25 Great Essay topics for Students in 2019

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Writing an essay can be a daunting task for both teachers and students in terms of creating and crafting a high quality essay,  and finally editing and grading them.

It seems though we may have overlooked one of the toughest steps in writing an essay and that is actually selecting an appropriate and interesting topic for your students.

2019 is the year of the pig according to the Chinese Zodiac. The Pig is traditionally associated with wealth and greed, and these themes can be seen in the essay topics listed below. Alongside these are numerous topics which have strong social and cultural links to events happening this year.

Thankfully I have put together a list of 25 great essay topics for 2019 that might just make that process a little easier.  Enjoy.  And remember to add any other great suggestions in the comment section below.

If you are still struggling with the essay writing process and need further guidance be sure to check out our definitive guide to writing a great essay. 

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  1. Zoos are sometimes seen as necessary but not poor alternatives to a natural environment. Discuss some of the arguments for and/or against keeping animals in zoos.

  2. Imaginethat your teacher wants to teach a new subject for the next few weeks. Your teacher will take suggestions, and then let the students vote on the new subject. What subject should your class choose? Write an essay to support your choice and to persuade the other students to vote for your choice.

  3. Are actors and professional athletes paid too much?

  4. Should teachers have to wear uniforms or have a dress code?

  5. Since the invention of nuclear weapons we have had a long period of GLOBAL peace and stability. Are nuclear weapons global peacemakers or killing devices?

  6. Should boys and girls be in separate classes?

  7. Is the death penalty effective?

  8. To what extent is the use of animals in scientific research acceptable?

  9. What age is appropriate for dating?

  10. Pretend you woke up one day and there were no rules. People could suddenly do whatever they wanted! Explain what the world would be like. Use your imagination!

  11. Should student’s textbooks be replaced by notebook computers?

  12. Should students be allowed to have cell phones in elementary and high schools?

  13. Should wealthy nations be required to share their wealth among poorer nations?

  14. Should money be spent on space exploration?

  15. Is fashion important?

  16. Are we too dependent on computers?

  17. Ifyou had the opportunity to bring any person — past or present, fictional or nonfictional — to a place that is special to you (your hometown or country, a favourite location, etc.), who would you bring and why? Tell us what you would share with that person

  18. Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?

  19. Should students be allowed to grade their teachers?

  20. In your opinion what factors contribute to a good movie?

  21. The destruction of the world’s forests is inevitable as our need for land and food grows. Do you agree?

  22. Many parents give their children certain chores or tasks to do at home. Should children have to do chores or tasks at home? Be sure to explain why you think it is a good idea or a bad idea. Include examples to support your reasons.

  23. Should the voting age be lowered to thirteen?

  24. Should the government place a tax on junk food and fatty snacks?

  25. Should more be done to protect and preserve endangered animals?

Video Lesson:  How to write an effective Essay

15 meaningful recount prompts for secondary students

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Recounts can often be a dry and dreaded writing task for teachers and students as far too often we recount menial and boring events such as what happened over the weekend. 

These fifteen recount prompts will really encourage your students to think deeply and provide a an opportunity to find out a little bit more about ourselves and each other.

Excellent free recount writing tips for teachers and students can be  found here

Excellent free recount writing tips for teachers and students can be found here

If you are looking for an incredible free resource for teaching how to write recounts be sure to check out literacyideas.com.  It has complete guides to teaching all major styles of writing.

  • Looking back on our childhood, we often come back to key events that had a major impact on us. Tell about one of those defining events from your childhood.

  • It has been said that parents are our first and most important teachers. Describe a time when you learned a valuable lesson from one of your parents.

  • Recount a time when you found yourself in a perilous situation. Tell the story of how you got into that situation and how you survived it.

  • Far too often we take nature for granted. Describe an experience that made you appreciate our natural world.

  • We have all heard the saying “You should never judge another person until you walk in his or her shoes.” Tell about an experience that enabled you to better understand another person.

  • We all possess phobias and things that we are afraid of, and sometimes we find ourselves in situations that force us to face our deepest fears. Tell about a time when you had to face one of your greatest fears.

