By middle school, students have the skills and ability to write complex pieces. However, they may be lacking inspiration and not know where to start. Check out this list of 100 Common Core-aligned writing prompts that are adaptable for all writing levels in middle school.
Narrative Writing Prompts
Narrative writing is what most people think of when they hear "creative writing." Narrative writing includes fiction writing, like short stories and novels, as well as the writer's true personal stories.
Need some inspirational prompts for middle school? Get those creative juices flowing with intriguing ways to start fictional stories.
- John opened the door and picked up the brown package on the porch. Immediately, he knew something wasn't right.
- Today seemed like the perfect day, until...
- The aliens were all around us. They looked like...
- I couldn't believe it when my favorite celebrity wanted to hang out with me! The first thing we did was…
- April ran as fast as she could, desperate to get away from…
- No one was more surprised than I was when the dog began to talk.
- I couldn't believe I had washed up on a desert island. Luckily, I still had my…
- Katie watched as her friends walked away. She never thought their friendship would end after something like this. It all started when…
- When I woke up, the first thing I noticed was that I wasn't in my house.
- Dev was shocked to discover that inside his uncle's gift was...
Mystery, science fiction, and romance fans can choose from more genre-specific story starters as well.
Personal Narrative Prompts
A personal narrative is a creative way to tell a true story. This form of autobiographical writing usually describes one event from a first-person perspective. Here are some ideas for middle schoolers to write about their own experiences.
- Write about the biggest surprise of your life.
- Describe the most memorable holiday in your family, including how you felt and why it was memorable.
- Choose one event that happened recently (today, yesterday, or earlier in the week). Use all five senses to describe the event in a vivid way.
- Write about a time when you felt afraid.
- Talk about a time you felt disappointed. Include what you expected from the situation and how reality did not live up to your expectations.
- What is your favorite place in the world? Use descriptive language to explain how it makes you feel.
- Have you overcome a major challenge in your life? What did it teach you?
- Write about a time when you thought a situation was worse than it really was.
- Describe a memory you have with an animal. Why was this moment special for you?
- Think about your favorite smell. What does it remind you of?
- Think about a terrible smell. What does it remind you of?
You can read examples of narrative essays, as well as examples of famous autobiographies, for more inspiration.
Reflective Writing Prompts
Reflective writing is the process where a writer records their thoughts about an experience. Like personal narratives, reflective writing is nonfiction. The difference is that it is not meant for other readers. It also does not use formal writing. Keeping a journal is one type of reflective writing.
- Describe the events in your day over the course of a week. Which day was the busiest? Did it feel that way?
- Record your emotional reactions for several days in a row. Do you see a pattern? What can you do to change an emotional pattern?
- Make a goal in the morning and reflect back on it at night. Write about whether you accomplished that goal, and if so, what helped you. If you didn't accomplish your goal, reflect on what you could do differently next time.
- Write out a conversation you had as if it were dialogue in a story. Would you change any of your lines if you could do it again?
- Keep a journal in which you track acts of kindness you perform each day. How did you help someone?
- Reflect on your relationship with someone in your family. How do you get along with them? What would you change about your behavior? What could they change?
- List your goals and priorities for the week. Reflect on whether they reflect your personality or just your schedule.
- Describe your favorite things about yourself. What makes you unique? What makes you belong to a bigger group, such as your family, friends, or community?
Check out some helpful tips for bringing reflective writing and journaling into the classroom.
Informational Writing Prompts
Informational text gets the point across clearly and concisely. Expository writing is a type of informational writing that explains who, what, where, when, and why something occurred. Research writing and procedural writing are other ways to convey information.
Meant to explain or expose a topic, expository writing is a common style for school essays. It's also found in most newspaper articles and magazine features.
- Explain why you chose the clothes you're wearing today.
- Write about a role model of yours. Why do you look up to them?
- Learn about a traffic law in your neighborhood and explain why it's important.
- Write about something you learned this year. Use as much detail as you can remember.
- Explain why you love your favorite song.
- Choose a character from a story or movie. Explain why they made an important choice.
- Write a news article about an event from your life or the community.
- Describe a historical event and why it was important.
- Explain the plot from your favorite story or movie.
- What are the qualities of a good friend?
- Give your best advice to someone who is about to enter middle school.
