Monday, August 31, 2015

Teachers and Librarians! Mark Your Calendars for Mrs. P's Annual Writing Contest!

It's that time of year!  

Time for Mrs. P's Be-a-Famous Writer Contest. And you sure don't want to miss it this year with the theme of Pets.    

The contest is for K-4 classrooms and the winning classroom is filled with books in every format from the generous sponsors of the contest.  

To get the scoop on the contest, I spoke with my dear friend Mrs. P and asked her a few questions. 
How did you come up with the theme of pets?

I picked this years theme because children enjoy hearing stories about pets.  They also love to tell stories about pets.  Whenever I am visiting classrooms via Skype, the students always ask me how many pets I have in my house.  The answer is 1547!  Yes, I know, it’s a lot but it gives me ample opportunity to demonstrate the art of storytelling.  I always leave the students with this message, “If you can tell a story, you can write a story.”  

What are some of your favorite books about Pets?

When I was young I can remember reading books starring animals and they have remained lifetime favorites.  Stories like, Charlotte’s Web, Old Yeller, Black Beauty,  Sounder, and The Yearling made a huge impression on me. I also loved Peter Rabbit, which I have in my Magic Library, and Winnie the Pooh.  Oh there are many.  But as you know, I am a lover of the classics.  

Any ideas to get students writing?

I’ve come up up with a few writing prompts: 

Write a conversation you would have with your pet if you could talk with animals.
What if your pet was a performer, what kind would they be? What tricks would they do?
What would your day be like if you were a cat? Or a dog? Or a fish? What sorts of things would you do? 
What would you say to your owner?
I also have my Imagination Launchers I created with my pet dog Spyri, named after the author of “Heidi,” a favorite book of mine when I was little. Imagination Launchers are meant to help kids jump-start their imaginations and get those stories started.   These are animated story prompts, and what kid doesn’t like something animated?  

I also have a a printable worksheet kids can color too.  Download Imagination launcher worksheet 

For your younger students using poetry as a way to get stories ideas flowing can be a good learning device.  I created several short animal poems you can share as examples with your students on my Poetry Fun Playlist

How does the contest work for classrooms? 

It is the classroom entering, not an individual student. This will be our 3nd year running the contest this way. The classroom will be recognized as the winner. For example "Mrs. P's 3rd Grade Class from Dreamy Valley" Everyone in the class that wins is winning books and prizes for their school. I make the winning story into a video for my YouTube site, so that they can share it with everyone they know. 

The video story is illustrated by Robin Robinson.  and I also read the story live to the classroom that wins, if they have Skype technology. 

Who are the judges this year?

The stories are judged by a panel of celebrity judges that includes Peter H. Reynolds , children’s book author, illustrator, bookshop owner and founder of FableVision.  I have been participating in Dot Day with classrooms every year, and was so thrilled that he accepted my invitation to be a judge.  He is such an advocate for creativity and children of all ages.  And I just love his book, The Dot, as it really teachers children that it’s A O. K. to make your unique mark on the world, and that’s what my writing contest is all about. 

And John Schumacher (aka Mr. Schu) a blogger and teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois. The Library Journal named him "The Xtreme Librarian" for the high level of exertion and gears and stunts he uses to get kids reading, and Instructor Magazine named him a Cool Teacher for redefining what it means to be a teacher-librarian.

And of course, I also act as a judge.  It’s my favorite thing in the world to read the contest entries every year! 
What are the details of the contest?

The contest is for classrooms only and is FREE to enter. Parents you can still participate by telling your child's teacher about it.


Contest Closes: November 15, 2015

Winners Announced January 15, 2016

For classrooms K - 4th grade

I invite classrooms to write a story on the topic of PETS no less than 250 words and not to exceed 1,000 words. It may be fiction or non-fiction. Any classroom from Kindergarten through 4th grade may enter. Just one story per classroom! It can be a collaborative story, or teachers can have their class vote on which child's story to enter. Find all the details at my contest website. 

My amazing sponsors are providing books galore that will benefit the schools of the winners! 

Books in every format, real books, digital books and audio books! And what school doesn’t need books? See my prize page for details of what classrooms will win.  Meet my sponsors :Mackin Education Resources, Tales2GoFableVision Learning and Powell's Books.  

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