National Writing Project

How to Participate in Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future

Date: August 2008

Summary: Teachers and mentors working with young people ages 13–18 can participate in Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future, sponsored by NWP and Google, by following a few simple steps and agreeing to the terms of participation.

 

Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future is designed as a national publishing opportunity for teachers and mentors to offer their students aged 13–18. It is intended to work as a supplement to local or individual curriculum.

Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future requires participating students and teachers to have access to the Internet and to use a free Google account to access Google's Web-based composing tool Google Docs. Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future will publish student work October 1–October 30, 2008, during the fall semester leading up to the U.S. presidential election.

Here you will find documents and directions to support your participation as well as the official Terms of Participation (PDF). Teachers should download and read the Terms of Participation and share them with school and district administrators interested in and responsible for monitoring student access to the Internet prior to registering to participate.

Below is a summary of the steps involved in participating in the NWP-Google sponsored project, Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future.

  1. Decide to participate: Read the materials on this page to decide whether participation is right for you and your students and think about the young people you would want to involve in the project. You may choose to involve as many or as few students as you choose. Please also talk with any district or school administrators about the project's terms and conditions and your district's acceptable use policies for projects involving the Internet, and see if there are local permission forms or restrictions you need to work within.

  2. Create a Google account : If you do not already have one, use any email address to sign up.

  3. Register as a participating teacher: Follow instructions for registration on the Letters to the Next President: Writing Our Future home page on the National Writing Project website. You will need to provide your name, school name, and contact information, and a brief description of the class or group of students you want to have participate. You must also identify the email address you use for your Google account.

  4. Work with your students and their parents/guardians to get permission for the students to publish online: If you have student permission forms on file with your school or district, and you believe those forms will cover this use of student work, you do not need to use the permission form linked on this page. If you do not have permission forms on file, or if you're not sure the forms are sufficient for this purpose, please print copies of the parent/guardian permission form (PDF), have them signed by the students and their guardians, and keep the originals on file. Please do not submit the forms to NWP or to Google. Note: Permission forms must be signed and collected before student work is published online.

  5. Use Google Docs to support your students in creating persuasive essays and editorials suitable for publishing on the Letters to the Next President website: Work with your students to create Google accounts if they don't have accounts already. Then work with them on developing persuasive pieces that speak to issues they want the next president to address. You can collaborate with your students as they compose their letters and essays in Google Docs using a template specially conceived for this project. Find helpful resources on the presidential election, persuasive writing, and the use of Google Docs in the classroom.

  6. Publish completed editorials on the Letters to the Next President website: You, the teacher or mentor, will then be able to publish completed and edited student writing to the Letters to the Next President website through a simple submission process. Your students' published pieces will be added to a public website that features the writing of all participating classrooms from across the country.
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