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April 21, 2015 Mother's Day Writing Contest to Build Engagement and Skill By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Celebrate Mother’s Day with a project that shows off writing skills learned over the year and promotes high student engagement. When I was in elementary school, a local grocery store sponsored a writing contest that I thought was super cool. Students wrote “I love my mom because . . . ” essays, and the store gave out flowers and grocery store gift cards throughout the district. Our first grade updated and adopted that contest with great results.


    The Set Up

    Decide ahead of time how you want to judge the entries, and what the prizes will be. For our contest, we recruited support staff throughout the school to help read essays and pick a winner from each classroom. They were asked to judge primarily on the quality of writing, and secondarily on the neatness of their handwriting and coloring. The final papers, one from each class, were given to the principal to select a grand prize winner.


    One winner in each class will receive a rose to give their mom, along with their essay. The grand prize winner will receive a large bouquet. The winners are announced during the morning announcements. All students get to take home their writing the Friday before Mother’s Day. To help defray the cost, we purchased a dozen roses and rewrapped them individually ourselves. Local stores may be willing to donate flowers, gift cards, or other prizes. Frames for the essays can also dress up this gift for mom.

    The Work

    Students first work on expository essays explaining the reasons their moms are great. We focused on detailed examples with descriptive word choices. Students worked through the writing process, including pre-writing, drafts, writing conferences, editing, and publishing. Work was published on heavy paper with decorative edging. Once students were done writing, they also put their art skills to work coloring the page.


    Mother's Day Prewriting  Mother's Day Primary Paper  Mother's Day Lined Paper

    Knowing there is a prize and honoring their mom in a special way makes the contest personal and engaging. Have all students make a special gift for mom so everyone has something to take home with their paper. Blogger Genia Connell has three quick and easy crafts all students can assemble for mom. Alycia Zimmerman even has ideas for the creatively challenged.


    Writing for Mother's Day

    Build excitement and engagement around writing with a meaningful topic with a fun contest twist. Students will be proud of their results and have a meaningful gift for their moms while keeping the focus on skill-building lessons in the classroom.


    What meaningful ways do you tie in skills to your Mother’s Day projects?

    Happy Mother's Day


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Susan Cheyney