An elf for hire writing prompt for students

Elf for hire! A fun writing prompt for December

Make writing fun this holiday season by creating assignments centered around this time of year. A writing prompt I came up with this year for my third graders was: Elf for Hire! I asked: Why should Santa hire you to work in his workshop?

This writing prompt can be tailored to all age groups. My expectation for my third graders was that each student would provide two reasons why they should be hired, followed by two supporting details. Lead students through the writing prompt by following these steps:

  1. Display the writing prompt. Since we are mid-year just about, this was a great way for me to assess how far along my students are in understanding the writing process. I displayed a slide that had this writing prompt: Convince Santa to hire you to work in his workshop! Give two reasons why, followed by supporting details. 
  2. Pre-write. This is the step in the writing process where students brainstorm ideas. This can be done as a class or using your favorite pre-write strategy independently.
  3. Have students create a rough draft. I let my students do this on their own, so that I could see how much they were able to complete independently. If you are not far in the rough draft process as a class, then I would model this more. You can give sentence starters and examples. Decide next steps based off of your students’ needs.
  4. Review and edit. I typically edit my student’s work with them, and then conference with them about their writing pieces. Whether you peer edit or have them self-edit, any way is welcomed here! The point is to double check before writing the final piece.
  5. Final draft. Using the edited rough draft as a guide, students are to create their final piece on the printed product. I created a template using Google Slides and images from the web, and then printed it on cardstock. If your students are older, they may type it instead.

What other fun writing activities do you see yourself implementing this holiday season? Let us know at @ArizonaEducator on Twitter or Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook!

Print this template on cardstock and print so students can color their elf and make their case to Santa.

Click on the elf then print the template on cardstock so students can color it in and make their case to Santa.


headshot of woman smiling with brown hair wearing a green lace blouse.

Marissa Will is the mother of two, Olivia (5) and Logan (3). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past eight years teaching third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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