Saturday, August 1, 2015


August Writing Deadlines

For those of you unaware I am a BIG believer in allowing students to do assignments that LEAVE the classroom. The first of every month I try to post some opportunities for your students to show off their writing skills and maybe get some recognition. All of these deadlines are in August! If you start the school year this month, it could be a great way to start off the semester. If you don't start until September, consider including these with your "Welcome Letter" to the parents.

August has some GREAT writing opportunities for your students!!!!

1. Do you teach students between 6 and 14 years old? Have they read any of The Princess Diaries books?  Here's a contest that's perfect for your students! They just need to write an essay (500-1000 words) that answers the question "What would you do if you found out you were royalty?"  The grand prize winner receives a $2,500 Pottery Barn gift card and a signed copy of  From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Deadline is August 31st

Guidelines and submission details are available here.

2. How many times have you heard your students talking about their pets? Mine seem to do it all the time! Before August 31st Chicken Soup for the Soul is accepting submissions on the topic of Cats or Dogs. They want to read about stories about people's cats or dogs (up to 12000 words). All tones are appropriate as long as they are inspirational! They are doing two different books, one about cats and one about dogs. Your students can submit to just one, or to both (depending on the furry stories they have to share). If a story is selected and published they will be paid $200 one month after the book is published. Plus, they get ten free copies of the book to show off as well (see if they'll give a signed set to your class library).

Guidelines and submission are details available here

3. The role of women has changed throughout the years and many would argue is still changing! Chatter House Press is holding a Mini-Memoir Essay contest for women called, "Biting the Bullet," about women who define courage. It is only for women who are residents in the US and over the age of 18, so sadly most high school students won't be able to enter, but I wanted to include it in case you teach older students.  Your students' essays should show how a woman (or women) demonstrate(s) courage in daily life, or regarding a specific event. The deadline is August 14th. Prizes include publication and copies of the book.

Guidelines and submission details are available here
The Farmer's Lad via AntiquePrints

4. Do your students ever get depressed because they don't think they can meet the 1,000 word count minimum some contests have? Here's the PERFECT competition for them.  They are looking for a short story told in ONLY 21 words. The theme is, "Backyards and Porch Swings." Chosen authors don't win a cash prize, but they do get bragging rights and possible publication in the literary journal From the Deaths.  This deadline is hard to pinpoint and it stops when they receive 200 submissions, so as soon as possible is best. 

Guidelines and submission details are available here.

A cover of one of the issues of The Blue Earth Review
5. The Blue Earth Review is part of Minnesota State University. From what I can tell this is open to anyone, but please evaluate the guidelines on your own. It has two opportunities to get writing recognized for free. The first is the creative nonfiction contest. The text cannot be over 750 words. Students may submit more than one piece, but they need to have them in the same document.

The  other option is their poetry contest. Students may submit up to three poems (again in a single file).

Both contests include publication in the Blue Earth Review and a $500 cash prize. The deadline to submit is August 14, 2015.

Guidelines and submission details are available here.

There you are five ways to get your students motivated to write for more than just a grade, get a chance to experience writing for a different audience, and see that writing isn't just for the classroom. If you know of any others or your students really have fun with one let me know in the comments. If you find one of these doesn't work, also let me know so I can update this list.

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