Download Essay Prompts Grades K-12

Prompt for K-Grade 2

The Civil Rights movement in Tennessee is widely known for the peaceful nature of the African Americans fighting for their equality.   Show/tell why it is important to act to peacefully or kind towards others.

Essay Prompt for Grades 3-5

Prior to the students beginning the sit-ins in Nashville, James Lawson, a Civil Rights leader, offered workshops for the students dealing with self-discipline and control.  In addition to attending the workshops, the students also had a well-devised plan on how to carry out the sit-ins.  

How did the workshops and having a plan aid the students in the sit-in success in Nashville?

Information provided by: 

http://crdl.usg.edu/events/sit_ins_nashville_tn/

Essay Prompt for Grades 6-8

John Lewis, Civil Rights leader, posed two questions dealing with pushing forward with the sit-ins and protests working toward desegregation. 

“If not us, then who?” he asked. “If not now, then when?”

The students who coordinated the Nashville sit-ins completely agreed with John Lewis and pushed forward with sit-ins in Nashville even after numerous arrests and violence toward them.  

The sit-ins in Nashville were an example of the nonviolent protests that helped motivate others across the country, and many of the students who took part in the Nashville sit-ins became Civil Rights leaders. 

What do you believe was the impact of John Lewis’ questions on the students conducting the sit-ins in Nashville?

Information provided by:

https://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entries/sit-ins-nashville/

Essay Prompt for Grades 9-12

Ben West was the mayor of Nashville during the time of the sit-ins.  West worked continually to improve race relations in the community.  One pivotal point for Nashville was when, during a demonstration by the students conducting the sit-ins, West was asked to take a stand against segregation and was asked publicly if he supported discrimination. He followed through with his support of the African American community and said he was opposed to both segregation and discrimination.  This led the business community to take swift action in desegregating Nashville.  

In your opinion, who had the larger role in the desegregation of Nashville—the students conducting the sit-ins or Mayor Ben West?  Find additional research to support your claim.  

Guidelines for the Essays

Length and style:
K-2 – May be submitted in words or pictures
Grades 3-5 – An essay between 150-200 words
Grades 6-8 – An essay between 250-350 words
Grades 9-12 – An essay not to exceed 500 words

Format:

Download Entry Form

The essay may be handwritten or produced on a computer in 12 pt font
Submitting the essays:  Individual essays should be accompanied by a separate but completed entry form, copy attached.  If submissions are coming from a class in school, we ask that teachers number each essay from the class and include entry forms with numbers which match the essays in a separate folder or envelope.
Copyright:  All essays become the property of MTFD which reserves the right to publish all essays.

Judging Criteria:

Download Grades K-2 Scoring Rubrics

Download Grades 3-12 Scoring Rubrics

Prizes: 

A cash prize of $100 will be awarded to the winner in each age group.
Winners and at least one adult family member will be expected to attend the Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast at 1st United Methodist Church at 7:00 am, to present his or her essay.

Deadline for Entries is Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Hamblen County Schools return to Sarah Cates Office
Others should mail to:  Morristown Task Force on Diversity, c/o Rose Center, 442 W. Second North St., Morristown, TN 37814

Click Here for Entry Form

2016-2017 Writing Prompts:  I Have A Dream

Grades K-2:

Dr. King is sharing a dream of what the world would look like if everyone got along.  Show/Tell how your dream world would look if everyone were treated nicely and with respect.  (May include illustration.)

Grades 3-5:

If Dr. King’s dream from his “I Have a Dream” speech came true, how would your school and community look different?  How would people treat each other? What would make Dr. King the most proud?

Grades 6-8:

What words, phrases, or sections of Dr. King’s speech do you find the most powerful and why?  Are they still powerful today?  How so?

Grades 9-12:

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech identifies the goals of the Civil Rights Movement to overcome segregation and racism. What are the new dreams of your generation in terms of justice and equality in America? What will it take for your generation to overcome?

Guidelines for the Essays

Length and style:

K-2 – May be submitted in words or pictures

Grades 3-5 – An essay between 150-200 words

Grades 6-8 – An essay between 250-350 words

Grades 9-12 – An essay not to exceed 500 words

Format:

The essay may be handwritten or produced on a computer in 12 pt font
Submitting the essays:  Individual essays should be accompanied by a separate but completed entry form, copy attached.  If submissions are coming from a class in school, we ask that teachers number each essay from the class and include entry forms with numbers which match the essays in a separate folder or envelope.
Copyright:  All essays become the property of MTFD which reserves the right to publish all essays.

