'Writing Tools' photo (c) 2006, Frederic Guillory - license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

I’ve been sharing the writing prompts I have used, and plan to use, in all my classes — both as formative and summative assessments. You can find them all at My Best Posts On Writing Instruction.

Here’s one I’ll be using with my mainstream ninth-grade English class…

The Most Important Question You Can Ask was recently published by The New York Times. It’s a short essay by Tony Schwartz.

Here’s how it ends:

Personal accomplishments make us feel good. Adding value to other people’s lives makes us feel good about ourselves. But there is a difference. The good feelings we get from serving others are deeper and last longer. Think for a moment about what you want your children to remember about you after you’re gone. Do more of that.

After students read the column, they’ll be responding to this prompt:

What is Tony Schwartz saying should be the most important purpose to people’s lives? To what extent do you agree with what he is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.

In the comments, feel free to share prompts you use with your classes….