Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers
We Are Teachers
10 Fresh Writing Prompts for High School English
They won’t be able to put their pens down.
By the time students walk in the door of our secondary ELA classrooms, they’re not exactly new to writing assignments. They’ve done autobiographies. Short stories. Love stories. Scary stories. They’ve journaled and summarized and analyzed. So how do we bring the spark back into writing for them? What can we secondary teachers offer in terms of fresh and exciting writing prompts and assignments? Here are 10 writing prompts for high school students to get them excited about writing in the new year.
1. The TED Talk
There are a lot of amazing TED Talks out there that students love. Launch a TED Talk unit by showing this one, from Tim Urban, called “ Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator .” Talk about what makes it powerful. Have students create TED Talks of their own, sharing a startling story, a piece of wisdom, or an idea from their own lives. Wrap it all up with a mock TED conference at your school, inviting parents, other classes, and administrators, if you wish.
2. Video Writing Prompts
If you’re looking for some unusual, short and sweet writing options, check out John Spencer’s Creative Writing Prompts for Students playlist. It features short videos meant to inspire students to think in creative ways. With clips like “What Are Five Things You Want Your Teacher to Know About You?” and “Invent a New Class,” these short pieces can also help you learn more about your writers.
3. Love Poems
What teenager doesn’t harbor some (not so) secret crush? Creating a unit around great love poems, both canonical and modern (e.g. spoken word poetry like this ), will help students get excited about writing their own love poems. Explore various forms, from haiku to sonnet to totally free expression, then create a class anthology of love poems, including both the greats and selections from your own writers.
4. Graduation Speeches
We’ve all sat in the audience of a graduation and wondered what we would talk about if we were on stage speaking. Give students the chance to find out. As the year comes to a close, invite them to write their own charge to the graduating class. What would they say to inspire the seniors? Something to make them laugh? Something to make them cry? Consider having your class vote on the top three pieces and printing them to give to the graduates.
5. Choice Blogging
Students always perk up for an authentic audience and a connection to the real world. Introduce them to one of the many free blogging platforms and let them blog about a topic that truly interests them. Choice blogging makes a great genius-hour option. You can devote one day a week (or every other week) to letting students write about their passions on their own blogs, simply by assigning a different topic each week. Start with list posts, review posts, news posts, video posts, and top-ten posts. Eventually, you can let them choose their own format, as long as they produce a post each week. You can find a full walk-through for setting up this type of project in my own blog post, “ A Beginner’s Guide to Student Blogging .”
6. Fold and Pass
When you try the fold and pass, you’re guaranteed to end up with some very surprising stories. Ask each student to begin a story on a blank piece of paper, introducing a main character. After a while, have them stop and fold their paper then trade with another student. You want the next person to only be able to see the last couple of lines of the beginning. In this next round, everyone will write the middle of the story, taking the character into some kind of conflict before moving the story toward resolution. Finally, have those students fold their papers so only a few lines are visible and trade with another student. When the next writers begin, let them know that they should bring the stories to an end. Then they should return the story to the original writer. The results will no doubt make everyone laugh. This is a great activity for when students need a bit of a break but you still want to keep them writing and building community in your classroom.
This writing assignment is not for the faint of heart! The NANOWRIMO challenge invites anyone interested in writing a novel to do so in one month (November). If you’re interested in exploring this ambitious mission with your students, their site is full of helpful information. You could also do a spin-off, asking students to write a novella in a month or perhaps a short story a day for seven days. Take the idea of a big and exciting challenge and make it work for your classroom.
8. “This I Believe” Essays
If you’ve never heard NPR’s old radio series “This I Believe,” it’s a great listen. People from around the country sent in short essays expressing a core belief, which could be as funny and simple as: I believe in the pizza delivery guy. Along with sharing a belief, writers gave specific, vibrant examples of why they held that belief and how they came to have it. It’s an easy format that helps students develop their ability to support claims and write with specific and powerful descriptions. NPR has already created a complete curriculum that is ready and waiting for you to use.
9. Letters to Students Far, Far Away
Several years ago, I taught in Bulgaria, and I loved connecting my students there to students in the United States. We did several projects involving writing back and forth about our views and ourselves.
Finding a collaborative classroom partner gives your students a real reason to write, new friends, and the chance to break down some boundaries. Try connecting your classroom to one in another country or even just in another part of the US. Join a Facebook group for teachers (like one of these ) and make a post to find a partner.
Seriously. I’m not kidding. During their lives, your students will probably write a gazillion emails. Why not teach them how to write a good one? Take back electronic communication from the clutches of sentence fragments, emoticons, and confusing demands. I love this post from teachwriting.org, which features ideas for how to get started with an email etiquette unit.
What are your favorite writing prompts for high school? Share them in the comments below!
I love to help high school English teachers innovate. Check out The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast on iTunes for creative teaching strategies delivered on the go, or get my popular pack of free one-pager templates with complete instructions at http://bit.ly/onepagersuccess.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
In order to continue enjoying our site, we ask that you confirm your identity as a human. Thank you very much for your cooperation.
