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8th Grade Essay: Examples, Topics, & Writing Tips

The picture introduces to the requirements of an 8th grade essay.

If you find yourself on this page, you are probably going to another level of your education – the final year of Middle school!

Isn’t it exciting?

One of the most common assignments in the 8th grade is an essay. Indeed, it gains new features. An eighth-grade essay is not the same as the sixth or seventh-grade one. It has more requirements and needs a deeper level of analysis.

How to write an 8th-grade essay? How many paragraphs should it contain? What is a standard 8th-grade essay format? On this page, you’ll find the answers to these and other questions that might arise. We’ve prepared creative 8th-grade essay topics, examples, and tips to write an A+ informative, narrative, or persuasive essay.

  • 🧩 8th Grade Essay 101
  • 📑 8th-Grade Essay Types
  • 💾 Topics for the 8 th -Graders

🍎 8th Grade Essay Examples

🧩 8th-grade essay format explained.

Once again: the 8th-grade essay format is a bit different from that of the previous years.

Below, we thoroughly explain how long an 8th-grade essay should be and how to write it. We guarantee you’ll have no questions about the format and assessment of this type of work.

What Is the 8 th Grade Essay Format?

In this section, you’ll know which parts comprise any 8th-grade essay.

The first thing to remember: you’ve got onto an entirely new level. So, your writing isn’t as simple and short as it used to be in the previous school years.

Let’s start with the structure. The fundamental parts are the same as in any type of essay:

The picture contains information about the language style required for an 8th grade essay.

8th Grade Essay: How to Write & Typical Mistakes

With the help of this section, you’ll get to know the most straightforward and helpful tips for 8th-grade essay writing.

These are the things that any 8th grader should know!

8 th Grade Essay Do’s

  • Look for reliable sources to find arguments and evidence.
  • Try to arouse eagerness for writing: it surely will ease the whole process for you.
  • Choose the topic that is interesting for you if you have such an option.
  • Use academic language, special terms, consistent phrases, and correct grammar.
  • Use good quotations from reputable sources to solidify your ideas.

8 th Grade Essay Don’ts

  • Don’t write dully: an essay is a story. It should be exciting and consistent.
  • Don’t make all your examples too similar: diversity is of the essence.
  • Don’t let your text look like an unreadable pile of words: use graphic tools to highlight the most critical points.
  • Don’t use unreliable sources and websites for citation.
  • Don’t be afraid of honest self-expression. Your identity and thoughts are what make your 8th-grade essay unique.
  • Don’t forget to revise your text after you’ve finished writing it.

8th Grade Essay Rubric

Meet the assessment strategies for 8th-grade writing. Here you’ll also find some prompts that improve your essay and lead you to a higher score.

So, the assessment pattern of a written piece comprises several main points. These are the things that assessors pay attention to:

📑 Eighth Grade Essay Types

We suppose that you come across different types of assignments during middle school. Among them, there indeed were descriptive and narrative essays.

However, now you are to face other exciting formats of writing. In the section below, you’ll get to know a few new types.

8th Grade Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing where you make a claim and prove your point of view with solid arguments. Your aim at this point is to make readers nod in contempt while reading and share your opinion.

The structure may be pretty familiar to you:

The picture contains an exemplary outline for an 8th grade argumentative essay.

In your argumentative essay, you should back up your opinion with some exact data: statistics, figures, research studies, and polls.

To solidify your claim, you can use three types of arguments:

  • Aristotelian . The classical way – you make a statement and try to persuade the audience that it is the one that is fair and right.
  • Rogerian . First, you display an issue, then present the opposing view. After that, reveal your own opinion and start convincing readers why they should take up your point.
  • Toulmin . Present your thesis statement, then provide the audience with the grounds to support it. The final touch is to connect these parts.

PRO TIP: Explain why you disagree with the opposing point of view on your issue.

8th Grade Persuasive Essay

A persuasive essay is very similar to argumentative writing. There you have to pick up a mainly burning issue and establish a firm opinion towards it. The primary goal is the same as in the argumentative essay: to make your readers believe you.

The picture contains an exemplary outline for an 8th grade persuasive essay.

Remember the three essentials of persuasive writing:

  • Logos appeals to logic, which is apparent. Deliver your thoughts cohesively and reasonably.
  • Ethos is about persuading the readers, appealing to their sense of ethics and morality.
  • Pathos helps you convince through emotions.

8th Grade Essay – Informative

An expository essay brings concepts to complete understanding. In other words, you explain something to give a clue about the subject in question. Successful expository writing makes the audience get the whole picture, leaving no questions or misunderstandings.

To familiarize yourself with expository essay structure, check our recently updated guide on writing an expository essay .

And briefly look at six major types of expository essays:

The picture contains brief descriptions of exposutory essay types.

💾 8th Grade Essay Topics

8th grade argumentative essay topics.

  • What is the main challenge you’ve ever met?
  • What was the happiest moment of your childhood?
  • Tell about the accomplishment you’re most proud of.
  • What are the personal qualities you like most?
  • Write about an inspiring celebrity.
  • What does emotional intelligence mean?
  • Write about the largest challenge of getting older.
  • How is adolescence different from childhood?

Read the list of topics we’ve prepared for an 8th-grade essay. Choose your favorite or use our Free Essay Topics Generator to find the best one.

Persuasive Essay Topics for 8th Grade

  • Would limited screen time be beneficial for health?
  • Will the global use of electric vehicles save us from the ecological crisis?
  • The government should provide citizens with more qualified psychological help.
  • What are the pros and cons of buying a pet for a child?
  • Should people use paper and textile bags instead of plastic ones?
  • Is it necessary to attend PE classes in school?
  • Is it ethical to use smartphones during the lesson?
  • Should parents forbid their children from watching TikTok?
  • Pros and cons of cheating on exams: immoral or beneficial?
  • Should there be only healthy snack vending machines at schools?
  • Is it acceptable for a teacher to raise the voice at a student?
  • Should modern rappers’ songs be put through censorship?
  • Is it ethical for students to discuss their teachers?
  • Should all cosmetic products become cruelty-free?
  • Should we stop the overconsumption of sugar for the sake of our health?
  • Should zoos and circuses be banned forever?

8th Grade Informative Essay Topics

  • Compare and contrast the environmental policies of the USA and Europe.
  • What are the harmful effects of CO 2 emissions on the environment?
  • How is the concept of freedom reflected in 20th-century literature?
  • Reveal the details of the famous friendship of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
  • Brush off or fight: how to act when you come across bullying at school?
  • What are the most significant challenges school attendees usually face?
  • How to overcome your fears without getting traumatized?
  • How to prepare for the exam period and overcome anxiety?
  • Freedom or despair: the history and concept of trailer parks in the USA.
  • Explain the concept of sustainability and what benefits it has.
  • Provide a classification of American lifestyles based on location.
  • A reasonable person: describe the concept and the features.

Look at our 8th grade essay examples. These are mostly just excerpts, but we included the most significant parts. Approach us in case you need a similar paper or have any questions.

8th Grade Argumentative Essay Example (#1)

The most notorious substance in the ecological discourse: is CO 2 really that bad?

Did you know that it’s better for the earth if you work out or jog with your mouth tightly shut? It’s not common knowledge, but professionals know: we need a considerable amount of CO 2 in our blood. In some terms, it’s even more vital than oxygen. Undoubtedly, there has to be a proper balance, and here is the point: CO 2 can be beneficial.

Though what good does it make to nature and the environment?

It’s all the same as with our body: CO 2 is not evil on earth, but there must be a proper balance. Now, this balance is critical, and we must make serious efforts to change the situation.

  • According to last year’s research, the USA is in the second place among countries producing the most significant part of CO 2 in the whole world. The website statista.com published striking figures. 4.57 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions were produced in 2020 by the energy consumption sphere in the United States.
  • Besides, a recently published report from the IEA agency reveals another piece of statistics. Compared to the previous year, the amount of CO 2 emissions will rise to 5% in 2021. This year we’re facing 33 billion tons of this greenhouse gas.
  • These figures mean nothing without context. Here you are: nature suffers greatly from CO 2 influence. Due to the greenhouse effect caused by an excess of CO 2 , the water temperature in oceans and seas is rising. This process is not positive at all because the natural habitat for sea creatures is altering. The changes are dramatic and lead to the extinction of many species.

In conclusion, we need to find an efficient way to improve the ecological situation regarding CO 2 emissions. The key is global social and individual awareness and consciousness. Each and every inhabitant of the Earth has to understand the meaning of CO 2 for global warming clearly. So, try to jog with your lips closed and choose a bike instead of a car.

Example #2: 8th Grade Persuasive Essay

Is it essential to stay away from social media for the sake of mental health?

Nielsen Company conducted research that says that the average US adult spends more than 10 hours interacting with social media each day. Indeed, social media plays a very considerable role in the life of a modern person. Most of us are more likely to spend time watching short videos than reading a good book. But is it harmful to our mental health to the extent that we have to quit using social media platforms?

To my mind, we are greatly dependent on our Instagram and TikTok accounts, and the content posted there. It certainly has a negative impact, too. However, the complete cancellation of social media is not a way out. The key to good mental condition is in the skill of managing your relations with them.

  • One of the recent surveys by the Lancet reports that Facebook users who scroll the newsfeed before sleep tend to be more depressed. Apparently, the deprivation of sleep affects mental well-being to a great extent.
  • FInancesOnline has recently posted the results of the research. According to this data, Facebook constitutes 72% of people’s FOMO and anxiety. Posts about traveling and active social life create most of these feelings.
  • At the same time, healthy rivalry can motivate development and growth. There’s a reasonable quotation saying that one should compare themselves yesterday instead of comparing to others. The best thing one can do to take care of their mental health is to take a digital detox for a while.

Thus, it is vital to trace your obsessions with social media and negative feelings caused by comparison with others on the Internet. Try to get more aware of it, take your time to rest from social media, and plunge into real life.

5 Paragraph Essay Example for 8th Grade (#3)

The Financier and American Tragedy : compare and contrast two main characters of Dreiser’s novels.

Do you know that Theodore Dreiser is sometimes called an American Fyodor Dostoevsky? Both writers touched upon the most sensitive social and existential issues. However, the subject of this paper is not the comparison of the authors but two famous Dreiser characters: Clyde Griffiths and Frank Cowperwood.

Both of these young American men were striving to reach financial and social success in a world of brutal struggle and hardships.

  • Clyde Griffiths represents the desperate strive for American Dream. Born in a poor and religious family, he grows greedy for money and status. In his blind obsession with gaining a high social position, he doesn’t notice his spiritual degradation. He is smart enough to struggle his way into high society but not so witty to solidify his standing with decent means. He cheats, lies, and finally commits a murder: Clyde seems to be already born guilty at times. On reading the story, there doesn’t appear any sympathy toward him. On the contrary, he provokes feelings of abomination and disgust.
  • Frank Cowperwood also aims to become wealthy and socially firm. He wants to improve his family’s life quality. Still, his ways and means astonish. Frank is a natural-born predator and strategist. His sophistication and sharp wit show up in him since his very childhood. He isn’t a man of high moral standards: Frank doesn’t mind cheating on his wife and manipulating city treasure money. However, he’s a passionate man, honest and open in his heart urges and impulses. That is the reason why fortune favors him.

However, having similar goals but different personalities and mindsets, Griffiths and Cowperwood reach completely different destination points.

How to Write an Essay in 8th Grade?

– You should pick up a good topic and formulate your attitude to the problem. – Write an outline. – Make a clear and brief thesis statement. – Think of at least 3 firm arguments if the essay type demands it. – Impress your readers with a firm conclusion. Voila! Do not forget to proofread!

How Long Is an Essay in 8th Grade?

The length of the 8th-grade essay slightly depends on the format and the particular type of writing. However, it varies from approximately 500 to 800 words. Within this framework, you have to make yourself clear and deliver all necessary points.

How Many Sentences Are in a Paragraph for 8th Grade?

The size of a paragraph in the 8th-grade essay has to be not less than 8 sentences in each. Besides that, mind that the sentences are primarily compound or complex, error-free, and coherent. Also, remember to connect the sentences and paragraphs with particular language means.

How to Write an Argumentative Essay in 8th Grade?

Choose an exciting and acute topic. Make up a thesis statement out of the problem. Draft an outline or a brief plan. Explore some reliable sources for the evidence and arguments for your essay. Organize the facts and information into a cohesive structure.

I’m an 8th grade student at a private school, and my teacher assigns us up to 4-6 pages most to write. First of all we get other essays on top of this, and usually have nearly to a week to finish. Me and my classmates struggle with this. Do you guys think this is too much for an average 8th grade student?

i am writin apaper right now and it is averreding and its about the changes we woud make to our cafeteria it has to be 5 paragraphs long

Thanks for stopping by at our blog. We would be happy to help you with your paper. You can be interested in some other posts on this blog (https://overnightessay.com/blog/category/essay-tips/) or contact our friendly Support Team to get professional writign help from experienced writers. Good luck with your paper! Best regards,

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8th grade writing

by: Hank Pellissier | Updated: February 12, 2024

Print article

8th grader's writing under common core

Verbal has a double meaning for eighth grade writing: it refers to the oral presentations the kids will do and to this year’s focus on grammar — gerunds, participles, and infinitives.