  • Sometimes something negative turns out to be positive—a “blessing in disguise.” Describe a time in your life when something bad turned out to be good.

  • Often we put people we have great admiration for so high on a pedestal that we forget they’re human. Describe a time when you realized that someone you admired was imperfect.

  • Have you ever forgotten something of extreme importance? Tell about your experience.

  • Sports are a big part of some people’s lives, either as spectators or participants. Describe a memorable sporting event.

  • Describe a time when you performed or witnessed a random act of kindness.

  • Describe a time when you witnessed something unbelievable.

  • Some unexpected experiences can help us mature from children into young adults. Describe one of those key experiences in your life.

  • It is an amazing experience when we create something beautiful. Tell about a time when you created something.

  • Rich experiences can take place when we travel. Tell about a memorable experience you had when you were traveling.

If you have any recommendations to add to these prompts please do not hesitate to share a comment below.

 

23 Persuasive writing Prompts for high School students

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Writing a persuasive essay can be a difficult task for teachers and students if you don’t have a great idea to help get those creative juices flowing.  These prompts cover a range of issues and topics that are pertinent to middle school and high school students and can be easily adapted to work with a topic you have been teaching in your own class.

Students really enjoy the opportunity to try and change the world in which they live and hopefully these prompts might be a great starting point.

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Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English especially writing be sure to visit literacyideas.com


  1. Some parents give children a weekly or monthly allowance regardless of their behavior because they believe an allowance teaches children to be financially responsible. Other parents only give children an allowance as a reward for completing chores or when they have behaved properly. Explain what you think parents should do and why.
  2. Many schools now require teenagers to spend a certain number of hours each term doing volunteer work or community service. Some people believe this is an excellent idea as it promotes good citizenship and cultivates compassion. Others feel that forced volunteerism is not volunteering at all. How do you feel about this issue? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  3. Some parts of the world allow people to get a driver’s license at age  sixteen.  Many feel this age is much too young for the responsibility that comes with driving a car and that teenagers should not be allowed to drive until the age of 18. In your opinion, at what age should people be allowed to drive, and why?
  4. What is your all-time favorite book or movie and why? Write an essay persuading readers to watch this film or read this book.
  5. Have you ever made a life changing action that has had a positive effect on you or the lives of others? Write an essay that convinces readers to make a change for the better.
  6. You have been asked to write a letter that would convince a organizers of a major event to be hosted in your hometown.   Write an essay that convinces these delegates that your town would be great host.
  7. Top professional athletes often have salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Do you think these athletes deserve this type of income? Why or why not? Explain your position and use specific reasons and examples.
  8. Humans have always wondered about the possibility of life   on other planets in the universe. Do you believe extraterrestrial life exists? Write an essay persuading others to share your point of view.
  9. If someone discovered the ‘Elixir of life’ that would enable us to live forever, would it be a blessing or a curse? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  10. If you have you ever traveled to a place that you found very meaningful and rewarding? Write an essay that persuades others to visit this important place.
  11. Nearly all private schools require students to wear uniforms. Should public school students wear uniforms too? Argue for or against school uniforms for public school students. Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  12. You are to select one item from the twenty-first century to place in a time capsule for future generations, what would you choose? Use specific reasons and examples to support your choice, explaining both the item’s significance and the reasons why it embodies the culture of the early twenty-first century.
  13. What would improve your town or city? Write an essay convincing officials to make a change that would improve your neighborhood.
  14. Some studies have shown students often perform better on exams if music is played softly in the background. However, some students may find the music distracting. Should schools play classical music during exams and/or allow students to listen to headphones whilst working? Take a position and explain your answer.
  15. Should parents be a child’s disciplinarian, or their best friend?
  16. Take a position and explain your answer using specific reasons and examples.
  17. Millions of people visit zoos around the world. But some people believe that zoos are inhumane and that animals should not be kept in captivity. Do you agree? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to support your position.
  18. In most countries people pay taxes based upon how much they earn: the higher their income, the higher the percentage of that income they must pay in taxes. Many people argue that a flat tax, in which everyone pays the same rate regardless of income, would be a more equitable and desirable tax system. Which of these two tax systems do you think is best, and why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.
  19. Is it wise to devote time and money to building a space station on the moon or Mars? Why or why not? Explain your answer.
  20. An ancient Greek proverb states, “All things good to know are difficult to learn.” Do you agree? Why or why not? Use specific reasons and examples to explain your answer.
  21. Imagine that you know someone who is unfamiliar with computers and has never been on the Internet. Write an essay convincing this relative to get a computer and get online.
  22. Imagine that you have made it to the final round of interviews for your dream job. Convince your prospective employers that you are the one who most deserves the position.
  23. Is there something that you believe is truly worth fighting for?  Write an essay persuading others that this cause is worth a fight.