Here you can find activities to practise your writing skills. You can improve your writing by understanding model texts and how they're organised.
The learning materials in this section are written and organised by level. There are different types of model texts, with writing tips and interactive exercises that practise the writing skills you need to do well at school, get good marks in your tests and exams, and get more out of your free-time activities.
Take our free online English test to find out which level to choose. Select your level, from beginner (CEFR level A1) to advanced (CEFR level C1), and improve your writing skills at any time and at your own speed.
Choose a level
Are you an elementary (CEFR level A1) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you a pre-intermediate (CEFR level A2) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you an intermediate (CEFR level B1) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you an upper intermediate (CEFR level B2) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Are you an advanced (CEFR level C1) learner of English? Practise and improve your writing skills with these texts and exercises.
Sign up to our newsletter for LearnEnglish Teens
- Our Mission
4 Engaging Writing Tasks for High School Students
Short, authentic writing tasks can encourage high school students to compose richer long pieces.
It’s quite likely that many of your students dislike writing. After all, they’re often expected to compose lengthy pieces that typically require lots of brainstorming, researching, planning, outlining, drafting, revising, and editing—and that can be exhausting. My class of high school boys had the same attitude, and their short, underdeveloped, and passionless pieces were most telling. I had to overhaul my approach.
During my quest for an alternative practice, I quickly learned that by building students’ knowledge about the topic on which they are expected to compose, and by initially assigning them shorter and more authentic writing tasks, we can successfully motivate them to write longer, richer, and more compelling multiparagraph pieces. Yes, baby steps—from a creep to a stable walk—can work wonders.
Incorporate Knowledge-Building Activities
Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler said it best in The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades : “Writing and content knowledge are intimately related. You can’t write well about something you don’t know well. The more students know about a topic before they begin to write, the better they will be able to write about it.”
Documentaries, podcasts, TED Talks, and other authentic and engaging audiovisuals can facilitate this knowledge building. Field trips, as well as interviews with relevant community-based experts, can also offer students significant fodder for their writing.
Moreover, when students have interesting discoveries to share, they’ll be excited about the writing tasks, and their compositions are likely to be longer, more detailed, more affecting, and more compelling. Because they have a rich knowledge bank, they’re less likely to get stuck and frustrated as they write. Knowledge stimulates ideas.
But information gathering is not all. It’s also important to show students how to use the newly learned content. We don’t want them to plagiarize information or inadvertently silence their own voices by over-quoting others. Their research should enhance what they write, not substitute for their initial thoughts or suppress their creativity.
What can you do then?
Go beyond lessons in citation format. Model, through write-aloud, how to make decisions about the content included in written work, how to paraphrase and summarize from the original source, and how to ensure that the added content actually strengthens what you already have.
Offer Authentically Rooted Writing Assignments
Finally, make sure that the writing assignments are authentic—with realistic, real-world communicative goals and true-to-life audiences (not just the classroom teacher). Here are some suggestions that you can implement in your teaching practice:
Travel blogs: Take students on virtual field trips. Nearpod , Google Earth, and YouTube are excellent for this. Following this activity, have students write a blog post to describe the place they visited. If your students have visited resorts or attraction sites locally, they could write about that experience, recommend activities for prospective visitors, and simultaneously persuade them to visit when it is safe to do so.
Their insights might even persuade others to travel to this site. Students could use pictures to supplement their writing. They could also convert their written piece into a mini-video production for a real or imagined YouTube channel that promotes exotic getaways. Their composition would become the audio narration, and, with some background reggae, R & B, or any other culturally popular music, their piece would be beautifully transformed into a riveting marketing pitch.
Movie reviews: Due to the pandemic, we know that many of our students may be watching far more movies than ever before. Therefore, let’s repurpose this social activity and use what they love or do for pleasure to help them refine a key academic skill. Have students write a review of their most recently watched or favorite film.
Prompt them to provide a summary of the movie, share their impressions of major characters and the plot’s unfolding, and examine the techniques used to create suspense and mounting tension. Later, when they’re writing their own narratives or putting on drama productions, they can adopt and adapt some of these techniques.
Song or music video reviews: Some students enjoy listening to music, so a song or music video review could also motivate them and facilitate interest-based differentiation. State where the review may be published—a local tabloid, a social media page, etc. Have students keep that in mind as they write so that their finished pieces are authentic and fitting for the context and audience intended.
Social media: Based on your content area, you could have students make discipline-specific posts and write related captions. For instance, if you are looking at rocks in geography or soil types in science, have students photograph different types and post related descriptive or explanatory captions. They’ll be learning and teaching concurrently.
Provide Mentor Texts
These activities are exciting, but before you scuttle off to assign them, find or create models of the kinds of writing that you want your students to produce. Discuss the sample by prompting students to keenly attend to the content and the writer’s craft (style and techniques) throughout the piece.
