jock discrimination?


young people are narcissists


standing up to your friends


"stick a shovel in the ground"


explain Christmas to a young pine tree


financial supporter patches for politicians

[This seems like the right week to post this one. And if you don’t know why… you could start by reading this editorial.]


pirate curses

[so… I tagged this one as informative/expository writing because I guess you are just describing something, but if you think about it… it really should be persuasive because a really good description would persuade someone not to touch that treasure chest… and to make it really good, you should probably embed that description in a story, so that there’s some consequences and motivation for opening it… so, this prompt, like so many others, is actually some kind of overlapping Venn diagram of Common Coreness… real writing doesn’t play nice, does it? I made this comment recently: the best non-fiction I know is narrative. But, it’s really all three at once. Fine, I’ll make a picture to show it:

For examples of writers who hit the center of that Venn diagram, I’d probably point to these:

  • Michael Lewis: Moneyball and The Big Short 
  • David Foster Wallace: Consider the Lobster and A Supposedly Fun Thing…
  • George Saunders: The Braindead Megaphone

All this to say, I struggle with putting prompts up and assigning them a Common Core category… it seems pretty rare and artificial to have a prompt that fits in just one category. Ugh. I don’t know who to see about this.

Also, as long as I’ve got you on the line, and I’m commenting on this one… fair warning to teachers: use this prompt at your own risk.]

UPDATE: @rogre with this: “A pirate interests himself with uncommon ore, not Common Core.”


Hitler is to evil as _____ is to good.


too late for earth, too early for the stars

This is writing prompt #703… but it’s been reworked based on some excellent feedback… feedback about simplifying the wording of things, which I’ll try to incorporate more often. If anyone else has specific prompts that they think need to be reworded or simplified, please let me know. I really appreciate the feedback. Sometimes I forget what Milton Glaser said: “Just enough is more.”