Site icon ELA Brave and True by Marilyn Yung

The New York Times Announces Two New Writing Contests

Both ask students to record their lives in the year 2020

Last Thursday, I attended a webinar titled “Giving Students a Voice: Teaching with Learning Network Contests.” It was hosted by The New York Times’ Learning Network. Teachers from around the world gathered online to get the skinny on a total of ten student writing contests scheduled for the 2020-2021 school year.

You can still attend the webinar on-demand by clicking this link.

Despite the uncertainty looming over classes this fall, please know that these contests (including the two new ones discussed below) are still on the schedule to motivate your students with the possibility of being published in The New York Times and/or on The Learning Network website.

I’ll provide links and details about all the contests within the week. For now, discover the two new contests below.

The two new contests are:

  1. Coming of Age in 2020: Teen Takeover (Sept. 10-Nov. 12): According to the contest calendar, this contest is intended “To recognize just how tumultuous this year has been — and how disproportionately young people have been impacted.” Complete details are still being worked out, and that includes the age range for students who may enter; however, read “This Year Will End Eventually. Document It While You Can” for ideas about what judges will be looking for… authentic stories from Gen Z about their lives in 2020. In the webinar, Natalie Proulx, staff editor for The Learning Network, suggested that essays, art, song lyrics, and other creations will be eligible. Click here for more details.
  2. Election 2020: Civil Conversation Challenge (Sept. 22-Oct. 30): A repeat of a similar contest in 2016, students (U.S. and international) may post comments in several topic forums, which are currently being chosen. To contribute an idea for one of the forums, read this article, What Issues in the 2020 Presidential Race are Most Important to You? The object of this contest is to get students engaged in civil conversations comprised of respectful, productive comments about the divisive issues of 2020. (Adults have problems being civil, so maybe kids can do better, right?!) For more info, click here. Traditional prizes are not awarded for this challenge; however, Learning Network staff will recognize some of their favorite comments and conversations from the various topic forums.

There. That should get you started in creating some authentic writing experiences for your students with these 2020-2021 contests. Follow me to be notified of my post about the remaining contests and the accompanying materials that will help you use them in your classroom. In the meantime, check out the links below.

More really useful links:

Thanks for reading! I’m really into contests for students. Click on my Student Writing Contests page for more listings. Also, for more ELA teaching ideas and lesson plans, enter your email below. In return, you’ll receive an email with a link to a free Treasured Object Poem guidelines sheet that includes mentor texts.

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