Finally, make arrangements to have your students publish their pieces—through a safe online space or through an in-school magazine or newsletter—for authenticity at its finest.
- Updates directly from our programmes. See what past and present participants have been up to with Immerse.
- Free literature and study guide downloads, including our recommended reading lists for university applications.
- Unparalleled academic experiences in inspirational locations. Enrol Now
- Embark on an online journey of academic discovery. Enrol Now
Creative Writing Prompts For High School Students – 12 Categories
Are you a high school student struggling to find inspiration for your creative writing assignments? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a rut and can’t seem to come up with new and exciting ideas? If so, you’re not alone.
Many students struggle with coming up with ideas for creative writing, especially when they feel pressure to produce something original and engaging.
But the good news is that there are ways to break through the block and find inspiration for your writing.
For instance, by attending our award-winning creative writing summer programme , you’ll learn how to conquer the fear of the blank page. How? By learning proven formulas for creating brilliant stories.
Another way to have that creative spark is to use creative writing prompts.
This article will provide creative high school students like yourself with a list of creative writing prompts. So you’ll get the inspiration you need to get into the flow and start writing!
What are Writing Prompts?
Writing prompts are ideas that help writers overcome writer’s block and get started with their writing. They can come in various forms, including a
- Or series of questions.
Creative writing prompts get your creative juices flowing. When you encounter a writing prompt, it encourages you to start writing!
What types of writing, you ask? It can be anything from fiction writing to essay writing. Creative writing prompts are even used to get you started with freewriting in your daily journal.
So you see, many writers find writing prompts a quick and easy way to begin a new writing project. Or to overcome writer’s block when they are stuck.
How Do You Use Writing Prompts?
There are many different ways to use writing prompts. Here are a few ideas:
Use writing prompts to start a new writing project.
Are you having trouble coming up with ideas for a new writing project? Try using a writing prompt to get started. You can use a writing prompt as the starting point for a
- Short story
- Essay, or any other type of writing.
Use writing prompts to overcome writer’s block.
Stuck on a particular piece of writing and can’t seem to move forward? Use writing prompts to brainstorm on how to proceed!
Use writing prompts to practice your writing skills.
As the old adage says, practice makes perfect! You can use writing prompts to practice different writing techniques or styles. Or try out different writing genres!
Use writing prompts to challenge yourself.
You can use writing prompts to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try writing about things you might not usually write about.
Say your comfort zone is writing fantasy stories. And you want to try something new. Why not use scary writing prompts as a starting point?
To use a writing prompt, choose a prompt that interests you and start writing. There are no hard and fast rules about how to use writing prompts – the important thing is to just start writing and see where the prompt takes you!
Creative Writing Prompts High School Students will Love
Write a story about a character who:
- discovers a mysterious, abandoned house in the woods
- suddenly gains the power of time travel
- has to confront their greatest fear
- is given the opportunity to live in a different time period
- discovers a secret underground society
- is given a magical object that can grant wishes.
Or, check out the other prompts too:
- Write a poem about a summer day you will never forget.
- Imagine that you are stranded on a deserted island. Write a story about your experience.
- Write a letter to your future self ten years from now.
- Imagine that you are a detective trying to solve a mysterious crime. Write a story about your investigation.
Creative High School Poetry Writing Prompts
Write a poem about a/an:
- summer romance you will never forget
- memorable experience you had with a friend
- place that holds special meaning for you
- moment of clarity or realisation that you had
- person who has had a significant impact on your life
- object that holds special meaning for you
- dream that you had and can’t seem to forget
- time when you felt completely lost
- time when you felt completely free
- moment of beauty that you witnessed
Writing Prompts with an Element of Suspense
- is being stalked by an unknown assailant
- wakes up with no memory of the past 24 hours
- receives a series of mysterious, threatening letters
- discovers a hidden room in their house filled with grotesque objects
- is trapped in a strange, unfamiliar place
- is being pursued by a dangerous, unknown entity
- is being watched by an unknown pair of eyes
- is being followed by a shadowy figure
- hears strange noises in the middle of the night
- finds a mysterious, unmarked package on their doorstep
Writing Prompts for Stories That Start with Dialogue
Start your story with a conversation between two characters who are:
- meeting for the first time
- meeting each other for the first time in ten years after graduation
- trying to solve a problem
- discussing a secret
- trying to keep a secret from someone else
- discussing their future plans
- trying to make amends after a misunderstanding
- reminiscing about the past
- trying to persuade each other of something
Writing Prompts That Ask “What if?”
What if you:
- woke up one morning with the ability to fly? How would you use this ability?
- could time travel? Where would you go and why?
- woke up one day to find that everyone in the world had switched bodies? How would you cope with this?
- could read minds? How would you use this ability?
- suddenly had access to unlimited wealth? How would you use this wealth?
- could talk to animals? How would this change your life?
- were the only person on Earth who knew how to speak a certain language? How would you use this knowledge?
- could turn invisible at will? How would you use this power?
- developed the ability to communicate with the spirits of the dead? How would this change your life?