If you have any other great ideas for persuasive prompts please post them in the comments section below.

 

How to create a classroom website

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A classroom website can be one of the best tools you can utilize to showcase the great things happening in your classroom.

Some teachers already have a great class website or blog and today we are going to look at what you need to do to build classroom website of your own.

So what’s the difference between a classroom website and a classroom blog?

A blog is like an online diary of articles and discussion topics that readers can subscribe and respond to.  A traditional website is more so a repository of static content.  Over the last few years these two areas have blurred into each other.  Any web creation platform worth a pinch of salt will offer both of these options to you but a blog is probably going to be of far more use than a static site.

What is the purpose of a classroom Blog?

Always connected Learning:  Your classroom website should allow students to contribute from home to a topic that has been discussed in the classroom.  Alternately, you can include follow up content such as tutorial videos for students and parents who might need assistance in a specific area.

Communication:  In its simplest form a classroom website should be a bulletin board of news and events that are relevant to your class. 

A sense of pride:  Your classroom website should be a great bragging point not only your students should feel proud of as it contains great examples of their work, but it should also serve as an excellent portfolio of your teaching craft should you apply for a promotion or another job.

What should it contain?

  “For instance “Where have we seen natural disasters in the news this week?”

What it should not contain?

Of course if you are intending to share your classroom with the world you need to provide and adhere to some cyber safety guidelines about not sharing personal information and always ensure you have parental permission.

Never let your website become a platform for cyber bullying or criticism.  Moderate it at least once a week.

What is the best platform for success?

There are literally hundreds of options here if you run a Google Search but here are my top three picks from personal experience.

Weebly:  Probably the web’s easiest blogging and website creation tool for beginners through to novices.  It is free to get started but you can buy a full featured premium package for a few dollars per month.  The great thing about Weebly is that allows you to create simple password protected pages that your students can feel a little safer on.

Blogger.  This is Google’s blogging platform tool and it is totally free. It will create a great classroom blog and that is about it.  If you already have a Gmail account you are already registered.  Simple drag and drop interface and can be integrated easily into your existing school website.

Edublogs:  If you are a WordPress user this will seem like the easiest thing in the world to you.  If you are not I would not recommend starting here.  I really only included because of the massive user base Wordpress has.  If you get stuck on Blogger or Edublogs there is no 24/7 support to help you out but there are millions of users on forums who can help.

 

5 persuasive writing prompts about heading to college

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High school students heading off to college have a multitude of decisions and considerations to make regarding their transition into adult life.  

For many heading of to college will be a major point of consideration and discussion with parents and peers.

I hope these persuasive writing prompts for high school students heading off to college encourage them to put their ideas into an organised manner. 

Prompt 1) Many other countries including: England, Australia and New Zealand, encourage students to take a year off to travel and explore the world before going to college. While not a mainstay in American culture, this "gap-year" movement is beginning to take hold. Do you feel that it is a good idea for students to take a year off between high school and college? Or should they go straight into college following high school?

Prompt 2) You have just gotten into your dream school, the problem is that your family was pushing you to go to a different school. Which school do you go to and why? Site specific examples.

Prompt 3) More and more students are planning on living off-campus their first year of college. Do you plan on living on or off campus for your freshman year of college? Why? 