Research writing is a type of expository writing that involves choosing a topic, asking a question about that topic, and finding credible sources to answer the question. Look through these research writing prompts for ideas.
- Is technology addictive for teenagers?
- What happened to the dinosaurs?
- Describe an important development in medicine.
- Write about an animal, including its ecosystem, reproduction, and traits.
- Choose a moment in your state or country's history and describe the events that led to that event.
- Research an invention from the past century and explain its significance.
- What is the history of your school? How has it changed through the years?
- Interview a family or community member about their life and memories.
- How has math contributed to a modern technological device?
- How much sleep does a teenager need?
You can include a problem statement in your research process as well as primary and secondary sources. Just be sure to avoid plagiarism!
Procedural text tells the reader how to do something. Technical writing and user manuals are two examples of procedural writing.
- Explain how to send a text message. Is the process different for a friend than for a family member?
- Describe how a spider constructs a web.
- Explain how to get from your house to another place in the community.
- Choose your favorite meal and write step-by-step instructions on how to prepare it.
- Write about a daily habit of yours, such as styling your hair or playing a video game.
- What are the steps to create slime?
- How does a car engine work?
- Explain how students can adjust their privacy settings online.
Argument Writing Prompts
Argumentative essays are meant to convince the reader to agree with the writer. They include formal arguments and persuasive writing.
Argument Essay Prompts
Formal argumentative essays use logic and evidence to prove their point. They use research to address both sides of the argument but ultimately support only one position. You could also use middle school debate topics for this type of essay.
- What is the best solution to climate change?
- Should your school do more to prevent bullying?
- Is it easier to learn online or in the classroom?
- Are magazine covers harmful to kids' self-esteem?
- Does the right to free speech include student comments on the Internet?
- Who faces more pressure: boys or girls?
- Should the voting age be lowered to 16 in the United States?
- What is the best way to prevent crime in the community?
- Should healthcare be free?
- What is the biggest problem facing your generation?
- Would a later start to the school day be beneficial?
- At what age should children get smartphones?
A persuasive piece of writing includes emotional appeals to bring a reader to the writer's opinion. Letters to the editor and newspaper editorials are examples of persuasive writing that don't necessarily include evidence-based arguments.
- What is the best way to prepare eggs?
- Is it more important to be honest or popular?
- Should your school have a dress code?
- Where is the best location for a vacation? Why should others go there?
- Why should someone vote for you in a mock presidential election?
- Is music important in a person's daily life?
- Should students be allowed to eat in class?
- Is it ethical to test products on animals?
- Should users be able to download movies and TV shows for free?
- Write a letter to the editor about an article in the paper with which you agree or disagree.
- Why should you receive a higher allowance?
- Should your school reduce the amount of homework?
- Do you believe that smokers should be able to smoke wherever they want?
- What is the worst chore to have?
- Would you rather have a long summer break or more frequent breaks throughout the year?
- The best thing about middle school is…
- The worst thing about middle school is…
- Would you rather shrink to the size of a penny or grow to the size of a building?
For additional persuasive writing ideas, learn how to write a one-minute persuasive speech or explore more persuasive writing samples.
Poetry Prompts for Middle School
Not every middle schooler loves to write poetry, but most middle schoolers enjoy talking about themselves. Poetry is a great way to write creatively, whether it's a fictional story that rhymes or a personal narrative in free verse.
- Write an I Am poem to introduce yourself or to analyze a character.
- Use an acrostic format to spell out your name and list your traits.
- Think about a favorite memory and write a descriptive poem about it.
- Use at least five examples of onomatopoeia to create an action-filled poem.
- Go outside to observe nature, and incorporate your notes into a haiku.
- Think about a natural image and write four poems about how it changes during every season.
- Write a poem from a minor character's point of view as you read a book.
- Choose a song and replace the words with lines about yourself, keeping the song's original beat.
- Create a new story about yourself and write a poem in which nothing is true.
- Write a poem in which you end every line with an "-at" rhyme.
- Write an elegy to your favorite childhood toy.
- Choose a letter and write an alliteration poem in which nearly every word starts with that letter.
More Creative Writing Tips
Now that you've got 100 ways to get started, take a look at some writing strategy tips for middle schoolers or additional writing samples. If you've got a poem in your mind, you can find poetry tips as well. Happy writing!