- could teleport anywhere in the world instantly? How would you use this ability?
Funny Writing Prompts for High School
- wakes up to find that they’ve turned into a giant chicken
- has a magic lamp that grants them absurd wishes
- becomes the world’s worst superhero
- accidentally becomes the president of the United States
- is chased by a giant hamster
- discovers that their reflection is actually an alternate dimension
- becomes a world-famous rapper after a misunderstanding at a karaoke bar
- becomes the world’s worst detective
- is constantly followed by a cloud of bees
- becomes the world’s worst secret agent
Do you have a brother or sister in middle school? Our middle school writing prompts are a great way for them to get into the flow of creative writing effectively.
Journal Prompts for High School Creative Writing
- Write about a time when:
- you felt particularly proud of yourself
- you had to confront your greatest fear
- you had a moment of clarity or realisation
- you felt that life was wonderful
- Write about a place that holds special meaning for you.
- Write about a person who has significantly impacted your life.
- Write about a moment of beauty that you witnessed.
- Write about a dream you had and can’t forget.
- Write about a memorable experience you had with a friend.
Non-Fiction Writing Prompts
Write an essay about a/an:
- significant event in your life and how it has impacted you
- person who has inspired you and why
- current issue that is important to you and why
- time when you had to overcome a challenge and how you did it
- place that you have visited and why it was meaningful to you
- hobby or activity that you are passionate about and why
- book, movie, or TV show that has had a significant impact on you and why
- social issue that you feel strongly about and what you are doing to make a difference
- goal that you have set for yourself and how you plan to achieve it
- person who has made a positive impact on your community and how they did it
Adventurous Short Story Prompts
Write a story about a character who goes on a:
- solo hike in the wilderness and becomes lost
- treasure hunt and faces unexpected challenges along the way
- safari and encounters a rare and dangerous animal
- white water rafting trip and gets stranded in the wilderness
- mountain climbing expedition and faces unexpected challenges
- scuba diving trip and discovers a hidden underwater world
- hot air balloon ride and gets carried away by the wind
- skydiving trip and has to make an emergency landing
- parasailing trip and gets caught in a storm
- snowboarding trip and gets caught in an avalanche
Science Fiction Short Story Prompts
- Write a story about a character who is:
- given a device that can predict the future
- the only survivor of an alien invasion
- recruited by a secret organization to fight against an alien threat
- the only one who can communicate with newly-discovered alien species
- the only one who can stop a group of rebels from taking over the world
- the only one who can save the world from an asteroid heading towards Earth
- the only human on a distant planet
- Write a story about a character who travels through time and encounters their future self.
- Write a story about a character discovering a portal to an alternate dimension.
- Write a story about a character who is given a device that allows them to control time.
Scary Short Story Prompts
- Write a story about a character who is
- being stalked by a demon
- trapped in a haunted house
- haunted by the ghost of a loved one
- terrorized by a clown
- Write a story about a character who
- discovers a cursed object and starts having strange, terrifying experiences
- starts seeing strange, supernatural creatures in their dreams
- hears a lady cry every night, but no one is there
- notices a strange doll appear in their house, not knowing where it came from
- listens to neighbours report they’ve been seeing a toddler running around the house, but your character lives alone
Fantasy Short Story Prompts
- Write a story about a character who
- discovers that they are a witch or wizard with magical powers
- finds out they are the chosen one, destined to save the world from an ancient evil
- realises they are a fairy or other mythical creature
- is given a magical object that can grant wishes
- discovers a magic book with secrets to the universe
- receives a magical potion that transforms them into a different creature
- accidentally stumbles into a world where everything is the opposite of what they know
- gains a legendary staff that gives them the power to control the elements
- enters a magical, mythical land ruled by an evil king
- discovers that they are the reincarnation of a mythical hero
Need more Creative Writing prompts? Check out this article entitled “ 308 Creative Writing Prompts To Unlock Your Writing Skills .”
How Else Can I Improve My Creative Writing Skills?
1. read widely.
Reading improves your writing skills by exposing you to different
- And Techniques you can incorporate into your own writing.
Did you know reading widens your vocabulary? It does! And vocabulary is an essential aspect of effective writing. The more words you know, the more effectively you can communicate your ideas.
Also, reading helps improve your comprehension and critical thinking skills. Both of these are valuable for analysing and synthesising information. So you’ll learn how to present ideas clearly in your writing.
2. Write Regularly…and Don’t Stop!
Think of writing as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes! Writing regularly makes you feel more comfortable and confident.
What’s more, it helps you develop your own voice and style. Once you hone the aspects that make you unique , you’ll stand out more!
Writing regularly also gives you a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. And you’ll be able to refine your writing accordingly.
The more you write, the better you will become at it. So maximise our creative writing prompts and make time to write every day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes!
3. Experiment with Different Writing Styles
Do you know that experimenting with different writing styles and techniques expands your writing skills? Why? Because doing so makes you a versatile writer. Able to adapt your style to different situations and audiences.
