As your seniors begin the last few weeks of their high school careers, they will probably be experiencing many emotions. Excited to graduate, stressed for finals, anxious to begin a new life. To help ease their anxiety, carve out a little time for a meaningful writing assignment. Try one of these short prompts:
1. "Remember when..." - Who doesn't like to reminisce once in a while? Have your students write as many "Remember when..." statements about their school days and classmates. Allow them to share with their classmates. You could also collect their writing and make copies for each student. For a paperless option, create a Google Document and share it with them. Each student can contribute their own "Remember when..." statements.
2. "My Favorite Quote..." - Have your students share their favorite quotes. Prompt them to elaborate on why that particular quote speaks to them. Some will already know their favorite quote, but others may need help. Here are some websites with compilations of quotes that may help:
• Brainy Quote
• Good Quotations by Famous People (Compiled by Dr. Gabriel Robins)
• A Collection of Quotes and More Pinterest Board
As an enrichment, students can type their favorite quote into a word-cloud generator (try www.wordle.net or www.tagxedo.com). They can print the images and hang their quotes in the classroom as a reminder of the inspirational words they have chosen.
4. Best Advice Received &/or Best Advice to Pass Along - First, students write about the best advice they've received in the past four years. What made it the "best"? Did they follow it? Or wish they had? Next, or as an alternative prompt, they write a message of advice to incoming freshmen. What do they wish they had known? Would they pass along advice they had been given? How would advice to an incoming freshman differ from advice they would leave to the current junior class?
5. "My Legacy..." - Ask students, "What is your legacy?" What are they leaving behind for others? This is a good reflective prompt because it makes students think about how they have impacted the lives of others. Perhaps it is a memory of something they did in school--an accomplishment they achieved or how they made a group of students laugh. Maybe they served as an example, whether it was positive or negative (one of my former students who had been expelled for a year wrote about that experience and hoped others would learn from his mistakes). Maybe it is a tangible item, such as a trophy in the cabinet, a seat in the cafeteria, a parking space, a locker, or a tree planted on campus. How will others benefit from their legacy? If they struggle with this, ask them what they would like to leave behind if they had no limitations. Or maybe the underlying question here is: how do they want to be remembered by future students? Or do they want to remembered at all? If not, why not?
"What's Hot? What's Not?" activity in class for additional purposes, as well. You can download it free in my teacher store.
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