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Writing Prompts for Journal Writing

Writing Prompts for Elementary School Students

A young student writing at a desk.

Elementary school students learn to write using three main categories. They are opinion writing, informative writing, and narrative writing. Within these categories, there are often subcategories. For example, 2nd-grade students are supposed to learn to explain directions and write how to do a particular task. These “How To” prompts fall under informative writing.

Many teachers have students start each day by writing a short journal.  My 2nd grade class always starts the day with a journal.  I usually ask students to write at least 25 words on a subject.  

As the year progresses, thinking of inspiring writing topics can be challenging.  This is where the power of the internet can be very helpful.  Students often are encouraged to write more if they are shown a picture or a short video and asked to write their opinion about what they have seen.

The best writing prompts align well with what is going on in class.  Kids will need more research to complete the task when writing informative pieces.  In these cases, kids may be asked to write about what we have been learning in class, or they may be asked to read specific articles or watch a video to formulate their ideas.

As I write this post, a mysterious balloon from China is flying over the United States.  As an opinion writing piece, kids could tell their ideas for what should be done about this balloon and give their reasons why.  News like this can be an excellent opportunity for kids to practice writing.

Teaching is a high-energy job that requires a lot of multitasking.  Sometimes teachers don’t have time to plan writing prompts or find articles to read and review relevant videos.  There are times when teachers need a quick writing prompt to get the day started.  In these times, I have found that the students often have great suggestions for what they would like to write.  

There are still times when it is good to have a list of writing prompts handy, either for teachers to choose a writing topic for their students or for students to choose their own.  I asked ChatGPT to create a list of writing prompts in the three main writing categories.  Here are the prompts.

Informative Writing –

  1. How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  2. The life cycle of a butterfly
  3. How to brush your teeth properly
  4. The different parts of a plant
  5. How to plant a seed
  6. The water cycle
  7. The different types of clouds
  8. The different seasons and how they affect the weather
  9. The different animals that live in the ocean
  10. How to properly care for a pet
  11. The different types of habitats and the animals that live there
  12. How to make a simple bird feeder
  13. How to properly wash your hands
  14. The different types of transportation
  15. The different types of weather patterns
  16. The different types of rocks and minerals
  17. The different types of dinosaurs
  18. How to recycle properly
  19. The different types of fruits and vegetables
  20. The different types of trees and the leaves they have
  21. How to make a simple kite
  22. How to grow a vegetable garden
  23. The different types of houses people live in
  24. The different types of jobs people have
  25. How to save energy at home
  26. The different types of sports and the rules for each
  27. How to make a simple fort
  28. How to make a simple friendship bracelet
  29. The different types of landforms and how they are formed
  30. How to make a simple lemonade stand
  31. The different types of animals that live on a farm
  32. How to properly clean up after a pet
  33. The different types of tools used for different jobs
  34. The different types of tools used for different crafts
  35. How to properly clean a room
  36. How to make a simple paper airplane
  37. The different types of musical instruments and how they are played
  38. The different types of food people eat from around the world
  39. How to properly clean a bicycle
  40. The different types of wildlife and their habitats
  41. How to make a simple wind chime
  42. The different types of weather instruments and how they are used
  43. The different types of habitats and the plants that live there
  44. How to properly care for a garden
  45. The different types of fish and their habitats
  46. How to make a simple birdhouse
  47. The different types of pets and how to properly care for them
  48. How to properly clean up litter
  49. The different types of insects and their habitats
  50. How to properly wash clothes
  51. The different types of transportation and how they are powered
  52. The different types of buildings and their uses
  53. How to properly care for a pet’s bed
  54. The different types of animals that live in the jungle
  55. How to properly care for a pet’s toys
  56. The different types of animals that live in the savanna
  57. How to make a simple friendship necklace
  58. The different types of animals that live in the Arctic
  59. How to properly care for a pet’s food and water dishes
  60. The different types of animals that live in the desert
  61. How to make a simple bookmark
  62. The different types of animals that live in the rainforest
  63. How to properly care for a pet’s leash and collar
  64. The different types of animals that live in the mountains
  65. How to make a simple picture frame
  66. The different types of animals that live in the grasslands


