
- Should students be required to learn a second language? Why or why not?
- What is the best time of day?
- If you could have been someone in history, who would you have been?
- If you could only take 3 people with you on a trip around the world, who would you take and why?
- If you could give any gift in the world, what would you give and to whom?
- If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- If you received any sum of money as a gift, what would you do with it?
- If you could do whatever you wanted to right now, what would you do?
- If you were principal of this school, what would you do?
- If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?
- If you were five years older you would…
- If you were lost in the woods and it got dark, what would you do?
- If it were your job to decide what shows can be on t.v., how would you choose?
- If there were no rules, what do you think would happen?
- If you owned a store, what would you do to discourage people from stealing from you?
- If you could participate in an Olympic event, which one would you choose and why?
- If you could break the Guiness Book of Records it would be for?
- If you had to describe yourself as a color, which would you choose?
- If your friend told you of a secret plan to run away from home, what would you do and why?
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Phew. That was a mouthful! I didn't think 10 writing prompts would be that long...
One thing you'll notice is that all of the writing prompts provide the students with an authentic situation. These are all plausible things that could happen to a third grade student. As Paulo Freire would suggest, these are authentic. He or she will have a frame of reference to think about the question, and it's framed in terms of a person or group that the student already interacts with - parents, teachers, principals, etc.
All students would benefit from authentic and meaningful writing tasks, but this especially true of younger students who have trouble grappling with abstract concepts. If you need more ideas, you could try looking through this list of persuasive essay topics about school rules and see if you could adapt them for a younger audience.
You'll also want to think about how your students can organize their writing. Essay mapping and outlining is an equally important skill, and as your students get older they will need to be able to organize their thoughts into multiple, discrete paragraphs. An essay map, like this online graphic organizer, may useful in helping them organize different reasons to support their argument.
Good luck, and happy writing to you and your third graders!