NJ Scoop FAQ

About the 4th Grade New Jersey Scoop Program…

Q:  What is the NJ Scoop Fourth Grade Research and Writing Program?

A:   A fun curriculum-based writing contest that engages New Jersey’s fourth grade students in exercising their language arts, social studies, and computer technology skills as they learn about what makes New Jersey an awesome place to call home.

Deciding to participate…

Q: Who may participate?

A:  Any and every New Jersey student in the 4th grade is eligible to participate.  Teachers in public or nonpublic schools, home schools, charter schools, and after school programs are welcome to encouraged to enroll their students.

Q: Is there any cost to participate?

A:  There is no cost to participate.  As a nonprofit organization, we raise all of the money to fund the program and offer it free of charge.

Q: How do I register?

A:  It’s easy! Register your students by using the online registration form found on NJ Scoop 4th Grade Program. Once you are registered, you can get your students started in the process of choosing a topic and beginning their research.

Download the 4th Grade NJ Scoop Teacher’s Guide and get started!

In the Classroom…

Q:  How does my class benefit by being involved in the Fourth Grade NJ Studies Program?

A:   You have to teach New Jersey history anyway, why not make it easy and fun for you and your students? Here’s a turn-key curriculum-based program with a proven track record.  Your students get to develop their language arts literacy, social studies, and computer skills as they learn about The Garden State.  We think they’ll also become fans of  New Jersey, which is a good thing for all of us!

Q:  How do the students participate?

A:  The theme of the writing program is centered around writing an article for the “New Jersey Scoop”  newspaper.  Students choose an editorial area of interest (Arts and Entertainment, Travel, Sports, Business, Health and Wellness, People in the News, or Science and Environment), and then a topic.  We provide an online resources section to help get them started on their research.

Q:  What is the role of the classroom teacher in the program?

A:  Classroom teachers oversee the program in the classroom, including research, drafting, finalizing the article, submission in the contest, and channeling information about the program home.  Since research is a big part of the program, collaborations between the media specialist or librarian and the classroom teacher also work well.

Q:  How do we  get started?

A:  Once you’ve reviewed the Teacher’s Guide and both the Assignments and Resources on the website, and have determined that the program fits within your teaching plan…

  1. Register your students using the online form provided on the NJ Scoop Registration page.
  2. Guide your students through the selection of topics, dividing them up among the six editorial areas of study.
  3. Point them to the Student Resources page and let the research begin! (These resources are meant to help them get started—they aren’t meant to be the only research tools they use.)

Q:  Can we participate in ways other than writing articles?

A:  Teachers may determine that group or team projects work best with his/her students, or that instead of writing articles, they may want to conduct a class project on the study of New Jersey as part of the program.  These may also be submitted for judging.  If there is not enough time or resources to manage the writing program, a class project may be submitted instead or in addition to the articles.

Q: What is the time-frame of the program?

A:  Online registration runs from September to December every year.  Other deadlines and dates are provided in the 4th Grade NJ Scoop Teacher’s Guide.

Writing and Submitting Student Articles for the Contest… 

Q: What are the guidelines and criteria for the articles that are submitted?

A:  The article should be 150 – 250 words, proof read and corrected prior to submission.  Please use no smaller than 12 font, in Arial or Times New Roman.  The topic should fit the assignment detailed on the Assignment Page.

Q: How many articles may I submit from my class?

A: Up to seven articles per class may be submitted by the predetermined deadline.  We encourage teachers to submit one article for each section of the publication, however, we do not require it.  In the past, teachers have found it useful to have the members of the class choose which articles are sent to us.

Q: How do I submit the articles?

A: Teachers can submit their articles using a link that we’ll provide to you once you’ve registered.

Q: How are the articles judged?

A: Received articles are organized, sorted, and made available for review to a group of volunteer judges.  Judges score the articles based on how well they meet the guidelines and criteria.  You may download the 2012-13 Judging Rubric here.

Student recognition and awards…

Q: How are the students that participate in the essay contest recognized?

A: All students who participate will be acknowledged in a special way. Each year we select the “Best of the Best” from all of the articles judged, and these students are invited to regional awards events.  The articles selected as “Best of the Best” are also published in The NJ Scoop: The Voice of the Fourth Grade.

Q: What is the New Jersey Scoop and when will articles be published there?

A: The New Jersey Scoop is our annual print and online publication.  This is a wonderful keepsake item and creates a way for all of the selected articles to be viewed by students, parents and community members. We expect to publish in time for the awards events and will offer presales to teachers, parents, friends, and family members through our online ordering page.  Announcement of publication will come to teachers by email.  We ask that you please alert parents when this occurs.

Q: Where are award ceremonies held?

A: Locations and dates will be announced.   Typically we hold the events at Monmouth University, The Newark Museum, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and Burlington County College.

Parent and Community Involvement…

Q:  How can parents get involved in this program?

A:  Field trips are great ways to bring research to life!  Whenever possible parents should support their child’s efforts during the fact-finding stage of the program.  The Parent’s Page on our website offers day trips and other ideas for parents.

Q: Is there community involvement?

A: Yes, local businesses support the program and awards events by becoming a sponsor.  Business may also place ads in the New Jersey Scoop.  For more information, contact us at heather@celebratenj.com.

Q:  What if I have other questions about the program?

A:  Contact Heather Tedesco at 908.393.2777 or heather@celebratenj.com for more information.