Opinion Writing

  1. What is your favorite food?
  2. What is your favorite color?
  3. Do you like dogs or cats better?
  4. Do you prefer summer or winter?
  5. What is your favorite type of music?
  6. What is your favorite holiday and why?
  7. What is your favorite book?
  8. Do you like watching TV or playing outside better?
  9. What is your favorite movie?
  10. Do you prefer playing video games or reading books?
  11. What is your favorite subject in school?
  12. Do you like going to school or staying home better?
  13. What is your favorite toy?
  14. What is your favorite kind of food for breakfast?
  15. What is your favorite type of food for lunch?
  16. Do you like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese better?
  17. What is your favorite fruit?
  18. What is your favorite snack?
  19. Do you like pizza or hamburgers better?
  20. What is your favorite type of food for dinner?
  21. Do you like ice cream or cake better?
  22. What is your favorite place to visit?
  23. What is your favorite activity to do at home?
  24. What is your favorite place to go on vacation?
  25. Do you like going to the beach or going to the mountains better?
  26. Do you like going to amusement parks or zoos better?
  27. What is your favorite type of weather?
  28. Do you like rain or snow better?
  29. What is your favorite season?
  30. Do you like going to the park or going to the pool better?
  31. What is your favorite sport to play?
  32. Do you like playing soccer or basketball better?
  33. What is your favorite hobby?
  34. Do you like playing with legos or blocks better?
  35. Do you like playing dress-up or playing with dolls better?
  36. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
  37. What is your favorite thing to do inside?
  38. Do you like playing with friends or playing by yourself better?
  39. What is your favorite type of music to dance to?
  40. Do you like playing board games or card games better?
  41. What is your favorite type of art to do?
  42. Do you like painting or drawing better?
  43. What is your favorite type of food to eat at a restaurant?
  44. What is your favorite type of food to eat at a picnic?
  45. Do you like eating at home or eating out better?
  46. Do you like having a big breakfast or a big dinner better?
  47. Do you like sweet or salty foods better?
  48. What is your favorite type of food for a snack?
  49. Do you like eating fruits or vegetables better?
  50. What is your favorite type of candy?
  51. What is your favorite type of drink?
  52. Do you like drinking juice or milk better?
  53. What is your favorite type of juice?
  54. What is your favorite type of milk?
  55. What is your favorite type of cookie?
  56. Do you like eating chocolate or vanilla better?
  57. What is your favorite type of ice cream?
  58. Do you like eating chocolate cake or vanilla cake better?
  59. What is your favorite type of pizza?
  60. What is your favorite type of sandwich?
  61. Do you like eating peanut butter or jelly better?


Narrative Writing

  1. Tell a story about a time you learned how to do something new
  2. Write about a time you went on a trip and what you learned
  3. Write about a time you helped someone else learn something new
  4. Tell a story about a time you explored a new place
  5. Write about a time you tried a new food and what you thought about it
  6. Tell a story about a time you saw an animal in its natural habitat
  7. Write about a time you tried a new activity and what you learned from it
  8. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new culture
  9. Write about a time you went on a field trip and what you learned
  10. Tell a story about a time you learned how to do something new with your family
  11. Write about a time you learned about a new type of technology
  12. Tell a story about a time you learned how to cook a new dish
  13. Write about a time you learned about a new type of art
  14. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of science
  15. Write about a time you learned how to do something new with your friends
  16. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of music
  17. Write about a time you learned how to use a new tool
  18. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of sport
  19. Write about a time you learned about a new type of animal
  20. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of flower or plant
  21. Write about a time you learned about a new type of vehicle
  22. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of building
  23. Write about a time you learned about a new type of currency
  24. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of holiday
  25. Write about a time you learned about a new type of food
  26. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of weather
  27. Write about a time you learned about a new type of natural disaster
  28. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of planet
  29. Write about a time you learned about a new type of mineral or rock
  30. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of tree or leaf
  31. Write about a time you learned about a new type of pet
  32. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of job
  33. Write about a time you learned about a new type of habitat
  34. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of landform
  35. Write about a time you learned about a new type of musical instrument
  36. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of tool
  37. Write about a time you learned about a new type of craft
  38. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of transportation
  39. Write about a time you learned about a new type of sport
  40. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of building material
  41. Write about a time you learned about a new type of energy source
  42. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of wildlife
  43. Write about a time you learned about a new type of bird
  44. Tell a story about a time you learned about a new type of fish
  45. Write about a time you learned about a new type of insect
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