As a substitute teacher, you may follow the lesson plan to a tee and still have extra time with students. Unorganized time can cause anxiety for substitute teachers, and challenge even the strongest classroom management styles. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

We’ve created a fall-inspired series of writing and drawing prompts to boost student creativity or spark a fun classroom conversation. This resource features prompts for students across grades – as young as elementary and as advanced as high school. These will help you as a substitute teacher keep students engaged by tapping into skills they’re already learning.



How to use this printable resource: 
  • Select the appropriate writing prompt for your grade level
  • Print and make copies for your class size – don’t forget extras!
  • Use the last 2 blank writing pages for students who need extra room to keep writing (pro tip: these writing pages are also great to have in your substitute teacher folder every day)
  • Use these prompts to maintain a positive learning environment when you have extra time

Early Elementary Writing Prompt 

Let students’ imaginations run wild with this fun prompt about designing their street with colorful leaves. Students can practice their writing skills with age appropriate lined worksheets, and also draw their vision on the page provided.

Pro tip: If students are struggling with writing, skip straight to the drawing to avoid unnecessary frustration, and have them describe their drawing to a partner.

Elementary to Middle School Writing Prompt 

This prompt is a fall-themed play on the game we’ve likely all played – if you were stranded on a desert island, and could only bring a few things, what would you bring? Students always get creative with what they’d need to survive for 7 days!

Middle to High School Writing Prompt 

You’ll have two prompts to choose from for this age group. Each prompt practices a different skill. One helps students flex their imagination and history knowledge to choose a time period they’d like to travel back to. The second tests their compare/contrast and debate skills. Choose one, or let students pick the one they’re most excited about!

All Grade Levels Writing Prompt 

Who doesn’t love pie this time of year? This prompt helps students practice their sequencing skills as they write down an apple pie recipe. If you have access to technology, allow students to search for their favorite apple pie recipe, and recreate it on the page (with their own twist)!


8 tips for incorporating these writing worksheets throughout your day as a substitute teacher

When the day gets crazy and hectic, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. But not you, because you’ve read this substitute teacher resource and you’re equipped with 9 writing prompts for elementary, middle school and high school.

Use these creative ideas to make your sub job more fun
  • Quick ice breaker to get your students settled at the start of class.
  • End of the day ‘exit ticket’ to complete before the bell rings.
  • Small group activity while co-teaching.
  • Avoid the dreaded, “I’m done, what do I do now?” question. Leave these writing prompts on a back table for students to grab when they’ve completed an assignment.
  • Lead a group writing activity for students who may struggle with writing independently. Each student adds a sentence while you write the full story on the board or chart paper.
  • Read the prompt aloud to spark a fun group discussion.
  • Ask students to read their responses to practice public speaking.
  • Flex your classroom management skills by prompting a friendly, organized debate with older students.

Finish the day by celebrating the students’ hard work

Find a way to show off the students’ work with their classroom teacher. You could add them to a classroom bulletin board or share in a folder on the front desk. When kids know their hard work is being shared with their teachers, they often get excited and want to do their best! Plus, their teacher will be thanking you for keeping their class engaged, focused, and learning while they’re out.

Did you use this great resource in your classroom? Be sure to share with us by tagging @KokuaEducation on Instagram or Facebook and use the hashtag #KokuaClassroom. Follow us for more resources for substitute teachers!