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Back-to-School Writing Prompts and Activities August 22, 2011

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Welcome back to school! Writing assignments for the beginning of the new school year often revolve around these four areas: Welcome Back to School!

1. “All About Me” writing activities and assignments. This is a time-honored beginning-of-the-school-year writing tradition. It starts the school year off right when teachers get to know their students. Teachers want to know their students and students like to be known and understood as real people.

2. Students’ expectations, goals, hopes, and dreams for the new school year. Let’s see if the teacher and the students agree on what school is supposed to be like. Teachers will get to learn about their students’ beliefs in regards to school, learning, and education. This can provide valuable insights which will help the teacher properly motivate their students.

3. Reflections on summer vacation. This is kind of similar to “all about me” writing. It gives students a chance to let go of summer, and allows teachers to have up-to-date knowledge of what their students are interested in.

4. Classroom routines and policies. The most effective way to be sure that students understand what is expected of them is to have them write about it. An additional important benefit of this kind of writing is that students convince themselves of the benefits of having an excellent classroom learning environment. When students explain to themselves why routines, rules, and policies are necessary, they become convinced without feeling “convinced against their will.”

Most of the writing prompts that follow will fall into one of these four categories. See if you can determine which category each writing prompt falls into. The four categories all have a strong purpose behind them, and assigning a writing prompt with purpose leads to better writing.

Also, I want to congratulate you for thinking about student writing so early in the year! If you are looking for better writing results faster than ever before be sure to click here. If you are looking for guaranteed writing success when state testing rolls around, be sure to click here. If you want your students to be able to easily organize and compose an essay about any of the essay topics below, then be sure to click here. Wishing you a school year full of writing success!

Back-to-School Cause and Effect Essay

• An important event in my life (or several) and how it affected me – getting to know me.
• What I did over my summer vacation that has to me prepared (or unprepared) for the new school year. Does how I spend my time outside of school affect how successful I am in school?
• What is necessary for creating an effective and positive learning environment? (Certain systems and behaviors create a successful learning environment, and other systems and behaviors lead to time wasting and poor learning.) What are the cause and effect relationships for successful learning? What are the cause and effect relationships for poor learning?
• What is the purpose of school? We work hard… but why? Is there a cause and effect relationship between getting a good education and living a happy, successful, and fulfilled life after school?
• What are some habits, behaviors, routines, and systems that will lead to me having a successful school year?
• Why I hope I learn more this year than I ever have before – what’s in it for me? Will learning a lot this year really have an effect on my life?

Back-to-School Persuasive Essay

• All work and no play is no way to spend a life. Let’s have fun this school year!
• With high expectations placed upon us, and with so little time actually spent in the classroom, we can’t afford to waste even a single second of class time.
• I am a responsible, enthusiastic, and disciplined student who can be trusted to do what is expected of me.
• I need and deserve two more weeks of summer vacation.
• Homework does not improve student learning.
• My fellow students…  school is important. Don’t waste your time, and please don’t waste the class’s time. It behooves none of us.
• Learning and striving to be the best you can be through learning is exciting, fun, and a very important part of life.

Back-to-School Compare and Contrast Essay

• How I spent my summer vs. how I plan to spend the school year.
• Summer vacation back when I was young vs. summer vacation now that I’m old.
• My last day of summer vacation vs. the first day of the new school year.
• The kind of student I used to be vs. the kind of student I plan to be.
• Looking like I’m working hard and doing my best job vs. actually working hard and truly doing my best job.
• The fun and interesting things about school vs. the boring and tedious things about school.
• An ideal classroom learning environment vs. a time-wasting non-learning classroom environment.
• Education in the modern information age vs. education in olden times.
• Learning through books vs. learning through experience.

Back-to-School Process Essay or How-To Essay

• How to make this the best school year ever.
• How to transition from relaxed-summer-mind-mode to superstar-student-achievement-status.
• How to be a successful student.
• How to improve your work habits, study skills, learning attitude, and grades.
• How to be an excellent school citizen and positive classroom leader.
• After school and morning routines that guarantee arrival at school on time, rested and ready to learn, homework finished, and with a happy, smiling, cheerful face.
• Classroom routines – how to… how to… how to.

Back-to-School Informational Essay

• The history of education.
• All about me – what you need to know to truly understand this strangely wonderful, yet predictably perplexing human being that I simply call “me.”
• The history of my educational career – a work in progress.
• The rules of our classroom laid out in black-and-white.
• What does it mean to learn? And how do you do it?
• What I like about school and learning.

Back-to-School Narrative/ Personal Narrative Essay

• Happy school-time memories.
• How I spent my summer vacation – the real truth.
• My life story – a personal narrative.
• A school year (or teacher) that changed my life.
• An important real-world learning experience for which there was no manual.
• Me and school – a conflict of interests.
• Butterflies in my stomach… the day before the first day of school.

Back-to-School Descriptive Essay

• Describe the feelings, sounds, and sights of a new school year.
• Describe what you see in the classroom right now.
• Describe the qualities of a good teacher and of a good student.
• Describe the attitude, beliefs, and body language of a student who is determined to be successful in school.

Back-to-School Five-Paragraph Essay

• How I spend my time before school, during school, and after school.
• When I struggled in school, what I changed, and the results of that change.
• Three things I love about school.
• Three strategies for getting good grades.
• Three fun things I did over my summer vacation.
• Three things I must do to be successful in school this year.
• Three things about me…  that hardly anyone knows.

Back-to-School Story Ideas

• The class with no rules.
• The strangely bizarre case of the kids whose loved school and the teacher who taught them.
• One hour recess – twice a day!
• Straight A’s for everyone!
• The class that worked together… and achieved success.
• News flash: listening to your teacher leads to improved learning.
• The quiet kids.
• Work hard, play hard, and bake cookies?
• The science project that changed history.

Welcome back to school and have a great year!

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