The fifth grade is a year of incredible change and growth for students.
For many, it is the last year of elementary school, and for some, it is the beginning of middle school.
In the fifth grade, learners are developing a more mature awareness of right and wrong and are more able to think abstractly.
The writing prompts for 5th-grade students below will not only be a fertile playground for curious minds but will be a way for learners to develop their own voices and ideas that will help shape their foundational skills.
Descriptive Writing Prompts
These are 5th-grade writing prompts that often contain the keywords “describe in detail” or “talk about how something felt, smelled, looked, or tasted”.
Fifth graders show more interest in independent work, so it’s best to include independent descriptive writing tasks in your lessons. Here are some creative prompts that your 5th-graders can try.
- Describe what you consider a good pet.
- Describe someone that you envied.
- Describe a famous person.
- Describe your dream job.
- Describe something you were scared of and how it made you feel.
- Describe your elementary school.
- Describe the favorite hang-out place of fifth graders.
- Describe a fifth-grade classmate who loves to help others.
- Describe your first best friend.
- Describe the most beautiful place you’ve been to last year.
Narrative Writing Prompts
These are 5th-grade writing prompts that tell a fictional or personal narrative.
Keywords such as “tell about…” or “write a story” are often used for these creative writing prompts.
- Write a story about an embarrassing moment that happened during 5th grade.
- Tell a story that involves a superstitious belief.
- Tell a story about an accident you’ve witnessed.
- Write about your favorite moment so far in 5th grade.
- Write a fictional story about a day in your life 10 years from now.
- Write a story about a time you made a big mistake.
- Write a story about a time you’ve forgotten something important.
- Write a story about a funny moment in your life.
- Write a fictional story inspired by a true event. Use real people in history as your main characters.
- Imagine that your favorite teacher is a secret superhero. Write how you discovered their secret.
Expository Writing Prompts
These expository essays are written with a set purpose and a voice that fits an audience in mind.
These prompts use the keywords “why, how, what, and explain”. Essays that address problems and give solutions, tell cause and effect, and teach processes (how-to) are all subtypes of expository writing.
Problem and Solution Prompts
- How can you solve the problem of heavy traffic in a big city?
- Talk about a situation that annoys you and how you deal with it.
- What’s one thing that can make you smile in the midst of a bad day? Explain why it makes your day better.
- How can you encourage people to use less of their cell phones?
- Your principal is seeking ideas on how to improve your school. Pick one change that will benefit fifth-graders and write why this is important.
Cause and Effect Prompts
- What effects does having a best friend have on your life?
- What are the effects of procrastination before an exam?
- What are the effects of peer pressure?
- Write an essay describing why some students cheat and the effects of it.
- What happens when you sleep late for a week?
- Give tips on how to make new friends and how to deal with new classmates.
- Give tips to fourth-grade students on how to prepare for the fifth grade.
- Give tips on how one can overcome being lazy on a busy day.
- What do you do to overcome fear? Share tips with your fellow students.
- How can a person fall asleep quickly?
Compare and Contrast Writing Prompts
Here are some prompts your students can discuss:
- Football versus basketball
- Ice cream versus cake
- Pet cats versus pet dogs
- Movies versus cartoons
- Online class versus offline class
Persuasive Writing Prompts
These are writing prompts for 5th-grade students that attempt to convince an audience to take a specific point of view or action.
These essay topics for 5th graders should discuss both sides of an issue and express a preference for one. These opinionated writing prompts use the keywords “‘persuade”, “convince” and “why”.
- Convince the Board of Education why beginning classes at a later time is a good or bad idea.
- Convince the Board of Education why increasing or decreasing screen time during classes is beneficial.
- What is the best way to spend an hour of free time without spending money? Try to convince your readers why this activity is the best among the rest.
- Persuade your classmates on why they should stop teasing a fellow student. Explain why it’s important to treat others kindly and be considerate of others’ feelings.
- What is the best pet to get? Persuade your 5th-grade classmates to your choice.
- Your parents are thinking of sending you to a sports summer camp. Convince them why this is a good or a bad idea.
- Persuade your parents why having cell phones can be beneficial for kids like you.
- Persuade a special person in your life to buy you something that you consider “the perfect gift”.
- Convince the school board that the new dress code policy is a good or bad idea.
- Suggest one solution to the citizens’ committee to solve the littering problem in your area and persuade them to take action.
Bonus: Funny Writing Prompts
These funny essay topics for 5th-graders are for the difficult days when you just want your learners to have fun writing.
- Make up a tale about the origin of thunder.
- Imagine that you are someone’s pet animal. Write a story about your owners.
- There’s a magical door in your room. Where does it lead to?
- Write about running away with the circus that came to your town.
- There was once a little girl who ate nothing but bananas. What happened to her?
Asking Students to Check Their Work
Before submitting their finished work, ask your students to make sure they’ve included all the necessary parts of an essay or story. Ask them to refer to this checklist:
- Did I write the introduction?
- Did I add details to my main points?
- Did I write the conclusion?
- Did I choose the best words?
- Were my ideas properly organized?
- Did I express myself clearly?
Jump In: Complement your 5th graders’ reading skills with reading comprehension activities to further motivate their creativity. Read my blog here — 11 Enjoyable 5th-Grade Reading Comprehension Activities That Smash Learning Goals.
How can I help students with writer’s block?
Add a few more keywords to your journal prompts. An anchor chart displaying the basic essay or story outline can also help.
How can I help students who struggle to finish writing on time?
Use a visible timer in class so students can manage their time while writing.
What can I do to help students who struggle to write the introduction or conclusion of their essays?
Encourage them to create an outline prior to actual writing so they can visualize how their essays will begin, develop and end.
How long should a writing activity take?
I suggest giving students ample time to write, about 30 minutes to one hour at the minimum.
How can I bring out and enhance the creative skills of my students?
Along with your written 5th-grade journal prompts, you can also show picture prompts and even play related background sounds or music to set the mood for creative writing.
I hope you come back over and over again to these writing prompts for 5th-graders to give your students lots of opportunities to practice writing.
To give your students a good start at creative writing, practice setting specific parameters with clear instructions to work with. You’d be surprised how this will significantly improve their writing skills.
And finally, remember to only choose prompts and writing assignments that align with your learning objectives.
Last Updated on July 24, 2022 by Emily