Think, think, think! Check out our list of prompts to help spur critical thinking, grouped into forming an idea, fleshing it out and drawing conclusions. These prompts also work well as story-writing prompts, particularly for non-fiction or scientific writing.

You can also download these so you can have them as a convenient handout to the kids for discussions and writing centers.

Begin an idea:

  • In the beginning, I thought . . .
  • At first, it made me think . . .
  • The thought I have is . . .
  • My thoughts about . . . are . . .
  • One thing I’m thinking is . . .
  • Many people think . . . but I think . . .
  • The surprising thing about . . . is . . .
  • One question that I have is . . .

Expand an idea:

  • In other words . . .
  • What I mean is . . .
  • This connects to . . . 
  • Let me explain . . .
  • As I say this, I’m realizing . . .
  • To add on . . .
  • In addition . . .
  • The important thing about this is . . .
  • An example of this is . . . and this goes with my idea because . . .
  • At first I thought . . . now I’m realizing . . .
  • This shows . . .
  • This is giving me the idea that . . .
  • This is similar to . . .
  • This proves that . . .
  • The reason for this is . . .
  • On the other hand . . .
  • Another reason is . . .
  • Another example of this is . . .
  • An answer to this question might be . . .

Make a conclusion:

  • All of this shows . . .
  • This is incredibly important because . . .
  • What I’m really thinking is . . .
  • Of everything that I’ve said, what feels most true to me is . . .
  • The most meaningful thing to me is . . .
  • I used to think …and now I realize . . .
  • In conclusion, I think that . . .
  • What surprises me about this is . . .
  • I see that . . .
  • This makes me wonder . . .
  • This made me change my mind by . . .