Argument essays

Written in formal language, argument essays should start with an introduction that clearly presents the writer’s position and flows into a well-organized, research-backed argument that advocates for their position and argues against opposing claims. Your child’s writing should exhibit a profound understanding of the topic. Arguments should be logical and fueled by evidence from credible sources. Papers should end with a persuasive conclusion that summarizes the viewpoint and declares the topic resolved. Topics will vary, but you’ll often see teen issues such as: Are video games harmful to mental health? Should our school have uniforms? Should bullies be suspended or given a chance to make amends?

Informative and explanatory writing

In their informative and explanatory papers , students use formal language to explain complex topics with relevant data, precise ideas, and logical analyses. Kids should start with an intriguing introduction that previews the subject matter. Next, they present well-organized information that’s backed by evidence from credible sources. Eighth graders should use a variety of “strategy tools,” including:

  • Classifying information.
  • Defining terms.
  • Using subject-specific, academic , and transition vocabulary words.
  • Quoting sources.
  • Incorporating factual details.
  • Making comparisons.
  • Contrasting different situations.
  • Explaining cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Including graphics (charts, tables, images) and multimedia.
  • Using formatting (headings, bullet points).

Finally, the concluding paragraph should provide a synopsis of the main point of the essay. Your child’s papers are likely to cover topics that students are familiar with — but still need to research in order to answer, like If there is a drought, how can we save water? Or Explain how a specific invention has changed your life .

Narrative writing

Eighth graders write narratives or stories that describe events in their lives (personal histories, memoirs) or imagined scenarios (fiction, fantasy). Junior J.K. Rowlings learn effective storytelling techniques, such as introducing the narrator and characters, establishing context for the setting, and conveying a point of view. Students practice letting the sequence of events unfold, giving characters depth, and developing the plot through actions, dialogue, and reflection. Your future F. Scott Fitzgerald should use transition words to guide readers from one place and time to another. For example: Four hours later, Jack opened his locker to discover a shocking surprise . Or, Returning to the cafeteria, Tinsley saw the cute new boy sitting with her best friend, Amanda . Remember that even narratives have a conclusion, hopefully one that helps readers ponder the meaning of the story.

Changes and more changes

Grit. Concentration. Determination. Eighth graders strengthen their literary skills by revising their papers over and over again, following advice from teachers and classmates to re-imagine, re-outline, redraft, re-edit, rewrite, and try new approaches. Is this just a form of perfectionistic punishment? No, the practice helps teens learn to tighten their prose, pick stronger verbs, use more accurate descriptors, and organize their writing in the most effective and interesting ways.

Internet interaction

Your eighth grader will likely need the internet to create, type, and share their work, which will often have links to web sources and include graphics and multimedia. Also, these are typically typed. Your child should be tying about 40 words per minute. (Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction recommends a typing speed 5 times your grade . If your child needs practice, there are free typing classes for middle schoolers available online .)

It’s increasingly common for kids to be required to collaborate on projects online, often in Google Docs or Slides. What’s more, drafts and completed assignments are often turned in via email or by uploading to an online portal. So if your child’s technical skills aren’t up to snuff, think about getting your child a little extra help so these requirements don’t hold him back.

Evaluating their sources

Eighth graders do short projects that require research from multiple sources. Teens learn to evaluate the credibility of their sources. For example, Is Saturday Night Live as reliable as National Public Radio? No. Kids need to be careful about how they present information, paraphrasing information or using quotes to avoid plagiarizing, which Merriam-Webster defines as “to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your own words or ideas.” The standard way to end all research projects? A bibliography, formatted correctly, of course, that shows both the quality and quantity of their sources.

Student critiques

Students get to do the critiquing this year — whether it’s a book or their classmate’s essay. Eighth graders analyze how modern fiction uses the plot, themes, and characters. Students look for connections and explain how a contemporary text borrows from, comments on, or changes the old foundation. For example, How does The Hunger Games trilogy use the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur?

Students also evaluate the evidence their peers use in essays and to back up arguments. It helps them become more skilled at determining fact from fiction, legitimate truth from biased propaganda, scientific theories from fraudulent nonsense.

Eighth graders learn to identify verb voice. If the subject in a sentence does the action, then the verb is in the active voice, like this: The whale ate the shrimp. However, if the subject in a sentence is the target of the action, then the verb is in the passive voice, like this: The shrimp was eaten by the whale .

Presenting their work

Expect quite a few oral reports in eighth grade. In these presentations, kids need to deliver their arguments and the results of their investigations to the class. Key skills for a solid presentation include:

  • using formal language;
  • making eye contact;
  • pronouncing things clearly and loudly enough for all to hear.

Your child’s presentations should be coherent, organized, logical, supported by evidence, and, in many cases, jazzed up with costumes, props, maps, music, sound effects, charts, and visual projection. Teens (and adults) often suffer from sweaty, knee-knocking stage fright. Inform your adolescent that this is totally normal; remind them to breathe and enjoy the attention.

Here’s a preview of the presentation skills required in high school.

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The Guide to 8th Grade: Reading and Writing

Review reading and writing curricula for 8th grade, including what to expect and resources to support learning..

In their last year of middle school, 8th graders immerse themselves in preparation for high school by practicing and strengthening skills they learned in earlier years of middle school while also learning new (and often more complex) skills.

In many ways, 8th grade is a year of transition, as students are expected to have mastered the ways of middle school and begin becoming “high-schoolers.” Specifically, 8th graders are expected to be independent thinkers and workers analyzing and explaining what they learn in both their writing and verbally. 

8th Grade Reading

In 8th grade, students continue to practice many of the skills they learned in earlier grades, specifically paying attention to details like text evidence, language, and cross-text comparisons in different genres of text. However, 8th graders push their analyses of texts further as they examine the details and writing structure and assess how those elements affect the text. 

In order to build reading skills, your 8th grader :

  • Evaluates the evidence in texts to determine the strongest supports of an idea and analysis.
  • Determines the main idea or theme of a text using evidence from the text to support it.
  • Provides an objective summary of a text.
  • Understands, summarizes, and tracks the progress of the main idea of a text, using evidence from the text.
  • Analyzes how elements such as specific dialogue, events, or word usage impact the characters, the decisions they make, and other events and actions in the text.
  • Understands the use of language in a text, including figurative language, analogies, and allusions to other texts.
  • Compares and contrasts the different structures of texts including the structures of paragraphs and sentences.
  • Analyzes the difference between characters’ points of view and how these differences affect the text.
  • Analyzes the pros and cons of using different forms of text and media to present a topic or idea.
  • Compares a text to a film or play version of a text, paying specific attention to the way in which the film or play veers from the text.
  • Analyzes texts that include conflicting information on the same topic and decipher when those are due to conflicting facts or interpretations.

8th Grade Writing

In 8th grade, students continue to practice and refine many of the writing skills they learned in 7th grade while also learning some additional complex writing skills. Given that refining one’s writing can take time and practice, students are not expected to cover a great deal of new skills. However, they do learn some new techniques and skills that enhance their writing and enable them to become better writers.

In order to build writing skills, your 8th grader :

  • Introductions
  • Acknowledgements of opposing claims
  • Logical and orderly presentation of reasons and evidence
  • Graphics, special formatting, and multimedia, when appropriate
  • Support of the claims through the use of evidence from credible sources
  • A concluding sentence or paragraph that supports the argument made
  • A formal tone and style
  • Use supporting claims and evidence based on credible texts and resources
  • Provide an introduction that includes an explanation of what follows
  • Develop topics through the use of facts, details, quotations, examples, and subject-specific terms and definitions
  • Include transitions that connect concepts, events, and paragraphs
  • Include a conclusion that supports the presented idea(s)
  • Maintain a formal “essay type” style
  • Integrate other forms of media and formats such as graphs, charts, headings, audio, or video when appropriate
  • A narrator, characters, and a point of view
  • Descriptive detail and sensory language to describe characters, settings, and experiences
  • Dialogue, pacing, reflection, and details and descriptions of characters, setting, and experiences
  • Thought-out word choice
  • A clear structure with a logical order and flow, as shown through the use of transition words and phrases and a logical sequence
  • A conclusion that is connected to and builds on the narrative
  • Plans, revises, and edits writing, specifically with guidance from teachers and peers, focusing specifically on trying new approaches and making sure the writing has a purpose and appeals to its audience.
  • Uses technology and the Internet to produce and publish writing, work with others, and cite sources.
  • Works on multiple short research projects that answer specific questions and cite multiple sources, while gathering additional questions for later research.
  • Uses both print and digital resources to conduct research, focusing on using appropriate search terms and reliable sources.
  • Uses quotes and a standard format for citation.
  • Uses research to analyze and make inferences.

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Free Printable Essay Writing Worksheets for 8th Grade

Essay Writing made accessible! Discover a vast collection of free printable Reading & Writing worksheets tailored for Grade 8 students. Enhance your teaching experience and help students excel with Quizizz.

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Explore printable Essay Writing worksheets for 8th Grade

Essay Writing worksheets for Grade 8 are an essential tool for teachers looking to develop and enhance their students' reading and writing skills. These worksheets focus on various aspects of writing, including nonfiction writing, which is a crucial component of the curriculum for this grade level. By incorporating these worksheets into their lesson plans, teachers can provide a structured and engaging approach to teaching writing, while also ensuring that their students are exposed to a wide range of topics and writing styles. Additionally, these worksheets can help students practice their writing skills, improve their vocabulary, and develop a better understanding of grammar and sentence structure. Overall, Essay Writing worksheets for Grade 8 are an invaluable resource for teachers who want to help their students excel in reading and writing.

Quizizz is an excellent platform that offers a variety of educational resources, including Essay Writing worksheets for Grade 8, to help teachers create engaging and interactive lessons for their students. In addition to worksheets, Quizizz also provides teachers with access to a vast library of quizzes, games, and other learning materials that can be easily integrated into their lesson plans. This platform is particularly useful for teachers who are looking to incorporate technology into their classrooms, as it allows them to create customized learning experiences that cater to the unique needs and abilities of their students. Furthermore, Quizizz offers real-time feedback and analytics, enabling teachers to monitor their students' progress and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly. By utilizing Quizizz and its wide range of offerings, teachers can ensure that their Grade 8 students receive a comprehensive and well-rounded education in reading, writing, and nonfiction writing.

How to Write a Persuasive Essay for the 8th Grade

Nadia archuleta, 26 sep 2017.

Parents help their eighth-graders with writing by providing a critical eye.

Eighth-graders want to get their way, but they do not always know how to persuade effectively. Teachers assign persuasive essays in the eighth grade so students learn how to present an argument and convince their readers to agree. Students often bring such assignments home to work on. Insight into the process and the genre can aid parents in helping their children write persuasive essays.

Explore this article

  • Writing Process
  • Persuasive Techniques
  • Counterargument
  • Essay Structure

1 Writing Process

Writing may seem like a chaotic creative procedure, but eighth-grade teachers instruct students to follow a process to minimize the confusion. Students pre-write by brainstorming and planning the essay, either through a classic outline or some other graphic organizer. They then write a rough draft. Left to their own devices many eighth-graders would submit this as a finished work. However, they need to revise this draft for clarity and proof for errors. In this stage parents can help a lot by pointing out unclear areas and grammar or spelling mistakes. Then the student publishes the final draft.

2 Persuasive Techniques

Persuasive techniques appeal to logic, emotions and ethics. Logical arguments revolve around research: facts, statistics and expert opinions. The majority of the persuasive essay should rely on such support for its points. However, emotional appeals such as an anecdote or deliberately emotional word choices are appropriate as additional support. Parents can help their eighth-graders here with suggestions for stories or more powerful vocabulary. In addition, a student's credibility is improved when a paper is well-researched. Parents can guide their children in avenues of research by discussing the validity of sources. Teachers prefer websites and publications put out by universities and government organizations.

3 Counterargument

The counterargument helps distinguish a persuasive essay from other types. The eighth-grader needs to acknowledge opposing viewpoints. Parents can help here by brainstorming with their children the opposition’s point of view. An effective counterargument involves both acknowledging and either refuting or casting doubt on the opposition’s strongest points. At the very least parents offer adult perspectives on eighth-grade opinions. For example, if the eighth grader is arguing to change the lunch provider at school because the food is “gross,” the parents can point out that the first consideration usually is nutrition. From there the eighth-grader starts arguing against a specific point.

4 Essay Structure

Essays consist of three main structures: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The introduction and conclusion usually are one paragraph each that mirror each other. The introduction starts from a broad view and narrows to a specific thesis statement. The conclusion starts with a restatement of the thesis and moves to wider implications of the topic. The body consists of three paragraphs stating and supporting one point each, all helping to prove the thesis statement. The counterargument comes in either one separate paragraph or as points refuted throughout the body of the essay. A helpful activity is to have the eighth-grader read the essay aloud. Parents listen and comment on parts that don’t make sense or don’t support the thesis.

  • 1 ReadWriteThink: Persuasive Essay -- Environmental Issues
  • 2 Durham Tech: A General Study of Aristotle’s Appeals
  • 3 University of North Carolina Writing Center: Argument
  • 4 Purdue Online Writing Lab: Argumentative Essays

About the Author

Nadia Archuleta has a B.A. in English writing. She spent five years working abroad and has traveled extensively. She has worked as an English as a Foreign/Second Language teacher for 12 years.

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EL Education Curriculum

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  • ELA 2019 G8:M2:U2:L8

Write an Informative Essay: Analyze a Model and Plan an Introduction

In this lesson, daily learning targets, ongoing assessment.

  • Technology and Multimedia

Supporting English Language Learners

Materials from previous lessons, new materials, closing & assessments, you are here:.