For example, writing poems even when you’re not used to poetry-writing forces you to think . To imagine and create! As a result? You get out of your comfort zone and explore. And you’re better able to reimagine your craft.
What are the common writing styles?
- Descriptive – often uses similes and metaphors to help the reader experience the writing (e.g. songs, poems)
- Narrative – flashbacks and foreshadowing are common elements of a narrative style with a clear, fleshed-out plot (e.g. novels)
- Or Persuasive writing – convinces the reader to believe what the writer believes (e.g. essays, sales copy)
4. Join a Writing Community!
What better way to keep you motivated than by joining a writing community? A writing community provides support and encouragement. Being surrounded by like-minded folks passionate about writing can be a great source of inspiration!
Plus, you’ll be exposed to different writing styles and techniques. Which can help you expand your horizon and help you become a more versatile writer.
Joining a writing community can also be a great way to get feedback on your writing. Helping you identify areas for improvement.
Finally, do you know a writing community can be a great source of information and resources? Members often share valuable writing tips and strategies.
5. Enrol In A Creative Writing Course
What is one of the most effective methods in fast-tracking you to massive improvement in your writing skills? Taking a creative writing course!
Why does taking a creative writing course help you improve your writing skills? Because you’ll learn from experienced writers. While having the opportunity to practice writing under the watchful eye of expert tutors.
Creative writing prompts are useful for high school students looking for inspiration for new and original ideas. You can overcome writer’s block by tapping into your creativity in a new and exciting way.
These prompts will challenge and inspire you. So give them a try and see what amazing stories and ideas you can come up with!
Mental Health Awareness Week 2023: Top Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2023, a focus week that happens every year to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of our own mental health. As many of us know, taking care of our mental health is essential for our overall well-being, and young people are no exception to this. With the increasing […]
Creative Writing Prompts For Middle School Students
Creative Writing Prompts for middle school students is a fun list to help unmotivated and uninspired students use their imagination. Do you know one of the major reasons why students struggle with their writing growth is a lack of inspiration and guidance? This can result in low creative thinking leading to lower-quality work and poor […]
Best Apps For Students – 27 Useful Apps 
As a student, you know just how overwhelming the daily responsibilities can be. From school work to extracurricular activities, it’s easy to feel like there’s just not enough time in the day. And with smartphones always within reach, it’s even harder to stay focused and organized. In fact, studies show that the average teenager spends […]
How Hard Is Chemistry A-Level? What Makes It Hard?
Chemistry a-level is extremely hard compared to other subjects, with only 13.6% achieving an A* in 2022 and 24.4% getting an A. Many students struggle with chemistry in school and wonder if they have what it takes to handle the rigours of an A-Level chemistry course. The A-Level Chemistry curriculum is known to be challenging, […]
How To Deal With A Lot Of Homework? 8 Tips
Deadlines can be an incredibly stress-inducing thing. With each passing day, the homework deadlines grow ever closer. But your work output doesn’t seem to keep pace until finally, in a fit of frantic desperation, you complete the majority of the task in the last 3 hours before it’s due. You’re not alone. We have no […]
Subscribe to the Immerse Education newsletter for £100 off your programme*
We’ll send you our company updates and latest news. Subscribe for free by completing the form below.
*Not in conjunction with any other offers
- Name * First Last
- School Name
- School counsellor/advisor
- Educational agent
- First Name *
- Family Name
- Country Afghanistan Åland Islands Albania Algeria American Samoa Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, The Democratic Republic of The Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote D'ivoire Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guam Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and Mcdonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People's Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Marshall Islands Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Micronesia, Federated States of Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands Netherlands Antilles New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Northern Mariana Islands Norway Oman Pakistan Palau Palestinian Territory, Occupied Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Helena Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and The Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and The South Sandwich Islands Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan (ROC) Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States United States Minor Outlying Islands Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela Viet Nam Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
- School Name *
- Phone Number
- I'm a Parent
- I'm a Student
Would you like to receive anything else?
- Residential Syllabus Overviews (ages 13-15)
- Residential Syllabus Overviews (ages 16-18)
- Online Syllabus Overviews (ages 13-18)
- Immerse Education Prospectus 2023
- Career Insights - London Course Guide
- Online Insights Prospectus
- Online Research Programme Prospectus
- Academic Insights - Cambridge & Oxford Prospectus
- Academic Insights Sydney
- Female Future Leaders
- Dates & Fees
- Business Management
- Business Management (Sydney)
- Computer Science
- Creative Writing
- Creative Writing (Sydney)
- Earth Sciences
- Engineering (Sydney)
- Film Studies
- International Relations
- International Relations (Sydney)
- Medicine (Sydney)
- Psychology (Sydney)
- Veterinary Studies (Sydney)
- Architecture & Design (Career Insights)
- Artificial Intelligence
- Business Management (Career Insights)
- Creative Writing & Film (Career Insights)
- Engineering (Career Insights)
- English Literature
- Fine Art (Career Insights)
- Game Design (Career Insights)
- Law (Career Insights)
- Medicine (Career Insights)
- Online Research Programme
- Online Insights
- Combined Science
BEST HIGH SCHOOL WRITING PROMPTS
Join (probably?) the world's largest writing contest. Flex those creative muscles with weekly writing prompts.
