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Journal Prompts: CAHSEE English

Perhaps a good habit to get our students into is the habit of daily writing. Just like the Read-180 students are asked to read silent for 20 minutes a day, maybe the CAHSEE students could start each class period with a Sustained Silent Writing period. Below are some journal prompts to get you started.


Grading Scale:

A 5 points 3/4ths of a page
B 4 points 2/3rds of a page
C 3 points 1/2 of a page
D 2 points 1/3rd of a pages
  • No make-up journals (absent = 0 points)
  • Students must write silently for the 10 minute block.
  • One point will be deducted if a student is off-task, disruptive, or "finished early"

 

Journals are a wonderful way to express ideas. There is no right or wrong way to journal. Respond in any way that makes sense to you. Be creative! Use your imagination! You may include illustrations, but the goal is to work with your words.

Journal Prompts by Essay Type:

Additional Prompts (download as a pdf)

1. If I were the teacher, I would...
2. If I could give one piece of advice to any person in history, that advice would be...
3. Describe a dream that you had recently. Provide as many details as possible.
4. The best lesson my grandparent (or parent or any relative) ever taught me was...
5. [on the day after the Grammy Awards are announced.] Do you think the right artists won? Why or why not?
6. Tell five things you'd like to do on your next birthday.
7. Imagine a friend of yours is considering whether to take steroids. What would you tell that friend to persuade him or her not to do that?
8. In 20 years, I will be...
9. Tell about an event in your life that has caused a change in you.
10. I was most angry when...
11. If you could design one room in a house to suit only your needs, what would it look like? (Challenge kids to be as fanciful as they like. For example, would someone have a desk made of chocolate?)
12. Describe your perfect vacation.
13. My worst mistake was...
14. [for high-school students.] Do you believe in love at first sight?
15. If you and your best friend could have a free limo for 24 hours, where would you go and what would you do?
16. You have the freedom to travel to any city or country in the world. Where would you go and why?
17. What would you do if you were president of the United States?
18. You have an extra $100,000 to give away; you cannot spend it on yourself. What would you do with the money?
19. The qualities that make a best friend are...
20. If you were an insect, what kind would you be and why?
21. Describe your room at home in detail. What are you proudest of and why?
22. [using a current local controversy] Do you agree with the decision? Why? Would you change if anything? What?

What is...
1. What is something you dislike about yourself?
2. What is something you do well?
3. What is your favourite room in your home and why?
4. What is a good neighbour?
5. What is the worst thing parents can do to their children?
6. What is your favourite time of day?
7. What is your idea of a dull evening?
8. What is the best way to treat meddlesome people?
9. What is something you are optimistic about?
10. What is something you are pessimistic about?
11. What is your most indispensable possession and why?
12. What is the meaning of "He laughs best who laughs last"?
13. What is your favourite song and why?
14. What is the best birthday present you ever received?
15. What is the best birthday present you could receive?
16. What is something that makes you feel sad?
17. What is your favourite book and why?
18. What is something that really bugs you?
19. What is something that really makes you angry?
20. What is the best advice you ever received?
21. What is your favourite holiday? What makes this holiday special?
22. What is your favourite day of the week?
23. What is your favourite month? Why?

