“Good Citizen” Contest
Middle School Grades (6-8)

The information here is designed to provide ideas for putting on a “Good Citizen or Citizenship Award Contest” for students in grades 6-8.

The goals of such a contest are to:

  • make students aware that they are citizens of a country and that citizens in a democracy have a critical role in ensuring the country stays free and safe.
  • help students understand the types of actions required of them to be effective citizens and that citizenship goes well beyond voting, jury duty and community service.
  • give students the belief that individual actions make a difference and that being a good citizen can be fun and rewarding.

The competition is also designed to give students the opportunity to develop their critical thinking and presentation skills.

  1. Teacher gives a short lesson on citizenship – see “Intro to Being a Good Citizen” (to be developed) on the Good Citizen website – goodcitizen.org.
  2. Teacher introduces the Good Citizen Award Contest – goals, length, what’s involved, kid’s role, awards, who sponsor is, etc. The teacher may have a hand-out explaining the contest for the parents.
  3. Teacher selects about 12 CAs, unsuring at least one from each CA category, and hands out list.
  4. Teacher makes class aware of Good Citizen website – www.goodcitizen.org – as a resource.
  5. Each student choses 4-5 CAs.
  6. Teacher then explains what each action is and how to do it and other appropriate guidance.  Makes class aware of www.goodcitizen.org.
  7. Teacher asks each student to choose 6 actions from the list that the student will perform.  Students must chose 1 citizen action from each of the 6 categories.
  8. Teacher explains that at end of time limit (i.e. week, month etc.), each student will be asked to write a 3-4 pages typed report.
    1. Summary of experiences performing CAs
    2. What happens when citizens don’t get involved?
    3. How to get more Americans involved in the country.

Depends on the scope of the contest (i.e. a class versus a grade level versus an middle school).

Typically, the classroom teacher would evaluate the work of her students and select the top work and forward that to the grade-level or school-level for competition among the others.  The number carried forward would of course depend on the scope of the contest.

At some point, the sponsoring organization would get the work of the finalists, evaluate their work and select contest winners.  The sponsoring organization could be a class, a grade-level or an elementary school; or a service organization like Rotary, Kiwanis, Boy Scouts; or city or private-sector organization.

Depending on the size of the competition, the Executive Director of Good Citizen could evaluate responses and make recommendations to the sponsoring organization.  The number of recommendations will be tied to the “prize/award” structure of the competition.

For everyone

A Good Citizen certificate of participation. See Good Citizen website – under development.

For Prize Winners (select one or more)

  • A gift card to a store like Borders or a shopping mall.
  • A book or CD – something appropriate and fun for the student, not necessarily related to being a Good Citizen.
  • Their names on classroom bulletin board, in school newsletter
  • Principal can recognize winners as part of morning announcement or write-up on website or in an assembly.
  • If contest sponsored by outside organization (e.g. service organization, company or city), winners could attend sponsoring organization meeting with parents and possibly teacher or principal depending on scope of contest.
  • Could be recognized in local newspaper – article about contest and/or winner – print all or part of winning essay.
  • Good Citizen award certificate.