Translate page with Google

Lesson Plan September 15, 2022

Local Letters for Global Change: A Pulitzer Center Writing Contest

Grades:

Author:
SECTIONS


Announcing the 2022 Pulitzer Center letter-writing contest!

K-12 students: Make your voice heard this fall by writing a letter to a local elected representative that explains the global issue you want them to prioritize, shows how it connects to your local community, and proposes a solution. Through this contest, students can practice global citizenship, civic action, and persuasive writing, all while exploring the underreported issues that matter to them through Pulitzer Center news stories.

The Pulitzer Center wants to read and share your letters: tell us, and the world, what's most important to you. Read on for contest details, and then enter the contest here.

Para ver esta página en español, haga clic aquí.

Eligibility:

We welcome entries for all current K-12 students across the globe. Letters may be written in English and/or Spanish. Students will be judged separately in high school, middle school, and elementary categories, using the same judging rubric.

Prizes:

We will select three first place winners, including one high school entry (grades 9-12), one middle school entry (grades 6-8), and one elementary entry (grades K-5). First place winners will receive:

  • $100 to support global community engagement in your classroom (prize distributed to your class teacher)
  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website

Additional finalists will be selected across all grade levels. Finalists will receive:

  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website

Deadline:

Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 11:59pm EST

Entry Guidelines:

1. Go to www.pulitzercenter.org/stories, or the Suggested Stories tab above, and choose a news story about a global issue that matters to you.

2. Write a one-page letter to an elected representative in your community that includes the following:

I.   Short summary of a global issue, citing a Pulitzer Center news story.
II.  Explanation of how this global issue connects to your local community, and/or to you personally.
III. Suggestion of what action you would like your local representative to take to resolve this issue, or otherwise improve related conditions.

For support writing your letter, see the Resources for Teachers and Students tab above.

3. Use this form to enter the contest. It will request some basic personal and contact information, and you can copy/paste your letter directly into the form.

4. Your representatives' contact information is available online. After submitting your letter to the Pulitzer Center, consider mailing or emailing your letter to them directly!

Judging Criteria:

Letters will be judged using this rubric. Here are some guiding questions and tips from the Pulitzer Center team:

  1. How can I explain this global issue and its importance to someone who is less familiar with it?
    • Before arguing for a solution, your reader has to understand the issue. How can you explain it to them concisely in a way that is easy to understand, and makes its importance clear? Use the Pulitzer Center news story as a resource as you summarize, and be sure to cite your sources. Are there facts, statistics, or quotes from the story that could help you explain the issue?
  2. How am I connected to the global issue I am writing about?
    • Most letters will respond to a news story reported from a city, state, and/or country different from their own. In your letter, share details of the news story you read, and explain how the underlying issues are connected to your own community. Are you or other members of your local community affected by the same issue? Do the actions of your community have an effect on the people and places you read about? Identify the big, systemic issues in the news story, and make it clear how they connect to you locally and/or personally.
  3. What solutions to this problem already exist?
    • Other people are probably working on this issue in your local community and around the world. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Consider advocating for a solution that has been effective before or is already in progress. You could explain how a solution implemented elsewhere could work locally, or how the work of people/organizations active in your community could be supported.
  4. Who has the power to effect the change I want to see?
    • Your letter will be most effective if it makes it into the hands of a person who has power to implement the solution you’re suggesting. Learn about your elected officials and decide whose office should receive your letter. For example, if you’re writing about local education issues, you might write to a member of your school board. If you want to see state-level legislation passed, your state senator or governor might be the right choice.

Support for Preparing Students for the Contest:

Please navigate to the Resources for Teachers and Students tab above to find sample letters written by past contest winners, an evaluation rubric, a presentation to introduce the contest, and more. You can also schedule a free, virtual workshop facilitated by a member of the Pulitzer Center education team by filling out this request form.

Please help us understand your needs better by filling out this brief survey!

Will you use this lesson plan in a class you teach?