Dear Arizona Voter Writing Contest

By Judi Moreillon

The 2020 election provides an opportunity for teacher librarians and classroom teachers to co-plan and co-teach lessons related to voting in our democracy. The “Dear Arizona Voter Writing Contest” (DAVWC), sponsored by AzLA and organized by the Teacher Librarian Division (TLD), offers a way for young people to learn more about voting and express their understandings of its importance. Students’ writing can be in any genre—essay, poetry, song lyrics, letters to the editor, opinion pieces—and can be presented in traditional written format or with multimedia texts.

Contest Dates: School-level winners will be announced on or before election day, Tuesday, November 3, 2020. Certificates will be awarded to winners at school sites. Elected officials may be invited to present certificates to the student winners whose schools are located in their legislative districts.

Participants: All students in K-12th grades are invited to write no more than 300 words to answer this question:

Why is it important for U.S. citizens in Arizona to vote in every local, state, and national election?

Contest Goals:

  1. To guide students as they learn and write about citizens’ responsibilities and Constitutional laws related to voting;
  2. To encourage teacher librarians to collaborate with classroom teachers on a civics/social studies writing project;
  3. To share winning writing pieces (letters to the editor, op-eds, or essays) with elected officials in Arizona legislative districts and invite them to present the awards to student writers;
  4. To raise awareness of the instructional partner role teacher librarians play in civic education;
  5. To increase communication and collaboration about Arizona’s teacher librarians;
  6. To lay the groundwork for a teacher librarian position restoration effort in Arizona.

Resources:

TLD has created a Google folder that includes instructions for the project and a selection of resources to teach students about voting that may be most appropriate in upper elementary through high school. Other documents in the folder are a sample cover letter to classroom teachers or administrators, fast facts about school libraries, an editable certificate of participation, and the names of current state-level legislators who serve on the Arizona Senate and House Education Committees.

The folder also includes an example with photographs from 2018 provided by Melody Holehan-Kopas. At the time, Melody was the teacher librarian at Norterra Canyon School. She collaborated with 7th-grade humanities classroom teacher Kate Eastburn.

For complete information and project support, visit the resources provided in this publicly accessible Google folder: https://tinyurl.com/tlddavwcsharing

For questions, please contact Judi Moreillon, TLD Co-Chair: info@storytrail.com 

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