Alien Encounter (Narrative)
Imagine you’re walking home when a spaceship carrying three teenagers from another planet lands in front of you. The aliens have come to learn about life on Earth, and they want you to be their guide! What happens next? Use your imagination to finish the story.
Sample Essays Available
Baby Elephant (Narrative)
Imagine that you wake up one morning to find a baby elephant standing in your kitchen. Write a story explaining how the baby elephant got in your kitchen. What happened to it after you found it? Be sure to include details to help the reader create a mental picture of the story.
Beautiful Place (Descriptive)
There are many fascinating places in the world. We see pictures of them in books and on television. Think about the most beautiful place that you have ever seen in person. Write an essay describing this wonderful place in detail. What makes this place so beautiful?
Books vs. Movies (Compare and Contrast)
Books and movies are both used to tell stories. Write an essay comparing books to movies. How are the two methods of telling stories alike? How are they different? Remember to include examples to support your points.
Cafeteria Foods (Persuasive)
You eat lunch in your school cafeteria almost every day. The food is good, but you wish your favorite food was on the menu. Write a persuasive letter to the school’s cafeteria telling them about your favorite food and convincing them to put it on the menu. Be sure to use specific reasons and examples to explain why this particular food belongs on the menu.
Desert Island (Narrative)
Write a short story that begins with you sitting in your classroom and ends with you on an island trying to get back home. How did you get there? What does the island look like? Is anyone else on the island with you? How do you spend your time there and how do you get home?
E-mails vs. Letters (Compare & Contrast)
Emails and letters are similar forms of communication, yet they have some important differences. Write an essay comparing and contrasting e-mails and old-fashioned letters. Are there specific times when you use one or the other, or are the two interchangeable? Do you write letters to the same people that you e-mail? How do the rules for writing letters differ from the rules for writing e-mails? Use specific examples from your experience to support your comparison.
Finish the Story (Narrative)
You are on a ship coming to America. Suddenly some people board your ship. You don’t know what to do! Yet these people don’t seem dangerous. They are looking for something very, very strange.
First Day of School (Process)
Getting ready for the first day of school each year can take a lot of work! You need to think about getting ready for the first day. Describe everything you should do to prepare for this important day.
Free Trip (Persuasive)
Your family has won a free three-day trip to any city in the United States. Write a letter to your family members explaining what city you think you should visit and why. Include specific reasons and examples to support your position.
Lesson Learned (Narrative)
Many stories center on an important lesson that a character learns, such as "Honesty is the best policy." Write a story about a character who learns about honesty. Be sure to include all the events that help your character learn about the importance of honesty.
Movie Party (Persuasive)
Your teacher asks you and three other students each to suggest a movie for the class to watch on the last day of school. The class will vote on which one of the four suggested movies they would like to watch. Write a short speech stating your movie choice and explaining to your classmates why they should vote for it.
No Names, Please (Cause & Effect)
All of the world’s proper nouns are on vacation for a week. That means no one can use the names of particular people, cities, states, streets, television shows, etc. for an entire week! Write an essay describing how the lack of proper nouns affects school work and social life.
Perfect Sandwich (Process)
Almost everybody eats a sandwich from time to time. We all have our favorites. Some people like peanut butter and jelly. Some like fancy combinations with three types of cheese, two types of meat, and special spreads. Getting the sandwich to come out exactly right can be a tricky process. Explain, step by step, how to make your perfect sandwich.
Person to Remember (Descriptive)
Write an essay describing a family member or friend who is special or unforgettable. Use description and examples to explain why you think this person is different from other people.
Rain Forest (Cause-Effect)
Many people are concerned about the destruction of the Rain Forest in South America. Write an essay describing why you think the Rain Forest could be in danger. Then explain how the destruction of the Rain Forest could have negative consequences.
Reporting Music (Descriptive)
Imagine that your school newspaper has asked you to write an article about a musical performance. You can write about a school concert, your friend’s violin recital, or even a performance you’ve seen (and heard) on television or the Internet. Write a report describing the musical performance in detail. Use all five senses so that your readers imagine the performance for themselves.
Sample Essays Available
School in Summer (Persuasive)
Suppose your school is thinking about making the school year last from September to the middle of August. Some people think students should go to school during the summer. Other people think that a long summer break is important for students.
What do you think? Write a letter to your teacher on whether students should go to school during the summer. Include three reasons why this is or is not a good idea.
Sample Essays Available
Someone Like Me (Compare & Contrast)
Often, characters from books, films or television shows remind us of ourselves. Choose a character that reminds you of yourself and write an essay in which you compare and contrast yourself with this character. How are you similar? How are you different? What choices does the character make that you might not make? What choices can you see yourself making? What things does the character say that you agree with? What do you disagree with? In your essay, give your reader lots of information about yourself and the chosen character.
Sample Essays Available
Special Person (Descriptive)
Think about a very special person in your life. For example, it may be a parent, a friend, or a teacher. Describe this person, including the person’s appearance and personality. Also include why this person is important to you.
Transportation Trouble (Cause & Effect)
Think about the important role that cars and trucks play in our everyday lives. How would life change if you woke up tomorrow morning and all the cars and trucks in the world had disappeared? Write an essay describing how your life and your world would change if cars and trucks suddenly disappeared. Be sure to use specific details and examples to explain the changes this would cause.
Imagine that your parents have just bought a robot to help with various chores around the house. They have asked you to teach the robot how to collect trash and empty the trash can when it is full. Write an essay describing the process the robot would use to pick up and take out the trash. Be sure to include steps that might seem obvious to humans (such as opening and closing doors).
World’s Fair (Persuasive)
Your hometown is on the short list of possible locations for the next World’s Fair. Write an essay for the World’s Fair officials persuading them to choose your hometown. List at least three reasons why your hometown should be picked to host the next World’s Fair.
You’re the Expert (Process)
Although you are probably not qualified to drive a car or teach algebra, you might be an expert at something else. Are you a video game whiz? Can you do magic tricks? Write an essay that identifies your area of expertise and describes the process someone would need to follow to master your skill.
Younger Student (Compare-Contrast)
As we grow up, we change in some ways. Yet part of us always stays the same.
Describe what you were like as a younger student and how you are now. Include three ways you are the same and three ways you are different.