Sometimes life hands you a dilemma which is difficult to solve. Here are some expository writing prompts designed to test your student’s values, convictions, and resolve under trying circumstances.
Prompt 1: Your neighbor is the most annoying, belligerent, nasty person on the planet. And you just found his wallet on the sidewalk with $900 in it. What would you do?
Prompt 2: Your best friend is being abused by her parents. You’ve seen it with you own eyes. You want to tell your parents or a teacher or a school counselor, so your friend will get help. But she has begged you not to say anything to anyone for fear she will be abused even more by her parents or taken away and put into foster care. What would you do?
Prompt 3: You have no money for food or medicine for your young child. He’s ill and in dire need of medicine. Would you feel justified in stealing to save your child’s life?
Prompt 4: Your best friend’s father comes to pick the both of you up from a party. As the three of you are walking to the car it becomes obvious to you that her dad is drunk. What would you do?
Prompt 5: Your best friend is running for class president. You discovered that she is defacing or removing her opponent’s signs. What would you do?
Prompt 6: You’re in a store with your friend when you see him steal a candy bar and some gum. You think he might get caught and don’t want to get in trouble just by being with him. What would you do?
Prompt 7: While playing baseball near the school’s parking lot (after being warned not to), you accidentally break a car window. You don’t know who the car belongs to. What would you do?
Prompt 8: At a party someone starts telling racial jokes. Do you say something to stop it, do you walk away or do you remain quiet? Why did you chose your answer?
Prompt 10: You bought a blouse that you just love in a department store. But after wearing it a few times, you decide it’s not as nice as you thought it was. Is it okay to return it to the store and get a refund if you’ve already worn it? What would you do?
Prompt 11: You go to a restaurant in a different neighborhood with your best friend and the waitress is really nice. The food is good and you have a great time. When it’s time to leave, you friend says she doesn’t want to leave a tip, since you most likely will not be in this neighborhood again. Then she says, “If the waitress wants to make more money, she should work in a job that doesn’t expect tips.” Would you stiff the waitress? Would you agree and then sneak money on the table after your friend leaves? Or would you insist on leaving a decent tip, even if you had to pay it all yourself? What would you do?
Prompt 12: You are about to serve your friends some pizza when you drop a few pieces on the floor. No one saw you drop it and the slices you dropped look clean. Would you serve them?
Prompt 13: You just spotted your friend cheating on his test. Would you do or say anything to him or the teacher?
Prompt 14: There’s a kid at school who goes out of his way to make your life miserable. He knocks your books out of your hand and bumps you into the lockers whenever he walks by. What do you do?
Prompt 15: Bass Reeves was a Federal lawman in the late 1800’s. He arrested over 3,000 felons. One day he was told there was a warrant out for his son, who had committed murder. He made the decision to track down his son and arrest him, knowing his son would either go to jail or be hanged. (He went to jail for 20 years). Could you have done the same thing? What if is was your brother? Your mother? Could you turn in a beloved family member for committing a crime, knowing they will serve time in jail? Would it depend on the crime? The sentence? Write an essay defending your views.
Prompt 16: You’re in a store when you see a man grab a crying child by the arm and yank her out of the store. You have no way of knowing if he is the child’s father. Would you ignore the situation or tell someone?
Prompt 17: One of your friends has been approached by a recruiter for the Army, and has asked you for your advice on whether or not he should join. Do you tell him to enlist or do you encourage him not to? Be sure to give him reasons on why you feel he should or shouldn’t enlist.