Prompt 4) A close friend of yours is interested in pursuing a career in a specific trade craft. Do you think they should go to a trade school that specializes in teaching that craft or should they go to a traditional college that offers that craft as a major? Write a letter to convince them to attend the school of your choice above.

Prompt 5) Your guidance counselor is asking for you to defend your choice of major. Write a detailed argument outlining why you are choosing to pursue that particular major. If you are still undecided in what major you are pursuing, write a detailed argument explaining why you haven't made that particular decision yet. 

Please feel free to contribute more below. 

Write Good or Die
By Scott Nicholson, Gayle Lynds, Kevin J. Anderson, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, Douglas Clegg, Alexandra Sokoloff, J.A. Konrath, Harley Jane Kozak, Jonathan Maberry

How to write a great essay in ten simple steps

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Thanks to literacyideas.com for these great tips for parents, teachers and students about writing essays.  Many students get anxious about how to approach an essay, but these ten tips will make it a logical and simple process.

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Remember that if you are looking for more great free resources and structured guides to teaching all aspects of English especially writing be sure to visit literacyideas.com

If you would like some great essay topic suggestions be sure to check our recommendations here.


1.   Examine the essay question carefully

o   Highlight key words.

o   Use the dictionary to check the meaning of any unfamiliar words.

o   Identify the task words that indicate what needs to be done, eg ‘discuss', ‘explain', ‘compare'.

o   Identify the topic words that indicate the particular subject of the essay, eg the character of ‘Juliet' in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the ‘causes' of World War 1.

o   Identify any limiting words that restrict the discussion to a particular area, eg in ‘Chapters 1-3', during the ‘nineteenth century'.

2.   Finalize any necessary reading or research as background to the essay

o   Be selective: use sources which are relevant and accessible.

o   Write notes in your own words.

o   Write down quotations that may be particularly useful, but ensure the source of these quotes is acknowledged if they're used.

o   Take note of sources so they can be provided in footnotes and the bibliography.

3.   Brainstorm your ideas in response to the question

o   Jot down any relevant points.

o   Make note of any relevant evidence or quotes that come to mind.

o   Use a mind map to help stimulate lateral thinking.

4.   Construct a thesis (idea/argument) that encapsulates the response to the question

o   The thesis should be a statement that strongly expresses the overall response to the question.

o   Avoid a thesis that's too simplistic – show thought has been put into some of the complexities behind the question.

o   The thesis is the backbone of the essay – it will be stated in the introduction. It also needs to be referred to several times in the essay before restating it and demonstrating how it has been proven in the conclusion.

5.   Write a plan for the response

o   Order ideas in a logical sequence.

o   Make sure every point in the plan is relevant to the question.

o   After the plan has been written it should be clear where the essay is going. 

6.   Write the introduction

o   Open up the discussion.

o   Introduce the thesis.

o   Indicate how the questions will be answered.

o   Name any texts to be discussed, if appropriate.

o   Engage the reader.

7.   Write the main body of the essay

o   Ensure each point is given a new paragraph.

o   Use words or phrases at the start of each paragraph that will indicate to the reader how it relates to the previous paragraph, eg, 'however', ‘in addition', ‘nevertheless', ‘moreover'.

o   Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that clearly links the paragraph to the rest of the essay, eg "A striking example of Gary Crew's use of light and darkness imagery to suggest notions of knowledge and ignorance occurs in the scene on the jetty".

o   Provide supporting evidence for each point that you make.

o   Revisit the thesis, and express it in different ways if possible, to emphasise how the question is being addressed. 

8.   Write your essay conclusion

o   Summarise the main ideas.

o   Demonstrate how you have proven your thesis.

o   Finish with an interesting or thought-provoking, but relevant, comment.

9.   Edit the draft

o   Check for spelling, punctuation and grammar.

o   Delete any sections that are not particularly relevant.

o   Change vocabulary to improve expression.

o   Seek feedback from peers or a teacher before writing the final copy.