What if...
1. What would happen if you could fly whenever you wanted? When would you use this ability?
2. What would happen if there were no television? Why would this be good? bad?
3. What would happen if everyone lived in space? What type of houses would they live in? What type of clothing would they wear? What type of food would they eat? How would they travel?
4. What if cows gave root beer instead of milk?
5. What if all the streets were rivers? What would be different?
6. What would happen if people never co-operated? Why do you think it is important to co-operate?
7. What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?
8. What would happen if animals could talk? What are some of the questions you would like to ask animals?
9. What would happen if you could become invisible whenever you wanted to? What are some of the things you could do that you cannot do now?
10. What would happen if everyone wore the same clothes?
11. What would happen if you threw a piece of trash on the ground? What if everyone did?
12. What if you could walk up walls and across ceilings?
13. What would happen if you loved your neighbour as yourself? What if everyone did?
14. What would happen if you grew taller than trees? How would this change your life?
15. What would happen if children ruled the world?
16. What would happen if there were no cars, buses, trains, boats, or planes? How would this change your life?
17. What if everyone lived under water? Where would people live? What games would children play? What would school be like?
18. What would happen if you found gold in your backyard?
19. What would you do if a bully bothered you on your way home?
20. What would you do if you did very poorly of a test?
21. What would you do if a friend borrows things from you but never returns them?
22. What would you do if You were the teacher and everyone forgot his homework?
23. What would you do if you were in the middle of the lake and your boat began to leak?
24. What would you do if Your friend had a broken leg? How would you cheer him up?
25. What would you do if you saw little bugs in your salad?
26. What would you do if you woke up in another country and no one could understand you?
27. What would you do if you ordered an ice cream cone and you forgot to bring money?
28. What would you do if someone got in front of you when you were in line at the movies?
29. What would you do if your jelly sandwich fell upside down on the floor?
30. What would you do if only one hot dog is left and neither you nor your friend have had one?
31. What would you do if two of your best friends went to the movies without inviting you?
32. What would you do if the surprise party was for you but you weren't surprised?
33. What would you do if you got a present you didn't like?
34. What would you do if you were at home and your homework was at school?
35. What would you do if you dropped the cookie jar and it broke?
36. What would you do if you were invited to two parties on the same day?
37. What would you do if you promised to feed your pet and you didn't?
38. What would you do if someone said you did something wrong and you didn't?
39. What would you do if your new shoes felt fine in the store but now they are hurting?
40. What would you do if someone told you a joke that you don't think is funny?
41. What would you do if an hour before the party you remember you don't have a gift?
42. What would you do if a friend comes to your house and his/her mom doesn't know he's/she's there?
43. What would you do if you had four math problems marked wrong that were right?
44. What would you do if you found in the street?
45. What would you do if you found a magic wand?
46. What would you do if you wanted to be friends with someone who spoke no English?
47. What would you say if someone told you it was all right to steal from a large department store?
48. What would you do if you saw a friend cheating--report it, confront the friend, nothing--and why?
49. If you could have been someone in history, who would you have been?
50. If you could only take 3 people with you on a trip around the world, who would you take and why?
51. If you could give any gift in the world, what would you give and to whom?
52. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
53. If you received any sum of money as a gift, what would you do with it?
54. If you could do whatever you wanted to right now, what would you do?
55. If you were principal of this school, what would you do?
56. If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?
57. If you were five years older you would...
58. If you were lost in the woods and it got dark, what would you do?
59. If it were your job to decide what shows can be on t.v., how would you choose?
60. If there were no rules, what do you think would happen?
61. If you owned a store, what would you do to discourage people from stealing from you?
62. If you could participate in an Olympic event, which one would you choose and why? If you could break the Guiness Book of Records it would be for?
63. If you had to describe yourself as a colour, which would you choose?
64. If your friend told you of a secret plan to run away from home, what would you do and why?

What do you think...
1. What do you think of 3D movies?
2. What do you think someone your age can do to help reduce the amount of pollution in our environment?
3. What do you think the world needs now?
4. What do you think your friends say to each other when you're not around?
5. What do you think about the amount of violence on T.V.?
6. What do you think about people polluting the environment?
7. What do you think about having set rules for people to follow?
8. What do you think about people who are inconsiderate of others?
9. What do you think should be done to keep people who are under the influence of alcohol off the road?
10. What do you think the world will be like when you are a grown up?
11. What do you think about ghosts?
12. What do you think of someone who has bad manners?
13. What do you think about people who take advantage of others?
14. What do you think about when you can't fall asleep?
15. What do you think courage means?
16. What do you think makes a good friend?
17. What do you think makes a happy family?
18. What pollutants do you think do the most damage and why?
19. What things do you think are beautiful?

What...misc.
1. What do you like most about yourself?
2. What do you like to do in your free time?
3. What kind of animal would you like to be and why?
4. What kind of trophy would you like to win?
5. What TV or movie star would you like to invite to your birthday party?
6. What does "Clothes make the person" mean to you?
7. What does "Have your cake and eat it too" mean to you?
8. What does "The early bird gets the worm" mean to you?
9. What do we mean when we say, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence"?
10. What does "You can't take it with you" mean?
11. What do we mean when we say, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"?
12. What do we mean when we say, "Hitch your wagon to a star"?
13. What does "still waters run deep" mean to you?
14. What does "There are two sides to every coin" mean to you?
15. What does Canada mean to you?
16. What are you afraid of? Why?
17. What are junk foods?
18. What are some nutritious foods that you like?
19. What are some rules you have to follow at home?
20. What are some examples of prejudice?
21. What is more important to you, appearance or personality?
22. What is most important to you in a friend--loyalty, generosity, honesty--why?
23. What is something that makes you melancholy?
24. What makes your best friend your best friend?
25. What makes you feel safe?
26. What makes you laugh?
27. What would you invent to make life better?
28. What would you do to entertain your family without spending any money?
29. What effects does watching violence have on people?
30. What effects do cigarette and alcohol advertising have on young people?
31. What kind of t.v. commercial would you like to make? Describe it.
32. What kind of pet would you most like to have--monkey, snake, goat--why?
33. What kind of program do you enjoy most on TV--detective shows, comedies, game shows--and why?
34. What advice would you give a new student?
35. What advice would you give to someone who stole something but now feels guilty?
36. What things are better than going to school? Why?
37. What talents do you have?
38. What three words would describe you right now?
39. What four things are most important in your life?
40. What colour makes you think of happiness?
41. What has been the most fun activity at school so far?
42. What quality do you like about yourself--creativity, personality, appearance--why?
43. What eccentric behaviour in a friend disturbs you the most?
44. What parts of nature do you like best?
45. What do you do for exercise?

