Tired of making all the rules? Let a contest committee do it for you. Your students will show more buy-in when they know their writing may be published or win a prize. Here’s another contest I use in my middle school ELA classes.
Three times a year, Creative Communication (CC) of Logan, Utah publishes hard-cover anthologies full of K-9 poetry. I know what you're thinking. Must be a pay-to-play anthology, right? Wrong. The company judges the poems received and publishes the best ones, without regard to whether the student purchases a copy or not.
Students upload their own poetry via the publisher's website at poeticpower.com. The website, which is extensive with links to teacher and student information, is easy to navigate and search.
So far, more than thirty of my students saw their poetry published last year. Students loved seeing their poetry in print! Several parents ordered the anthologies, which are handled directly by the publisher.
Topic or Prompt: Student choice reigns! The website has many poetry ideas and lesson plans with examples. For mentor texts, use previous winning poems found on the website. When introducing the contest, make sure to show your students Taylor Swift's winning poem that she entered in the contest when she was in fifth grade. That always gets attention!
Best Thing (To Me) About This Contest: I love how this contest is competitive, but not too competitive. Everyone has a real opportunity to see their name in print. According to the FAQs on the website, "We take pride in the fact that we are selective with our entries. We reject more entries than we accept to be published. Our objective is to make it an honor to be selected for the anthology." FYI: Each anthology is considered a contest since the top ten entries win prizes, but more on that below.
What About Privacy? First names only are published. School names are included. Students must receive permission from parents in order to be published. Teachers will receive a free copy when five students are published. You can also earn points for more books and school supplies with the rewards system.
- Idea Development. Students must meet the criteria of the particular style of poem I assign or the style of poem they have chosen from the website.
- Conventions. Students must submit their best poetry.
Length: Poems must be no longer than 20 lines.
Deadline: There is one deadline for each of the fall, spring, and summer contests to coincide with your poetry units. See the website for exact dates.
Prizes: For each of the three grade levels (K-3; 4-6; 7-9), the top ten entries in the poetry contest will be given a $25 check, special recognition in the book, and a free anthology copy.
The Unexpected Bonus: Students rose to the occasion when they knew their work would be submitted for publication and possible top ten recognition.
Questions or comments? Something you know about this contest that I don’t? Have a contest success story? I would love to hear from you!
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