  • ELA 2019 Grade 8
  • ELA 2019 G8:M2
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Focus Standards:  These are the standards the instruction addresses.

  • W.8.2a, W.8.2b, W.8.4, W.8.5, SL.8.4, L.8.1b, L.8.3a

Supporting Standards:  These are the standards that are incidental—no direct instruction in this lesson, but practice of these standards occurs as a result of addressing the focus standards.

  • RI.8.1, RI.8.10, W.8.6, W.8.7, W.8.8, W.8.10, SL.8.1, L.8.4, L.8.6
  • I can plan an introduction to an informative essay that includes a strong focus statement. ( W.8.2a, W.8.4 )
  • I can analyze a model to generate criteria of an effective informative essay on my selected research case study. ( W.8.2, W.8.4 )
  • I can identify indicators for speaking clearly and using appropriate eye contact. ( SL.8.4 )
  • Opening A: Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 ( SL.8.4 )
  • Work Time A: Language Dive: Model Essay: "GMOs," Paragraph 1 note-catcher ( W.8.2a, L.8.1b )
  • Work Time B: Informative Writing checklist ( RI.8.1, W.8.2 )
  • Closing and Assessment A: Informative Essay Writing Plan graphic organizer: plan of introduction ( W.8.2a, W.8.4 )
  • Informative Writing Plan graphic organizer
  • Homework: Painted Essay® Structure
  • Review the Informative Writing checklist ( see the Tools page ).
  • Review the Model Essay: “GMOs” and the Model Essay: “CSAs.”
  • Strategically group students into pairs for the work in this lesson, with at least one strong reader per pair.
  • Ensure there is a copy of Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 at each student’s workspace.
  • Predetermine partners for the work in Closing and Assessment A, to ensure all students are paired with a peer who is working with the same model essay.
  • Post the learning targets and applicable anchor charts (see Materials list).

Tech and Multimedia

  • Work Time A, Work Time B, and Closing and Assessment A: Prepare a device with a projector to display Entrance Ticket: Unit 2 Lesson 8; Model Essay: "CSAs"; Language Dive materials; and the Informative Writing Plan graphic organizer, and prepare devices for students if they will be using digital versions of these documents.
  • Continue to use the technology tools recommended throughout previous modules to create anchor charts to share with families; to record students as they participate in discussions and protocols to review with students later and to share with families; and for students to listen to and annotate text, record ideas on note-catchers, and word-process writing.

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 8.I.A.1, 8.I.A.3, 8.I.A.4, 8.I.B.5, 8.I.B.6, and 8.I.B.8.

Important Points in the Lesson Itself

  • To support ELLs, this lesson invites students to analyze a second model essay and to participate in a Language Dive that addresses a sentence from the focus statement of the model essay about GMOs. Students will have already seen this sentence in the previous lesson while reading and analyzing the model essay. In the Practice portion of this Language Dive, students begin drafting the first sentence of the focus statement of their own essays. In Closing and Assessment A of the lesson, students begin planning the introduction of their essays.
  • Students may find it difficult to plan the introduction of their essays. Encourage them to refine their focus statement first so that they can use it to guide their decisions about the rest of the introduction and the Proof Paragraph. Allowing time for oral processing before writing may help some students gain clarity around their ideas.
  • Model Essay: "GMOs" (one for display; from Module 2, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Work Time A)
  • Work to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (one for display; from Module 1, Unit 2, Lessons 4-5, Work Time D)
  • Paint an Essay lesson plan (for teacher reference) (from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Work Time A)
  • Model Essay: “GMOs” (one per student; from Module 2, Unit 2, Lesson 7, Work Time A)
  • Painted Essay® Template (one per student; from Module 1, Unit 3, Lesson 6, Work Time B)
  • Access to Healthy Food: Independent Research note-catcher (one per student; from Module 2, Unit 2, Lesson 4, Work Time B)
  • Researcher’s Toolbox (one per student; from Module 2, Unit 2, Lesson 1, Work Time A)
  • Device with projector (see Technology and Multimedia)
  • Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 (example for teacher reference)
  • Language Dive Guide: Model Essay: “GMOs,” Paragraph 1 (for teacher reference)
  • Language Dive: Model Essay: “GMOs,” Paragraph 1 note-catcher (answers for teacher reference)
  • Informative Writing: “CSAs” checklist (example for teacher reference)
  • Model Essay: “CSAs” (example for teacher reference)
  • Informative Writing Plan: “CSAs” graphic organizer (example for teacher reference)
  • Informative Writing Plan: “GMOs” graphic organizer (example for teacher reference)
  • Homework: Painted Essay® Structure (answers for teacher reference) (see Homework Resources)
  • Devices (optional; one per student; see Technology and Multimedia)
  • Entrance Ticket: Unit 2, Lesson 8 (one per student)
  • Language Dive: Model Essay: “GMOs,” Paragraph 1 note-catcher (one per student)
  • Language Dive: Model Essay: “GMOs,” Paragraph 1 sentence chunk strips (one per group)
  • Model Essay: “CSAs” (one per student and one for display)
  • Colored pencils (red, yellow, blue, green; one of each per student)
  • Informative Writing: “CSAs” checklist (one per student and one for display)
  • Informative Writing: Independent Research Essay directions (one per student and one for display)
  • Informative Writing Plan graphic organizer (one per student and one for display)
  • Homework: Painted Essay® Structure (one per student; see Homework Resources)

Each unit in the 6-8 Language Arts Curriculum has two standards-based assessments built in, one mid-unit assessment and one end of unit assessment. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize students' understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.

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65 Engaging 8th Grade Writing Prompts for Creative Essays

Creative writing is a discovery process, and 8th grade is a great time to encourage your students to find their voices. It’s the final grade before high school, and it’s a time when students are really discovering themselves and their place in the world as they leave middle school.

That’s why…

It’s so important to give your 8th-grade students writing prompts that will help them explore their thoughts and opinions. These 8th-grade writing prompts for creative essays are designed to do just that.

Journal Writing Prompts

students writing class using pencil

Journaling is a great way to get your students’ creative juices flowing. It’s also a great way to get them thinking about their own thoughts and experiences. Here are some journal prompts to get your eighth graders started:

1. If you had the chance to travel anywhere in the world, where would you choose? What attracted you to that location?

2. Do people require a compelling reason to live? How would you characterize the purpose’s evolution over time?

3. Imagine you could go back in time and give someone advice. What would you say?

4. When it comes to writing, how do you feel? Consider something else in your life when comparing your feelings about writing to it.

5. Create a typical day in the life of an eighth-grader with a short story.

6. Write about your favorite movie or book. Why do you love it so much?

7. What do you like about your appearance?

8. Consider what you value in life and how it relates to where you want to be in five years. Make a personal vision statement for your life.

9. What are your thoughts on the notion of vulnerability? Have you ever been anxious when you’ve felt weak or exposed?

10. What are your biggest regrets so far in life? Why do you feel the way you do about it now?

11. Choose someone older, such as a grandparent. What is the most significant lesson you’ve learned from that individual?

Creative Writing Prompts

creative writing with colored pencils and notebook

Creative writing is all about expressing yourself in your own unique way. That’s why it’s such a great activity for eighth-grade students. By allowing young writers to flex their creative muscles, they’ll be able to explore their thoughts in a way they might not have before.

Here are some creative writing prompts to get your 8th graders started:

12. If you had one opportunity to make a difference in the world, what would it be and why?

13. What would you change if you were in charge of your school and why?

14. If you had the power to transform your city’s appearance or structure, what would you do and why?

15. Who would you invite for dinner if you could choose any famous person?

16. Write a short story about what your life would be like if you lived in the cold deserts of Mongolia.

17. Your instructor has requested that you present a lesson with the fifth-graders. What will you speak about and why?

18. Name one thing you’d want to accomplish in the future. Describe why it is so essential for you and how you intend to achieve it.

19. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Have you ever heard that? What’s your take on it? To support your standpoint, utilize precise details and scenarios.

20. The town officials want you to create a community for the future. Share your vision using specific information and examples.

21. What would your brain be like if it were a physical location?

22. Write a scenario in which a usual family activity goes horribly wrong.

Expository Writing Prompts

8th grader writing outdoor

Although similar to creative writing, expository writing is a different animal altogether. Here are some exciting prompts to get your middle-schoolers started:

23. What’s the most unusual location you’ve ever visited? Describe it in detail.

24. Tell us about your last birthday, from the moment you awoke until you went to bed that night.

25. Imagine your dream home. Make a list of each room and its features.

26. How do you get to your grandparents’ house or another family member home?

27. Write about your typical school lunch and your experience eating in the lunchroom.

28. Consider a career you’d like to have one day. Describe a typical working day in that position.

29. What unique characteristics do you possess as a member of this generation? How are people your parents’ or grandparents’ age different from yours?

30. What are three fun ways your family might spend a family vacation together?

31. Why do you think someone you know should be regarded as a leader?

32. Who’s your favorite teacher, and why?

33. If you had to be an animal, which one would you choose and why?

Precise Language Writing Prompts

middle schoolers walking on school campus

When it comes to writing skills, precision is key. Your students need to communicate their thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely. That means they need to have a vast vocabulary and use it effectively. Here are writing prompts to help your students hone their skills:

34. Write a news article about a recent natural disaster.

35. Think about a time when you were extremely proud of yourself. Write a first-person account of your proudest moment.

36. What is your earliest memory of feeling fear? Write a brief story about that experience.

37. Are all teachers educators? Are all educators teachers? What is the difference between a teacher and an educator?

38. When should you say a specific number instead of “a lot” to avoid being mistaken?

39. What exactly makes something “made from natural components” distinct from anything grown in your backyard?

40. What is the difference between race and nationality?

41. What is the difference between music and sound?

42. What is the primary difference between being wise and being intelligent?

43. How can you tell the difference between an opinion and a fact?

44. Is it correct to refer to an 8th grader as a “young person”? Why or why not?

Counter-Argument Writing Prompts

students in school corridor discussion

To become better writers, students of this age group need to be able to anticipate and refute counter-arguments to their own claims. Here are some counter-argument writing prompts to get your reluctant writers thinking:

45. An old saying goes, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Explain why this might not be true.

46. Some individuals believe that crying is a sign of weakness. Disabuse them of this misconception.

47. Some schools enforce a dress code to discourage bullying and encourage learning. Explain why you disagree with forcing students to wear uniforms.

48. Paranormal investigators sometimes utilize photographs as “evidence” that ghosts exist. Explain why a photo of a ghost might not be considered evidence.

49. Cats are widely regarded as the greatest pets. Why might dogs be a better choice?

50. Some people think that nothing is more essential than fame or popularity. Why do you feel differently?

51. Some people believe that smartphones shouldn’t be allowed in school because they’re a distraction. In favor of allowing phone usage in class, create an argument.

52. Some people believe that there should be no restrictions placed on freedom of speech. Defend your position by explaining why freedom of speech should be limited on occasion.

53. People sometimes believe that important core principles, such as religion and politics, must be shared by good friends. Explain why this isn’t necessary.

54. Some people believe that honesty is more important than compassion. Explain why kindness is more essential at times in your essay.

55. Many individuals think it’s better to be single than in a relationship. Why might being in a relationship be preferable?

Informational Writing Prompts

writing an essay 8th grade

Informational writing is a key skill for students to master. After all, in the real world, we need to communicate clearly, whether we’re writing an email to our boss or a letter to our elected officials. Here are informational writing prompts to keep your students busy:

56. Ask your teacher to share some insights about their life. Then, create a one-page biography based on what you learned.

57. What do you know how to do well? Write detailed instructions for someone else to perform this task.

58. Consider a destination that you’ve been to. Describe the site to someone who has never been there before.

59. There are several different family structures. What kind of family do you have?

60. Choose a subject you’re well-versed in, like a favorite sports team, movie star, musical genre, or anything that fascinates you. Explain the topic to someone else in three pages.

61. What impact has new technology had on your life?

62. Is there a familial custom that is unique to your family? Describe the custom and why your family participates in it.

63. Tell us about a typical day in one of your parents’ lives.

64. What would you do if you won the lottery?

65. How do people in your community show their support for local businesses?

Jump In : Writing essays encourage G8 students to get more creative in writing and critical in thinking. Provide them with more enthusiasm by giving them 11 Fun 8th Grade Reading Comprehension Activities & Games to stimulate their minds!

Fun Fact : There are aids available to assist your students to create correct sentences (free and paid). I researched a particular tool that I believe will improve your learners’ writing skills. Learn more about it here — Complex Sentence Generator: 7 Tools To Build Good Statements .

Get Your Middle School Students Hooked on Writing With These Engaging Prompts!

8th grade is an important time for students to focus on their writing skills. As they prepare to transition to high school and beyond, they must develop a strong foundation now.

By offering them a variety of engaging writing prompts, you can help your students build confidence and proficiency in their writing. So get those pencils and pens ready, and let’s get started!

