General Topics

Here are writing prompts for the major topics that appear in Scott Foresman ESL Grades 6-8. This site also has writing prompts for topics in each unit for Grades 6-8. (Go back to the main website page and click on the "Writing Prompts" link under Levels 6, 7, or 8.)
Click on a theme to go to that section.

Conflict and Resolution

Theme: Change

Prompt: No one ever said growing up was easy. Write about a recent incident that was a difficult but natural part of growing up.

Prompt: If a picture is crooked, you might adjust it on the wall. If your clothes don't fit, you might adjust a button or a hem. But sometimes we have to make major adjustments in our lives. Have you ever faced a difficult situation that required making adjustments? What adjustments did you make?

Prompt: Every time you blink you change. Literally. Change is so constant in your life, you barely notice... unless it's a turning point. That's a change you remember because something your point of view or maybe your whole lifeis different from then on. Anything can serve as a turning pointan accident, a trip, or just a wicked case of the measles. Write about a turning point in your life. What happened? What changed?

Prompt: Have you ever planned a day at the beach and found it raining when you awoke? You probably have plans for your life tooschool, a career, travel and adventure, a family. But what happens if any of those plans get rained on? Write about a time when your plans changed.

Prompt: Sometimes events occur that are out of your control. You might wonder, "Why is this happening to me?" or "What did I do to cause this?" Write about a recent situation in which you felt like things were out of your control. How did you react?

Prompt: Life is a story of change. Changes happen in our physical and emotional selves as well as in our perceptions of ourselves and others. What changes have taken place for you lately? Write about a change.

Theme: Challenges

Prompt: Is it any wonder that we call ourselves the human race? We race against time, against other people, against ourselves. We race for pride, for glory, for freedom, for love. Sometimes we ask ourselves, "Is winning what it's all about, or is there something that's more important?" Write about what's important to you.

Prompt: If you could travel anywhere in the worldor in the universe for that matterwhere would you go?

Prompt: You are the master of your fate. It may not seem so when your mom yells at you to take out the garbage, but think of the hundreds of choices you make every day. What decision did you make recently that affected your life differently than you thought it would? What were the consequences?

Prompt: Have you ever wondered about your place in the world? Do you sometimes dream of where you want to be in life? When you find your place will you know it? Write about where you would like your life to lead you.

Prompt: What are some of the things you do well? Write about the thing that you are best at.

Prompt: Have you ever underestimated someone or something? Write about a time when things didn't go as you planned because you underestimated the challenges you had to face.

Theme: Relationships

Prompt: On your birthday, do you get presents and a cake with candles on it? On Thanksgiving, do you sit down to a big meal featuring a turkey, cranberry sauce, and other delicious foods? Write about a favorite tradition of your family.

Prompt: A TV reporter holds a microphone under your nose and says, "Channel 25 is doing a survey. We'd like to know: What really matters to you?" Write about what really matters to you.

Prompt: If asked what you value most in life, what would you say? Chances are that good friends would be high on your list. Write about a good friend and tell why you value him or her.

Prompt: All of us have our own ways of making sense of the world. Our beliefs and opinions can seem so right that it's hard to imagine how anyone could disagree with us. Write about a disagreement you've had recently. Tell how it you resolved it.

Prompt: Problems are part of life. Learning to resolve them often takes time and practice. How do you resolve problems that you have with friends? Tell your suggestions for working things out.

Prompt: Whom do you appreciate? How do you express your appreciation of that person?

Theme: Environment

Prompt: Where and how do you find beauty in your world? What do you appreciate most about your world?

Prompt: Dirty air and water, mountains of trash, ruined rain foreststhese are all things that are wrong with the world. What's right with the world?

Theme: Justice

Prompt: When we prejudge something, we form an opinion about it before we find out all the facts. Have you ever jumped to the wrong conclusion? Or thought the wrong way about something before you knew all the facts? Write about a time when you formed an opinion that later changed.

Prompt: If you are like most people, you probably have had experiences in which you have been treated in a way you consider unfair. Write about a time when you feel you were treated unfairly.

Prompt: Never judge a book by its cover, the old saying goes. It's not always so easy to be as open-minded in judging people. The clothes someone wears, the color of their skin, their sex, their ageall of these aspects of a person are like the cover of a book. If for some reason we don't like what we see when we first meet someone, it can be hard for us to see the real material inside. Write about a time when your first opinion about someone changed.

Prompt: Communication involves expressing feelings and thoughts not only through what we say but also what we do. What are some different ways that people communicate without talking?

Prompt: Have you ever been treated unfairly because of your race, your religion, the way you look, or just because you are "different"? Unfortunately, many of us have. Tell about a time you were treated unfairly. How did you react? How did it make you feel?

Prompt: It is a common theme in literature that the worst of times brings out not only the worst but also the best in people. Individuals faced with overwhelming odds, unbearable pressure, and monstrous evil are capable of extraordinary acts of courage and kindness. Who do you think is truly courageous? Why?

Theme: Conflict and Resolution

Prompt: When people attempt to solve problems, they are hoping to bring about change in a situation. Write about problem you have. What change would you like to occur?

Prompt: How do you find solutions to problems you face? Do you take a long walk by yourself and think it over? Or call your best friend on the phone and talk? Write about how you find solutions to your problems.

Prompt: Most of us feel the need for what we call "breathing room"some space to call our own. What is your favorite "space"? Tell where you like to spend time and why the place is special to you.

Prompt: Stick up for yourself! Hang in there! Just say no! Hold firm! These are just a few of the ways we say, "Stand your ground." Often, we don't know our own strength until something really gets in our way. Write about a time when you "stood your ground."

Prompt: Conflict causes tension, and when things get tense, people do surprising things. Some of these acts can be heroic, some can be shameful, and others, simply unexpected. Write about a tense situation you've been in. How did you react? How did others react?

Prompt: Sometimes we discover that things are not always what they seem to be. Have you ever been surprised to learn that things were not as they seemed? What inaccurate conclusions did you have? How did your conclusions change?

Theme: Journeys

Prompt: If you book a trip with your local travel agents, they're likely to put you on a plane, a train, bus, or boat. But how about more adventurous kinds of travel? With a little more imagination, you can travel in outer space and even through time. Where would you like to travel if you could go anywhere in space or in time? Write about a trip you take there.

Prompt: Being a member of a group involves appreciating others and identifying with them. Describe the "group" you most identify with and tell why you identify with the members of that "group."

Prompt: Being American means different things to different people. What does being an American mean to you?

Prompt: If you could change anything about your life what would it be? Would you be younger? Older? Would you live somewhere else? Tell what you would change about your life if you could and why.