As part of its 25th anniversary celebration, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has announced the 50 States, 1 Nation Contest, a new essay competition for elementary school students in the 2019–2020 school year. The goal of this new contest is to help expand students’ understanding of how their families, towns, and states connect with one another and with American history. Students in grades 4 and 5 are encouraged to take part in the contest; students in grade 6 are also eligible to enter if they are currently enrolled in an elementary or K–8 school and are studying US history. By participating in the contest, students can hone their analytical and creative writing skills through one of three means of expression: essay (3–5 paragraphs), short story/historical fiction (3–5 paragraphs), or poem (not to exceed 12 lines). The institute will recognize selected entries with cash prizes and publications. The contest’s website provides additional information on the fourth- and fifth-/sixth-grade prompts, along with scoring rubrics. In future years, the institute expects to add grades 2 and 3 to contest eligibility.
Deadlines: Entries for the 2019–2020 program will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 30, 2020. Winners for 2019–2020 will be announced on April 21, 2020.
Devon Scott and Samantha Harris, two class of 2021 medical students in Southern California, have created a book, entitled Why We Stay Home, to help children understand why their worlds have changed dramatically in the last few months and why it has been important to stay home during that time.
Finding the right words to discuss race and racism with children can be challenging, but images can help. An article written by members of the Youth and Families team in the Art Institute of Chicago offers ideas about how to use picture books and artworks to talk about race and affirm children’s identities.
Behind My Mask / Detras de me cubrebocasis a pedagogical tool to engage bilingual youth in conversations around identity and emotions amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. Written in English and Spanish, the book includes reflective activities about emotions and promotes the use of masks.