10th Grade

Activities Outside School (Expository)

Most students participate in one or more extracurricular activities outside of school. In fact, many colleges consider applicants' non-academic activities when making admissions decisions. Write an essay discussing the value of extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and orchestras. What do students gain by participating in these activities?

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Animal Shelter (Persuasive)

Your community's animal shelter is running dangerously low on food and other supplies they need to take care of its animals. As a volunteer at the shelter, you are very worried about what will happen to the animals if the shelter runs out of supplies. Write a letter to your local newspaper persuading members of the community to support the shelter. Explain why you think the shelter is a worthy cause and use specific reasons and examples to support your position.

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Art and Music (Persuasive)

Many schools across the country lose their art or music classes due to budget cuts. Now the art and music programs at your school are at risk. The school board will vote next week. Write a persuasive letter to the school board stating your views about whether the art and music programs should be saved or eliminated. Make sure to support your opinion with persuasive arguments.

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Babysitting (Persuasive)

You have agreed to baby-sit this weekend for a third-grader in your neighborhood. Knowing that the child likes to test authority, plan your approach for persuading him to eat his dinner, brush his teeth, and go to bed without a fight. Write an essay in which you anticipate his arguments and develop strategies for countering them.

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Career (Descriptive)

Write an essay about the career that you plan to pursue when you are an adult. Include information such as the preparation or training that you would need to achieve this career, and how it will affect your life and the lives of those around you. Explain the responsibilities of your work and why this career is the ideal one for you.

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Celebrity Role Models (Persuasive)

Many people look up to celebrities as role models and imitate their styles, interests, and attitudes. Admirers believe that celebrities' success gives other people permission to act in the same way, even when these decisions and actions are frivolous or dangerous.

Write an essay arguing whether or not celebrities are appropriate role models for young people. Identify the qualities or attributes of a role model, and analyze whether popular celebrities have these traits. Support your position with reasons and examples.

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Extracurricular Activities (Persuasive)

It is often suggested that the best way for a school district to save money is to eliminate certain extracurricular activities by either reducing the number of varsity sports available to students or getting rid of certain student clubs. It is said that although these activities may be enjoyable to the students, they are not necessarily vital to the educational experience. What do you think? Are these activities an important part of the student experience or are they just an unnecessary privilege? Write an essay in which you argue whether extracurricular activities are necessary or unnecessary. Cite specific reasons or examples for your choice.

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Favorite Movie (Descriptive)

You have been asked to write a review of your favorite movie for an online magazine. Write an essay describing what makes your favorite movie so enjoyable. Your review might include discussions of the quality of the acting in the movie, the movie’s story, characters, setting, genre, etc., but remember that a good movie review will characterize and evaluate a movie without giving away the whole plot.

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Harmless Entertainment? (Persuasive)

Some parents and community leaders argue that violent television shows, movies, and video games encourage violent behavior. Fans contend that these shows and games are only entertainment and do not influence viewers' behavior. With which view do you agree? Write an essay supporting your position. Explain the reasons why you believe it is the right side. Use examples to strengthen your argument.

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Inspiring Teacher (Expository)

By the time you reach high school, you will have had at least eleven different teachers. It has been said that a great teacher can inspire greatness in his or her students. Have you had a teacher who has inspired you to do your best?

Write an essay about the effect this teacher had on your life, beliefs, or goals. Be sure to include specific details and examples to explain your points fully.

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Leadership (Expository)

A leader is defined as a person who directs, commands or guides a group or activity. Think about someone you know who has proven to be a great leader, either in leading a country or team or organization. Write an essay about this leader, explaining the characteristics they have which would encourage people to follow them. Be as specific as possible in illustrating the attributes that this leader has exhibited which would lead others to respect, admire and follow them.

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Living Art (Narrative)

Imagine that you standing in an art museum gazing at a particularly interesting painting. You take a step closer to get a better look. All of a sudden you realize that you have stepped into the painting. Write an essay describing your journey inside a painting. What particular painting or kind of painting are you in? What do you see there? Use specific details to explain what you see and experience.

