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October Writing That Isn’t Spooky (for You or Your Students!)

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Spooky and scary writing prompts can be fun, but maybe you want to stick to October topics that won’t make students run away screaming. Read on for mellow writing prompts.

Spooky and scary writing topics can be fun, but if you teach younger students, you may want to stick to October writing prompts that won’t make them go screaming from the room. Here are 33 daily writing prompts that are perfect for warmups, mini-writing workshops, and collaborative writing. None of them should make you say Boo!

 

A cup of hot cider and two cinnamon sticks.

 

This post was originally published on September 23, 2021. This version was updated September 30, 2023.

I blog frequently about the importance of daily writing practice. Whether it’s by hand with paper and pencil, or on the computer keyboard, or even using text to speech scaffolds, it’s super beneficial to build good communication skills. It’s also a mindful practice. It’s just not possible to engage in writing well if your mind isn’t focused on the topic at hand.

The October writing prompts use a calendar of national days to create writing prompts about unusual topics that are intriguing to young students. As often as possible, the prompts include a video or website. You can choose to remove the links from the student prompts and share it with the whole class together if you prefer. With teacher guidance, the videos and websites give wonderful background context to inform the students’ writing. The topics cover a wide range of areas, so everyone can write across the curriculum. The October Daily Writing Prompts Journal is appropriate for grades 2-5, or ages 7 to 11.

Two children writing in a notebook.
When you click this image you’ll get to see a great post about using mentor sentences to teach writing.

Biology and Life Sciences Writing Prompts

How smart is an octopus? According to the scientists that study them, they can open jars, solve puzzles, and differentiate between caretakers. They have nine brains!  Before you write on this day, take a minute to seek out some of the videos about this amazing creature to enjoy with your students. Here’s a video from SciShow with facts about octopi. 

Speaking of writing about an octopus, having you read the book “Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt? It’s a fun and light read, but gives an insightful glimpse into the intelligence of octopi. Not for students, this book is for adults!

An octopus floating in an aqua colored circle.
See this on Instagram.

In October, we also celebrate:

  • Sloths
  • Lemurs
  • Cats
  • Reptiles
  • Hummingbirds, and the
  • Swallows of San Juan Capistrano.

In 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students love learning about animals, right?

Geography Writing Prompts

Each month includes days to celebrate some of the states in the U.S. In October students write about:

  • Vermont
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Rhode Island.

If you’re doing state studies in your class this year, these state writing prompts and the websites that go with them are a great resource. This Instagram post gives five fun facts about Pennsylvania.  Did you know the state insect is the firefly?

Bullying Prevention Month

October is Bullying Prevention Month. Students of all ages, (and sometimes adults, too!) can learn how to become an upstander and avoid bullying. Wearing orange t-shirts is a way to spread the word to #endbullying. October 13 is National Stop Bullying Day with its own prompt. But you can teach, talk, and write about how to stop a bully all month long with the resources in this month’s writing journal. This is such an important topic for students to learn about over and over  again.

A nametag with the word bullying and blocks that spell stand up.
Check out everything in this month’s writing journal by clicking on the picture.

The book, The Juice Box Bully : Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others by Bob Sornson and Maria Dismondy can be an opening to deep conversations about what’s happening in your school or classroom. If you haven’t read it, you can watch a video on Youtube of the book read aloud.

There’s truly something for everyone in each daily writing prompts journal. Here are some five-star reviews from teacher’s using these writing journals:

These prompts are fun and a great motivator for my students who have a hard time coming up with ideas for writing. Thanks! ~~~Jennifer D.

Time saver!! I love being able to print off a daily writing prompt without having to take the time to search the internet for age-appropriate writing prompts. ~~~Melissa B.

Excellent resource! Thank you so much! ~~~Jennifer M.

The Writing Prompts Can Build Collaboration

Students in your class love to talk, right? You can use these writing prompts to help them research and respectfully discuss a range of topics. You can even let them collaborate on the writing or extension work you might include. I found using the National Days Calendar for discussion and writing topics helped build a happy classroom community.

students writing together at a desk.
Click this picture to read a blog post about how to simplify writing in your classroom.

After a class discussion, everyone should have plenty to write about. Conversation prior to writing is an important scaffold for EL students.

Another way to build classroom community and develop confidence in writing is with poetry, especially if you know how to make it fun. The Problem Solving Teacher has some wonderful ideas about how to teach beginning poetry in your class on her blog.

She also has a blog post called 8 Deadly Poetry Halloween Writing Prompts. Despite the word “deadly” the prompts are fun! Think poetry that uses onomatopoeia, acrostics, concrete shapes, (I love these!), haiku, and more.

The Writing Journals Become Student Portfolios

I wrote about how to turn these writing journals into portfolios in this postIt’s such a valuable tool, especially when determining how much progress a student is making. To me, this is such a valuable part of these writing journals, so I felt it was worth mentioning again.

I review the links and update the journals on a regular basis.  If you purchase the bundle of daily writing prompts, check back each month before using it again, and download the latest updated version. You’ll be able to use them year after year, with the most current links and topics included. You can preview the topics for this year by clicking here or on the image.

October writing prompts slideshow

The journals use a digital CUPS editing system. You can also make your own CUPS highlighter bars if you want to use them with printed materials. I made this Youtube video, CUPS Editing in Just 5 Minutes. Take a quick watch and see how easy it is to use this system and teach your students to self-edit their writing!

As you can see, there’s nothing spooky about this month’s writing prompts. But feel free to add your own scary prompts if you’d like to do so!

October Fun Is More Than Just Writing!

Have you ever done an escape room with your class? I used to avoid them because I thought they were too much work. But now I’ve learned how to create escape rooms that are NO-PREP for you! That’s right. There’s no stuffing envelopes, cutting pieces, or hiding artifacts and clues around the room. You simply print the student pages and let them go to work solving the puzzles.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is a classic October tale. But it’s too difficult for upper elementary students to read.

So I wrote a four page adaptation, with beautiful artwork by Digitalartsi. I made four fun challenges to test comprehension skills. It even includes a video hook to get your kiddos excited to begin. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t know they’re learning! That’s not spooky, that’s wonderful!

If you click on the image, you can see the video and all the things included in this Legend of Sleepy Hollow Escape Room.

Four escape room puzzles for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Click on the image to see the full preview and the video hook!

 

Still not sure about how to fill your October with fun learning? You can find a terrific bundle full of Halloween math, games, and October themed products in my store. You get games, multiplication practice, spelling, Boom cards, and the Daily Writing Journal.

A haunted house and Halloween decorations for a cover of a bundle of October writing and Halloween games.

Here’s what’s included in this bundle of October goodness. Click on each link to see each one. Or click on the image above to see them all at once!

You can find all this and more in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. I’ve got you covered for October!

Suzanne-TeacherWriter

 

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