Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Enter Writing Contests

Isn't it great when we can broaden our writers' audience?   If we want to nurture passionate writers, it's a good idea to send their writing outside of your classroom from time to time, with their permission.   Owl magazine sponsors a variety of creative contests.   If you are a Virginia high school teacher, check the Superintendent's Memos every Friday for occasional scholarship opportunities.   The local newspaper may run seasonal contests with categories based on age.   The public library may also do the same.

I am fortunate that the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula sponsors an annual Holocaust essay contest for school-age children.   In addition to recognizing winners with a certificate and check, the winners are honored at the annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance) ceremony.   The UJC even sends congratulatory letters to students who were picked as finalists.   AND they send the teacher who submits at least a class set of entries free books.   Yes, free books.   Teachers choose from a list of titles.   Those books then become part of your school's library.   If you talk other teachers into participating, with a little patience you can build up a set of Holocaust-themed levelled books.   If you don't see the title that you want, e-mail the sponsors.   They will seriously consider your request.

One year, after we watched the Paper Clips documentary about Whitwell, Tennessee's 8th graders' ongoing Holocaust project, my students wanted to do something special for their school.   Using the Internet, we found out that they were moving into a new building with a new library.   We e-mailed the UJC to see if they would send us a "sampler" of all of the middle school titles instead of a class set for us, so we could donate them to Whitwell Middle School.   They enthusiastically agreed.    We packed them up, decorated the box with watercolor butterflies and paid it forward.   Find out about the paper clip project here

And let me tell you this.   After the tornado relocated my classroom to a new school, two members of the UJC stopped by the front office with the books my students earned this year, Han Nolan's If I Should Die Before I Wake.   On the box was a handwritten note wishing us well.   Writing creates communities.

If publication is something that you feel strongly about, get a copy of the latest Writer's Market.   The amount of information in that resource will be more than you could ever need.

Finally, if you ask your students to enter a contest that has an adult writers category, enter!   They will love to see you workshop your piece.   Take it from start to finish in front of them.   Let them give you feedback.  What a great opportunity!
How about dusting off some of your writing skills and entering a current contest?

Here's a helpful site --->

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