A Van Pulls Up with Your Favorite Book Characters

Prompt

Every year, on a foggy fall morning, an old van pulls up to your home. Inside are five of your favorite characters from the books you have read this last year and two characters from previous years. You get exactly thirty-two minutes to have a conversation with all seven of them. Your job is to write this conversation. First, explain which seven you will choose and why. Next, jot down a list of questions you would ask them. Then, write the dialogue back and forth. Remember that isn’t an interview. It’s a conversation, which means the characters will be interacting with each other as well as with you.

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Create a To Do List for a Super-Villain

Ideal Uses:

This is a good stand-alone prompt to promote creative thinking. However, this also works well as an activity before silent reading as they think about their protagonists from a new point of view (you would just need to modify it at the end by saying "focus on the villain in your current book"). It can also work well to think about the human side of the "villains" in history (reminding us that villains are often complicated). Or it could be a fun warm-up activity before a class read aloud.

 

Prompt:

What do you think Darth Vader does on his day off?

Perhaps he gets a slushy from Hoth? Maybe he takes his cape to get dry cleaned or he goes to the pharmacy to pick up a new inhaler. Maybe he has some "me time" at the spa, followed by hot yoga. Or maybe he just binge-watches the Golden Girls. Or does he play a vigorous game of pickleball?

You're going to create a to do list for a villain who has a day off. Think of things that make a villain seem more human or even boring. Be sure to make it realistic, keep it specific, and make it awesome!

 

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Is Technology Making Our World Better or Worse?

Prompt:

Technology is changing our world.

Our devices allow us to do things that were previously unimaginable. But is that a good thing? Do our devices bring us together or separating us? Or are we more alone? Are we more connected to knowledge or more likely to believe misinformation? We know new technology helps us save lives but what about the health risks from being sedentary?  Are we more distracted or more engaged?  What are the effects of adding metrics to our social interactions? And what does it mean that you can publish anywhere at any time and share your voice with the world?

Explore the pros and cons of technology and defend whether it’s making life better or worse here on Earth.

Be sure to include facts and deep analysis.

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Your Shoes Aren't Lost . . . They're Hiding

Prompt

Tell this story:

You just lost your shoes. Or so you think. But it turns out your shoes aren’t lost. They’re just hiding, because each day when you go to school, your shoes come to life. What does a day in the life of a shoe look like? How do they spend their time? What do they do for fun? What types of hobbies do shoes have? Where do they go? How do they transform your home into their world? Do they have their own media? Perhaps . . . Shoe Tube?
Do they have their own language? Perhaps squeaking? And if so, do they create their own music? What hidden dangers do they face?
What is each shoe’s personality like?

Now think about it. Where are your shoes hiding? And why?

Now, tell this story from the perspective of your shoes.

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You Are a Real Estate Agent for Magical Homes

Prompt

You have just landed a job as a real estate agent. Pretty normal, right? Well, here’s where it gets strange. You are actually a real estate agent for magical homes.

So, what type of homes are you buying and selling? Are they mansions? Shacks? Castles? Maybe homes way up in the sky or in the ocean? Or maybe hobbit holes?

What makes these homes different? What weird features do they have? Perhaps disappearing doors? Rooms that expand? Moving staircases? Floating furniture?

What hidden dangers do you have to look out for?

What might an enchanted home floor plan look like? How is it different from a normal home?

Who are your clients? What would they be looking for in a magical home?

Where are these homes located? How do you keep these homes a secret?

Your job is to write an advertisement for one of these homes. Be sure to include the magical amenities, the physical description, and the location.

Include compelling reasons why someone magical would want to buy this home.

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You Get an Unlimited Supply of Legos

Ideal Uses:

This prompt works well as an enrichment prompt for students who have finished other writing. However, it also works well as a way to get students engaged in creative thinking and in descriptive language. You could also have students complete it as a choice-based story prompt.

 

Prompt:

You get an unlimited supply of Legos and you can build anything with it. But there’s a catch. You only get 48 hours. That’s right. 48 hours. So . . . What will you make? Will it be a house? A city? A truck? A boat? A robot? How big will it be? What will it look like? What purpose will it serve? What will be the practical use? Who will you invite to help you in this project? What could possibly go wrong with it? What will you do to prevent this? Where will your Lego creation be located? Make your story vivid and interesting.

 

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What Will Life Be Like in 2057?

Prompt

What will life be like in 40 years? Why not let students take a guess? This video writing prompt asks them to come up with 5 things that will have been invented by the year 2057.

Transcript:

Imagine that you can fast-forward into the future. In this case, the year 2057.

What do you see when you imagine it?

What will the arts be like? Think of the fashion trends, culinary innovations, art movements, musical genres and movies that will be popular.

What will our cities be like? What kind of transportation will people use? What will the buildings be like? More crowded? Less crowded?

What types of new technology will be available?

What challenges and social issues will we be facing that are not as big of a deal right now? What changes will we see in our environment? How will people be coping with it?

Now, based upon this future, come up with five things that will have been invented by 2057. Describe how each of those inventions will change life on earth.

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You Are a Spy Disguised as a Bird Watcher

Prompt:

You just received an invitation to be a part of an elite team of spies who are disguised as . . . bird watchers. That’s right, bird watchers.

What is your real mission?
Who do you work for?
Who are you trying to stop?
Why are you disguised as a bird watcher?
What are the hidden dangers?
What kinds of equipment do you use? What does it do?
Who are the members on your spy team?
What are their roles?
What is your command station like? Perhaps a tricked-out bird-watching RV?

So, tell this story.

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Invent a New Method of Transportation

Prompt

Invent a new method of transportation.

What is the main goal of your transportation? Is it to help the environment? To increase safety? To get to locations faster?

How many people would use this transportation at a time? Will there be individual pods? Pairs? Small groups of people, like a car? Or large groups, like a bus or a train?

How is your transportation powered?

How would your design build on existing technology? Will you use elements from a plane? A car? A drone? A train? A rocket? A satellite? What new ideas would you introduce?

How would the navigation work? Would users have control over the vehicles or will they be fully autonomous and controlled by AI?

What are the risks in this transportation? What are some of the challenges you would face? How would you deal with different weather conditions? How would you handle the weight of cargo?

Describe how this method of transportation would work and how it would change the world forever.

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Tell the Story of Superman's Brother

Prompt:

Tell the story of Superman’s brother, Carl, who left Krypton as a child but ended up on a deserted planet filled with space trash instead of landing on Earth.

Think about his life. What was his childhood like? How did he spend his days? How did he survive?
What kinds of skills did he learn in this environment? How did he use his Superman-like superpowers? In what ways did his x-ray vision come in handy? How about his ability to fly? What did he build on his planet? What new ideas did he have? How did he recycle the space trash? What his coolest invention? What new discoveries did he make? What kind of personality did he develop living alone? Did he ever create imaginary friends? Or maybe make his own robotic friends? What were his hopes and dreams? What were his goals?

Now tell the story of the reunion between Clark . . . er, I mean, Superman and his brother, Carl.

 

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