1. Students have something to do in case they finish their work early.
Students work at different paces. Often I have a few who finish with five, even ten minutes to spare. With the writing contest bulletin board you always have something extra and meaningful for them to work on. Teachers can post flyers for the contests or QR codes so students can access the information they need without additional help from the teacher.
2. They’re free to enter.
Some contests are scams where the sole purpose of the contest is to make money off of entry fees. A little research on the teacher’s end though will produce a nice list of legitimate and free to enter contests. There are, of course, good contests that do require entry fees; however, I try to stick to the free contests because I don’t ever want a student to feel they can’t enter a contest because they cannot afford the submission fee.
3. They help motivate students to put extra effort into their work.
The monetary rewards and sense of competition help motivate students a bit more than just a grade in class. There is something about competing against others and the idea of being published that helps motivate people to proof-read a few more times and to make sure their work is nothing short of perfect.
4. Publication affects students’ long-term self-esteem.
Have you seen a student’s face when they realize they’re going to be published? It’s priceless. It also stays with them and affirms for years to come that their voice is worth hearing. Many contests will also offer their publication for free to winners, so they can proudly show Mom and Dad their professionally published work.
5. Bulletin boards are a constant reminder for students.
If the contest is staring them down each period, they are more likely to give in and actually submit something. Announcing a contest to class may peak some interest in students, but sometimes that interest is lost as soon as the bell rings. Having the bulletin board in your class re-establishes the interest every class period. Eventually, they’re bound to remember it outside of class as well.
6. Easily tie submissions into a current unit or season/month.
Whatever you are studying in class, you can create an accompanying writing assignment that can be submitted in any (or at least almost any) of the contests. Some contests are specific in asking for plays or poetry, but many are open to essays or narratives. If you’re doing a unit on Ancient Greece, you can assign students to incorporate their new knowledge into a poem, narrative, or essay that fits the criteria of a contest. Again, this will help increase the motivation aside from just getting a good grade in class.
7. It’s an easy way to decorate your room with relevant material.
Each year I struggle with deciding what to put on my walls and when. This is an easy board to put up at the begging of the year and keep up for any portion of the school year. If you’re a history teacher you can fill it with authors from a specific time period and incorporate a lesson on how the time period influenced the writers of the time.
Want mine? Click here to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers store where I have it ready to go. Just print, cut, and hang!
Want to know where I found all of these fabulous contests? Here’s the link to the website: http://thejohnfox.com/2016/06/writing-contests-for-teens/