In an effort to embrace all faiths, this series of 10 free 5th grade writing prompts focuses on the subject of religion. I think it's amazing that elementary schools have become more open when it comes to teaching about multiple religions. These writing prompts can utilize that openness to promote additional tolerance and understanding.
181. Some kids have extra school outside of regular school depending on their religion. Have you ever gone to another type of school for your religion? If so, what is it and what are some of the things you do there? If not, what are some of the things you know about these religious schools?
182. What are some of the activities you have done related to your religion, religious school, or another religion outside of school hours? Perhaps you’ve been to a communion, a bar mitzvah or something else like a religious ceremony. What do you think the ceremony was all about? Did you learn anything there?
183. You and your friends may have several different religions between you. Have you ever not been able to hang out with a friend because they (or you) had to go to a religious function? What was the religious function and why did they have to go?
184. Lots of religions celebrate extra holidays and parties from the regular ones you celebrate at school. What is your favorite holiday that you celebrate outside of school hours and why? If you don’t celebrate extra holidays, make your own holiday up and talk a little bit about what it stands for.
185. Have you ever been to a religious function for a different religion? Like going to a Church if you’re Jewish or going to a Mosque if you’re Christian? What was it like and what did you learn while you were there?
186. Have you ever seen someone from a religion have to wear a special piece of clothing, like a yarmulke (or kippah) for a Jewish person? What did you think that symbol meant and why did they have to wear it? If you’ve never seen this situation, make up a piece of clothing someone would have to wear and why they’d have to wear it.
187. One of the best parts of different cultures or religions … is the food! What is the best food you’ve had from a different culture or religion that you’d never had before? What was so good about it and what religion or holiday was it connected to?
188. Some people go to a religious school where there is more of a focus on religion than most private and public schools. They may even be taught by religious officials. How would that kind of school be different than the school you’re in today?
189. Have you ever seen a religious television show or movie like Veggie Tales? How was it different than regular shows and movies that you’ve seen?
190. Religion isn’t usually talked about in school because the teachers and administrators are worried about making somebody upset. Why do you think that religion is such a touchy subject?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.