I love using special writing prompts – they are very open-ended, vary in length, and can be used to find out what my students are thinking/struggling with/like/are challenged by/etc.
What I tell the students:
This is a *conversation*. There is no right or wrong. I just want honesty and effort.
These responses go into the composition notebook that they use for their weekly journal.
What I do:
I use the special writing prompts when I’m curious about something, when I have an unexpected absence and don’t have a lot of time to plan for a sub, when something seems to be troubling/challenging for the class.
So I love these (did I mention that?), and the first year I used them, I used them a lot – in addition to writing journals, reflections with assessment corrections, and self-evaluations, … and it was just too much. My students saw them (in addition to all the other writing they were doing) so often, these prompts lost their *specialness*.
If these prompts are the only/main way you are using writing to work on meta-cognition, then the more, the merrier! But, if you are using these prompts as a way to hold conversations with students, and want to keep them special, use sparingly.
I have a bunch of ideas on the “Writing Prompt Ideas” page. If you have any you’re willing to share your ideas with me, I’d love it!