Showing 102 prompts reset
Write a story about an unconventional teacher., what was the last daydream that you dreamt while in class (be honest.) turn that into a short story..
Write a story inspired by your favorite Tiktok reel.
You're trapped on a version of groundhog day... and the day that keeps looping for you is the day right before summer break starts., write a letter to your middle school self. what would you want them to know.
Introducing Prompted , a new magazine written by you!
🏆 Featuring 12 prize-winning stories from our community. Download it now for FREE .
Interview your favorite fictional villain. What questions would you ask them?
You have to escape from a house on fire. what are the first three things you grab why, explain a computer to someone from the 16th century., define what trust means to you., write a letter describing yourself and your modern life to a pen pal who lives in the year 1905., subscribe to our prompts newsletter.
Never miss a prompt! Get curated writing inspiration delivered to your inbox each week.
What's your first memory? Describe it on paper using all five senses.
Write a guidebook for someone from outer space who is visiting your neighborhood for the first time., re-write a famous fairy tale from the villain's perspective., would you rather be able to change the past or change the future why, write about a time when you did something without thinking it through., if i were a superhero, i would..., describe the color blue to someone who's never seen it before., write a story that takes place completely in the dark., write an essay about technology, and the role that it plays in your life., "mirror, mirror on the wall. who's the ________ of them all", win $250 in our short story competition 🏆.
We'll send you 5 prompts each week. Respond with your short story and you could win $250!
Contest #201 LIVE
Enter our weekly contest.
This week's theme: K-popular
Contest entries, closes at 23:59 - jun 09, 2023 est, recent contests ✍️.
#200 – Heard it Through the Grapevine
#199 – Strangers in the Night
#198 – Teacher’s Pet
#197 – Fate and Free Will
Recent winners 🏆
Anne Delfosse – read
Zack Powell – read
HR Pinches – read
Delbert Griffith – read
#1 Zilla Babbitt
#2 Deidra Whitt Lovegren
#3 Abigail Airuedomwinya
#4 Scout Tahoe
#5 Thom Brodkin
#6 Graham Kinross
#7 Rayhan Hidayat
#8 Deborah Mercer
#9 Corey Melin
#10 Kathleen March
Tired of MS Word?
Join the revolution and write your book in a tool designed for authors. 🙌
Includes FREE typesetting to print-ready PDF & EPUB files, track changes and collaborative editing.
The best writing prompts for high school
Ah, high school. The birthplace of future geniuses, the setting of a million Young Adult books — and the cutting ground of many a brilliant young author. Writing in the classroom is often the best outlet of creativity for kids, and what better way to get your students excited about it than through creative writing prompts for high school students?
Whether you use journal prompts or story ideas to kickstart your high school student’s imagination, writing prompts are sure to help broaden their thinking, sharpen their writing skills, record their thoughts, and get them to engage with the world around them.
If you're looking to cut to the chase, here's a top ten list of writing prompts for high school students:
- In the form of diary/ journal entries, write about someone who's just experienced a big "first."
- Just then, your phone rings. It's your friend and they have some interesting news...
- Write a short story where the protagonist has a doppelgänger.
- Write a story about a misunderstanding.
- Write a story about a strange family tradition, with at least two characters from the family narrating in the course of the story.
- Write a story about someone who would be described, above all else, as: kind.
- Write a story that centers on an Instagram post.
- Write a story that spans a month during which everything changes.
- Write about a group of people determined to win an award for making the biggest cookie ever.
- Write about someone going to extreme lengths to return an overdue library book.
If you have a high school student who’s interested in becoming an author, check out our free resources on the topic:
Develop a Writing Routine (free course) — Any high schooler who’s serious about becoming a published author should know that writing a book doesn’t just take talent. 90% of the process is sitting in front of a blank piece of paper, and having the drive and commitment to put words to paper. That’s why we created this free course, which shows people of any age how to develop a writing routine that works for you. It’s never too early to start the process today!
Want to encourage your high school students to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest , for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.
Find the perfect editor for your next book
Over 1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them.
