- What I have read;
- What I have seen;
- What I or someone else has done; and
- What I or someone else has said (dialogue/famous quotations, etc.).
Another way of looking at "what I have read, seen, done, said" is to have students generate ideas and examples by using the acronym, GET HELP.
G - Government (Politics, Candidates, Issues)
E - Education (Science, Math, English, Social Studies)
T - TV Shows (Sitcoms, Series)
H - History (Famous Historical Events)
E - Entertainment (Art, Movies, Social Media)
L - Literature (Novels, Dramas, Short Stories, Poetry, Essays)
P - Personal (Family, Friends, Hobbies, Goals)
Now, let's look at the 2015 7th grade composition prompt again: "Write an essay explaining the importance of having a good friend."
- Friendships in Government: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (statesmen)
- Friendships in Education: Science class - electrons and protons; seeds and flowers (a little twist on friendship . . .)
- Friendships on TV: Ariana Grande -- a show based on two friends who start a baby-sitting service to earn money; Friends sitcom with Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross
- Friendships in History: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark (trailblazers); Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway
- Friendships in Entertainment: Han Solo and Chewbacca
- Friendships in Literature: Harry Potter by JK Rowling: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermonine Granger; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: George and Lennie (a little old for 7th grade, but 9th graders might use this one); The Giver by Lois Lowry: Jonas, Asher, and Fiona
- Personal Friendships: Each student would have his/her own.
- Good friends are reliable. Not, I can rely on my best friend. (Note: Avoid first person in an expository essay.)
- Good friends arrive when no one else will.
- Good friends make us laugh when we are down.