Do you use a writer’s notebook in your English classroom? Do you find yourself wishing that you had a list of journal writing prompts high school students will like?
In this post, I will be sharing 55 different journal prompts. That’s enough for the whole year, used 1x per week, for the whole semester if used 2-3x per week, and enough for the whole quarter if used every day.
Digital vs. Paper Writer’s Notebooks
Two years ago, I was determined to have my students write. Every day. Inspired by 180 Days, I wanted to be the writer’s notebook queen of the world and change students’ lives through journal writing.
I went to the nearest Staples store and bought .20 cent composition notebooks. I gave them to students on the first day of school. We wrote in them, pasting in mentor texts for the first three weeks of school. Then, for various reasons, the writer’s notebooks stayed closed more often than not. It was not sustainable for me.
Now, I’ve written in a previous post about choosing ONE thing to be your precious at the beginning of each school year. If paper writer’s notebooks are your jam, then rock on, friend!
As for me, I now use and love digital writer’s notebooks. These notebooks are created in Google Slides and shared with students via Classroom. They never get lost, are less time-consuming than regular writer’s notebooks, and can use all sorts of colors and design elements to capture students’ attention.
Journal Writing Prompts for High School Students
Below you’ll find 55 journal writing prompts. High school students will find plenty to say about these topics, but I suggest setting ground rules for writing and setting a time limit (with timer projected).
First: Write for the whole time.
Second: Don’t worry about making sense or making sure what you write is perfectly-edited.
Third: Be honest and be specific.
1st Set: Imaginative Journal Writing Prompts High School Students 💜
- If you could invent anything, what would it be? Describe why you want to invent it, what it would look like, what it would do, etc.
- Choose the animals that best represent your family members and closest friends. Explain why you have chosen each animal.
- What if the world was made of Jello?
- If your life was suddenly a hit reality television show, what would it be called and what would viewers say about it?
- Describe your survival plan in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
- Create the perfect alien.
- You have three doors in front of you: red, blue, and green. The red door says “wing.” The blue door says “want.” The green door says “woke.” Which door would you choose and why? Describe what you imagine to be behind each door.
- Explain what a forest looks like to someone who cannot see.
- Write a recipe for happiness. What would the ingredients be? In what order and amounts would you add them? What instructions would you include for baking and serving?
- Create your own original, symbolic names for five locations you visit every day.
- Write a guidebook for the older generation to help them understand your generation.
2nd Set: Past, Present, Future Journal Prompts
- If you woke up tomorrow with amnesia, what memories would you want to return? To forget forever?
- What would your five year old self have to say to your current self if you met for coffee? What would your current self say to your 10-years-from-now self?
- What are you most thankful for?
- Do you think the past is the best predictor of your future? Why or why not?
- How have you changed from when you were a child? Why?
- What does the future hold for you?
- Do you think your generation will “change the world”? Why or why not?
- In what ways do you look to the adults in your life for guidance? In what ways can they learn from you?
- What present-day issues are you the most concerned about? Why?
- What do you hope you will always remember about high school?
- What is trending right now on social media and what are your thoughts on it?
3rd Set: Personal Beliefs Writing Prompts
- Do you believe in karma? Why or why not?
- Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?
- Do you believe in the law of attraction? Why or why not?
- Do you believe animals fully understand human conversation? Why or why not?
- What are your “rules to live by”? Which one is the most important and why?
- Do you believe in “carpe diem”? Why or why not?
- Do you believe in an “eye for an eye”? Why or why not?
- How have your family and friends influenced your beliefs?
- Do you believe that people are the product of their environment? Why or why not?
- Do you believe in second chances? Why or why not?
- Do certain characteristics make people more likely to succeed? Explain.
4th Set: Top Ten Lists as Writing Prompts
- 10 things I should have learned by now.
- 10 words others would use to describe me.
- 10 of the weirdest things in my room.
- 10 things I want to do before I die.
- 10 of the best words in the English language.
- 10 things that are highly underrated / overrated.
- 10 reasons to wake up in the morning.
- 10 songs on my playlist right now.
- 10 of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had.
- 10 things I know to be true.
- 10 things I want to give a “makeover” to.
5th Set: Hard Questions for Journal Writing
- What is the meaning of life?
- Which is better: too much of something or too little of something?
- Which is better: truth or beauty?
- Is social media a blessing or a curse?
- What two questions would you ask to find out someone’s true self? Now, answer these questions yourself.
- What does it mean to be human?
- Define intelligence.
- To what extent do gender, ethnicity, social background influence your life?
- Is society today better off than it was 100 years ago?
- What labels could others give you? Are labels helpful or harmful? Explain.
- Do you believe human nature is evil or good?
Feel free to save the images for each set of questions and use them in an agenda slideshow or to post on Google Classroom.
If you are interested in ready-made digital journals, please take a moment to check out these popular resources. I appreciate your support!
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