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Loyalty (Expository)

Loyalty is an important quality in a friend. Write an essay about a friend who has shown loyalty to you. Explain why you consider loyalty to be important. Describe the circumstances that led your friend to show loyalty and how your friend's loyalty made you feel.

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Message in a Bottle (Narrative)

Throughout the years, many sailors and beachgoers have placed messages in sealed bottles and dropped the bottles into the ocean where they eventually washed up on foreign shores. Occasionally the finder has even contacted the sender.

Write a story about finding your own message in a bottle. Remember to include details about what the message says, where it was sent from, and who the sender turns out to be.

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Pitch Session (Narrative)

In Hollywood, screen writers sometimes pitch their idea to producers by saying, "It's like Movie A meets Movie B." This means the idea combines elements of two well-known movies into an entirely new movie.

Imagine blending two of your favorite movies by combining parts from each movie. Write a brief version of the story that would emerge.

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Private Island (Descriptive)

Imagine that you have been shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean. You drift in a rowboat for a day, until you eventually wash up on the shore of a small tropical island. There appear to be no other humans on the island. The island offers plenty of fruits and nuts to consume as well as fresh water.

Write an essay in which you describe your private island in detail, using all your senses to paint a vivid picture of the place. In addition to describing the sights, help the reader experience the distinctive smells and sounds of the island.

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Proudest Moment (Narrative)

There are moments in everyone's lives when they feel pride and accomplishment after completing a challenging task. These moments can happen in the classroom, on the field, or in their personal lives.

Write a story about one of your proudest moments. Describe the circumstances around the event, and the struggles you had to overcome. Include why that moment was your proudest, and how it affected your life.

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Shapes and Textures (Descriptive)

Write an essay describing the shapes and textures of several objects you touch every day. What are the similarities and differences in how these objects look and feel? What emotions do they evoke?

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Sounds (Expository)

What sounds make you smile? What sounds make you frown? Describe your favorite sounds, including how they make you feel and any sights, smells, or sensations you associate with them. Include plenty of detail so your readers can share your pleasure or displeasure with these particular sounds.

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Teaching Styles (Expository)

All instructors are different. Write an essay comparing and contrasting the teaching styles of two of your teachers. In your essay, compare and contrast the differing philosophies between your teachers, explaining which one you enjoy more and which one you find most helpful. Be as specific as possible in discussing your teachers and their philosophies.

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Teamwork (Expository)

The ability to cooperate with others to accomplish a task is an important skill. Think of a time when you had to use teamwork to complete a task or project. Who did you work with? What aspects of the project went smoothly and what aspects were more difficult? Write an essay identifying the task your team set out to accomplish and describing your experiences working as a part of a team.

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The Antique Trunk (Narrative)

One rainy day while exploring the back rooms of a secondhand store, you come across a dusty wooden trunk containing: 1) a fan with a scene from a Japanese love story painted on it, and 2) a photograph of a barn. To whom did these items belong? Create a story that tells where these items came from and how they ended up in the trunk.

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Travel (Narrative)

For many people, travel is a wonderful hobby. It offers the chance to go to distant cities or countries to discover new worlds. Those worlds can be as far away as the other side of the globe or as close as the other side of town. Write a story about a trip you have taken, describing in detail the sights and sounds of your journey from beginning to end.

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Volunteer Work (Persuasive)

In some high schools, students are expected to complete a certain number of hours of volunteer work before they can graduate. Those in favor of such plans say it encourages students to become involved in their communities and helps to foster a sense of commitment and responsibility in the students. Others, however, claim it places undue stress on students already overworked with school and extracurricular activities. Write an essay in which you argue for or against community volunteer work as a requirement for high school graduation. Use specific reasons and examples for your choice.

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Weird Food (Descriptive)

Describe the most unusual food you have ever eaten. What did it look like on your plate? How did it smell? How did it feel in your mouth? What did it taste like? Write an essay describing your unusual dining experience.

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Your School (Descriptive)

Describe your school. Write an essay in which you illustrate what your school is like, including its sights and sounds, the neighborhood or environment it is in, and anything about it that makes your school unique. Write the essay so that a reader who knows nothing about your school will be able to "see" it in their mind.

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