Explore more writing prompt ideas:
Adults Writing Prompts ⭢
Adventure Writing Prompts ⭢
Angst Writing Prompts ⭢
Character Writing Prompts ⭢
Christmas Writing Prompts ⭢
Dark Writing Prompts ⭢
Dialogue Writing Prompts ⭢
Dramatic Writing Prompts ⭢
Dystopian Writing Prompts ⭢
Fall Writing Prompts ⭢
Fantasy Writing Prompts ⭢
Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢
Fluff Writing Prompts ⭢
Funny Writing Prompts ⭢
Halloween Writing Prompts ⭢
High School Writing Prompts ⭢
Historical Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢
Holiday Writing Prompts ⭢
Horror Writing Prompts ⭢
Kids Writing Prompts ⭢
Middle School Writing Prompts ⭢
Mystery Writing Prompts ⭢
Narrative Writing Prompts ⭢
Nonfiction Writing Prompts ⭢
Novel Writing Prompts ⭢
Poetry Writing Prompts ⭢
Romance Writing Prompts ⭢
Sad Writing Prompts ⭢
Science Fiction Writing Prompts ⭢
Short Story Writing Prompts ⭢
Spring Writing Prompts ⭢
Summer Writing Prompts ⭢
Teens Writing Prompts ⭢
Thanksgiving Writing Prompts ⭢
Thriller and Suspense Writing Prompts ⭢
Valentine's Day Writing Prompts ⭢
Vampire Writing Prompts ⭢
Winter Writing Prompts ⭢
Oops, you need an account for that!
Log in with your social account:
Or enter your email:
ENGLISH TEACHER RESOURCES
Sent straight to your inbox
CLICK HERE TO ACCESS
Sign up to receive 10 ready-to-use ELA resources your students will love!
10 FREE ELA RESOURCES
Teaching Students How to Annotate Poetry
8 Ways Teachers Can Celebrate Student Success
Bulletin Board Ideas for Middle & High School English
ON THE BLOG
an ELA facebook community
join us in the
Engage your students as soon as they walk into your classroom with my best-selling, full-year bell-ringer set. Each day includes a unique and creative task. Topics include grammar, vocabulary, writing, and figurative language.
Full Year of English Bell-Ringers (Vol 3)
Top categories, i'm bonnie from presto plans.
I’m a curriculum writer, literacy educator, and all around book lover with a passion for helping English teachers engage their students with creative, high-quality resources. My mission? To make teaching English a whole lot easier for you, teacher friend!
5 Outside the Box Creative Writing Assignments for ELA
For some, the idea of creative writing assignments in ELA is exciting. You might have students in your classroom who are regularly honing their writing skills at home, on their own time. On the other hand , you may have some students who haven’t done much creative writing at all. In fact, they might look at writing as less an opportunity and more as a punishment.
Strong creative writing assignments will provide unique challenges and rewards for all of your students . It will provide the necessary framework to help reluctant creative writers and the necessary guidelines to give focus to your most exuberant. It should also not simply focus on the end product, but on the overall creative process, like planning and outlining at the outset, and editing and revision at the end.
Above all, though, a strong creative writing assignment should be interesting to you and your students. It should serve to incite creative passion in your classroom, and that’s why I’m excited to share my 5 favorite outside-the-box creative writing assignments for ELA to inspire even your most reluctant writers.
1. SOUNDTRACK OF YOUR LIFE
Remember mixtapes?! If you don’t, you’re probably far younger than I am. 😉 Well, one of my favorite writing assignments is to get students to make one of their own.
First, you’ll have students choose ten songs that represent them in some way, and then you’ll have them write about their connection to each song. I like to make it really old school and have them separate their choices into Side A and Side B songs as a kind of tracklist. Warning: your students may have no clue what a B-Side song is…
I’ve always found music to be an effective way to get my students engaged in conversations around creative writing, whether they’re writing it or reading it. After all, song lyrics have so much in common with poetry. Alongside writing about each song, the Soundtrack of Your Life assignment prompts students to plan the overall structure of the mixtape as a whole and write about how the collective meaning of the songs connects to their lives.
I also love using a hand-drawn introductory video made by John Spencer to introduce the assignment to students and give them a little background information on what a mixtape is!
2. MY GENERATION
Teenagers always feel misunderstood, am I right? They often get a bad rep, and this writing assignment tackles this notion perfectly.
I love getting students to write an open letter discussing the seven greatest misunderstandings that they think people have about their generation . They make a case for why they are different than how they are perceived. I like this one a lot because it provokes students to write convincingly and passionately at the outset. I mean, if someone were to have asked me to explain the ways my generation was misunderstood when I was their age, I could’ve easily written an incredibly long list.
What’s great about this assignment is that students get to learn about a seldomly discussed yet important form of writing: the open letter. Open letters are usually written in protest or as an appeal for a person or a group of people to change their opinion on a particular topic.
You might consider providing prompts to the students to help them formulate their lists. Try asking questions like,
- What do people miss about your work ethic or habits?
- What do people not understand about your hobbies/interests?
- What do people fail to understand about your generation’s values, ideas, or beliefs?
3. MY LIFE IN TEXTURES
Another creative writing assignment idea is to have students write a personal narrative inspired by the memories of three textures . The feeling of the sand between your fingers at a certain beach you’d visit as a child, squishing Play-Doh between your fingers, or even cookie crumbs on your hands at grandma’s house. You get the idea. Students will focus on their five senses—and their tactile senses in particular.
They might simply choose textures that bring back fond memories, or they might go so far as to choose textures that are collectively symbolic of their ideals and values!
