Useful ChatGPT Prompts for English Language Arts Teachers

Across the hall from me is a remarkable English Language Arts teacher, Dawne. She's with me on the good and bad days and everything in between.  Well, today, we sat down to see if ChatGPT could be useful for things she's doing in her classroom. And wow! We found some great ones.

Table of Contents

Creating a Themed Bot

So, as I began here, I had a bit of a fail. I wanted to establish the theme. Our school loves soccer, so we wanted a soccer theme. I should have added to respond somehow or to ask “What do you want me to create for you today?” But I didn't, so it started in on ideas and I stopped it from generating. 

You are now my theme bot named EagleBot. It is soccer season and this week we play for the state championships. We are the Sherwood Eagles and I want what I teach this week to represent this theme, when I ask you for ideas, please keep this theme in mind.

Response to my prompt to create an Eagle Bot
Response to my prompt to create an Eagle Bot

Teaching Vocabulary Words

So, first, we wanted to see how we could teach vocabulary using the weekly theme. If we wanted to do more words, we could add something like: 

“This is our vocabulary list of words, create 1-2 sentences with a soccer theme for each of the words.” However, we just created a prompt for one word. 

I am teaching the word "intrigue" - explain this word using this week's theme

Defining the Word Intrigue in terms of soccer

Teaching Punctuation (Commas) Using This Week's Theme in a Bellringer

I am also teaching the proper use of commas this week. I need five sentences to use as a bellringer. For each of the five sentences, type the sentence with a comma mistake and then give me a sentence where the comma mistake is corrected and type an explanation of the mistake.

Response for a bellringer for commas
ChatGPT 4.0 response for a bellringer for commas with a soccer theme.

Creating a Grammar Quiz

So far, Dawne said it looks like ChatGPT is creating accurate information. Of course, it was a cursory glance and anything she used would be edited and reviewed, but it is a great first draft.

So, then, we wondered it if could create the basic of a quiz, since she usually does punctuation quizzes on paper. Additionally, notice how it continues the theme established at the beginning! 

Make a quiz with 10 sentences with comma mistakes that need to be corrected. Include instructions for the students and create an answer key with the 10 sentences and comma mistakes corrected and an explanation for how it is correct.

A Comma Quiz with instructions and answer key using this week's soccer theme.
A Comma Quiz with instructions and answer key using this week's soccer theme.

Conjunctive Adverbs with Semicolons (Parts of Speech and Punctuation)

So, next, we tried to really challenge ChatGPT. She had it on her list to create some sample sentences with conjunctive adverbs with semicolons, a skill she has noticed is a problem for one particular class.

This is where ChatGPT is shining. As stated several times, this series is about Human Intelligence (HI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Because Dawne is an ELA Teacher and highly qualified, she understands the specific needs of her students through formative assessment. She knows this is a specific issue, so she asks for a very specific prompt.

In this example, students wouldn't know what to ask, and parents likely wouldn't know what to ask, but a highly qualified teacher with specific HI in that area can ask a specific prompt to create a targeted, useful tool to assist in instruction.

I am teaching conjunctive adverbs with semicolons and I want my students to know the proper place to put a semicolon. Give me 10 sentences with a mistake of this type for a quiz and type instructions for my students for the quiz, then create an answer key with the correct answer and an explanation for why it is correct.

A conjunctive adverb and semicolon quiz in the theme of the week.
A conjunctive adverb and semicolon quiz in the theme of the week.

Persuasive Essay Prompts

Next, we turned to fiction and an upcoming novel. While she already has a few persuasive essay prompts, she was looking to make some creative tweaks.

I am about to teach the book Night by Elie Wiesel and I need persuasive essay prompts. I want to give 5 to my students. These do not need to have a soccer theme.

Persuasive Essay Prompts
Persuasive Essay Prompts for a Novel

Questions on a Specific Chapter in a Novel

So, next, we looked to see if ChatGPT could generate specific questions in a chapter of a book. While the chapters aren't numbered in the book, we just counted and tried the first chapter.  We also experimented with multiple choice. While multiple choice isn't a favorite option, it can be used to check for reading.

I need 10 questions to ask my students that are multiple choice to assess their understanding of chapter 1 of Night. Please create the quiz with four answers each with letters for each answer and type instructions for the quiz. Then, give me an answer key with an explanation of the correct answer for each question and a sentence or two of why that is the right answer.

Multiple choice questions on a chapter
Multiple choice questions on a chapter in a novel.

So, then, we had the answers but they stopped in the middle of generating, so I had to ask it to continue. This is a limitation ChatGPT 4.0.

Answer key for the questions where I had to ask ChatGPT to continue generating the answer.
Answer key for the questions where I had to ask ChatGPT to continue generating the answer.

Sample Poetry Analysis Essay

Next, we wanted to see if it could generate an MLA Format. I have seen this done before, my mistake was not to give the chatbot the specifics for a proper header, I believe. But this was a great start.

I am teaching a poetry analysis of the structure and literary devices in The Eagle by Lord Tennyson. I want an essay example for students to read that is 300 words long in MLA format written at 9th grade level.

ChatGPT generated poetry criticism essay.
ChatGPT generated a poetry criticism essay.

Explanation of a Poem Using Terminology Students Understand Already

This is a technique I've taught my seniors following this format. 

“I know a lot about [insert something you know a lot about], but I do not know a lot about [insert new topic]. Explain this new topic to me in terms I already understand.”

Let's see how this goes with the poem we've already used.

My students know a lot about soccer, they do not know a lot about The Eagle. Explain The Eagle by Lord Alfred Tennyson using words my students are familiar with.

A soccer-themed explanation of a poem.
A soccer-themed explanation of a poem.

Comparison of Two Forms of Essays

I won't include the full essays, but next, she wanted to help students understand the difference between a persuasive essay and an argumentative essay that used text support. So, we generated two essays, each of a different type.

Generate a persuasive essay for Fahrenheit 451 that is 300 words long.

Generate an Argumentative essay for Fahrenheit 451 in MLA format using textual support that is 300 words long.

In Conclusion

Again, I'll share my infographic on creating prompts, but when you create prompts for unique needs, you can get helpful results. 

Again, as my friends who shared on the AI in the Classroom Podcast I shared recently, you must edit what you retrieve from ChatGPT.

Additionally, I'm also using images from the output for ChatGPT, because AI-generated text can really hurt your blog or website in terms of search engines. 

What prompts are you using for ELA teachers? Please leave them in the comments or message me on Twitter @coolcatteacher

Get Started with Chat GPT Prompt Engineering

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

Kyle Bethel July 19, 2023 - 8:09 pm

I had no idea ChatGPT 4.0 could do this! I will definitely play around with ChatGPT 4.0 to see how this tool could alleviate the stress of providing prompts or questions to my students. I didn’t know that ChatGPT could be useful for teachers in a way that is highlighted in the blog.

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