Last Updated on July 25, 2022 by Emily

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Reading Worksheets, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, Lesson Plans

8th Grade Writing

For eighth graders, this Common Core area helps students gain mastery of writing skills by working collaboratively and producing written texts, understanding syntax and vocabulary, and organizing their ideas. Among the complete standards for this grade, eighth graders will be asked to: support the claims of their arguments with evidence, logical reasoning, and credible sources, use a formal style when writing, be able to develop the topic of a work with details, facts, definitions, and quotations, employ formatting, graphics, and multimedia to present information in the written medium, employ narrative techniques like pacing, description, reflection, and dialogue to develop events and characters within a text, go through the process of writing, editing and revision for their written work, use appropriate technology to publish writing and to collaborate on written projects, demonstrate keyboarding skill, go through the process of writing, editing and revision for their written work, conduct short research projects to answer a question, quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of supporting texts while avoiding plagiarism and using proper citation, use evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Abraham Lincoln Bio Poem

Abraham Lincoln Bio Poem

Your students will write a bio poem about Abraham Lincoln.

Bio Poem: My Mother

Bio Poem: My Mother

A fun Mother’s Day bio poem activity for your students!

Bio Poem: Pilgrim

Bio Poem: Pilgrim

A biography poem, also called a bio poem, is a short poem which describes a person or thing. This printable Thanksgiving Activity guides students through creating a bio poem about Pilgrims.

Bio Poem: Someone You Know

Bio Poem: Someone You Know

Students will write a bio poem about someone they know using the format set in this worksheet.

Christmas Tree Bio Poem

Christmas Tree Bio Poem

A biography poem, also called a bio poem, is a short poem which describes a person or thing. Sometimes writing a bio pem can be tricky! This printable Christmas Activity guides students through creating a bio poem about a Christmas tree.

Correct the Transition Words Mistakes – Worksheet

Correct the Transition Words Mistakes – Worksheet

Have your students revise sentences and correct transition word mistakes with this educational writing activity.

Edgar Allan Poe: Secrets in Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe: Secrets in Poetry

Students read from Edgar Allan Poe’s “An Enigma” and decipher the name of the woman’s whose name is hidden within the text.

Father’s Day Bio Poem: My Father

Father’s Day Bio Poem: My Father

Enhance your students’ writing skills with this fun Father’s Day Biography Poem activity.

Fourth of July Bio Poem: America

Fourth of July Bio Poem: America

Encourage your students to learn about America with this Fourth of July Biography Poem activity.

George Washington Bio Poem

George Washington Bio Poem

Your students will write a bio poem about George Washington.

George Washington’s List of Rules

George Washington’s List of Rules

When George Washington was a young boy, he made a list of rules for himself. Students choose one of the rules and write what it means.

Halloween Bio Poem Activity: Ghost

Halloween Bio Poem Activity: Ghost

Create a bio poem about your own personal ghost with our fun Halloween printable activity!

Main Idea Organizer

Main Idea Organizer

Teach your students how to organize their writing with this helpful Main Idea Organizer. Students will be asked to complete the worksheet by writing their own main idea, three details, and a summary. This will help your students better understand how to organize their ideas for writing in the future, especially when writing an essay!

Write a Biography Poem

Write a Biography Poem

Bio poems are usually short poems following a specific format. In this worksheet students will write a bio poem about themself.

Bio Poem: A President

Bio Poem: A President

Bio poems are usually short poems following a specific format. Students will write about a President in this worksheet.

Bio Poem: An Ocean

Bio Poem: An Ocean

Have your students get creative by writing a bio poem about an ocean.

Editing and Proofing a Paragraph

Editing and Proofing a Paragraph

Your students will further their editing and proofing skills by correcting a paragraph in this printable classroom worksheet.

George Washington: Almost a King

George Washington: Almost a King

What if George Washington had become king? Students ponder this question and then write about what it would be like.

How to Write a Thesis Statement

How to Write a Thesis Statement

This activity helps students develop a strong thesis statement for their essays by providing practice writing sample statements.

How to Write an Introduction: Bridge Building Activity

How to Write an Introduction: Bridge Building Activity

This activity is designed to help students learn about writing introductions through a fun bridge building activity to join the lead noun card and thesis statement card.

In this engaging and rigorous summer course, students study the how and why of academic essay writing.

Live instructors guide students (ages 14–16) as they plan, draft, and revise academic essays, and learn why such essays matter.

This course is recommended for students entering Grade 8, 9, or 10. We recommend that students enroll in Language Arts courses at grade level.

Academic Essay Writing offers an intensive study of the how and why of academic writing. Students learn how to plan, draft, and revise an academic essay — as well as why such essays matter.

Featuring the popular college writing textbook, They Say / I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing , the course approaches “the essay” as part of a larger conversation being held among scholars. The tools students gain in this course will help them enter into that conversation and maintain it through their academic careers.

Students must purchase the required book(s) before the start of the course.

Our instructors hold classes virtually, in a small-sized (10-16 students) videoconferencing classroom. With a small class size, teachers can give individualized attention to each student, providing real-time verbal and written feedback and supporting students' growth as writers.

Our Language Arts summer courses do not include homework. Students receive frequent feedback on their writing and present their work throughout the course.

If you drop a summer course before the start of your first class session, we'll issue a full refund for the course tuition. No refunds will be issued for withdrawing from a summer course after the start of your first class session. We do not accept Language Arts book returns, since they are purchased from a third party.

Our summer course offerings meet five days a week, Monday through Friday. We offer this course in two timing formats. Both cover the same course material.

  • The two-week course meets for 3 hours each day.
  • The four-week course meets for 1.5 hours each day.

writing an essay 8th grade

writing an essay 8th grade

8th Grade Writing Prompts – 101 Prompt Samples

Table of Contents

Introduction

As eighth-grade students stand on the cusp of high school, it becomes crucial to nurture their writing skills and foster a love for the written word. That’s why incorporating 8th Grade Writing Prompts into your curriculum can be a game-changer. 

Whether used for daily journaling or as inspiration for group projects, these 8th grade writing sol prompts provide a platform for students to hone their writing abilities and develop their unique voices. 

So, let’s dive into this treasure trove of thought-provoking prompts and embark on a writing journey that will ignite their imagination and prepare them for the exciting challenges that lie ahead in high school.

What is a Writing Prompt? 

A writing prompt is a thought-provoking question, statement, or scenario that prompts students to generate ideas and compose a written response. It serves as a starting point or a catalyst for writing, stimulating creativity and encouraging students to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences through written words.

Why Are Writing Prompts Important?

Writing prompts are important for several reasons:

Stimulating Creativity

If you craft quality 8th grade sol writing prompts it will provide your students a spark of inspiration, pushing students to think beyond their usual boundaries and explore new ideas. They encourage students to tap into their imagination and develop unique storylines, characters, and perspectives.

Developing Writing Skills

Prompts help students practice and refine their writing skills. By regularly responding to prompts, students improve their ability to articulate ideas clearly, structure their writing effectively, and use appropriate language and grammar.

Fostering Critical Thinking 

Writing prompts often require students to analyze, evaluate, and reflect on various topics or scenarios. They promote critical thinking skills by encouraging students to consider multiple perspectives, weigh evidence, and form logical arguments.

Building Confidence

Writing prompts provide a low-stakes environment for students to experiment with different writing styles, genres, and techniques. By consistently engaging in writing exercises, students gain confidence in their abilities and become more comfortable expressing themselves through writing.

Encouraging Self-Reflection 

Many sol writing prompts for 8th grade encourage students to reflect on their own experiences, beliefs, and emotions. This introspection promotes self-awareness, empathy, and personal growth as students explore their own thoughts and feelings on various topics.

Enhancing Communication Skills

Writing prompts cultivate effective communication skills by helping students organize their thoughts, express themselves coherently, and connect with their audience. These skills are valuable not only in academic settings but also in everyday life and future careers.

8th Grade Writing Prompts – 101 Examples 

These creative writing prompts for 8th grade will not only challenge students’ writing abilities but also encourage self-reflection, critical thinking, and empathy. So, let’s dive into this collection of prompts, designed to unleash the full potential of your students’ writing skills: 

  • Write about a time when you had to make a difficult decision. How did you approach it, and what were the outcomes?
  • Imagine you could have a conversation with your future self. What advice would you give to your future self, and why?
  • Write a short story about a mysterious object that you find in your backyard.
  • Describe your dream vacation destination. What would you do there, and why is it your ideal place to visit?
  • Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against school uniforms. Provide reasons and evidence to support your position.
  • If you could invent any gadget, what would it be and how would it improve people’s lives?
  • Describe a place from your childhood that holds special memories for you. Explain why it is significant and what you remember most about it.
  • Write a letter to your favorite author, expressing how their book has impacted you and why you admire their work.
  • Imagine you wake up one morning with the ability to fly. Describe your experience and how it would change your daily life.
  • Write a poem about the beauty of nature and its importance in our lives.
  • If you could have dinner with any historical figure, who would it be and what would you ask them?
  • Describe a time when you faced a fear and how you overcame it. What did you learn from the experience?
  • Write a story about a character who discovers they have a special superpower. How do they use it, and what challenges do they face?
  • Should cell phones be allowed in schools? Write an argumentative essay stating your opinion and providing supporting evidence.
  • Imagine you could travel back in time to any historical event. Which event would you choose, and what would you do there?
  • Write a letter to your future self, predicting where you will be in ten years and what accomplishments you hope to achieve.
  • Describe a person who has had a significant influence on your life and explain why they are important to you.
  • If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose and why? How would you use their abilities or traits to make a positive impact?
  • Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against the use of animals in scientific experiments. Present your viewpoint and support it with evidence.
  • Imagine you found a magic key that could unlock any door. Where would the key take you, and what adventures would you have?
  • Write a poem expressing your thoughts and feelings about friendship.
  • Should students be required to perform community service? Write an argumentative essay expressing your opinion and providing reasons to support it.
  • Describe a time when you had to work as part of a team. What challenges did you face, and how did you contribute to the team’s success?
  • If you could have any superpower, other than flying, what would it be and how would you use it to make a difference in the world?
  • Write a story about a character who discovers a hidden treasure. Describe the treasure, how they find it, and what they do with it.
  • Should schools have dress codes? Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against dress codes in schools.
  • Describe a memorable family tradition and explain why it is important to you and your family.
  • Imagine you wake up one morning with the ability to speak and understand any language. How would this ability change your life?
  • Write a letter to your future children, offering them advice and sharing important life lessons you have learned.
  • Should junk food be banned in schools? Write an argumentative essay stating your opinion and supporting it with evidence.
  • Describe a place that makes you feel calm and peaceful. What is it about this place that brings you tranquility?
  • If you could have any talent or skill instantly, what would you choose and how would you use it to benefit others?
  • Write a poem about the power of kindness and its impact on the world.
  • Should students be allowed to grade their teachers? Write a persuasive essay expressing your opinion on this topic and providing reasons to support it.
  • Describe a time when you had to overcome a major obstacle. How did you face the challenge, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • If you could be a character from a book, who would you choose and why? Describe how your life would be different as that character.
  • Write a story about a world where everyone’s dreams come true. Explore the consequences and challenges of living in such a world.
  • Should schools require students to wear uniforms? Write an argumentative essay stating your position and providing evidence to support it.
  • Describe a person from history who inspires you. Explain their accomplishments and how they have influenced your life.
  • If you could live in any fictional universe, which one would you choose and why? Describe what your life would be like in that universe.
  • Write a letter to your favorite teacher, expressing your gratitude for their impact on your education and personal growth.
  • Should zoos exist? Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against the existence of zoos, providing reasons and evidence to support your viewpoint.
  • Describe a time when you had to stand up for what you believed in, even if it was difficult. Explain why you felt it was important to take a stand.
  • Imagine you are the president of your country for a day. What changes or improvements would you make, and why?
  • Write a story about a group of friends who embark on an exciting adventure. Describe the challenges they face and how their friendship helps them overcome obstacles.
  • Should students be allowed to have cell phones in class? Write an argumentative essay stating your opinion on this topic and providing supporting evidence.
  • Describe a dream or aspiration you have for your future. What steps are you taking to achieve this dream?
  • If you could have a conversation with any animal, which one would you choose and why? What would you ask or tell them?
  • Write a poem about the importance of education and its impact on personal growth.
  • Should video games be considered a sport? Write a persuasive essay stating your opinion on this topic and providing reasons to support it.
  • Describe a person who has been a positive role model in your life. Explain the qualities they possess that make them an inspiration to you.
  • Imagine you could create your own holiday. What would it be called, and how would people celebrate it?
  • Write a letter to your future self, reflecting on your goals and aspirations. Discuss what steps you have taken to achieve them and what challenges you anticipate.
  • Should students be required to take a foreign language in school? Write an argumentative essay expressing your opinion on this topic and providing evidence to support it.
  • Describe a time when you felt proud of an accomplishment. What did you do, and why was it significant to you?
  • If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be and why? Explain how this change would benefit society.
  • Write a story about a character who discovers a hidden talent or ability within themselves. How do they uncover it, and how does it impact their life?
  • Should homework be abolished? Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against homework, providing reasons and evidence to support your viewpoint.
  • Imagine you wake up one morning with the ability to speak to animals. Write a diary entry about your first conversation with your pet.
  • Write a short story about a time-traveling adventure to a historical event of your choice.
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be and how would you use it to make the world a better place?
  • Describe a place you’ve always wanted to visit and explain why it fascinates you.
  • Write a letter to your future self, describing the person you hope to become and the goals you want to achieve.
  • Invent a new holiday and write an essay explaining its origins and how people would celebrate it.
  • Create a dialogue between two characters who find a magical object that grants them one wish each.
  • Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against the use of cell phones in schools.
  • Imagine you’re the main character in a video game. Describe the challenges you face and how you overcome them.
  • Write a poem inspired by a famous work of art.
  • Describe an important lesson you’ve learned from a family member or close friend.
  • If you could interview any historical figure, who would it be and what would you ask them?
  • Write a short story set in a world where humans coexist with intelligent robots.
  • Imagine you discover a hidden door in your house that leads to a secret room. Describe what you find inside.
  • Write a letter to your favorite author, telling them how their book has influenced your life.
  • If you could be any animal for a day, which one would you choose and why?
  • Describe a dream you’ve had that felt incredibly real. What happened in the dream, and how did you feel when you woke up?
  • Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against the importance of art and music education in schools.
  • Imagine you’re stranded on a desert island. Write a journal entry detailing your survival strategies and how you cope with isolation.
  • Create a dialogue between two characters who have opposing views on a controversial social issue.
  • Write a poem about a natural disaster and its aftermath.
  • If you could have dinner with any fictional character, who would it be and why? Describe the conversation you would have.
  • Describe a time when you faced a fear and how you overcame it.
  • Write a short story about a mysterious message found in a bottle.
  • Imagine you can speak any language fluently. Which language would you choose and how would it change your life?
  • Create a dialogue between two historical figures who lived in different time periods.
  • Write a letter to your future children, sharing advice and life lessons.
  • If you could be a character from any book, who would you choose and why?
  • Describe a favorite childhood memory and explain why it’s special to you.
  • Imagine you’re the ruler of a fictional country. Describe your leadership style and the changes you would make.
  • Write a short story about a magical object that brings good luck to its owner.
  • If you could have a conversation with your favorite athlete or sports star, what would you ask them?
  • Write a story about a day in the life of a superhero with a unique and unusual power.
  • Imagine you wake up one morning and discover that you have the ability to speak and understand all languages. Describe how this new power changes your life.
  • Write a persuasive essay arguing for or against the use of smartphones in classrooms.
  • Imagine you have the opportunity to travel back in time to any historical event. Which event would you choose and why? Write a journal entry describing your experience.
  • Write a short story that takes place in a world where all forms of transportation have been banned. How do people get around? What challenges do they face?
  • Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island. Write a letter to your best friend describing your experience and the strategies you’re using to survive.
  • Choose a controversial topic (such as climate change, gun control, or social media) and write an argumentative essay presenting both sides of the issue.
  • Write a poem that captures the emotions and experiences of transitioning from middle school to high school.
  • Imagine you are a detective trying to solve a mysterious crime. Write a detailed account of your investigation, including the clues you find and the suspects you interrogate.
  • Write a descriptive essay about your favorite place in nature. Use sensory details to transport your reader there and make them experience it with you.

