Is there an annual writing prompt provided for students?
The Laws of Life Essay Contest does not use a specific annual prompt to catalyze student writing. We suggest to teachers that students discover their Laws of Life (Core ethical values) using context from literature, history, personal reflection, or quotes/maxims. We have examples of some prompts that teachers can use on the contest website here.
Some of these prompts encourage teachers to help students learn to evaluate characters in literature, history, or life using their Laws of Life.
By design, the Laws of Life Essay Contest is seeking positive essays that are inspirational examples of how core values have helped people in the past or present live productive lives.
Why can we only submit 1 essay for every 50 writers to the contest?
The contest welcomes participation of teachers with single classes and/or schools where an entire grade level of several hundred students might participate. As SEE does not have the capacity to judge all essays, a submission limiting protocol needed to be set in place. In order to seek fairness between large and small numbers of participates, SEE has used the 1 essay for every 50 writers standard. This acknowledges that teachers with individual classes of less than 50 students are still able to submit one essay to the contest. Thus, any school would be required to have 100 students writing before they could submit two essays to the contest and one additional essay submission for every 50 writers.
Can essays focus on the values that have been detrimental to a productive life?
Sorry, but the simple answer is no. By design, Connecticut’s Laws of Life Essay Contest is seeking positive and inspirational reflections on values that lead to productive lives. While the anthesis of the positive values dishonesty versus honesty, harmful versus care, disrespectful versus respect do have lessons to teach us, that is not the focus of this contest. This is not to minimize the value of conversations and discussion of the values that lead to damaged lives, but this is not the strategy sought in Connecticut’s Laws of Life Essay Contest.