How...
1. How do you feel when it's your birthday? Why?
2. How do you feel on the first day of winter? Why?
3. How would you feel if you were going to be on a show? Why?
4. How do you feel when you do something wrong?
5. How do you feel when you do something that is very good?
6. How do you feel when you play a trick on someone?
7. How would you feel if a new child moved into your neighbourhood?
8. How do you think the new child would feel?
9. How do you feel when you have had a fight with your best friend?
10. How do you think your friend felt?
11. How do you feel when you are in bed with the lights out?
12. How do you feel when you want something very badly and you cannot have it? Why is this so important to have?
13. How do you feel on a warm sunny day?
14. How do you feel when you stay with a babysitter?
15. How do you feel when you're leaving home on vacation?
16. How do you feel when you sleep at someone's house?
17. How do you feel during a thunderstorm?
18. How do you feel on the first day of school?
19. How do you feel when your parents are upset with you? Why do they become upset with you?
20. How do you feel on Thanksgiving? What are you thankful for?
21. How do feel on (any holiday)?
22. How do you feel when something scares you? What do you do when this happens?
23. How would you feel if someone told you that you were his or her best friend?
24. How do you feel about your appearance?
25. How would you change the world to make it better?
26. How do you think eating junk food affects you?
27. How do you have the most fun--alone, with a large group, with a few friends--and why?
28. Explain how to play your favorite game.

I wish...
1. I wish I had a million... Then I would...
2. I wish I had one... because
3. I wish I could be like.... This person is special because....
4. I wish to be a ________ when I grow up. Then I will....
5. I wish there were a law that said..... This would be a good law because....
6. I wish I could forget the time I ..... because....
7. I wish trees could..... because....
8. I wish I could see...... because.....
9. I wish I could learn..... because.....
10. I wish I didn't have to eat...... I don't like this food because.....
11. I wish everyone would learn to ..... Then everyone would.....
12. I wish I never......
13. I wish I had one more chance to..... Then I would.....
14. I wish there was an electric......
15. I wish I had enough money to......
16. I wish everyone loved......
17. I wish all children would......
18. I wish everyone had.....
19. I wish I could touch......
20. I wish animals could...... If they could, then.....
21. I wish I looked like.... because......
22. I wish there were no more.....
23. I wish I didn't have to.....
24. I wish I could go to.....
25. I wish there really was..... If there really was, then.....
26. I wish I could hear......
27. I wish I could give......
28. If all my wishes came true, I would......

Describe...
1. Describe a time when you felt vengeful.
2. Describe your favourite toy. Why do you like it best?
3. Describe the most ludicrous outfit you can think of.
4. Describe the best teacher you ever had.

When...
1. When you are angry, how do you look?
2. When are you happiest?
3. When have you felt lonely?
4. When do you feel proud?
5. When was the last time you cried and why?
6. When a friend was in an embarrassing situation, what did you do?
7. When it might hurt their feelings, how do you feel about telling your friends the truth?
8. When might it be bad to be honest?
9. When someone picks on someone else, how do you feel? What do you do?
10. Once, when you were very frightened, what happened?
11. Once, when you were embarrassed, what happened?
12. Once, when your feelings were hurt, what happened?

Which...
1. Which quality best describes your life--exciting, organised, dull--and why?
2. Which quality do you dislike most about yourself--laziness, selfishness, childishness--and why?
3. Which place would you most like to visit--Africa, China, Alaska--why?
4. Which holiday has the most meaning for you-Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day--and why?
5. Which is least important to you--money, power, fame--and why?
6. Which is most important to you--being popular, accomplishing things, being organised--and why?

Who...
1. Who do you talk to when you have a problem?
2. Who is your favourite Star Wars character (or other movie/book/t.v. show, etc.)?
3. Who or what has had a strong influence in your life?

Where...
1. Where would you prefer to be right now--mountains, desert, beach--and why?

Why...
2. Why is it important to be honest?
3. Why is important to have good manners?
4. Why do you think adults smoke/drink?
5. Why is exercise important to someone your age?
6. Why do you think some people encourage others to smoke/drink?
7. Why do you think the rules you must follow are good or bad?
8. Why would it be good to be honest?
9. Why have men and women usually only done certain types of work?
10. Why should or shouldn't a man stay home to care for the house and children while his wife goes to work?
11. Why do you think some people take advantage of others?
12. Why do you think prejudice exists in the world?
13. Why would we say that someone is "passing the buck"?
14. Why would a President have a sign on his desk which read, "The buck stops here"?
15. Why do you think tact is an important quality?
16. Why is it not wise to squander your money?
17. Explain why we say, "dead as a door nail".

Misc...
1. Do you think there is too much fighting on t.v. Why or why not?
2. Do you think it is necessary to have alcohol at a party in order to have a good time?
3. Does it bother you to be around someone who has bad manners?
4. Should there be a dress code in places such as school, restaurants, and places of business? Why or why not?
5. Should animals be used for medical research?
6. Should the American Government financially support Olympic teams?
7. Should people be prohibited from smoking in certain places?
8. Families are important because...
9. Would you like to be famous? Why or why not? What would you like to be famous for?

 

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