4th Grade

A Helpful Wish (Cause & Effect)

A genie has just popped out of your bottle of juice! He offers to grant one wish, but only if you use that wish to help someone other than yourself. Before the genie disappears, he tells you to write your wish and leave it in the refrigerator for him. In order for your wish to be granted, you must explain to the genie how the granting of your wish will help somebody else. Be specific!

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A New Season (Cause & Effect)

When winter is over and spring arrives, the days get longer and the weather gets warmer. How do the longer days and warmer weather cause changes in what you do each day? Do you wear different clothes? Do you take part in different activities? Write an essay explaining how your days are different when spring arrives. Provide specific examples in your response.

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Castle (Narrative)

One morning a child looks out the window and discovers that a huge castle has appeared overnight. The child rushes outside to the castle and hears strange sounds coming from it. Someone is living in the castle! The castle door creaks open. The child goes in.

Write a story about who the child meets and what happens inside the castle.

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Choose a Pet (Persuasive)

Many people have a pet such as a dog, bird, or snake. If you could have any pet, what would you choose? Describe the pet you would want and give three reasons for your choice.

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Different Jobs (Compare & Contrast)

What kind of job do you think youíll have when you grow up? Will you be a teacher? A firefighter? A chef? Write an essay comparing two different jobs that you think might be interesting. What do the two jobs have in common? How are the two jobs different? Use specific details to show the similarities and differences between the two jobs.

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Directions Home (Process)

A school friend is coming over to your house for the first time and needs directions. Your friend can get to your school but does not know the rest of the way. Write an essay that gives step-by-step directions explaining how to get from your school to your home. Be sure to include important details such as how long the walk or drive will take, what landmarks they can expect to see on the way, and how to recognize your house or building.

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Dog Park (Persuasive)

A new park is about to open in the neighborhood. Some of the people want the park to be "dog-friendly." They want a place where owners can take their dogs and let their dogs play without wearing leashes. Other people want the park to require leashes on dogs at all times.

What do you think? Why? Write an essay to convince readers that your position is correct.

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Dream Playground (Descriptive)

Your town is planning to build a new playground, and it is sponsoring a "Dream Playground" contest. Each child in town has been asked to submit a description of the perfect playground. The town will use the entries to plan the playground, and the child with the best "Dream Playground" will get to choose the name for the new playground. Write an essay describing your perfect playground. Include details about what it contains, how it looks, and what children will do there.

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Favorite Object (Informative)

We all have favorite objects that we care about and would not want to give up.

Think of one object that is important or valuable to you. For example, it could be a book, a piece of clothing, a game, or any object you care about.

Write about your favorite object. Be sure to describe the object and explain why it is valuable or important to you.

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Favorite TV Show (Persuasive)

Think about your favorite TV show. Pretend that a friend has never seen it. Write a letter telling your friend why he or she should watch the show. Include three reasons why you like this show. Also give examples from the show to support your reasons.

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Flying Mop (Narrative)

"One day Simon was walking down the street near his house when he saw a beat up old mop lying on the sidewalk. He picked up the mop and soon discovered that it was no ordinary mop. If he got on it he could fly! The mop was so fast that Simon could fly anywhere in the world."

Where do you think this flying mop came from? Where does Simon go on his mop? Use your imagination to write a story about Simonís adventures with the flying mop.

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Getting Ready (Process)

What do you do to get ready for school? Write out your morning activities, starting with the moment you wake up. Include all the things you do before you arrive at school. Your essay should describe your morning so that the reader knows exactly what you do.

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Guest Author (Persuasive)

New Topic

To celebrate the opening of its new children's section, your local library will invite a famous author of childrenís books to speak to area children and read from his or her books. Which author would you most like to meet? Write an essay to persuade the library staff to invite your favorite author to the celebration. Be sure to include reasons and examples to support your choice.

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Home and Away (Compare-Contrast)

Think about a fun trip that you would like to take. Describe where you would go. Then explain three ways that this place is similar to where you live and three ways that it is different.

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Household Chore (Cause & Effect)

Think of a household chore done regularly by you or someone in your family. What would happen if you suddenly stopped doing it? Write an essay describing how life in your house would change if nobody did this chore.

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Instructions for Sub (Process)

Your teacher has taken a day off and has forgotten to leave a note for the substitute. Can you help the substitute by explaining how to start class and move through the day? What little details might the sub need to know to get through the day smoothly? Don't leave anything out. The substitute and your teacher are counting on you!

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Interesting Dream (Descriptive)

Think about a happy, funny, or weird dream that you've had. It can be a dream that you just had or from when you were much younger. Describe this dream. Include everything that you saw, heard, and did. Also include how you felt during it.

