Tag Archives: contests for kids

Contests for kids

Every picture tells a story -- including this painting by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma), which is part of a Heard Museum contest for 4th-8th grade students

I had some fun with my 17-year-old daughter Lizabeth the other day after we checked out a picture posted on the Heard Museum’s website, then tried to craft a story using the various elements in the picture — which include a twisted balloon dog, a tiny house, a young girl donning a crown, a caged bird and several other items.

Weaving all these pieces together was much harder than I expected. I’m guessing that the 4th through 8th graders for whom the Heard’s “Tell Me a Story” contest was designed will have an easier time of it, though some might be truly startled to see a collection of people and objects devoid of superstars or cell phones.

The Heard Museum invites 4th-8th graders to write their best story about what is happening in a painting by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma) — which can be found on the Heard Museum website by clicking here.

The winning story (and those of several runner-ups) will be posted on the Heard Museum website, and the winner will receive a gift from the Heard Museum Gift Shop.

Stories, which must be under 1,000 words, are due no later than midnight on May 1, 2011. It’s a one entry per person contest, and each entry must include the writer’s name, school, grade and city/state.

Entries must be submitted to: TellUsAStory@Heard.org. Submissions will be judged by Julie Buffalohead (Ponca artist), Janet Cantley (Heard Museum Curator), Gina Laczko (Director of Education), Susan McMichael (Author and Guild volunteer) and Noelle Bowman (Newspaper reporter).

Students eager to enter the “Dear Aliens” contest sponsored by the “ASU Origins Project” will have to hustle a whole lot faster to meet their deadline. Submissions to the “Dear Aliens” contest are due April 1, 2011 – and are being accepted via good old-fashioned snail mail.

The contest ponders what we might say if aliens somehow tuned into Earth and said “Hello.” “We’re asking you,” say contest organizers, “to write in and tell us: If you had to speak for humanity, what would you say?

K-12 students in Maricopa County are eligible to submit entries (though maximum word counts vary by age) — and must follow several guidelines you can read by clicking here.

Entries should be mailed to: Dear Aliens, ASU Origins Project, Arizona State University, P.O. Box 871902, Tempe, AZ 85287-1902. Alas — no extra points will be awarded for using outer space-related stamps or including Halloween photos depicting babies or pets in alien theme costumes.

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of alien experts including writers, scientists and scholars. “Winning entries,” I’m told, “will be bounced off the moon.” Winners will be announced early in April and at a special (and free) ceremony on April 9 at the ASU campus in Tempe. The aliens, I suspect, will need to participate via Skype.

– Lynn

Note: Please consult contest sponsors for all contest details, including eligibility, guidelines, deadlines and such.

Coming up: More contests for kids — from the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence and The Phoenix Symphony

Art, film and bullying prevention

Learn how you can be a part of "No Name-Calling Week" 2011

The Anti-Defamation League is partnering with Scottsdale Community College for the sixth year of a film series titled “The Many Faces of Hate.”

The film “Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History” will be presented at SCC on Wed, Jan 26, from 6:30-8:30pm in the Turquoise Room.

The film recounts the story of “a student who stood up to his anti-gay tormentors and filed a federal lawsuit against his high school district.”

It’s free and open to the public, and includes a moderated post-film discussion.

The film is being presented as part of “No Name-Calling Week” — a national initiative inspired by a young adult novel titled “The Misfits.” This year’s “No Name-Calling Week” takes place Jan 24-28.

The project is headed by the “No Name-Calling Week Coalition” — created by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing (a company I call to mind each time I hear a Carly Simon song).

The project includes “a week of educational and art activities aimed at stopping name calling and bullying in schools” — which leaves me wondering about grown-up plans to curtail their own bad behavior.

I’m not so sure we set the best example as we cut each other off in traffic, gossip about friends over dinner or hurl wild accusations during political discourse. I’d rather see folks armed with crayons than with guns.

Individual students in grades K-12 are invited to participate in the “No Name-Calling Week 2011 Creative Expression Contest” before the Mon, Feb 28 deadline. Grown-ups, of course, are always free to color on their own.

The contest is “an opportunity for students to submit essays, poetry, music, original artwork, or other pieces that convey their experiences and feelings about name-calling, and their ideas for putting a stop to verbal bullying in their schools and communities.”

James Howe's book has much to offer tweens, teens and adults

The statistics about bullying are sobering, according to Melissa Medvin, associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona regional office.

Medvin points to GLSEN studies showing that 65% of LGBT teens or those perceived to be LGBT report being verbally or physically harassed.

About one-third of the general student population reports being bullied.

Often bullying is based on perceived differences in race, religion, sexual orientation or physical characteristics. 

Medvin notes that victims of bullying have increased rates of absenteeism, use of dangerous and illegal substances, and suicide/bullycide — as well as lower grades and lower graduation rates. We all have a stake in reducing bullying in our communities.

Additional films in the series will be shown at SCC on Feb 16, March 23 and April 27. All are documentaries dealing with the subject of hate, and all are free and open to the public.

In the meantime, banish bullying from your own behavior. You can’t expect your children to do the right thing if you’re not leading by example.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about free “Bullied” kits available (one per school) from Teaching Tolerance — a program of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Click here to learn more about GLSEN in Phoenix.

Coming up: Puppetry with a purpose