Writing Prompt Extension Activities

What great extension activities do you have up your sleeve for when some students inevitably finish a task ahead of others and there’s still time left before the lesson is due to end?

Below is a list of conversation prompts I compiled years ago, when teaching TEFL to adults in Germany, in a summer school for the 8-18 age group in Dorset, and then as a part time evening job in a language school for adults in London while reading for my degree during the day. I’ve adapted them now and turned them into school age relevant writing prompts instead. Feel free to use and abuse these, and let me know how you get on or if you adapt them in any way for your own setting.

Extension activity writing prompts:

  • A strange and unusual child arrives in your class one day. Describe how your fellow classmates were affected by the newcomer.
  • You have been given an increase in pocket-money. Describe your difficulties in thinking of ways to put it to good use and the reasons for your final choice.
  • Starting in a new school and getting a detention: describe your experiences of one or both.
  • Some people claim that borrowing and lending money are always unwise. Give your opinion, referring to some of your own experiences and others you have heard of or witnessed.
  • A day at school.
  • Describe someone from your day-to-day life who you admire.
  • The amount of school budget available for major projects is limited – how do you think it should be spent?
  • Odd habits. Describe any amusing, annoying or particularly strange habits that you yourself have, or which you have seen in other people.
  • In what ways would you like your own school run in comparison with the school you are now at?
  • Do boys have an easier time at school than girls? Discuss and explain.
  • Write an original short story based on one of the following:
    1. A failure to obey someone’s instructions
    2. A small fire that got out of control
    3. Fraud
  • Memories from the schoolyard, pleasant and unpleasant.
  • “Suddenly, everything went quiet.” Write a short story including this sentence.
  • Have you learnt from your mistakes? Give examples from your personal experience.
  • Write a short story, using the following sentence as a starting point: “Sometimes he wondered whether he would ever pass an exam – bad luck just seemed to hover over him.”
  • The sweet smell of success.
  • The pleasures and pains of being a student at boarding school.
  • Give an account of the most important ways in which your outlook on life is different from that of your parents.
  • Explain why professional games-players are among the most highly-paid of people, and say whether they ought to be.
  • “The first time is the worst.” Describe an occasion when you have found this to be true.
  • Describe a school trip made in bad weather, by land, sea or air.
  • Monday morning.
  • Describe the person who has influenced you most during the course of your life, making clear the effect he or she has had on you.
  • How has the micro-chip changed modern life?
  • Select an area of your school building or grounds that appeals to you for some reason and write a description of it, bringing out its special character.
  • “Never again!” you said. Describe the circumstances that caused you to make that comment.
  • “Old language learners are best,” says pensioner grandma.
  • “Man, 120, dies. Cause unknown.”
  • “Murderer, caught red-handed, walks away free!”
  • “Teacher arrives on time to lesson – ‘Miracle!’ cry students!”
  • “Cemetery faces motorway threat!”
  • “Man and woman eat apple: human race could face death penalty.”
  • “Insane woman found chained to railings attempting to emancipate herself.”
  • “Married man makes wife dinner!”
  • “Homework to be banned forever!”
  • “School day to be lengthened and holidays shortened!”
  • “Contagious disease forces school into lockdown and keeps students quarantined for a month.”
  • “School meals to go purely vegan.”

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