20 Free Writing Prompts for Winter

Now that the holidays are officially over, we can get back into the swing of things. Need some ideas for writing prompts? I have created my 101 Writing Prompts for Winter, and thought I would help ring in the New Year with a free sneak peek! The following 20 prompts are a sampling of  the prompts from 101 Writing Prompts for Winter.

Research Prompts

World Peace Day is December 21.  What is World Peace Day and how is it celebrated?  How was it started, and why?

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is December 7.  What was Pearl Harbor and why is there a day of remembrance for it?

Research the origin of kissing under the mistletoe.  What is mistletoe?  Why has it become a symbol of winter?  Why do people kiss under it?

Research the symbols of winter, i.e. Christmas Tree, nativity scene, snowflakes, a star, mistletoe, poinsettias, etc.  What do each of these symbols represent, and why are they symbolic of winter?

Argumentative/Persuasive Prompts

You have been asked to choose a new sport for the Winter Olympics.  What sport would you choose?  Convince the committee to choose your sport.

You have been asked to write a proposal banning the manufacture and wear of ugly Christmas sweaters. Convince the powers that be that ugly Christmas sweaters should be outlawed.  Be sure to provide examples and details to support your argument.

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in February, 1910.  As a scout, young boys and young men work hard to earn badges for completing tasks and service projects.  If you received badges for the things you do, what badges would they be?  Write about a new badge that you think all boys/young men should have to earn, and why.

Descriptive/Narrative Prompts

Think about a time when you realized that not everyone had the same things as others.  Some have more money and objects, others have less.  Some people get to spend time with their families at the holidays, and others don’t.  Think about the time you realized that not everyone was in the same situation as you, and how it made you feel.

Think about the time you learned that there was no Santa Claus. When was that moment, how old were you, and how did it make you feel? Be sure to paint an image in the reader’s mind to take them on that journey of discovery with you.

The first week of December is Tolerance Week.  Describe a time where you were tolerant, or witnessed someone being either tolerant or intolerant.


Create a plan for your school on how to honor Black History Month.

Explain to someone who does not share your religious beliefs how you celebrate your religious holiday.

Families do not always get along at the holidays. Describe how family discord can be a problem at these times, and detail how to best handle these situations.

Response to Literature (Quotes, poems)

Explain and respond to the following quote by Bill Watterson: “I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”

Explain and respond to the following Japanese Proverb: One kind word can warm three winter months.

Analyze the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost.  What is the poem’s tone?  To what is winter being compared?  What is the meaning of the poem? Be sure to cite specific lines from the text to support your analysis.

Creative Writing Prompts

National Haiku Poetry Day is December 22.  Choice three of the symbols of winter and write haikus about them.

Write an “ode” to something winter-related, i.e. a snowflake, a snowman, a fireplace, a Christmas tree, presents, etc.

Write a story that begins “It wasn’t until I looked at the present that I realized what it really was…”

Create a poem about the ugliest Christmas sweater ever seen.

Thanks for stopping by!

What Does Plagiarism Look Like? 10 Free Resources

10 Free Resources to help detect Plagiarism
10 Free Resources to help detect Plagiarism

I will never forget the first time I knew I had caught a cheater. It was in my first year teaching, and I remember that I really, really wanted to make sure that my kids turned in original work–I was very sensitive to plagiarism, since I had been accused of it once (long story; I will tell it another time). I worked very hard to come up with non-generic essay prompts and research projects (an absolute essential, by the way) so that students would at the very least have a more difficult time plagiarizing!  Lo and behold, I knew I hit the mother-lode when a student handed in his paper…complete with hyperlinks.  Yes, hyperlinks…those words that are underlined to take you directly to another webpage!  How dumb did he think I was?!!  This was a senior, who certainly should have known better, and I immediately confronted him.  He tried to deny it at first, but all I could blurt out was, “If you were going to cheat, you could have at least removed the hyperlinks!”  The class was in shock.  They couldn’t believe it either…we all giggled in embarrassment for both the student and the audacity of the act.

As the new school year starts, a new set of students will enter your classroom, many of whom have (sadly) gotten by in school without very much original work or creativity.  I remember each year an eager group of freshmen who had no idea that cutting and pasting others’ work was plagiarism! Every year, the same thing…no idea.  Obviously, it was going to be up to me to teach them how to create their own work, and help them learn what plagiarism was. Otherwise, I new I would have to face those freshman as seniors one day–and I would be mortified to learn that one of my students had committed such an act.

To get you started, be sure to have a clear plagiarism policy in place.  If your school or department doesn’t have theirs in writing, suggest they put it in writing so there is no question.  Post it on your wall–tattoo it on their foreheads…make them memorize it…breathe it!  I have a FREE Plagiarism Policy on my TPT site.  Feel free to download (don’t forget to rate it!) and alter it to fit your needs.  I suggest handing this out the first day or so of school (possibly with your syllabus), and making kids (and their parents) sign and return by the end of the first week.  A clear policy with consequences is a must.

The Purdue OWL site also has a helpful article on developing a course policy.

FREE Plagiarism Policy and Contract on TPT
FREE Plagiarism Policy and Contract on TPT

After all of your students have returned their signed slips, you may want to have them do some research on the

{FREE} Plagiarism WebQuest for Grades 8-12
{FREE} Plagiarism WebQuest for Grades 8-12

question  “What does plagiarism look like?” I have designed a FREE Plagiarism Webquest that you can find on TPT, or you can have students peruse on their own.  Here are some great resources:

Plagiarism.org  Students can use this site to educate themselves about Plagiarism and how to avoid it.  In addition, they can go to http://www.writecheck.com/static/home.html to submit their papers to check for problems!

Indiana University  Type “plagiarism” in the search box to be taken to a host of resources, including tutorials.

Google.com  Merely type in the sentence or phrase in question in quotation marks to bring up matching results.

Virtual Salt  Look for Anti-Plagiarism Strategies for Research Papers under Articles for Educators and Trainers.  This has great info for teachers as well, so look through.

Purdue OWL  Resources and articles on avoiding plagiarism.  Students can also take a self-test on passages.

Plagiarism: How to Avoid It  A research guide for students, teaching them how to cite sources.

PlagiarismChecker  A free tool.  Type in the suspicious passage and hit search!

Plagiarism Tutorial  This interactive site helps students learn the basics, and even has a Quiz students can take to test their skills.

Plagiarized.org Another free plagiarism detection tool.

In addition, I wholeheartedly believe you should also familiarize yourself with those so-called free essay sites (there are hundreds of them!), so here are some that I found…poke around…become familiar with the way they work.  Warning–the availability of these essays just might turn your stomach!


Best of luck on the new school year.  I would love to hear your own stories of plagiarism and/or how you approach it in your classroom.