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Invisible Friend (Persuasive)

Read the letter below. Pretend this letter is from an imaginary friend that you have had since kindergarten. Think about what you could say that would help your friend decide to become visible.

Write a letter to your imaginary friend. Convince your friend to become visible. In your letter, use details and examples.

To My Best Friend,
You are my best and only friend because only you can see or hear me. To everyone else, I am completely invisible.

Last night on my tenth birthday I figured out how to make myself visible. But I'm afraid. I like living in your imagination. I'm not too sure I'd like living in the real world. Who will take care of me? What would I do for fun? Who would be my friend besides you?

Do you think I should become visible? Why do you think I should? Besides being with you, what is so great about being visible?

Sincerely,
Your confused friend

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Let's Play (Process)

Imagine that you would like to teach other kids some of the games you know. Write instructions on how to play a simple game such as "Hide and Seek." Pretend the other kids have never heard of the game before. Include all the facts and directions they will need to play the game.

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Lost Time (Narrative)

"Tyler has a special clock. When he turns the clock off, time stands still. Everyone around him freezes in place until he turns the clock on again. Only Tyler can move around or remember what happens when the clock is off."

When does Tyler use the special clock, and how does he spend his time when the clock is stopped? Use your imagination to write a story about Tyler and his mysterious clock.

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Making Friends (Process)

Pretend that your class publishes a newspaper. Your classmates write to you and ask for help. You then tell them what they should do. You just got this letter:

Dear Secret Helper,

I am 10 years old. I just moved to a new school. I miss my old friends a lot.
I want to make new friends! But I don't know what to do. How can I make lots of new friends?

Yours truly,
Amy

Can you help Amy? Answer her letter. In it, describe what she can do to make friends. Give all of the ways she can develop friendships/friends.

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No Technology (Cause & Effect)

New Topic

Imagine your life without technology. It would mean we would not have cars, telephones, computers, or televisions. How would this affect your daily life? Explain how your life would change if we didnít have technology.

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Non-School Clothes (Descriptive)

Do you have clothes that you wear for different activities? Are they play clothes or special-event clothes? Do the clothes show that you are a member of a group?

Choose one set of clothes. Write an essay describing these clothes. Explain what they look like and how they feel and how you feel wearing them. What activities do you enjoy while wearing these clothes?

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Outside in the Rain (Descriptive)

Think about a time you were outside in the rain. Describe what happened. Include how the rain looked, sounded, felt, and smelled.

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Party Plans (Persuasive)

Your class is planning a party at the end of the school year. How would you decorate the classroom for the celebration? What would you do at the party? Write an essay describing your idea for the party and give at least three reasons why your idea would be fun.

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Pet Dragon (Narrative)

Imagine you just found a baby dragon alone in the park. What does the dragon look like? How did it get to the park? What will you do with it? Write a story about what happens to you and your new pet dragon.

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Pick a Room (Persuasive)

The recreation center in your neighborhood is trying to decide what to do with an unused room. One group has suggested that the room could be used as a game room. Another group wants the room to have computers and tables so that local children can use the room to do homework. Write a letter to the recreation center arguing in favor of either the game room or the homework room. Be sure to offer specific reasons and examples to support your choice.

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Prepare a Meal (Process)

Think of a meal you know how to make. It can be something simple you prepare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Explain how to make this meal.

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School Subjects (Compare-Contrast)

What is your favorite subject in school? What subject is your least favorite? Describe both subjects. Then tell how they are alike and how they are different.

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Strange Water Glass (Narrative)

"Marisa stares at the strange water glass. She knows she shouldn't touch anything in the old MacGregor house. Her mother has warned her. But she is just too curious. She quickly picks up the glass and drinks the bubbling, green drink. Suddenly she finds herself changing!"

What happens to Marisa? Does she ever become herself again? Finish the story. Use your imagination!

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Talking Frog (Narrative)

"One day, Kathy was walking home from school. She noticed a frog was following her. She was surprised. "Why would a frog do that?" she thought. She was even more surprised when it started to speak to her!"

What does the frog say? Why does it want to talk to Kathy? What happens next? Finish the story. Be creative!

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That Smells Great! (Descriptive)

What is your favorite scent? Does it come from a food, a flower, a place, an event, or something else? Write an essay describing your favorite scent. Make your description vivid so that others can understand why the scent is your favorite.

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Ways to Play (Compare and Contrast)

Some people like to play outside on the weekends. Other people prefer to do things indoors. Write an essay comparing ways to play inside and outside. How are they alike? How are they different? Be sure to include at least two ways that they are alike and two ways that they are different.

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