Writing Prompts on Benjamin Franklin Quotations

Benjamin Franklin was an extraordinary man. In addition to being one of America’s Founding Fathers, he was a diplomat, an inventor, a writer and publisher and a scientist. When the Second Continental Congress established the United States Post Office, he became the first United States Postmaster General. Let these writing prompts on Ben Franklin Quotes spark your students’ imaginations.


Younger grades:

→ Writing Prompt 1:  A penny saved is a penny earned.
What does that mean exactly? What can you do if you save a penny?

→ Writing Prompt 2: Never leave that till tomorrow what you can do today.
Is it really so bad if you don’t clean your room on the day you are supposed to? What about not taking your dog for a walk when it’s time for him to go out? What would happen if you didn’t do the things you were supposed to do each day and left them for another day?

→ Writing Prompt 3: Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.
How could going to bed early and then waking up early the next day make someone wise, wealthy or healthy?

→ Writing Prompt 4: One today is worth two tomorrows.
Usually having two of something is better than having one. So what did Ben Franklin mean about two tomorrows? You might have heard of the old saying a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Is that the same thing?

Writing Prompt 5:  A place for everything, everything in its place.
Why is it important to have a place for everything? Is there anything wrong with putting books in the closet or clothes under your bed?

Older grades:

Writing Prompt 6: He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.
Clearly, Franklin didn’t mean this literally. Dogs have nothing to do with this saying. What do you think he was indicating in regards to people and their friends or acquaintances?

Writing Prompt 7: Some people die at 25, and aren’t buried until 75.
Do you know someone who might fit this description?  Someone who stopped learning or living their life to the fullest at a young age? Write about that person.

Writing Prompt 8: Don’t throw stones at your neighbors, if your own windows are glass.
You might know this quotation better as people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Since it would be rare for someone to actually live in a glass house, what does it mean exactly?

Writing Prompt 9: Well done is better than well said.
Have you ever been guilty of this? Have you ever promised to do something and not followed through with your promise? Write about it.

Writing Prompt 10: By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.
This quote doesn’t just apply to school work, quizzes and tests! Think about a situation in life that has nothing to do with school and write about how important preparation is.

Ben Franklin Quote Prompts Continue


Writing Prompt 11: Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Clearly, the point of this quotation is that you can never tell someone a secret if you want to ensure it remains a secret. No one likes to have their secrets revealed. Have you ever been told a secret that you promised to keep, only to reveal it to someone else to prevent something bad or wrong from happening?  Was it worth it? Or did it backfire and you ended up losing a friendship over it?

Writing Prompt 12: If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his trouble.
If you got everything you wanted, why would that be a bad thing?

Writing Prompt 13: Half a truth is often a great lie.
Have you ever told the truth about something, but left out an important piece of information? For instance, do you think that by not telling “the whole truth” you are in essence, lying? Why or why not?

Writing Prompt 14: He that rises late, must trot all day.
Do you like to hit the snooze button on your alarm to sleep a little extra each day? Do you enjoy the extra sleep more than the feeling of running late for the rest of the day?

Writing Prompt 15: An egg today is better than a hen tomorrow.
The premise of this quote is that it is better to have something substantial now, rather than the potential or the promise of something in the future. However, could you not argue that the opposite is true? Better to sacrifice the substantial item (an egg, for example) and hold out for something that will give you more of what you want (a hen who lays eggs everyday) in the future? Pick a side of this debate and argue your point.

Writing Prompt 16:  It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.
Write about a bad habit that you have. Explain why you wish you’d never started it because you are having difficulty breaking it.

Writing Prompts on Ben Frankln Quot...
Writing Prompts on Ben Frankln Quotes

Writing Prompt 17: It is the eye of other people that ruin us. If I were blind I would want neither fine clothes, fine houses or fine furniture.
Do you think this is true? If teenagers never saw what other people wore, or how they decorated their houses, would the pressure of “keeping up with the Kardashians” disappear?

Writing Prompt 18: The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
This expression is also translated as “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Should you be the squeaky wheel to get what you want or do people who make the most noise come off as annoying? Write about the pros and cons of being the “worst wheel of the cart.”       

Writing Prompt 19:  Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.
Are you the type of person who buys unnecessary or frivolous things because, “it only costs a couple of dollars”? Think about how much you’ve spent on useless things in the last month and write about something you’d like to save for. How long would it take for you to save up for your special item? Write about how you could motivate yourself to save.

Writing Prompt 20  Never ruin an apology with an excuse.
 Can you think of a time when someone gave you an apology only to be followed by excuses? Write about a situation when you or someone you know could have heeded this advice.

Writing Prompt 21  You may delay, but time will not.
 We’ve all been guilty of procrastinating at some point in our life. Write a story about when procrastinating cost you dearly.

Writing Prompt 22  Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
 We all have different learning styles. Visual, auditory, spatial, etc. Can you think of an example where this quotation has applied to you? Did you ever learn something through direct involvement?

Writing Prompt 23  Be slow in choosing a friend, and slower in changing.   
Write an essay with your interpretation of what you believe Franklin really meant with this quote.