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.
How many times have you listened to a lecture, memorized the information, and passed the exam only to be unable to recall most of what you learned just weeks later? How many times have you read a powerful story or watched a movie and been able to recall the plot years later? Information presented in a story doesn’t fade away after it’s been used; it sticks in the mind, ready to be accessed and used at any time.
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Write for Rights introduces students to human rights by writing letters to help 10 real young people around the world who are at risk just for their peaceful human rights activism. By participating in Write for Rights, students develop effective writing skills and experience firsthand the power of their words to make a difference.