10.                  Write the final copy

o   Add any footnotes or bibliography if required.

o   Present a clean, neat copy.

o   Submit on time.

5 Google Docs Tutorial Videos for Busy Teachers

Google Gooru is a great site for teachers to check out if they need to know more about integrating Google into their workflow and accessing all of those great collaboration tools which exist within Google Apps. 

 

Below are 5 well organised tutorials that will make your understanding of Google Docs greater and allow you get more out of this great suite of tools. 

 

Enjoy. 

How to transfer ownership of a Google Doc

Learn how to transfer ownership of a Doc as a user or an admin. An ownership transfer can be performed as a user within Google Drive, while Admins can perform this task in the Google Apps Control Panel, or by using a 3rd party tool. In this video we highlight FlashPanel.

 

Introduction to Google Plus Circles

Google Plus Circles are one of the best ways to share and receive social content with the right people. A staple of G+, Circles allow you to segment your friends, family and co-workers into easy to manage groups.

For example, if you’d like to share an interesting article with people you work with, you can set-up a circle with all of your important contacts.

How to Print Your Google Calendar

Posted on: May 03, 2012     | 42 comments

Gooru Tip - Maximize the video player and adjust video quality for optimal viewing!

Printing your Google Calendar is super easy. All you have to do is:

  1. Go to the More dropdown in the top right
  2. Click print
  3. You’ll have two options – print or save as .pdf
  4. You’ll have multiple formatting options, including the orientation of the calendar (portrait or landscape)
  5. You can show or not show events that you have declined
  6. You can choose black and white if you are printing in black and white, for better contrast
  7. Hit print or save as .pdf and you’re done!

How to add your template to the Template Gallery


1. Open up Google Drive

2. Check off the Google Doc that you’d like to save as your template

3. Click “More” on the top

4. Select “Submit to template gallery”

Adding a table of Contents to a Google Doc


In this video, I show you how to add a table of contents to a Google Doc in two different ways. One way is by changing the specified text to “headlines” and then inserting a Table of Contents, which automatically creates links to your headlines. The other way is by making your headlines into bookmarks and then inserting links to your bookmarks at the beginning of the document.

The fact that you can create a table of contents on a Doc is one of the many benefits of using Google Docs and the fact that it is all on the internet. Once you watch this video, you’ll see how easy it is to add a table of contents to any Google Doc.

 

5 YouTube Tips for Busy Teachers and Students

YouTube is one of the most underused teaching resources on the web.  It offer millions of hours quality viewing made by some of the biggest names in the industry for free.  

As a teacher it is your job to sort the good from the bad and define a purpose for this medium; which is in most cases a pretty simple task.

Below I have put together my top five tips for teachers to help them get the most out of YouTube as a powerful teaching learning tool.

Create a YouTube Channel of your own.

Let’s get one thing straight you don’t actually need to create your own videos to create a channel you simply need to add videos to your channel.  This is really handy for teachers because it allows you to organize your favorite YouTube clips exactly how you would like them and you can invite visitors, pose questions and share comments without the rest of the world having their say. watch the video below.

Download your videos to watch offline in HD quality

You can download practically any video stream off the web with RealPlayer basic.  In HD too.  Install the program, and every time you load a YouTube clip it will have the option to download it locally to your PC.

Embed YouTube into PowerPoint Slides and web pages.

This is really easy to do.  If you have a web presence or a presentation simply follow these guides below to ensure your video is accessible via your website, blog or presentation.

YouTube: An Insider's Guide to Climbing the Charts
By Alan Lastufka, Michael W. Dean

Add Quizzes to your Videos

“Now kid’s today we are going to watch a documentary.  Please ensure that you take notes as there will be 5 questions you need to answer throughout the clip via a quiz.”   This really enhances student engagement and gives teachers a greater purpose as to why you are watching a clip.  Click here to see how to do it.

Add annotations, links and subtitles to your videos.

So you’ve just uploaded a YouTube video but forgot to add subtitles or annotations.  Don’t worry; you can do all of this directly from YouTube by following this guide.