Judging Criteria:

Essays will be judged on the following criteria:  Content and clarity of expression-30%;  Originality-20%;  Development of topic-30%;  Grammar, spelling and other mechanics-20%.
Prizes:  A cash prize of $100 will be awarded to the winner in each age group.
Winners and at least one adult family member will be expected to attend the Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast at 1st Presbyterian Church at 7:00 am, to present his or her essay.

Deadline for Entries is Friday, December 2, 2016

Hamblen County Schools return to Mr. Clement’s Office

Others should mail to:  Morristown Task Force on Diversity, c/o Rose Center, 442 W. Second North St., Morristown, TN 37814

Click Here for Entry Form

History:   Beginning in 2010, our local newspaper, the Citizen-Tribune,  began sponsoring an essay contest for three age levels of Hamblen County students: High School, Middle School and Elementary School. Prompts for essays at each grade level were provided by the school system. Members of the Morristown Task Force on Diversity served as readers and judges.  An award of $100 was presented to the winner in each category at the annual MLK Community Celebration and Breakfast by Editor, Mike Fishman.  Each winner was invited to read his or her essay,.

In 2013, there were well over 300 submissions of essays from Hamblen County students. In 2014, there were 500 entrants and last year, in 2015, there were over 800 entrants. Additionally the contest was opened to K-2 students who were invited to provide a drawing and a few words in response to their prompt.

Teachers used the essay contest to promote critical thinking in line with state Language Arts requirements for students. Awards were presented at the Annual MLK Breakfast by the editor of the newspaper, Michael Fishman.

2016 Essay Contest :  A complete packet with detailed instructions and a copy of Dr King’s “I Have a Dream” speech may be downloaded by clicking here  (2016 Essay Contest Packet

In  summary, the essay prompts for 2016 are:

Prompt for K-Grade 2:

Dr. King dreamed of a peaceful world where everyone is treated fairly. Show/Tell how we can be fair and treat people equally.  (May include illustration.)

Essay Prompt for Grades 3—5

(We hope that teachers, parents or other adults will read  or watch Dr. King’s speech with children of this age group and talk together about what they hear as well as these questions before the students write their essays.)

Using evidence from the text of the speech, answer the following question: “If Dr. King were with us today, what about our world would make him proud? Where would he say we have more work to do?”

Essay Prompt for Grades 6—8

Read Dr. King’s speech,  “I Have a Dream .” In this speech, Dr. King identifies several goals he hopes his speech will achieve. Identify two of those goals and tell how we have made progress toward those goals since the speech was given.

Essay Prompt for Grades 9—12

Read Dr. King’s speech, “I Have a Dream.”  What does Dr. King mean when he used the metaphor “sit down at the table of brotherhood?” How do we as an American society live up to this metaphor? What are the next steps for America in achieving a society that reflects this vision?

The Deadline for entries is Friday, Dec 11, 2015

Mail to: Morristown’s Task Force on Diversity,
c/o The Rose Center,
442 W. Second North Street.
Morristown, TN 37814
Pictured here are the 2016 MLK Essay Winners, their teachers and/or principals and the keynote speaker. Front row, left to right, are Lainey Chandler (Grades 3 - 5 winner); Ashley Sadlon (K-2 winner); Nadia Lopez (Middle School winner). Jake Gibson, High School winner is standing behind the girls. Photo by Chuck Hale; published in the Citizen Tribune, January 19, 2016.

Pictured here are the 2016 MLK Essay Winners, their teachers and/or principals and the keynote speaker. Front row, left to right, are Lainey Chandler (Grades 3 – 5 winner); Ashley Sadlon (K-2 winner); Nadia Lopez (Middle School winner). Jake Gibson, High School winner is standing behind the girls. Photo by Chuck Hale; published in the Citizen Tribune, January 19, 2016.

For a history of this contest and the details of the 2016 contest, please click on the sub-menu titled Essay Contest Details.

Congratulations to the winners, to their teachers and to their parents.  While MTFD played a significant role in coordinating the contest, thanks really belong to Hugh Clement, Assistant Director of Hamblen County Schools and the 57 teachers who worked with 791 students who submitted essays.  And providing an equally essential and heavy effort was the local newspaper, the Citizen-Tribune, and its managing editor, John Gullion. The Citizen-Tribune sponsored the contest and provided extraordinary and extensive coverage of the event. And John not only met with MTFD, but read essays and presented the Citizen-Tribune awards to the winners at the breakfast.  Whew! Huge participation!