LambsAs an educator, you want to set up situations and learning experiences so that your students clarify their understanding of the new concepts you are teaching. Coming up with a variety of new and different ways to elicit your students’ thinking is a challenge, to say the least! In this article, you will get 10 writing prompts, each with applications for different learning situations. Note: definitions are provided, if needed.

1. Alternative to counting sheep (for insomniacs)

  • Try counting prime numbers next time you need to fall asleep. How do you think it would work?
  • If you need an alternative to counting sheep, try describing the steps a fluid takes from the mouth to “the outside world” as it travels through the excretory system. Go ahead and write about what you would say as you’re lying awake.
  • Write about the steps to ___________. Now you’ll be ready to recite those next time you’re having trouble falling asleep.
  • Write a list of everyone that you know personally and count them.

2. Amendment

  • Write the 31st amendment to the US Constitution and tell why we need it. Be persuasive.
  • Add an amendment to the “Bill of Rights” based on what you have learned in this class.

3. Analogy

  • Write an analogy that describes the relationship between factoring & multiplying binomials.
  • Write an analogy that describes the use of software metrics in systems development management.
  • Listen for analogies that newscasters use. Keep a list and explain which ones you think are most effective.

4. Anecdote

  • Write an anecdote on the first time you cooked something.
  • Write an anecdote about pi (and its adventures).
  • Write an anecdote about a meaningful childhood experience. What is the learning from that experience that you would want to pass on to others?
  • Write an anecdote about your first clinical experience in ______________.

5. Anthem

  • Write an anthem based on some aspect of the culture and history that we have been studying.
  • What would be the words to the “Mathematics Anthem”?
  • Write an anthem that is a tribute to Darwin.

6. Anthology

  • Write several poems about math or write several short stories about the same thing. Collect them to form a mathematics poetry anthology.
  • Someday, you might have your own children–or you will certainly have some friends who have children. What children’s stories would you want to have in an anthology that you could share? Explain the thinking behind your selections.

7. Annotation

  • Read a book about ___________ (whatever subject area you are teaching). Please annotate the book so I can include it in my file.
  • Read an article about __________ (whatever subject we are studying). Annotate it by putting your responses on sticky notes, which you attach to the article.

8. Announcement

  • Prepare an announcement inviting the rest of the students to the special wood shop fair that is coming up soon.
  • Read the newspaper looking for events that would be pertinent to the students, teachers, and/or parents of this school. Prepare an announcement that could be printed, emailed, or read aloud.

9. Anything boustrophedonic (boustrophedon is a kind of writing that goes left to right and then back again right to left. The term is from Greek roots meaning ‘as the ox plows’)

  • Write definitions for words you are learning (in your own words, of course) boustrophedonically.
  • Write a secret message to your favorite friend using boustrophedon.
  • Write the definition of a math term and measure the actual length when it’s written using boustrophedon (vs. just the ‘regular’ way).
  • Write a paragraph boustrophedonically, which explains something that you have recently learned in our class.
  • Tell me about the last tahw dna pirt gnippohs you bought.

10. Anything written in runic characters

  • Write a message to your teacher about what you’ve learned in the last week.
  • Would you prefer to use the alphabet we use or runic characters? Tell why.

I hope this list is useful to you and that it helps spur your thinking to come up with even more ideas to use in your classroom!

pen-to-use-on-website-222x300And here is a expanded list of another *500 (PLUS!) Writing Prompts.*  When you order this (free), you will receive a 129-page document to use and I would love for you to have it if you are interested.

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