Tag Archives: poetry

The Thumbprint of a Teacher: We Leave Our Mark

Standard

ImageAs our judges read each poem and look at each piece of art, it is amazing what these students create.  Many of the teachers become unmet friends.  Where as many class assignments are generic in nature, many pieces of art and poetry have a clear thumbprint from that teacher’s style. 

Yesterday, I was judging art and without seeing the school or the teacher’s name, I could identify both by the art that was submitted. It was a school in Texas, whose students each do a very original painting; however, the style is so refreshing and unique that it is very identifiable.  The goal of our publication is not to hit percentages, but to publish good art.  For this teacher, all 55 of her students, covering grades 1-8, were accepted to be published.  Each piece was several grade levels above where they would normally be. 

For poetry, we have many schools that I can identify the teacher and the school by the students’ work.  One such school, in California, does not follow the normal conventions of formula poems where the students follow a pattern, but they each create original thought and style.   This school has had many Top Ten Winners over the years.  Another school in Northern Idaho is based on the classics and their entries are identified by the use of the old style pen that takes an ink cartridge.

Each thumbprint that a teacher creates through their students’ work makes us feel like we are meeting and judging the work of old friends.  Would we know them on the street?  No. But the quality of their students’ work makes them very well-known in our office.

Each year I have students who sit on the back row who I thought were just another student in the class.  I am a bit surprised when these students come forth asking for a letter of recommendation for graduate school.  Of all their teachers, I stood out.  I was not aware of my influence, but it was there. For every teacher, your thumbprint on your students may not be obvious, but we all influence in ways that are not always visible.  Keep up the good work.

For more information about our national art contests, go to www.CelebratingArt.com.

Art and Poetry Across the Curriculum

Standard

ImageAs the entries come in for the art and poetry contest, I appreciate more and more the time that teachers take to have their students enter our contest. I received an email last week from a teacher who stated that even though her school was asked to not teach poetry in order to make time for more testing, she felt the benefit of entering our contest was too great to ignore.  She related that she was going to teach poetry to her kids and send them into our contest no matter what.  We appreciate the support, but more importantly we appreciate what she is doing for her students. Through the demands of state, local and national testing, classroom time is filled.  It is a challenge to fit in everything that is required. 

When I was teaching in Illinois, the state added speaking and listening assessment for all public schools.  I traveled the state through the education service centers to not only explain the state requirements, but to also help teachers use as little class time teaching the requirements as possible.  Cross discipline teaching became the key as teachers used math story problems to assess listening, or history oral reports to teach content in history and assess speaking skills.

Poetry and art are the same.  Each year we receive hundreds of poems written about science and math topics, and art that breaks down the parts of a flower.  These come from teachers who felt the teaching across the curriculum not only helps teach the concepts of the parts of an atom or the battles of the Revolutionary War, but also teach language and art skills.

I hope classroom time doesn’t get so filled with the tedious tasks that we lose sight of what is important.  It takes thinking outside the box and some creative energies, but working art and poetry into more “academic” subjects can sometimes achieve several objectives at the same time.

Sweepstakes Time!

Standard

Image

Creative Communication (host of national poetry contests for students in grades K-12) and CelebratingArt.com (host of national art contests for students in grades K-12) are hosting a national sweepstakes!

There will be two winners; one winner over 18 years of age will receive two free flights to ANYWHERE in the United States, and one winner 18 years or younger will receive a free Amazon Kindle. Here are the rules:

To make an entry, check out the following links to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  Each will get you one entry (remember, we have a Twitter and Facebook page for both Creative Communication AND CelebratingArt.com – that’s a total of four entries!)  Each time one of your friends on Facebook “likes” us from your referral you will receive two bonus entries.  If you tweet out our contest link you will receive three bonus entries.  Every time someone follows us on Twitter from one of your tweets you will receive two bonus entries.  The more entries you have, the more likely is your chance to win.  The contest runs until April 2, 2012.  We will then have a drawing to pick the winners.  Every day you can submit a new entry for each Facebook profile – that’s a lot of entries!  Don’t miss out on your chance to win.

CelebratingArt:
Twitter:   https://woobox.com/2bmyws
Facebook:  https://woobox.com/ity9o2

Creative Communication:
Twitter:  https://woobox.com/wc6x3z
Facebook:  https://woobox.com/mby6i4

Here’s a breakdown of ways you can get entries into the contest:

Facebook
“Like” our Creative Communication page — 1 entry
“Like” our CelebratingArt page — 1 entry
Have a friend “like” our Creative Communication page from your referral —2 entries
Have a friend “like” our CelebratingArt page from your referral —2 entries

 Twitter
Follow our Creative Communication page — 1 entry
Follow our CelebratingArt page — 1 entry
Send a tweet to your friends with the link to the sweepstakes page — 3  entries
Each friend that follows us from your tweet — 2 entries

Now get out there and enter to win big!

