WRITING PROMPTS: Inspiring Young Writers


[semester equivalent = 2.00 credits]



Doug Larson



This course focuses on helping students generate ideas for writing. Writing prompts are an excellent tool for inspiring young writers and effective writing prompts help brainstorm ideas. A variety of methods are introduced including written, visual, and video prompts, as a way to examine which approach works best for different learning styles. The course primarily helps develop basic creative writing skills, but can be applied to other types of writing as well. The focus of the class is to develop an enjoyment of writing and to learn how to have fun with it.

You do not need to work alone on these assignments and I encourage you to work with a group of teachers or group of your students on the lessons.

Writing Prompts:

  • Encourage creativity and the use of imagination
  • Assist young writers with developing new ideas
  • Promotes a fun approach to writing
  • Develops basic creative writing skills
  • Provides new teaching methods for writing lessons
  • Promotes critical thinking and imagination

This course is appropriate for Language Arts teachers, grades 3-12, but may be adapted for other subjects as well such as Social Studies and Science. I will be happy to help teachers adapt the class for other subject areas, as well as for non-creative writing lessons.

The textbook for the course will be “1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More” by Bryan Cohen ISBN-13: 978-1493664955 which sells for approximately $8 on


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Identified writing prompts that are age appropriate for their classroom
  • Described how they will use writing prompts in their classroom
  • Selected writing prompts to go with classroom lessons
  • Created lesson plans that use writing prompts
  • Tested writing prompts in their classroom
  • Evaluated which writing prompts work best in their classroom

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



The textbook for the course will be “1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More” by Bryan Cohen ISBN-13: 978-1493664955 which sells for approximately $8 on

Creative Writing Prompts are short questions or situations that are meant to inspire you to write. Far beyond the typical, “It was a dark and stormy night…” story starters, this new collection of 1,000 prompts has been specifically formulated to dig deep into the creative process. The prompts employ thought-provoking questions, imaginative scenarios and humor to help writers of all ages defeat writer’s block. Author Bryan Cohen’s previous books of writing prompts have sold more than 20,000 copies and include multiple Amazon best-sellers. Through his books and his website Build Creative Writing Ideas, Cohen has helped countless writers, teachers and students to blast through the blank page and the blinking cursor to create blogs, scripts, stories and more!

It’s time to stop thinking and start writing. Get this book on your physical or digital shelf today.

None. All reading is online.


$8 text fee to be paid to or another bookseller of your choice. The text may also be available at local and school libraries for free.


Doug Larson, M.S., received his teaching degree from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and taught third grade and middle school in Dubois, Idaho. He was also the drama director for both the elementary and high school creating original productions for the school as well as directing well known shows such as the Wizard of Oz. He also taught 2nd graders English in South America for a year and used drama and puppets as a way to teach conversational English.

Doug is also a published playwrite. In 1988, his first play "Nicolas Brooks" had instant success by winning the Youth Division at the Spokane Civic Theatre Forum Festival. He then formed his own theatre group in 1989 called Tailors of the Imagination.

In 1990, his play "A Man and His Plant" was produced at the Spokane Civic Theatre Forum Festival in the adult division. The play went on to win third place in a national contest and then was published by the Dramatic Publishing Company as a part of an anthology "Short Stuff for Mature Actors." When relocating to New Mexico, he taught drama at New Mexico State University and taught theatre game workshops to local schools. He started a theatre group called the Poco Loco Players, which won state level awards for acting.

Doug also started the successful website called which has provided free plays to schools and community groups around the world. His 2002 victory as a writer was being included in the Love Creek Production's play festival in New York City.

His monologue "Pearls of Wisdom" is the true story of the struggles young women face growing up in rural Idaho. Another success was a 2004 mid-west tour of his play "The Redneck" (renamed Operation Redneck) by the professional theatre group Retroact Productions. During this time, became very popular receiving thousands of visitors a day.

The plays on (now have been performed on every continent including Antarctica. He also got involved in developing film projects as a writer and producer. In 2008, he started a new series about War Veterans. The series has been featured by Apple iTunes and YouTube. The most successful episode has been "Saving Lives in World War II" which won an Emmy Award in 2009 for best Advanced Media Historical Documentary (Rocky Mountain Region).

In 2010, he won a Telly Award for his full length documentary about a wildlife park in Arizona. And in 2011, he won a second Emmy Award for his short documentary about an organization called Paws and Stripes that helps veterans with PTSD by using service dogs.

Learn more about Doug at:

Here is a video made by my wife and I for a 48 hour film project where we had to write a short movie based on film prompts (character named Kelly, prop [measuring tape], and line of dialog: “You only live once”). See the wacky results -





WRITING PROMPTS: Inspiring Young Writers

Cohen, Bryan, “1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More” ISBN-13: 978-1493664955
From “Creative writing prompts are short questions or situations that are meant to inspire you to write. Far beyond the typical, “It was a dark and stormy night…” story starters, this new collection of 1,000 prompts has been specifically formulated to dig deep into the creative process.”

Cohen, Bryan, “1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More” ISBN-13: 978-1461089421
From “When you finally have the opportunity to sit down and write, you want absolutely nothing to get in your way. In an ideal world, the ideas would flow from head to pen quickly and easily. You would have thousands of ideas at your fingertips. This new idea-generating book makes that dream a reality.”

Kinder, Ryan Andrew, “1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts” ISBN-13: 978-1500910662
From “Have you ever wanted to write a story, but you didn't know how? Or are you good at writing stories, but stuck for ideas? Are you currently writing a story, but you have writers block? This is a book chock full of writing prompts. These are little things that will help you along to writing some amazing stuff that spills out of your mind.”

Donovan, Melissa, “1200 Creative Writing Prompts (Adventures in Writing)” ISBN-13: 978-0615911618
From “Perfect for writers who are feeling uninspired or who simply want to tackle a new writing challenge, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts has something for everyone. Whether you write fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction, you’ll find plenty of fresh ideas inside this book.”

San Francisco Writers' Grotto “642 Things to Write About Diary – April 11, 2012” ISBN-13: 978-1452105444
From “This collection of 642 outrageous and witty writing prompts will get the creative juices flowing in no time. From crafting your own obituary to penning an ode to an onion, each page of this playful journal invites inspiration and provides plenty of space to write. Brimming with entertaining exercises from the literary minds of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, this is the ultimate gift for scribes of every stripe.”