Lesson plan

On-Demand Prewriting

Students will develop pre-writing confidence by learning how to approach unfamiliar opinion writing prompts. Writers will generate a topic sentence and flush out supporting information.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to use an organizer to generate a topic sentence and supporting details when faced with an on-demand informational writing prompt.

(10 minutes)
  • Tell your class you are going to have them write congratulatory letter to the President, who will be visiting the class in two hours (allow for some confusion).
  • Retract the assignment, explaining that such a request can incite confusion and uncertainty about something so unexpected.
  • On-demand writing prompts, questions about unexpected ideas designed for students to answer right away with a topic sentence and personal details, often catch students by surprise.
  • Explain when faced with a writing assignment, writers begin to generate, collect, and organize their ideas about the topic. They should see themselves as writers in the same way when faced with an on-demand opinion writing prompt.
(5 minutes)
  • Using a projector, go through the Informative Idea Organizer with a writing prompt (such as: “Which of your five senses would be the most difficult to live without and why?”).
  • Post the writing prompt in the organizer section and write an opinion topic sentence in the next section. An example could be, “I’d hate to lose my sense of taste because I couldn’t taste my favorite foods.”
  • Remind your students that in opinion writing, providing reasons and showing how they support your belief, makes for a strong response. Reinforce how on-demand writing is meant to be a quick and organized response.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students work in small groups using their choice of prompt cut-out slips and the Informative Idea Organizer.
  • Upon completion, have students share their responses while clarifying any misconceptions.
(15 minutes)
  • With a new organizer, have students select a different writing prompt from the 30 Third Grade Writing Prompts and complete the same process.
  • Circulate the room, reinforcing how on-demand writing is meant to be a quick and organized response.


  • While circulating during work times, redirect students misunderstandings with leading questions.
  • Have students work in small mixed groups on one organizer during independent work time.
  • Allow students to use the same prompt from Guided Practice time and generate different information.


  • Have students act as writing consultants and help other students in pairs or trios.
  • Student can make up their own prompts. They can write responses to them or trade with a classmate.
(5 minutes)
  • Circulate the room, note student understanding with probing questions.
  • Collect and review student work for understanding.
(5 minutes)
  • Select random writing prompts and take student responses from each, noting interesting facts, great ideas and strong topic sentences.

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