Grade 12 Prompts

WS Define a Hero (Expository)

According to Mark Twain, “We find not much in ourselves to admire; we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.” Write a letter to Twain explaining your own definition of a hero, including examples of people and/or actions you consider heroic.

WS Learning Two Ways (Expository)

It is often said that experience is a great teacher, but experience isn’t the only way to learn. Write a brief essay to a person younger than yourself, comparing and contrasting learning by experience to learning by studying a subject.

WS Political Debate (Expository)

In recent years, political debate has often taken a negative, even angry tone. Unfortunately, this negativity often stands in the way of finding common ground and solving problems. As someone concerned with the tone of political debate, write a set of guidelines to keep debates civil and focused on solving problems at hand.

WS Leisure Time (Expository)

People spend their leisure time in a variety of ways. Some play team sports. Others pursue pastimes such as cooking food and playing music. Write an essay explaining one personally rewarding way in which you spend leisure time.

WS Freshman Mentor (Expository)

In your school, senior mentors get paired up with freshmen for the first weeks of school. What wisdom would you pass along to a freshman student? What three or four tips would you provide for success in high school? Write an essay explaining the way to succeed in high school.

WS Bike Helmets (Persuasive)

A group of legislators in your state have proposed a new law that would require all children under the age of 12 to wear helmets while cycling. As someone with siblings or neighbors of that age, write an editorial for your local newspaper encouraging other legislators to support or oppose the law.

WS Vacant Lot Project (Persuasive)

A vacant lot in your neighborhood has become an eyesore, with tall weeds, litter, and insect pests. The city has recently purchased the lot and is calling for proposals for public use of the land. Write an editorial to your local paper, proposing a plan for using the lot. Provide specific details in your proposal and use strong reasons to convince readers that you have the best plan.

WS Prevent Overfishing (Persuasive)

Overfishing of swordfish has resulted in steady declines in natural populations. In an attempt to save the fish, local restaurants have started a campaign encouraging people to give swordfish a break by choosing other fish such as salmon or catfish for meals. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper encouraging people to support this campaign.

WS Exercise (Persuasive)

In recent years, it has become apparent that many Americans do not get enough exercise. Yet exercise is a great way to maintain an appropriate weight, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve general health. Write an essay for a fitness Web site that will convince people to exercise more.

WS Scholarship (Persuasive)

Your high school provides merit scholarships for students based on exceptional individual skills, not grade points. Write an essay detailing one or more skills you possess and convince your teachers and principal that you deserve a merit scholarship. Provide strong support for your position.