How to Check the Writing Prompt Submissions 

Analyzing student 8th grade writing prompts worksheets and submissions can be a valuable tool for understanding their progress and identifying areas for improvement. Here are some steps to help you better analyze the submissions of your students:

  • Establish clear criteria: Before students submit their work, make sure you have communicated clear and specific criteria for evaluation. This will help both you and the students understand what is expected and allow for fair assessment.
  • Create a rubric: Develop a rubric that aligns with the criteria you established. A rubric provides a structured way to evaluate different aspects of student work and assign scores or grades accordingly. It can include categories such as content, organization, creativity, and grammar. Make sure to share the rubric with your students so they know how they will be assessed.
  • Review submissions objectively: When analyzing student submissions, approach them with objectivity. Focus on the specific criteria outlined in the rubric and evaluate each submission based on its merits. Avoid personal biases or preconceived notions about a student’s abilities.
  • Take notes: As you review each submission, take notes to capture your observations and feedback. Note strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement, and any recurring patterns you notice among the submissions. These notes will be valuable when providing individualized feedback to students later.
  • Look for patterns and trends: Analyze the submissions as a whole and look for patterns or trends in student performance. Are there common mistakes or misunderstandings? Are there areas where most students excel? Identifying these patterns will help you understand the overall strengths and weaknesses of your students and guide your future instruction.
  • Provide constructive feedback: After analyzing the submissions, provide constructive feedback to each student. Be specific, pointing out areas of improvement and offering suggestions for growth. Highlight their strengths as well, as positive reinforcement can motivate students to continue progressing.
  • Use data to inform instruction: Analyzing student submissions can provide valuable data to inform your instructional practices. Consider using the insights gained from the analysis to modify your teaching strategies, address common challenges, and provide targeted support to students who need it.
  • Monitor progress over time: Continuously analyze and compare student submissions over time to track their progress. This will help you identify if students are improving, areas where they may be stagnating, or if certain instructional methods are more effective than others.

Remember that analyzing student submissions is not just about assigning grades but also about understanding each student’s unique strengths and areas for growth. By providing constructive feedback and using the insights gained to guide your instruction, you can support your students’ learning journeys effectively.

How to tell apart the writing prompts 8th grade FSA?  

To differentiate the writing prompts specifically designed for 8th grade FSA (Florida Standards Assessments), you can look for prompts that align with the FSA writing standards. These prompts will typically focus on specific writing genres, such as argumentative, informative, or narrative writing. Additionally, they will reflect the expectations and criteria outlined in the FSA writing rubric. You can find official FSA resources and past released prompts on the Florida Department of Education website .

2. How much time is allowed for the 8th grade VA SOL writing prompts? 

The time allowed for 8th grade VA SOL (Virginia Standards of Learning) generally, students are given a set amount of time, such as 90 minutes, to complete their writing responses. However, it’s important to refer to the official guidelines or consult with the school administration to obtain accurate and up-to-date information about the time allotted for the 8th grade VA SOL writing prompts.

Do you have a sample chart for Common Core writing prompts 8th grade? 

As an AI text-based model, I’m unable to display visual content directly. However, there are numerous educational resources available online that provide sample charts for Common Core writing prompts for 8th grade. 

You can try searching for “Common Core writing prompts 8th grade sample chart” on reputable educational websites or consult curriculum materials provided by your school or district. These resources often provide examples of different writing prompts and their corresponding genres or focus areas.

What is expected in FSA writing prompts for 8th grade? 

FSA (Florida Standards Assessments) writing prompts for 8th grade have specific expectations aligned with the Florida Writing Standards. Students are expected to demonstrate their proficiency in various writing genres, including argumentative, informative, and narrative writing. 

The prompts will assess their ability to develop a clear thesis or main idea, provide relevant and sufficient evidence, use appropriate organizational structures, and demonstrate command of language and conventions. The expectations for FSA writing prompts are outlined in the FSA writing rubric, which you can find on the Florida Department of Education website or consult with your school for more specific guidance.

What are some engaging writing prompts suitable for 8th grade language arts students?

Engaging writing prompts for 8th grade language arts students include writing a story about a hidden magical realm, describing a groundbreaking invention, arguing for or against school uniforms, creating a poem about a favorite place, imagining and describing the use of a superpower, writing a descriptive essay about a childhood experience, writing a letter to past or future self, and creating a dialogue on a social issue. These prompts aim to inspire creativity and critical thinking.

Final Thoughts 

From exploring magical realms and inventing groundbreaking creations to reflecting on personal experiences and addressing social issues, the 101 prompts we listed would foster creativity and critical thinking skills in your students. 

By utilizing these 101 prompts, students can enhance their writing abilities and express their unique perspectives, making their 8th grade language arts journey more exciting and rewarding.

If you want to learn more about writing check out my other blogs that talk particularly about it. 

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Tamzid is a seasoned wordsmith with over half a decade of experience in the craft of writing, having collaborated with an array of prestigious global brands such as Evvr, Gerkens, and Alorair. Renowned for his unparalleled flair for language, Tamzid has also attained a coveted Level 2 rating as a seller on the acclaimed online marketplace, Fiverr. Having mastered the art of ghostwriting, this gifted author has contributed to a multitude of e-books across a diverse range of topics. Melding a profound passion for the written word with a profound understanding of the nuances of language, Tamzid exemplifies the essence of literary excellence, while setting a benchmark for others to follow.

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205 Essay Topics for Grade 8, 9, 10, 12 + Writing Tips [2024]

We came up with this guide to make school essay writing easy for you. Need some creative writing topics for grade 8? Or recommendations for the 11th-grade expository paper? We’ve got you!

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

Helpful tips and essay topics for grades 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12— our Custom-writing.org team has advice for everyone. Here, you’ll find:

  • 205 great essay ideas;
  • tips on how to write argumentative and persuasive papers.

In fact, our recommendations will be perfectly suitable for both middle and high school students. Still, there will be some grade-specific information. So, start with the 8th-grade essay topics and tips and read till the end!

  • ✏️ 8th Grade Essay
  • 📜 9th Grade Essay
  • 📚 10th Grade Essay
  • 🧑‍🎓 11th Grade Essay
  • 🎓 12th Grade Essay

🔗 References

✏️ essay or class 8: topics & tips, top 10 essay topics for grade 8.

  • The future of print books
  • Aliens in science fiction
  • Why do people need art?
  • What’s the point of fashion?
  • Why homework is useless
  • A book that changed the world
  • Should all education be free?
  • Should people learn foreign languages?
  • The world’s biggest secret
  • The next scientific breakthrough

8th Grade Essay: How to Write

You already know how to write short, simple essays. In an 8th grade, however, you need to make a point , collect evidence , and present it in your paper. This is when learners start experiencing difficulties with their essay writing.

The picture enumerates the ways to approach research of an essay's subject.

We want to present to you some helpful tips that will help you write excellent papers. Check them out:

  • Do your research. It’s especially important with argumentative, persuasive, and analytical papers. So, before you start writing, you should go to a library or at least search for information online.
  • Make outlines. 8th grade is the right time to start making outlines for your essays if you haven’t made them before. It’s best to write an outline after researching the topic since you need to organize all the information.
  • Be positive. Thinking of your essay as a burden won’t do you any good. You can make things easier by being more positive. Try to pretend your essay is a story you want to tell your friends. It has a main storyline ( thesis statement ), plot twists (arguments), and you wrap everything up in the end.
  • Make it interesting for yourself. Find the things that excite you the most about your topic. For example, you can try to think of surprising facts you’ve learned while researching it.
  • Start with 5 sentences. Feeling overwhelmed is another factor that makes it hard to write an excellent essay. The thing to remember is that at the core of any essay there are just 5 sentences. The rest is just additional information to back them up. So, what are these sentences?
  • Thesis statement.  This is where you describe the whole idea of your paper.
  • Topic sentence 1.  The first sentence develops your thesis a bit more.
  • Topic sentence 2.  You add a counterargument here.
  • Topic sentence 3.  Here, you explain how that counterargument helps the case and introduce ways to solve the issue.
  • Conclusion.  Summarize and wrap everything up.
  • Write the body paragraphs first. After they’re done, it will be easier for you to write the conclusion and introduction since they both basically summarize your whole paper.
  • Always proofread and edit your essays. 8th-grade teachers are strict when it comes to mistakes and inaccuracies.

Essay Topics for Class 8 in Various Subjects

The deadline is approaching, and you’re out of ideas? This section is for you. Topics provided below can prompt you to write an excellent paper:

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  • Noise pollution , or Let me hear nature. Noise pollution refers to exposure to high sound levels. In your paper, examine the level of noise pollution in modern cities. Alternatively, you may concentrate on the impact it has on people or domestic animals.
  • Can robots replace people? Robots perform many tasks faster and better than people do. You can think of professions that may disappear in the near future because of it. You may also think about the spheres that robots can never dominate.
  • Do children need handwriting skills? Many children (and adults) hate writing by hand. Some even say that people don’t need such skills anymore. Messages are mainly typed now. What do you think about the value of handwriting skills? Should students still be taught them?
  • Can people live in isolation ? The COVID-19 pandemic made countries launch strict lockdowns . People had to be isolated for many weeks. Such isolation leads to health problems, such as depression and anxiety. What does it tell us about the importance of communication?
  • Age-based film ratings . Do you agree that age restrictions should exist? Can some movies be excessively violent and inappropriate for some age groups? Is it a kind of discrimination ? What aspects should be considered to impose age restrictions?
  • Should people go to Mars or the Moon? Why or why not?
  • What can make a person truly happy?
  • Who is the mightiest hero among fictional characters?
  • Write about the bad habits you have and how you can get rid of them
  • What is the most essential discipline at school?
  • Describe humanity’s best and worst qualities
  • Explain how society benefits from using the Internet
  • If you could change one part of your life , what would you change, and why?
  • Is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never met?
  • If you had a time machine, what time would you travel to?
  • Can you judge people without knowing them and how they live their lives?
  • How would humanity change if we knew the world would end in 10 years?
  • What would it be like if you couldn’t use your smartphone for a month?
  • What consequences may occur if artificial intelligence keeps developing?

📜 Essay for Class 9: Topics & Tips

Top 10 essay topics for grade 9.

  • What is the right age to start dating?
  • Choosing your future occupation.
  • Solving urgent environmental issues.
  • Should animal testing be banned?
  • The difference between knowledge and wisdom.
  • What is the greatest invention in history?
  • How important is trust in a friendship?
  • What misunderstandings do you have with your parents?
  • Should students discuss controversial topics in classes?
  • Why do some teenagers flee from their homes?

9th-Grade Essay: How to Write

Writing grade 9 essays amounts to improving your skills, gaining more knowledge, and developing your position on various issues. If you need more details about grade 9 essays, keep reading!

