I was introduced to this contest last year by Terri at: https://engagetheirminds.wordpress.com .
It's the Kids Philosophy Slam: http://www.philosophyslam.org/
I was reading some arguments of my own on a teacher Facebook group this week. They were saying that Kinder students should not be writing opinion pieces, because they are too little. Well, of course, I disagree with that sentiment. Young kids are born philosophers! From Day One I have them turn to a partner to give their opinion on something-was television a good invention, is it better to be an only child or to have siblings. They say their opinion and then the key part-they back it up with a reason!
That then translates into their writing. I tie it into the concept of Ethics from Kaplan. Is it right or wrong that....snowflakes melt, or that Oz tricked Dorothy or would you have helped the slaves escape on the Underground Railroad? I have actually had them write about what the Meaning of Life is--I LOVE reading their answers and sometimes they really surprise me with what they can come up with.
Last year for the Philosophy Slam, the question was "what is more important to society-truth or beauty". 95% of them chose to write about truth, which I found very curious. I guess that's something that affects them every day. Are you telling the truth? I wondered if they were given the same question in middle school if they'd have the same response.This year, it asks what has more of an impact on society-compassion or violence. Surprisingly, many of them chose violence this time-I thought for sure they'd go for being nice. One student said-it has more of an impact simply because there is more violence in the world. Very powerful.
You still have time to give your kiddos an opportunity to participate in this contest! My student won 2nd place last year and even though we found out after we were out for the summer, so she didn't get much fanfare, she did get a certificate and a small check that her parents could display. Good luck!