Lesson resources & essay contest

The Bill of Rights Institute makes lesson plans, activities and sample student essays available on its website for teachers to use in engaging students in discussions of civic values.  The materials can be useful for both English and social studies teachers and their students.

The Institute annually sponsors the nation’s largest high school essay contest. The Institute’s website says an announcement about this year’s contest will come out Wednesday, Aug. 31.

You can find a link to the Institute’s scholarship contest on its website’s programs and events menu.

Essay writing requires thinking

An essay is a statement of reasoned opinion. To write an essay, a person must:

  • Have some information.
  • Reflect on that information.
  • Compare it to other information.
  • Add information from other sources.
  • Reach a conclusion.

When we say writing an essay requires students to employ critical thinking skills, it’s that list we have in mind. That list doesn’t tell how to write an essay; it only relates the thinking that essay writing entails before the author can begin writing.