First, we want to talk about different types of written assignments that you may receive:

Essays are the most common academic paper assignment that you can master with our free tips:

  • Use quotes. Sometimes, when researching for your essay, you may stumble across a source that perfectly describes your thesis or some other thought you wanted to use in your paper. Why not quote it, then? Just make sure to include your own ideas as well.
  • Use Wikipedia the right way. If you’ve got a topic you know nothing about, Wikipedia will quickly help you familiarize yourself with it. Another way to use it is for finding sources. Read an article on your topic and then check its reference section to select some trustworthy ones.
  • You’re not the only one writing a paper. Your teacher will probably read several more works like yours. This fact makes it even more important to make your text unique and exciting.
  • Your teacher won’t have enough time to reread if something’s unclear. The clarity of information will definitely influence the result, so make sure that your writing is flawless.

Essay Topics for Class 9 in Various Subjects

Below you will find unique topics for argumentative or persuasive essays:

  • What is the future of music ? Many people don’t like modern pop music and believe that it was better back in the day. What’s your opinion on it? Discuss what’s in store for pop music . What directions of music development can you predict?
  • What makes people come up with conspiracy theories ? Some people believe in the secret world government or Americas’ fake Moon mission. You can describe a particularly interesting conspiracy theory . You may also explore the reasons for the existence of such ideas.
  • Can humans prevent or at least slow down global warming ? Scientists are sure that human negative impact on the environment is significant. What do they think of our ability to address the problem? To what extent can we affect life on the planet?
  • How much should parents control their children? Rearing children is difficult, and it’s hard to set the balance between restrictions and freedom. Should children and adolescents be allowed to behave the way they want? How can it affect children’s self-esteem in the future?
  • Do best friends exist? This essay can start with the definition or description of a good friend. Can two people really be best friends ? In what situations is it impossible? Are all people able to be good friends? How can you detect fake friends?
  • What extracurricular activities should be available in all schools (a specific kind of sport or art)?
  • Is it a threat to people’s privacy to use cameras as a security measure?
  • When is the right time to allow children to make their own life decisions?
  • How does a feeling of importance influence a person’s ego?

The picture shows the 5 stages of writing an essay.

📚 10th-Grade Essay Topics & Tips

Top 10 essay topics for grade 10.

  • What makes a good parent?
  • Fantasy: origins and future
  • Friendships in the Information Age
  • Marriage vs. cohabitation
  • Your most memorable trip
  • What defines a hero?
  • Millennials vs. Gen Z
  • Is urbanization a positive trend?
  • Communism: a dream that failed
  • Things to do before graduating

Grade 10 Essay: How to Write

Like any typical sophomore, you want to get good grades and write excellent essays. But what if your written assignments never grade higher than a B? Don’t give up! We can help you with it.

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What follows next are the necessary attributes of an A+ essay. Pay attention to them while writing and you will surely succeed:

Read the tips below and learn about the essentials of writing excellent essays.

  • Resort to advanced storytelling. Even if you’re not working on a narrative essay, you can try applying the following 3-act structure to your writing. According to Indiana University, the structure consists of 3 parts: setup, confrontation, and resolution . The acts set an uninterrupted narrative flow. As a result, the reader doesn’t even notice the transition from one part of the work to another. Here’s how to use this technique:
  • Don’t let go of your ideas . The thing is always to be prepared for writing, just in case you suddenly find inspiration or a brilliant idea pops into your head. Don’t risk trying to remember it and write it down later—you’ll likely end up forgetting it. To avoid such regrettable situations, make sure to always have a notebook with you.
  • Check out other people’s essays. Apart from getting ideas for the content of your essay, you’ll also be able to consider the writing style and format of the paper. The more samples you can look through, the better. You’ll see all the possible options and variations of how this type of assignment can be done.

10th-Grade Essay Topics in Various Subjects

Need creative essay ideas? Check out this list:

  • Censorship and social media. Answer these questions: What is censorship related to social media content? Should any topics be considered taboo? What are the adverse outcomes of such a practice? Where is the line between censorship and fundamental rights violation?
  • Music and student productivity . The essay can examine the latest findings regarding the effects of different music genres on people’s cognitive abilities. What have neuroscientists discovered? Why does music influence people in such a way? You can describe your personal attitudes and anecdotes.
  • Why do people have holidays? All nations have their unique holidays . Why is that so? Do people just need more days to rest from work? Do Americans need more national holidays? You may explore the role different holidays play in the development of a nation.
  • Should individuals, nations, or international bodies interfere in other people’s affairs? Thousands of messages regarding people’s suffering appear every minute. Individuals, charities , governments, and international institutions try to help people across the globe. Is this involvement always justified? Can such interference be regarded as a form of cultural expansion ?
  • What can national cuisine tell about a nation? Compare the national food of several countries in your essay. Think about whether the environment plays a role in developing cuisines.
  • Would societies develop without the use of fossil fuels ?
  • Does science fiction influence the development of technology or vice versa?
  • How has school life changed throughout the last 20 years?
  • What’s the best way to choose which school to go to?
  • How vital is a personal understanding of people’s lives ?
  • What are the consequences of having too much money?
  • Do teens need to follow all of their parents’ guidelines?
  • Does doing less homework make you a better student?
  • How do celebrities influence the way teenagers look and behave?

Grade 10 English Essay Topics

If you’re a 10-grader, you probably write many essays for your English classes. Can’t choose a topic? Have a look at these ideas:

  • The role fairy tales play in people’s lives. This essay can be concerned with the way fairy tales contribute to the norms as well as prejudice . Why do people create fairy tales? What is their place in world literature? Can children develop properly without reading them?
  • The history and significance of comic books . Some people think comic books are inferior to literary works. Do you agree with this viewpoint? What role do comic books play in American society? Why did this art form appear?
  • The role the setting plays in literary works. You can analyze a specific genre or a text. For example, explore how the setting reflects Emily’s character in A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner.
  • Should all plastic be banned? Writing an argumentative essay is always a good idea. Students may try to decide whether plastic should be prohibited. Can people (especially in developing countries) live without plastic? What can be a cost-effective replacement?
  • Oscar Wilde: a master of epigrams. Focus on his plays or The Picture of Dorian Gray . What characteristic features can be found in Wilde’s epigrams? What is the purpose of their use?
  • What makes Macbeth one of the greatest literary works in English (and world) literature?
  • Should students read ancient literature, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh ?
  • What can we learn from books written by politicians?
  • What distinguishes the epistolary genre?
  • How the image of the vampire evolved: from folklore to pop culture
  • Female writers in antiquity and Middle Ages
  • What is the future of world literature ?

Grade 10 Essay Topics for Creative Writing

The following list of topics will inspire an outstanding composition or even a short story:

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  • A detective story of a failed assignment/meeting/ exam. Students become genuinely creative when they try to explain the reasons for not doing their homework . Why not make it an essay topic? Describe a force majeure that made doing something impossible.
  • A dystopia or a utopia. You can create your own world based on an optimistic or pessimistic view. How perfect can a society be? What atrocities can become accepted in the future? What hierarchies, political orders, or economic models can emerge?
  • A letter from a historical leader. Imagine you are a ruler of Medieval France or any other monarch . You can write a letter to your royal relative or enemy. A letter from Elizabeth I to future generations can make an excellent essay!
  • Creative description . Come up with a detailed description of an interesting thing, person, or event. For example, describe a charm on your bracelet and its meaning. Describing someone’s personality traits can be another option.
  • Writing memoirs . Create a biography of a historical person, fictional character, or modern celebrity. Or, imagine you became famous and write about your way to glory.
  • A narrative about the most remarkable or tiresome waiting experience
  • A poem about first love
  • A parody of A Song of Ice and Fire
  • Pretend to be a future historian analyzing a current popular song or movie (or any other artifact)
  • Ponder on the nature and relevance of creativity
  • Your stream of consciousness (the road to school, a minute in a class, enjoying the sunrise, and so on)
  • Elaborate on the theory regarding the nature of Agent Smith of The Matrix
  • Write down the associations connected with your favorite song
  • Description of the dream you had last night

🧑‍🎓 Grade 11 Essay Topics & Tips

Top 10 essay topics for grade 11.

  • Can positive discrimination be beneficial?
  • Is violence a human invention?
  • Should we give scientists more funding?
  • Should science interfere with natural processes?
  • Reasons for keeping a journal.
  • Which country is the most difficult to live in?
  • Can online education replace other forms of schooling?
  • Should all countries give up their nuclear arsenals?
  • Reasons why Donald Trump lost the 2020 elections.
  • The role of successful athletes in popularizing sports.

11th Grade Essay: How to Write

You can consider 11th-grade essay writing to be a combination of everything you’ve learned in the previous 3 years. One of its main goals is to demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of all essential writing elements.

You’re going to have the chance to practice various forms of writing. The following tips will help you excel at it.

  • Try practicing ACT Writing. ACT Writing is a test that requires you to create an essay in just 40 minutes. There are several limitations and requirements associated with it (if you want to learn more, you can check out this article by Southern Utah University on ACT tests and their characteristics ). Practicing this kind of writing with a timer can be highly beneficial for developing your skills. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
  • Ideas and analysis.  Answer the question given in the prompt as clearly as possible. You also need to demonstrate your perspective and analyze how it relates to other aspects under discussion.
  • Development and support.  Explain all the points you make. The trick here is to make each explanation fit into 2 or 3 sentences—not because of word count requirements, but due to the time limit.
  • Language use.  While writing your essay, make your sentences clear and easy to understand. You should also avoid repetition. You may use some terms or fancy words, but if you do, make sure you know what they mean.
  • Organization.  Even though there are no strict rules for formatting your paper, it doesn’t mean you can turn it into a chaotic mess. The easiest thing to do is to separate each of your ideas into a paragraph. Make sure that the overall structure is logical, and take care of smooth transitions.
  • Try the Elevator Pitch. It’s a technique salespeople use when developing a short, catchy product summary. When using this technique to write an essay for high school, you boil your ideas down to the essentials. Even though it’s a challenging task, it leaves you with a perfect summary . And you can use it to write an introduction that will undoubtedly grab your reader’s attention.
  • Know the limits. It’s important to know when to stop. This statement is especially true when you’re selecting a position to take or choosing the main point you want to prove in your essay. Your argument needs to be compelling enough to capture your reader’s attention. But at the same time, you don’t want to overdo it.

Here are some other things that are better to avoid:

  • An overly broad or poorly written thesis statement.
  • Topic sentences without a proper focus.
  • Off-topic writing.
  • Inadequate conclusion.
  • Inability to foresee and refute objections.
  • Talking about things that are too obvious to discuss.

Essay Topics for Grade 11 in Various Subjects

Senior students are required to write about serious subjects. Here we’ve compiled a list of great thought-provoking topics to kickstart your writing:

  • Pros and cons of criminalizing the sales of alcohol. Alternatively, you can think about the consequences of banning cigarettes .
  • Nature vs. nurture. Researchers are still unsure whether the environment or inborn traits play a key role in people’s personal development . You may try to provide an answer to this challenging question. You can concentrate on the notorious case of Three Identical Strangers . The examination of the ethical issues related to this kind of research is also a good idea.
  • Career path plans. Naturally, eleventh-graders need to consider their future careers. It can be a good idea to write a professional development plan . What kind of higher education or skills do you need? How can you acquire them?
  • Autocratic and democratic regimes in the times of pandemics. You may try to compare the effectiveness of authoritarian or democratic countries when addressing the COVID-19 crisis. How do different regimes address the problem? What role does access to information play in the process? Compare the outcomes of the measures undertaken in the US and China.
  • Identity in the cyber world. Adolescence is the period of paying considerable attention to one’s identity. The Internet has changed our lives, including the process of identity-making. Why do young people create fake identities in the digital environment? Do these identities affect their authentic selves?
  • Can English be replaced as an international communication language any time soon?
  • Is it necessary to punish those who download content from the Internet illegally?
  • What digital devices can be used to improve education?
  • Should everyone switch to electric or environmentally friendly vehicles ?
  • Do the world’s wealthiest countries help poor ones enough?
  • Is it appropriate for students and teachers to interact on social media?

Grade 11 Essay Topics for Narrative Writing

Choosing the most exciting and potentially successful topic can be challenging. Here are some ideas for the best narrative papers.

  • The hardest goodbye you’ve ever said. A common approach to this topic is to write about saying goodbye to a friend or loved one. Creative students may describe the moment when they said goodbye to their childhood .
  • A disaster that led to good outcomes. Write about an event or action that seemed like a mistake but turned out to be beneficial. It can be connected to extracurricular activities, going to a party, taking up responsibility, etc.
  • Science in our daily lives. It may seem that science is just a school subject. However, every person has conducted at least one experiment or observation in their lifetime. The narrative composition of this essay can deal with such an observation.
  • The evolution of your professional inclinations. Children often dream of being athletes or movie stars. Some want to be teachers or writers. You may describe the way your idea of a dream job changed throughout your life. What factors affected this evolution?
  • Conflict management. Describe a situation when you used conflict management skills. These cases can include working on a project, debating with other students, or distributing chores. What skills are needed to manage conflicts effectively?
  • The most challenging aspects of being an adolescent
  • Describing the first time doing something ( first day at college , first driving experience, etc.)
  • The most significant event in a specific year or century
  • The first considerable success in your life
  • Growing up in the 21st century
  • When did Murphy’s Law work in your life?
  • A day in the life of the world’s happiest person
  • The most important piece of advice someone gave you

11th Grade Writing Prompts & Topics for Argumentative Essays

Select a topic from the the list below and impress your teacher with a stunning essay:

  • Should the system of American presidential elections be changed? During the past few years, Americans have started criticizing the existing presidential election system. The Electoral College seems outdated to many. In this essay, you may share your views on the strengths and weaknesses of the voting system.
  • Should female students be encouraged to study science rather than humanities? Many researchers point out that the scientific world is highly disproportioned when it comes to gender. Women often choose to study humanities rather than sciences due to bias or lack of confidence. How can we encourage talented girls to pursue scientific careers?
  • Restrictions and totalitarianism . Can governments impose restrictions related to certain areas of people’s lives? Is it a pathway to dictatorship ? Can people be responsible enough to have personal limits? You can focus on such aspects as marriage age and access to information.
  • Student loans : an opportunity or a burden? Student loans have become a serious issue leading to substantial economic constraints for individuals and the educational system. Older generations stress that they managed to work and pay their tuition fees . Should young people use student loans? Can they receive higher education without this financial burden?
  • Is conservation a proper approach to treating endangered species ? Many species are on the brink of extinction due to various reasons. Governments and non-governmental organizations try to preserve natural diversity. Conservation is one of the employed methods. Is it effective? Do people have the right to interfere with the natural evolution of species?

