Meet the Contenders: Golden Lamp for Magazines

Every year, the Golden Lamp Awards from AAP name the best of the best in PreK-12 learning resources. Over the next week, leading up to the 2017 AAP Celebrates ceremony where we will announce the Golden Lamp winners, we’ll be looking at the finalists for each category. Today's category: Magazines.

Contender #1
Ranger Rick Jr.Ranger Rick Jr. from the National Wildlife Federation
Category: Best Overall Publication, Grades PreK-2
About: Ranger Rick Jr.™ is the National Wildlife Federation® (NWF’s) nature magazine for children ages 4 to 7 years. Its mission is to introduce children to wildlife in ways that lay the foundation for a lifelong love of the natural world.

What the judges said: These magazines were so balanced between words and images. They drew my attention, and I know my students as well as [my own] kids would absolutely love these topics and images. There are a variety of features that will be entertaining to the youngest environmentalists, and they will feel like experts on the featured articles. The readability is appropriate for the audience, with features for beginning readers and those who are becoming more fluent. This magazine will be an excellent addition to any primary classroom. 

Contender #2
Storyworks, Jr. from Scholastic Inc.
Winning Category: Best Overall Publication, Grades 3-6
About: Turn your growing readers into fluent readers with Storyworks Junior, the thrilling multi-genre reading resource for 3rd-graders, 2nd-grade readers, and struggling readers in the upper grades.

What the judges said: Looking through all of these materials, I can only find myself thinking about how I wish I could use this resource in my own classroom as a regular routine! Connecting skills to real life is so powerful and this magazine will not only engage learners but challenge them to use those skills. The teacher guide provides multiple options for a veteran teacher or new teacher to use at their leisure; step-by-step lesson plans, differentiated activities, and multi-media components that will engage all types of learners. I cannot recommend this resource enough!

Contender #3
ChoicesChoices from Scholastic Inc.
Category: Best Overall Publication, Grades 7 and up
About: Choices is a magazine used by educators to improve the health and social-emotional learning of middle and high school students. Packed with page-turning stories on the crucial issues that matter to teens, Choices helps young people think critically about their health, their lives, and their world; arms them with the information they need to make thoughtful, positive decisions; and encourages the type of empathy that has the power to change the world.

What the judges said: From Beating the Test to Eating Bugs to Using Social Media to Change Your Life, Choices tackles vital issues for teens--and does so in a way that's sure to grab and hold their attention. I love the practical presentation of tips for handling a job interview, taking tests, and using social media to advance yourself. The content of the magazine is relevant and interesting for teenage students. In addition, the digital versions are engaging and interactive offering a different reading experience than the paper bound version. 

Contender #4
Teaching ToleranceTeaching Tolerance Magazine from Southern Poverty Law Center
Winning Category: Best Overall Publication, Professional
About: Teaching Tolerance magazine provides teachers, administrators, librarians and counselors with the knowledge and support they need to be effective anti-bias practitioners and advocates for equity and justice in schools. This publication distills complex topics and innovative research into digestible features, all of which include actionable “toolkits.” Recent topics include: political polarization, school resegregation and closures, whiteness and white privilege, and how to be an effective teacher ally.

What the judges said: Teaching Tolerance is one of the most engaging educational magazines I have encountered.It's ambitious and fearless in that it is willing to deal with sensitive and critical social topics in a way that anybody could relate to regardless of whether it pertained directly to them or not. It was also visually stimulating - I might go so far as to say beautiful - featuring great photos, illustrations and I love the layout. It's not predictable or boring. This publication is in a league of its own. It's mindful of its audience and offers itself as a wonderful resource for anyone in education regardless of their title or department.