The expository writing prompts on holidays will help teachers encourage their students to explore the cultural diversity of the world we live in. There are a variety of holidays that your children may (or may not) celebrate – including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s and more – encouraging them to share personal stories is a fun way to organically discuss the ways different families celebrate the same season.
Prompt 1: What is your favorite holiday and why?
Prompt 2: Which is more fun: Christmas (Hanukkah) or Halloween?
Prompt 3: What do you think would be a perfect birthday party?
Prompt 4: Who is Martin Luther King and why is he famous?
Prompt 5: If you were a groundhog, would you want to be woken up from your warm bed to predict the weather?
Prompt 6: If the groundhog could talk, what do you think he would say?
Prompt 7: If the groundhog had the flu and needed another animal to predict the weather, what animal do you think would like the job?
Prompt 8: August is the only month of the year that doesn’t have an official holiday. You have been put in charge of creating a holiday to be celebrated sometime in August. What holiday do you create? What will be the traditions? Write an essay explaining your holiday and why it’s important to include it in our calendar.
Prompt 9: Some people think Sept 11th should be made a holiday. Others have argued that by making 9/11 a holiday, it will lose it’s importance and will just be a way for people to extend summer vacation one extra week. Do you think it should be a legal holiday? If no, why not? If yes, what types of traditions, or ceremonies do you think should be held on that day?
Prompt 10: Ramadan is the Islamic holiday that runs annually for one month. One of the observances of the holiday is to fast (not eat anything at all) from sunrise to sunset. One of the many reasons Muslims fast during the holiday is to help them understand the plight of the poor. Do you think you would be able to fast every day during the day for thirty days in a row? Do you think there are other ways to teach empathy about the less fortunate? If you don’t think you’d be able to fast, what could you do to help you understand the sufferings of the poor?
Prompt 11: We celebrate our veterans on two separate holidays each year. The holidays are Memorial Day in May and Veteran’s Day in November. Research what the difference is between the two holidays and write an essay on what the differences are.
Prompt 12: Between November 1st to January 15 there are approximately 29 holidays observed by seven of the world’s major religions. Do you agree or disagree that the greeting of “Merry Christmas” could offend those who observe other holidays? Does wishing people “Happy Holidays” seem more inclusive? What is your view?
Prompt 13: December 16 is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day and to celebrate, your friend gives you a chocolate covered grasshopper. Explain whether you would eat it or not, and why.
Prompt 14: If you celebrate Halloween, do you make your own costume or do you buy one at the store? Do you like traditional costumes (ghost, witch, skeleton) or do you prefer something different? Write an essay describing the best Halloween costume you ever wore and why it was so fun.
Prompt 15: Many people celebrate holidays which are particular to their culture, such as Saint Patrick’s Day for the Irish, Oktoberfest for Germany and Cinco de Mayo for Mexico. Does your family celebrate an unusual or culturally significant holiday. Write about it if you do!
Prompt 16: August 13th is National Left Handers Day. The holiday was created to bring awareness to how difficult some things are for left handed people (For example, scissors and spiral notebooks are designed for right handed people). On National Left Handers Day, you are required to do everything left handed. Do you think you could do it? What difficulties to you think you’d encounter? Write an essay imagining a day of being left handed.
Prompt 17: Many towns don’t allow Christmas displays on town property. Why do you think that is? Is it fair? If allowed, should Jewish people be allowed to put Hanukkah decorations on the property as well? What about who celebrate Kwanzaa? Chose a position and write an essay defending your point of view.
Prompt 18: Not every country around the world celebrates birthdays. Vietnam, China and some countries in Africa don’t mark the anniversary of one’s birth. How do you feel about that? Should your birthday be cause for a celebration? Do we overdo birthdays in this country with big parties and extravagant gifts? Write an essay expressing your view on birthdays.
Prompt 19: Many people decorate their houses in different ways for the holidays. Write about how you decorate your home.
Martin Luther King Day
Prompt 20: Presidents are usually the one people to get a national holiday for their birthday. Martin Luther King was never the president, yet we have a national holiday to honor him. What did he do to deserve this honor?
Prompt 21: Seventy-five percent of Americans disapproved of MLK when he died. Yet within 15 years, he had a holiday named after him; something that was previously reserved strictly for presidents. Write an essay explaining how or why the culture changed enough for MLK to move from the most disliked man in America to the honored civil rights leader that he is known for today.
Prompt 22: How far would you be willing to go to fight for a cause you believed in? Would you be willing to go to jail for it? Would you continue with your cause if you thought you might die?
Rosa Parks Day
Prompt 23: We all know that it is wrong to break the law. Rosa Parks broke the law and went to jail. The law she broke was to refuse to give her bus seat to a white man. Was that a fair law? What should we do if a law is unfair?
Prompt 24: Rosa Parks day is a state holiday in California and Missouri on February 4th. It is also a state holiday in Ohio, Oregon and Alabama on December 1st, which is the date she was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. Do you think we should honor her and her courage with a national holiday?
Prompt 25: Have you ever stood up for an injustice? Were you afraid when you did? What did you do and what was the end result of your courage?
Prompt 26: What if Punxsutawney Phil was so groggy when he was woken up, that he accidentally predicted six more months of winter. How would that affect you? Would all of your summer plans have to be canceled?
Prompt 27: The 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, had the main character reliving the same day over and over again. While it might be fun if you were able to pick a great day to live over again once in a while, if you had to do it endlessly, how long do you think it would be before you got bored with everyday being the same? Or would you never get bored if it was a truly great day?
Prompt 28: Write a story about a groundhog who refuses to get out of his warm bed to do his prediction, so winter never ends. Can you write a story with a happy ending? Or is everyone doomed to be cold forever?