 The picture explains the process of school essay grading.

  • Autocratic leaders and technological breakthroughs: the cases of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk
  • Should physical punishment make a comeback in the American educational system?
  • Should humans consume products containing GMOs?
  • Should the US government invest in the exploration of outer space ?

Essay Topics for Grade 11: Persuasive Writing

When writing persuasive essays, students need to find the right words to convince their opponents or the reader. Here are some ideas for such a paper:

  • Nudging is manipulation, so it should be banned. Companies and even governments often influence people’s choices. Using a coffee smell to boost the sales of food is one such technique. Is it ethical?
  • Cigarettes should be banned altogether. Everybody knows of the long-term effects of smoking . The negative impact of cigarettes is severe and compatible with substance abuse. Is it necessary to make smoking cigarettes illegal?
  • Blogging for young people. Many adolescents find blogging a sphere where they can excel. For some, blogging becomes a profession. However, to be a successful blogger , a person should have experience, knowledge, and skills. Do you agree that young people should study hard instead of blogging?
  • Zoos cannot exist in the modern world. Animal rights gained momentum decades ago, but zoos are still popular places visited by millions. In modern zoos, animals live in cages that can be pretty spacious. However, this does not make them an appropriate place for wild animals. Is it possible to stick to wildlife parks as an alternative?
  • Birth control . Birth control is a common area of concern for many countries. The Chinese government even had a policy regarding the number of children in a family. Should such policies exist? Are they effective?
  • Should the age of presidential candidates be changed?
  • Silent praying time at public schools: is it necessary?
  • Standardized tests in schools should be banned
  • Teachers should pass qualification testing regularly
  • Toy manufacturers shouldn’t advertise their products on kids’ channels
  • Children committing violent crimes require appropriate punishment
  • Sex education is necessary for public schools

🎓 Grade 12 Essay Topics & Tips

Top 10 essay topics for grade 12.

  • How do you survive isolation?
  • What makes politicians lie?
  • Causes of obesity in low-income groups
  • Taxation as a way to address the income gap
  • Outsourcing as a viable business model
  • The geography of your hometown
  • The end of Sumer civilization
  • Low-performing schools should be closed
  • Teachers should follow a dress code
  • The role of economics in our everyday lives.

Grade 12 Essay: How to Write

Grade 12 essays are very similar to those you have completed before. They’re just a bit longer and require more effort and knowledge from you. Here are our tips that will help you write such essays:

  • Organize your essays adequately and write strong thesis statements.
  • Make your arguments well-grounded and support them with evidence.
  • Use terms and various sentence structures.
  • Make sure your text is grammatically correct.

Bonus: College Essay Tips

When it comes to grade 12, the trickiest writing assignment you’re likely to receive is a college application essay. Don’t worry, though: the tips below will help you ace it! Have a look:

  • Keep the right amount of detail. To make your college essay memorable, choose the most exciting event from your life. Describe it in great detail, without wasting space on boring trivia. This way, you’ll paint a clear picture of what happened and how it influenced you.
  • Avoid clichés. Clichés are words and phrases that are often overused and don’t add any value to our writing. Thinking outside the box and using a couple of witty phrases is a good thing. But using age-old clichés defeats the purpose.
  • Make yourself memorable. Your story needs to stay in the minds of those who are going to read it. Make a strong personal statement so that even sometime later, they can pick your essay up and say, “Yes, I know this one…it’s about that student.”
  • Check your essay yourself after writing the first draft. Does the story leave a powerful impression? If not, what can you do to make it better? The committee will appreciate that you’ve put some serious work into writing a personal essay.
  • Don’t settle for an average result. You can do much better than that. To understand the task better, look through some college essay examples and make your work far superior to those.

For more helpful tips and topics, check out our article on writing successful college essays .

Essay Topics for Grade 12 in Various Subjects

Here are some of the current topics that can inspire an outstanding essay:

  • The future of space exploration . Elon Musk has revolutionized space exploration, giving it a new life. What countries will be leaders in this sphere in the nearest future? Will people colonize Mars any time soon?
  • What is the background of the Black Lives Matter movement? Discuss what connects BLM and the Civil Rights movements . What factors led to its rise in the late 2010s? What about other ethnic groups and minorities?
  • Living in a post-COVID era. Will communication become more digitalized? Can we transform healthcare systems accordingly? How did the pandemic affect people’s personal lives?
  • The future of movie theaters. Can they recover completely from pandemic-related restrictions? Is watching blockbusters at home a more comfortable option?
  • Body positivity . Can the body-positive approach lead to unhealthy behaviors ? The focus on being too slim or too fat is harmful. Is it better to focus on health and wellness? Should we establish a new health-positive trend instead of the existing appearance-based movements?
  • The background of the gender pay gap in the scientific world
  • To what extent can communities interfere with people’s family lives?
  • The limits of the First Amendment in the contemporary USA
  • How can we make political debates more civil and focused on solving problems?
  • If you were a senior mentor, what wisdom would you pass on to a first-year student?
  • What are effective ways of convincing people to exercise more?
  • What skills should students have to convince a school that they deserve a scholarship ?
  • What might be the cause of World War III ? What would be the consequences?
  • Are books still relevant, or should we all switch to computers, iPhones, and tablets?
  • How do the obstacles we encounter in life make us better?
  • What sparks your desire for personal growth and self-development ?
  • Without which fact, quality, or story would your life be incomplete?

Essay Topics for Grade 12: Creative Writing

Creative writing can be challenging for some students. However, an essay’s success often depends on the chosen topic. The following ideas will boost your creative potential.

  • When Hulk met Mr. Hyde . It can be interesting to imagine a meeting or a battle between Mr. Hyde and his later version, Hulk. Which one is stronger? Who is more malicious?
  • Happy new holiday! Come up with a brand-new holiday for the US. What can it be based on? Why do Americans need this celebration?
  • Being a book on a shelf. It can be exciting to write from the perspective of a mundane object found in any home. What could books on the shelves think of? What are the biggest fears of a fridge?
  • The best robot ever! Imagine that you live in a future where all people can own robots . What qualities will such robots have? What kinds of chores can they do? Can they complete school assignments for students? What ethical concerns could exist in the society of the future regarding robots?
  • Home alone. The story of the eight-year-old Kevin is well-known. What would you do in his place? How challenging or relaxing can such an experience be? How soon would you feel lonely?
  • Should evil be romanticized in literature and cinema?
  • Being in a 14 th -century classroom
  • The class in the fantasy world with fictional characters
  • Imagine a global government of the future
  • Being a President of the US and proclaiming an inaugural speech
  • If God were one of us
  • Lessons from creative people of the past
  • How to find true love: a guide

Grade 12 Essay Topics for Narrative Writing

Tell your own unique story with one of our imaginative topic ideas:

  • Being an activist. Youth activism is now on the rise. You can write about your personal contribution or analyze existing movements. What activities are appropriate for students of your age? Where is the line between activism and delinquency?
  • Talk about your family’s values . Are they culture-based? How did religious beliefs affect these values ? Why should families have such values?
  • People are responsible for those they have tamed. What did Antoine de Saint-Exupéry mean by this? What kind of responsibility is it? Does it refer to pets or people? You can write your own story of being responsible for someone.
  • What to do with a billion dollars. Imagine you received an enormous sum of money. What would be the first thing to do? Think of any purchases or orders such as a house, a journey around the world, or even your own island . With this topic, it’s easy to be creative!
  • The most embarrassing moment of your life . Write from experience or imagination. You can focus on a fictional or famous person. What awkward moments can politicians and movie stars go through?
  • Things to say to your future self
  • Becoming a true leader for peers and family
  • Self-improvement plan to follow after the graduation
  • Who is the role model for modern children?
  • Is being a teenager as bad as people say?
  • The most profound moment in your life
  • The most striking news of the past year

If you need more ideas, you can try using our topic generator .

Have you found what you were looking for? We hope our guide helped you with your school essay writing. Make sure to share your experience in the comments below!

This might be interesting for you:

  • Primary School Essay: Simple Writing Guide
  • What Does an Excellent Essay Look Like?
  • 1000-Word Essays: Quick Answers
  • Breaking Down the Types of Essays
  • A Complete Guide to Essay Writing
  • How to Write a Good 5 Paragraph Essay
  • 140 Excellent Analysis Essay Topics & Questions
  • 200 Interesting Cause and Effect Essay Topics & Ideas
  • 260 Good Descriptive Essay Topics and Writing Tips
  • 150+ Excellent Narrative Essay Topics
  • 420 Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
  • 180 Process Essay Topics

❓ School Essay FAQ

Students write essays on every educational level. Naturally, middle school essays are different from that of a high school. But the general principle is to choose a good topic, research it, make an outline, write the essay, and proofread it.

On that level, the best choice would be to write an argumentative, informative, or narrative essay. Pick a topic that is familiar, interesting, or not too difficult for you. Then, research it, make an outline, and write your essay.

To write a 9th-grade essay, you need to:

1. Choose a suitable topic; 2. Do your research in a library or online; 3. Outline your essay; 4. Write the body paragraphs; 5. Write the introduction and the conclusion.

It’s better not to pick overly narrow college-level topics for an 8th-grade essay. It is better to write about the environment, career choice, nature, or yourself. Choose something broad enough to identify several pros and cons, causes and effects, and other essay components.

  • How to Do Research: A Step-By-Step Guide, Get Started: LibGuides at Elmira College
  • Overview of the Academic Essay: Harvard College Writing Center
  • A Comprehensive Guide for Writing Research Papers, Humanities Edition: Southwestern University
  • Student Guide to Academic Writing & Research: Accredited Online Schools
  • Generate Topic Ideas Quickly and Easily: Online Research Library, Questia
  • Thesis Statements: KU Writing Center
  • Narrative Essays: Literacy Education Online
  • Writing Topics: Thoughtful Learning K-12
  • 50 Writing Prompts for All Grade Levels: Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation
  • 100 Persuasive Essay Topics: Grace Fleming, ThoughtCo
  • Essay Tips: 7 Tips on Writing an Effective Essay: The Fastweb Team
  • Essay Topics: Oral Roberts University
  • Essay Topics and Tips: College of Arts and Sciences, Lewis & Clark
  • UChicago Supplemental Essay Questions: The University of Chicago
  • 50 Narrative Essay Topics: Reading and Writing Resource
  • High School Essay Writing Course: Time4Writing
  • Creative Writing Prompts: The Write Practice
  • 81 Creative Writing Prompts for Writers: Writer’s Digest
  • Short Story Ideas: Creative Writing Now
  • 25 Controversial Topics: The Best Schools
  • Research Topic Ideas: University Michigan-Flint
  • Climate Change: ProCon
  • Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing: The New York Times
  • Interesting Debate Topics: Udemy
  • 10 Creative Writing Prompts for Story Ideas: MasterClass
  • Research Topics: Frontiers
  • Research Topics: National Archives
  • Essay Topic Suggestions: Gallaudet University
  • Past Essay Topics: University of Warwick
  • Literature Topics and Research: Purdue University
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Okay, so I’m in extension English (highest English), and we’ve just written our first essay on To Kill A Mockingbird. Last year I was getting high C’s, mostly B’s and the odd A. But this year, I have a different teacher, and he is not so satisfied with my writing. I got a C- for my first essay this year. He said my ideas were great, logical, and enthusiastic, but the way I’m writing it is not as appealing, motivating and persuasive. How can I improve my writing, so that I can easily get my ideas on the page without making them less effective?

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How Long is An Essay in 8th Grade? Writing Tips

Learn how long an essay should be in eighth grade and how to write a great essay by reading this article.

How long should an essay be in eighth grade? The format and the particular type of writing have a small impact on the length of the eighth-grade essay. However, the 8th-grade essay length varies from approximately 500 to 800 words. You must express yourself clearly and make all necessary points within this framework.

To help you write an essay in the eighth grade, we’ve prepared this list of imaginative topics, examples, and writing advice.

Table of Contents

How Long is An Essay in 8th Grade?

An essay for an eighth grade should be between 500 and 800 words long. In the eighth-grade essay, each paragraph must contain a minimum of 8 sentences. Additionally, keep in mind that the sentences are mostly complex or compound, flawless, and coherent. Also, keep in mind to use specific language to connect the sentences and paragraphs. Learn How Long is An Essay in 6th and 7th Grade.