Aside

CelebratingArt is one arm of the contests that our company sponsors.  We also host writing contests. The power of using a contest to create a spark in the classroom is universal.  Today we share a story from Jennifer Selder, Miss Arizona and 3rd runner-up to Miss America.  She relates the power of our contests to influence a life.

“Fifth grade was no dImageoubt my favorite year in elementary school. My teacher gave us an hour every single day to work on our very own writing projects. During this time, I was able to grow tremendously in my foundation as a writer, and I attribute my love of poetry to that very class. I sent many hours learning the basics: the terms, the forms, the styles. Because of this, I was able to branch out later in life in use those skills to take my writing to a new level. You see, once you learn the basis of how to write creatively, it is so much easier to write in all other forms because you can allow them to take your own voice into account. I had a poem published by Creative Communication that year in 5th grade, and I will never forget how special and inspired it made me feel. I have since gone on to win numerous essay contests, many which earned me scholarship money for college, and I may have never believed in myself if it wasn’t for Creative Communication. And as Miss Arizona, I write pages and pages of creatively written updates for all of my followers. Now of course I still take time on my own to read, study, and write poetry. When you choose to be an active learner and writer, I think you will find, just as I did, that truly anything is possible.

With love,
Jennifer Sedler, Miss Arizona 2011, 3rd runner up to Miss America 2012″

The poem Jennifer entered in our contest, “Hawaiian Seas,” can be viewed below.

                                 Hawaiian Seas
Shimmering
Warm, turquoise, sea,
Rainbow fish, angelfish, carp, needlefish, even turtles
Glittery, colorful, green, blue, pink, yellow, orange
Hawaiian seas

Wild
A raging storm, ripping and clattering like a boiling pot of
Bubbling and churning water on a stove
Hawaiian seas

Quiet
Still, motionless, a serene feeling everywhere, the world has stopped,
To gaze at this splendid view of the harmonious
Hawaiian seas

Waves
Rapidly pulling grains of course, powdery sand to
Its home beneath those waters that the sea urchins call home
Hawaiian seas

Hope
Gently buried deep within the glassy, cerulean
Hawaiian seas

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story with us.  Just as we helped shape your life with our contest, we know of the many lives you now touch as Miss AZ.  Rock on.

Contest That Changes Lives: Miss Arizona Speaks Out

Be a Finisher

Standard

This last week we sent out notifications to the teachers in our contest to let them know if they still had students who had not given permission to be published. I received an email back that one teacher has done all she could, but one of her student’s mother gave a verbatim “no”.  The teacher was puzzled why a mother would say that.

There are many scams on the internet that accept everything that is entered in a contest.  They have as their sole purpose to sell books.  Often there is a fee to be published or you are required to purchase a book. That is not who we are.

Giving permission helps to recognize students who have earned a reward. As a parent and teacher I am very protective of my children.  However, I would never conceptualize not allowing them to receive recognition for an accomplishment.

We have so many students who have taken this accomplishment and used it to make a difference in their lives.  I have the attitude to always let other people limit my options.  In college I applied for over 40 scholarships and received 36 rejection letters.  The four I received paid for tuition, books, and a little left over.  If I didn’t apply, I would not have received anything.  However, when a student enters a contest, is recognized, and has put forth the effort, then finishing the process and getting recognition is important.

To release a student’s art or writing, we have to receive verification that each winner created an original work and get permission.  Each year about 10% of the students we have chosen as winners fail to give permission.  This could be because the work is not original or they just thought returning permission is no big deal.

If you have students enter a contest, then be a finisher.  Follow the contest through to completion.

Have a great day.

Student Art Winner Profile: Kelsey Morgan Chase Faucett

Standard

As you know, we host art (celebratingart.com) and writing (poeticpower.com) contests.  I would like to share some of the contest winners as they give permission.  

When we receive an entry in the contest we have a digital entry.  What personalizes the entry is the story behind the art. As we have announced the Top Ten Winners for the Fall 2011 art contest, we have asked the winners to give us permission to share their art.  Let me introduce home school artist Kelsey Morgan Chase Faucett  from South Carolina.   

Kelsey is in the 7th grade and was not only our contest’s very first entry, but over the last three contests she has been a Top Ten winner three times. This is a record, but as I always say, if you don’t enter, you don’t have a chance to win.  

