Get Students Writing Now with Paragraph POW! (Part six: values)
I invented Paragraph POW! as a way to make writing practice more fun. We practice on special paper—lines in a box, just like on the state writing test. One difference: our paper has an awesome Paragraph POW! logo at the top.
Paragraph POW! became so successful that I developed dozens of writing prompts. Writing prompts on lined paper are hardly marketable in workbook form, so I’m giving them away for free.
Kids often face writing prompts that require a little soul-searching. The question asks students to make a value judgment, decide how they’d act in a hypothetical situation, or describe an ideal friend. Kids love to write these paragraphs, particularly if they get to share their work at the end. The sharing is especially important for values-based prompts—it encourages quality work and lets students get to know each other on a deeper level.)
Writing to a values-based prompt is not so hard:
Make a decision: don’t waffle. Commit! You will not be judged favorably if you change your mind halfway through the paper. Remember, this paragraph is about your writing, not your value judgments. (Within reason—really questionable ethics may leave a bad taste in the judges’ mouths.)
Think through your reasoning before you write. Plan three good reasons for your value judgment, then jot down a detail for each one. Students who don’t do this often run out of ideas quickly, and their writing reflects this.
Use the traditional structure: topic sentence, reasons, supporting details, conclusion. Stick with what works.
Here are the Paragraph POW! how-to writing prompts. Click on each link for a printable PDF. I have also given you an all-purpose Paragraph POW! sheet so you and your students can write to your own prompts.