To write an excellent 8th-grade essay, you should:

  • Select a worthwhile subject, then decide how you will approach the issue.
  • Create an outline.
  • Formulate a succinct and clear thesis statement.
  • If the essay type requires it, come up with at least three solid arguments.
  • Impress your audience with a solid conclusion. Remember to proofread!

How Long is An Essay in 8th Grade? Writing Tips

What is the 8th-Grade Essay Format?

You’ll learn what goes into an essay for the eighth grade in this section. You’ve entered a completely new level, which is the first thing to keep in mind. Therefore, your writing is longer and more complex than it was during your earlier academic years.

Beginning with the structure The fundamental parts are the same as in any type of essay:

  • Introduction: An intro should contain something intriguing to catch your audience’s attention. It’s typically a hook or an opening sentence that piques readers’ interest in your essay. The next significant part of your introduction is the thesis statement . The reader learns about the topic of your essay from your paper’s central idea.
  • Body paragraphs: Body paragraphs contain supportive arguments and evidence. They need to be reliable and convincing.
  • Conclusion: After everything is written, you are to conclude the ideas you’ve delivered.

How to Write An Excellent Essay?

You can learn the easiest and most practical advice for writing an essay for the eighth grade in this section. Anyone in the eighth grade should be aware of these things.

  • To find justifications and supporting information, look for trustworthy sources.
  • Try to incite enthusiasm for writing; it will undoubtedly make the process easier for you.
  • If you have a choice, pick the subject that most interests you.
  • Use formal language, appropriate grammar, specific terms, and consistent phrases.
  • Make your points more compelling by referencing credible quotations.

How Long is An Essay in 8th Grade? Writing Tips

Don’ts

  • Write clearly; an essay is a story. It ought to be exciting and reliable.
  • Don’t make all your examples too similar: diversity is of the essence.
  • Use graphic tools to emphasize the most important points in your text to avoid having it appear like an unreadable mess of words.
  • Use only trustworthy sources and websites when citing information.
  • Do not be afraid to express yourself honestly. Your eighth-grade essay is distinctive because of who you are and what you think.
  • Don’t forget to edit your text once you’ve finished writing it.

Eighth Grade Essay Types

During middle school, we assume that you encounter various kinds of assignments. There were indeed descriptive and narrative essays among them. However, now you are to face other exciting formats of writing. Get to know a few new types in the section below.

Informative and Explanatory Writing

In their informative and explanatory papers , students use formal language to explain complex topics with relevant data, precise ideas, and logical analyses. A captivating introduction that gives a sneak peek at the subject matter should be the first step for children. They then present information that is well-organized and supported by data from reliable sources. Eighth graders should use a variety of “strategy tools,” including:

  • information classification.
  • Defining terms.
  • utilizing transitional, academic, and subject-specific vocabulary words.
  • Quoting sources.
  • Factual information is included.
  • Making comparisons.
  • comparison of various circumstances.
  • describing the causes and effects of relationships.
  • including multimedia and graphics (charts, tables, and pictures).
  • Using headings and bullet points for formatting.

The final paragraph should provide a summary of the essay’s main idea. Your child’s papers are likely to cover topics that students are familiar with — but still need to research in order to answer, like What are some ways we can conserve water in a drought? Or Explain how a specific invention has changed your life .

Narrative Writing

Eighth graders write narratives or stories that describe events in their lives (personal histories, memoirs) or imagined scenarios (fiction, fantasy). Effective storytelling strategies are taught to junior J.K. Rowlings, including how to introduce the narrator and characters, set the scene, and convey a point of view.

How Long is An Essay in 8th Grade? Writing Tips

Students work on letting the events flow naturally, developing the characters’ personalities, and creating a compelling plot through the characters’ deeds, words, and thoughts.

Argumentative Essay

An argumentative essay is a piece of writing in which you present a claim and support it with convincing evidence. At this point, your goal is to persuade readers to agree with your viewpoint while they read.

You should provide specific data in your argumentative essay to support your position, such as statistics, figures, research studies, and polls.

Persuasive Essay

Similar to writing an argumentative essay, a persuasive essay is persuasive. There, you must choose a topic that is particularly pressing and form a strong opinion on it. Making your audience believe you are the main objective, just like in an argumentative essay.

Remember the three essentials of persuasive writing:

  • It is clear that Logos appeals to logic. Clearly and logically communicate your ideas.
  • By appealing to the reader’s sense of morality and ethics, ethos aims to persuade them.
  • Pathos aids in emotional persuasion.

Conclusion: How Long is An Essay in 8th Grade?

In eighth grade, how long should an essay be ? 500 to 800 words are enough. You should write an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The number of paragraphs should never be less than 8 sentences in one.

The Length of Each Part in an Essay

The Length of Different Kinds of Essays

The Length of Essays in Different Grades

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Barbara Dee on How She Got Her Writing 'Unstuck'

Barbara Dee is the author of 14 middle grade novels, including Violets Are Blue and Maybe He Just Likes You . In her essay for PW , Dee reflects on her creative process and her forthcoming book, Unstuck , about a girl who struggles with anxiety and writer’s block.

Every writer knows the feeling: you’re sitting at the computer, or your writing notebook, staring at the same blank page as the day before, and the day before that. So you force yourself to write a sentence, but it’s terrible, so you delete it. Then you write a single word and delete that too. Now your head is buzzing and your heart is racing. You’re starting to panic, because what if you never write anything again?

For me that sort of paralysis—writer’s block, to use the technical term—came as I was writing my second book. My debut middle grade novel had done reasonably well; PW had even given it a star! So I told myself that my next MG should be bigger, more literary, more ambitious.

To make a mental break with my debut, I decided to switch from the first person to the third. And, to give the story intellectual heft, I buried myself in research, reading book after book about all sorts of esoteric topics: secret codes, the Enigma machine, decoding Mayan hieroglyphics, amphibian ecosystems. The more I read, the more I realized how much I needed to know before I could even think about starting my story. And now, as I was finally ready to write... nothing.

One day my son asked me what my book was about. I launched into a description of all my research.

He blinked at me. “Okay,” he said. “But what’s it about?”

I couldn’t answer that question. All I knew by that point was that I felt like a complete imposter.

But then it hit me: I should use that —the feeling of being an imposter, a fake writer, convinced I had no real talent—as the way to connect to my main character, and to her story. So while I did use some of my research, Solving Zoe mostly ended up being about a kid who suspected she wasn’t as “gifted” as her peers, until eventually she discovers what makes her special.

My middle grade novels tend to be about tough topics like sexual harassment, mental illness, and climate anxiety. As background for these books I’ve researched a wide range of subjects, including special effects makeup, crayfish, and Greek mythology. I’ve just finished writing my 2025 novel, Tear This Down, about a seventh grader who wants to remove the statue of a local historical figure who didn’t believe women should vote. Because I didn’t know much about the suffragette movement, I needed to spend many hours in the library.

But these days I’m careful not to let myself go down bottomless rabbit holes of research. I also don’t wait to complete my research before I begin writing; I write and research simultaneously, figuring out what I need to know as I go along. This way I’m not merely procrastinating, or pressuring myself to do justice to the copious notes I’ve taken.

We often hear “write what you know”—but sometimes what you “know” is simply information, not the basis for a story. Writing tough topics means my focus should never stray from the protagonist’s emotions. I’ve found that staying in the first person helps me connect the character’s emotions to my own, and to go on a journey with her.

Of course, sometimes writing anxiety still flares up, and I end the day, or the week, with a negative word count. So it probably won’t surprise anyone to hear that I feel a strong connection to the protagonist of Unstuck, my 14th middle grade novel with S&S. Unstuck is about Lyla, who is struggling with writer’s block as she attempts to write a fantasy novel for her seventh grade ELA class.

Part of Lyla’s problem is that, as a voracious reader of fantasy fiction, she feels compelled to engage in overly detailed world-building. She tells herself she’s not writing to compete with Rick Riordan or Kelly Barnhill, but she desperately wants her story to be worthy of the genre, so she can’t stop drawing maps and lists and family trees. Fortunately, Lyla has Ms. Bowman, a fantastic teacher who supports her need to “gestate,” but also tells her: “Pre-writing can be helpful... but at a certain point it’s good to jump in with both feet. I always find that ideas come as you’re working. You really don’t have to have it all figured out before you begin.”

Another powerful bit of advice Ms. Bowman shares with Lyla: Write your feelings . At first Lyla is writing her story from her head, not from her heart—but as she comes to see parallels between her fantasy story and her real life, the words start to flow, and she discovers her own feelings, as well as her voice.

Whenever kids ask me for advice about how to get their own stories “unstuck,” I share some of my go-to strategies: I read screenplays of my favorite movies and TV shows (for example, Succession , which has some of the best dialogue ever written). Or I take my dog for a long walk and listen to a podcast. Or I eat cookies.

But I tell them those are just my strategies. In Unstuck , I suggest “Twenty-Five Ways to Get Unstuck,” which I collect in the back of the book (for example, writing a scene in verse, or as a play). As Ms. Bowman tells Lyla, not all of these strategies will work for every writer; the goal is to find the strategy that works for you.

Although for any writer struggling with writer’s block, it might help to start with this question: “Okay, but what’s your story about? ”

They might describe their topic or their research—but really, I think the answer is an emotion.

Unstuck by Barbara Dee. Aladdin, $17.99 Feb. 27 ISBN 978-1-534489-86-8

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Opinion: We know how voters feel about Trump and Biden. But how do the experts rank their presidencies?

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Presidents Day occurs at a crucial moment this year, with the presidency on the cusp of crisis as we inexorably shuffle toward a rematch between the incumbent and his predecessor. It’s the sort of contest we haven’t seen since the 19th century, and judging by public opinion of President Biden and former President Trump, most Americans would have preferred to keep it that way.

But the third installment of our Presidential Greatness Project , a poll of presidential experts released this weekend, shows that scholars don’t share American voters’ roughly equal distaste for both candidates.

Biden, in fact, makes his debut in our rankings at No. 14, putting him in the top third of American presidents. Trump, meanwhile, maintains the position he held six years ago: dead last, trailing such historically calamitous chief executives as James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. In that and other respects, Trump’s radical departure from political, institutional and legal norms has affected knowledgeable assessments not just of him but also of Biden and several other presidents.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump greets supporters as he arrives at a campaign stop in Londonderry, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Opinion: Panicking over polls showing Donald Trump ahead of President Biden? Please stop

Like Biden, Obama and Reagan had rough reelection polls. Too many journalists treat polls as predictive, but political professionals use them to inform campaigns.

Jan. 24, 2024

The overall survey results reveal stability as well as change in the way scholars assess our nation’s most important and controversial political office. Great presidents have traditionally been viewed as those who presided over moments of national transformation, led the country through major crises and expanded the institution of the presidency. Military victories, economic growth, assassinations and scandals also affect expert assessments of presidential performance.

The presidents at the top of our rankings, and others like ours, reflect this. Hallowed leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and George Washington consistently lead the list.

Our latest rankings also show that the experts’ assessments are driven not only by traditional notions of greatness but also by the evolving values of our time.

Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Las Vegas.

Op-Ed: Worst. President. Ever.

President Trump’s final grade will be in the hands of scholars. It doesn’t look good.

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One example is the continuing decline in esteem for two important presidents, Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson. Their reputations have consistently suffered in recent years as modern politics lead scholars to assess their early 19th and 20th century presidencies ever more harshly, especially their unacceptable treatment of marginalized people.

More acutely, this survey has seen a pronounced partisan dynamic emerge, arguably in response to the Trump presidency and the Trumpification of presidential politics.

Proponents of the Biden presidency have strong arguments in their arsenal, but his high placement within the top 15 suggests a powerful anti-Trump factor at work. So far, Biden’s record does not include the military victories or institutional expansion that have typically driven higher rankings, and a family scandal such as the one involving his son Hunter normally diminishes a president’s ranking.

Biden’s most important achievements may be that he rescued the presidency from Trump, resumed a more traditional style of presidential leadership and is gearing up to keep the office out of his predecessor’s hands this fall.

Trump’s position at the bottom of our rankings, meanwhile, puts him behind not only Buchanan and Johnson but also such lowlights as Franklin Pierce, Warren Harding and William Henry Harrison, who died a mere 31 days after taking office.

Trump’s impact goes well beyond his own ranking and Biden’s. Every contemporary Democratic president has moved up in the ranks — Barack Obama (No. 7), Bill Clinton (No. 12) and even Jimmy Carter (No. 22).

Yes, these presidents had great accomplishments such as expanding healthcare access and working to end conflict in the Middle East, and they have two Nobel Prizes among them. But given their shortcomings and failures, their rise seems to be less about reassessments of their administrations than it is a bonus for being neither Trump nor a member of his party.

Indeed, every modern Republican president has dropped in the survey, including the transformational Ronald Reagan (No. 16) and George H.W. Bush (No. 19), who led the nation’s last decisive military victory.

Academics do lean left, but that hasn’t changed since our previous surveys. What these results suggest is not just an added emphasis on a president’s political affiliation, but also the emergence of a president’s fealty to political and institutional norms as a criterion for what makes a president “great” to the scholars who study them.

As for the Americans casting a ballot for the next president, they are in the historically rare position of knowing how both candidates have performed in the job. Whether they will consider each president’s commitment to the norms of presidential leadership, and come to rate them as differently as our experts, remains to be seen.

Justin Vaughn is an associate professor of political science at Coastal Carolina University. Brandon Rottinghaus is a professor of political science at the University of Houston.

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