Here is what she has to say.

“My drawing’s name is Night Owl. I love drawing owls because of their beautiful eyes.  It is almost as if you can see what they are thinking.  Night owl was one of my favorite drawings. It won Best of Show at our fair but was stolen the last night of the fair. I believe everything happens for a reason and good can always come from bad.  So I decided to draw a Barn Owl on a branch and donate it to our local American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  It is to be auctioned at the next Relay Night for our town.

It is a true honor to be picked as a Top Ten Winner. Thank you so much for having this contest.”
ImageThanks for sharing Kelsey.  Keep up the good work.

Every Famous Artist/Poet Started Somewhere

Standard

I often have parents ask what it means to be published in one of our books. For our students, it means that their work was better than most of their peers.  However, from that top tier, we always have a few student poets and artists who move on to the next level.  We give them a start when they are in school, and then they take that beginning and make their own dreams come true and become a professional poet or artist.

Jasmine Kang is one such student.  Now a graduate from San Jose University, we published her before she went to college.  Moving beyond our publication,  she kept writing and published a book of poems, River of Light.  This anthology of her poems received Honorable Mention at the Paris Book Festival and was a USA Book News “Best Books 2010” award finalist.  Jasmine stated in an email, “Writing and art are some things I really feel for. It’s not about selling and making money, but about the passion, about sharing and spreading inspiration.”

ImageFor each book that we create, there are a few sparks that ignite into a passion for writing.  We never know who these life long writers or artists will be.  As you look at each student in your classes, you always have to remember that every famous writer or artist started somewhere.  We love it when teachers have their students participate.  We know that among the thousands of students we work with each year, a few will move on to the next level.  As teachers, we never know who that one student will be. They might just be a student in your classroom this year, but by having them compete in our contests, you are giving them a chance at receiving recognition.  For one teacher, years ago, Jasmine may have just been a student who entered a contest.  Today, she is a writer with her own anthology and several awards.  Every famous writer started somewhere. For Jasmine, we were a part of her beginning. Thank you Jasmine.

We Do Make a Difference

Standard

For today’s blog I want to share an email I received from a teacher in Colorado.

“I wanted to thank you for the note and allowing me to still be a part of the fall contest with my kiddos!  I wanted to tell you that the mom of one of my boys contacted me after he received the letter of notification for his piece.  They received it the exact same day that she was called to go to the school and pick him up because he was suspended for an incident involving anger issues.
 
When they got home with the paperwork for the suspension, they also got the paperwork for the contest.  She said it was ironic that the two were from the same boy.  I told her that perhaps that was God’s way of tempering the blow of the suspension, encouraging him, and helping him to see that he was not a total failure as that was always the thought pattern he seemed to fall into…
 
So when I looked a few days ago and he still had not given his permission, I was a bit concerned.  I thought I would give Mom a week or so and then call her and “remind” her about it – just in case… But I looked today and she gave permission – so I was relieved!  He really deserves to have this accomplishment under his belt and in his future resume!!  
 
Sorry to take up so much of your morning, but I am so thankful for organizations like yours who have such an impact on students (and families….and teachers!) and wanted you to know just one of the stories (I am sure there are hundreds more out there!) behind the contest end that you see.  You really do make a HUGE difference in the lives of those you touch!
 
Thanks again and God bless you and all who work at Creative Communication!”
—Julie  J

National Child Prodigy Thanks Us for Her Start

Standard

I just got off the phone with a father thanking me for publishing his daughter several years ago.  We often have calls such as this, but this one was different.  He told the story that it was our contest and the recognition that it gave in making his daughter a published writer that really gave her the confidence to excel.  We also hear that often.  However, his daughter, 15 year old Meredith Graf, has gone beyond the normal high school accomplishments to national recognition.  To understand the prodigy that she is you can read more here.

In our art contest, due to her gift as an exceptional artist, Meredith has made an ethical decision to not enter.  However, her father related that she wants to give back to Creative Communication, the sister company to CelebratingArt.com, by designing a book cover for us.   The pictures below are Hall of Fame basketball player Bill Russell and a portrait of President Bush that is on display in his residence.
Image             Image
We love it when we hear the stories behind the contest entry.  It humanizes the words and the art and helps us see the student who did the work.  One teacher, several years ago, offered our contest to his or her students.  The result was a confident young women who is changing her world and the world around her.  Thank you to that teacher for giving the students this opportunity.  Thank you Meredith for sharing your work.  We hope that more teachers will use our contests to give students the confidence to know that they can succeed.