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Writing Prompts for the Five Paragraph Essay  

These websites and news articles may be helpful in creating an open response prompt for students. Stop by the library for more ideas, information or to investigate a topic in depth. We're happy to help.
Last Updated: Jan 29, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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The ANSWER Key Routine for Open Response

A is for Analyze the Question

* Determine the esssential question and task

* Determine the kind of evidence required (These are the main ideas)

   There will be three main ideas, unless otherwise specified

* Mark the key words in the question

   Box-in words that identify the essential question (Words like: Explain, Describe, Tell, Ilustrate)

* Look for verbs, numbers of items and question terms to help you ( For example: List two reasons, Compare/Contrast, Show why)


N Is For Note Plan

N is for Note Plan

Set up two-column notes

* Restate the question at the top

* Set up logical main ideas in the left column (1/3of paper)

* Set up details on the right (2/3 of paper)


S is for Skim, Read and Select

S is for Skim, Read and Select

* Skim to get the big picture

* Read actively

  Identify the main idea and details from the passage

  Circle the main idea

  Underline details to support your main idea(s)

* Select specific and accurate information that is related to the question and record in notes, paraphrasing

Main ideas in left column

Supporting details in right column

* Check the notes for organization and sufficient text evidence ( Rule of 3)

Selected Prompts

Here are some subject specific links you may find helpful:

Even for reluctant readers, these are high interest topics:

NEWSLEA - This website provides a variety of recent news articles on topics like War and Peace, Science, Kids, Money, Law, Health and the Arts. The lexile level on any article can be adjusted to differentiate reading levels for the range of readers in your class. Some articles include a comprehension quiz. Worth taking a look at for interesting, off-beat and current topics.

READ WORKS provides all kinds of research-based and classroom-tested reading comprehension activities for teachers. Common Core based reading passages, each with comprehension questions could be expanded into open-response questions in subject specific areas.

Passages are lexiled and arranged by grade level. Simple response, short answers and open response questions follow each activity, along with an answer key. While set up for grades K-8, many articles would work well in a middle and high school level setting, given the lexile ranges among students in most classes.


ReadWriteThink is sponsored by the International Reading Association and has hundreds of lessons which can be filtered by grade level K-12. There are teacher resources and interactive student activities, as well as hundreds of ideas for writing. 


Freshman Humanities

Freshman humanities teacher, Luke Neff, shares hundreds of writing prompts which have helped his students in Newberg, Oregon really enjoy writing. His site uses catchy graphics and illustrations to jumpstart the writing process.

Defined Stem

Defined STEM'S literacy tasks are aligned with the Common Core ELA Standards and feature high-quality assignments to develop reading, writing and thinking skills within the context of learning in all subjects. Tasks are presented that give students a real-world situation that encourages either argumentative or informational writing. Users must create their own username and password. Our school access code is : MONHS.04t

501 Writing Prompts

The Learning Express Skill Builder in Focus Writing team, made up of experts in test preparation as well as educators who specialize in math and language arts, has compiled 501 writing prompts in a variety of subject areas.  There are simple and thought-provoking prompts for persuasive, expository, narrative and literary response essays as well as rubrics and writing models. Check this one out!

World Language Resources

Martina Bex, a former World Language teacher,  has assembled lesson plans, activities and strategies for World Language classes. There are opportunities for Imbedded reading, and links to other WL sites.

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W is For Write the Response

Write the Response

Write an introductory response-restate the question in one sentence

* Combine the left and right columns of notes into sentences that explain how the evidence supports the main ideas

* Use transition words to link sentences

* Write a concluding statement to leave the reader thinking


End By Revising

End By Revising

* Reread the question

* Check your response for organization and clarity

* Revise to improve the answer

* Edit for conventions ( spelling, punctuation and capitalization)


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