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Descriptive Writing Prompts for Upper Elementary

Teaching descriptive writing in the classroom can be very engaging when done right. It’s also a unit that allows you to cover a number of curriculum expectations like adjectives and adverbs, paragraph writing, figurative language, and more. In this blog post, we will explore how to introduce the unit with 20 descriptive writing prompts and how to build on it to create comprehensive lessons after!

Descriptive Writing Prompts Unit Ideas 1

Descriptive Writing Prompts:

Before diving into a descriptive writing unit, it can be helpful to start the students off with some quick prompts. These prompts can be used for bell-work, a power write, or just a fun way to get students thinking about descriptive writing. Here are 20 prompts that you can use in your classroom:

  1. Describe your favorite place in the world.
  2. Write about the sights, sounds, and smells of a busy city street.
  3. Describe your perfect day with friends.
  4. Write about a favorite food or meal in detail.
  5. Describe the inside of a haunted house or spooky castle.
  6. Write about a magical land you’ve created in your imagination.
  7. Describe a pet or animal you love in detail.
  8. Write about the feeling of your favorite season.
  9. Describe a day in the life of a superhero.
  10. Write about a scary or thrilling experience you’ve had.
  11. Describe the view from the top of a mountain or hill.
  12. Write about a dream you’ve had in vivid detail.
  13. Describe the feeling of performing in front of a crowd.
  14. Write about a special memory you have with your family or friends.
  15. Describe a place you’ve never been but would love to visit.
  16. Write about a time you felt proud of yourself.
  17. Describe the feeling of being lost in a new place.
  18. Write about a day at the beach, lake, or river in detail.
  19. Describe the view from the window of a train or airplane.
  20. Write about a character you’ve created in detail, including their appearance, personality, and backstory.

Mini-Lessons for Your Descriptive Writing Unit:

  • Brainstorming
  • Sensory Details
  • Adjectives & Descriptive Words (I like to use a “dead words” lesson for engagement)
  • Figurative Language (similes, metaphors, personification)
  • Writing Leads
  • Writing Conclusions
  • Revising & Editing

Descriptive Writing Unit Example:

Once you have introduced students to descriptive writing with these quick prompts, it’s time to move on to a comprehensive descriptive writing unit. The unit I use has students write about a dream place/destination or a familiar place that brings them joy (e.g., their happy place). This is a printable and digital, no-prep resource that takes students through the writing process step-by-step.


I always like to incorporate reading comprehension into my writing units, so this resource includes mini mentor texts that we use as mini-lessons and organizers to help students come up with sensory details, figurative language, effective adjectives and adverbs and so on. 

They will learn to write effective leads and conclusions as well. 

All you have to do is print, copy (or post to Google Classroom) and watch the BEAUTIFUL writing come through!

In conclusion, teaching descriptive writing can be an engaging and fun experience for both you and your students. By using a set of quick prompts and a comprehensive writing unit, you can help your students improve their writing skills and produce beautiful pieces of descriptive writing. Whether you’re teaching in-person or remotely, these resources are a great way to get started with teaching descriptive writing in the classroom. Click here to read about organizing literacy groups in your classroom!


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I’m Katarina and I teach elementary students in Toronto, Canada. I’m passionate about creating authentic learning experiences that students will love and remember. If you are looking to improve your classroom management and engage your students with easy-to-implement resources and tools, you’re in the right place!

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