You’ll want to encourage your students to go into as much descriptive detail as possible when describing their three textures.
Can you think of three textures that have been important in your life? It takes some brainstorming, doesn’t it? That’s why I like to provide a planning sheet with questions for each texture. This makes a great starting point for your students.
4. DESIGN A SCHOOL
We know our students learn a lot of important lessons outside of school. They learn important lessons from the sports they play, from the friends they make, from all the things they do. They are always learning. Everywhere they go.
The same was true of us, of course: much of what we learned came from inside the classroom, but some of it—a lot of it—came from outside. Another creative writing idea is to have students design their own school .
I first have students brainstorm what school would be like and what a typical day would look like, hour-by-hour, at their new school. You might consider having them get peer feedback by having them share their initial concept with a partner. Then, to take it to the next level, get students to develop a promotional advertisement to recruit other students!
5. GEEK OUT
Ok, this last writing assignment is really fun! For this one, students get to write about something that they “geek out” on .
We all seem to have at least one interest in life that brings us joy every time we get to discuss it. Incorporating this joy into a creative writing assignment is a great way to engage every student. It’s also a great way to establish the mentality that creative writing should ultimately be enjoyable. We’ve heard the cliché “write about what you know.” This assignment pushes that idea further to write what you love .
Students will also get to practice writing a listicle. A listicle is a piece of writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list. It’s a common form used by bloggers and journalists. In other words, it looks something like what you’ve been reading here!
I hope you found these creative writing assignments for ELA helpful! Best of luck teaching creative writing in your class.
Want more ideas for creative writing? One of my favorite ways to get students writing is with snowball writing .
share this post
VISIT THE BLOG
Snowball writing: collaborative writing activity, 10 ideas to make your teachers’ lounge a positive space.
Send students on an online date with a book
7 bell-ringer ideas for middle and high school english.
Search the blog for what you are teaching
© PRESTO PLANS |
I’m Bonnie, a curriculum writer, literacy educator, and all around book lover on a mission to make English teachers’ lives a whole lot easier!
resources sent to your inbox!
10 FREE ENGLISH TEACHER
FIND ME ON
sent straight to your inbox!
10 days of ELA TEACHER
- Teaching secondary
- Beginner A1
On these pages you will find ideas for classroom activities which involve writing.
- Writing correction code
- Guided writing: Writing a story on the OHP
- Guided writing: Writing an article using the OHP
- A business letter
- Poems for the future
- Writing through 'reverse reading'
- Role-play writing
- Creating a framework for writing
- A perfect story
- Note writing
- A creative writing activity: A dark and stormy night
- Eliciting vocabulary before writing narratives
- Improving paragraph writing
- Songs and storytelling
- Freeze the writing - A way to make writing tasks a group activity
- Helping students organise argument essays
Amazing thanks again British…
Amazing thanks again British Council for the platform 👏
- Log in or register to post comments
Great thank you British…
Great thank you British Council
Wonderful, thank you.
That's great materials,…
That's great materials, Thank you very much.
Thank you for all useful worksheets!
Research and insight
Browse fascinating case studies, research papers, publications and books by researchers and ELT experts from around the world.
See our publications, research and insight
Informal writing refers to writing that is used for communication between friends and relatives or by an individual to retain information for later reading. In a school setting, informal writing assignments get students writing without stri...
As a student, you know how important it is to produce high-quality academic writing. It’s not only important for your grades, but also for your future career. To ensure that your writing meets the highest standards, you should consider usin...
Back-to-school season means it’s time to shop for the right laptop to get through all your assignments and studying, and many people face a unique challenge that makes the computer they choose even more important this year: virtual classes ...
1. The TED Talk. There are a lot of amazing TED Talks out there that students love. · 2. Video Writing Prompts · 3. Love Poems · 4. Graduation
16 Meaningful Writing Activities that Engage Students · 1. REAL-WORLD WRITING · 2. RELEVANT WRITING · 3. GRAMMAR THAT TRANSFERS TO WRITING · 4.
Creative Writing Exercises for High School · Name that Emotion. Write about an emotion without ever using the name of the feeling itself, or synonyms for it.
Practise and improve your writing skills for your school studies and your English exams. There are activities for different levels, so find your level and
Short, authentic writing tasks can encourage high school students to compose richer long pieces.
Write a poem about a summer day you will never forget. Imagine that you are stranded on a deserted island. Write a story about your experience. Write a letter
BEST HIGH SCHOOL WRITING PROMPTS · Showing 102 prompts reset · K-popular · Write a story about an unconventional teacher. · What was the last daydream that you
4. Imagine you are graduating in several months. Write a graduation speech to your fellow students. What would you say to inspire them? How
A hand holding an English bell-ringer or homework assignment where practice English Language Arts. Weekly middle
On these pages you will find ideas for classroom activities which involve writing. Author. Jo Budden. Writing activities.
Thought-Provoking Writing Prompts for Teens · What would you do if you were elected to Congress? · Which political office would you most like to