Congrats to WITS writer Jasminne Mendez for the publication of her new poem “Frijochuelas” in La Galeria Magazine. You can read it HERE.
Jasminne also has a creative non-fiction piece, “El Corte,” that was selected as honorable mention for the Barry Lopez Non Fiction Award through Cutthroat: A Journal of the Arts. It will be published in their upcoming The Best of Cutthroat issue. Look for it at AWP!
Last but not least, Jasminne will be one of the featured performers/readers at Brazos Bookstore on March 5th at 2pm for an event called Speak!Poet. Come out and support poetry in the community!
When I wake up in a mood, not feeling the love,
then I got to bring it from within, like a famous
I put on blinders to all the negativity and just
smile at the world. Then I do my thing.
By Jermaine, 6th Grade
Here are two writing contests for young people with spring deadlines:
Ayn Rand Institute Anthem Essay Contest: Open to 8th, 9th and 10th grade students worlwide. Submit an essay between 600-1200 words around the suggested topics listed on the website. (1) First prize: $2,000; (5) second prizes: $500, (10) Third Prizes: $200, (45) Finalist prizes: $50, and (175) Semi-finalist prizes: $30. Be sure to check out the ARI website for specific submission requirements. Deadline for submissions is March 25, 2016.
Ayn Rand Institute Fountainhead Essay Contest: Open to 11th and 12th grade students worldwide. Submit an essay between 800-1600 words around the suggested topics listed on the website. (1) First prize: $10,000; (5) second prizes: $2,000, (10) Third Prizes: $1,000, (45) Finalist prizes: $1,000, and (175) Semi-finalist prizes: $50. Be sure to check out the ARI website for specific submission requirements. Deadline for submissions is April 29, 2016.
This information comes from Writing Contests for Teens, where you can learn about other opportunities.
Can you believe we are more than halfway through the 2015-2016 school year? It’s been a great year filled with many new developments for our programs, including an exciting WITS Performance project with one of our favorite school partners.
On January 26th, we were thrilled to celebrate Ms. Blackmon’s 6th grade students at T.H. Rogers’ Regional Day School Program for the Deaf (RDSPD). With the support of an interpreter and their WITS writer, Sharon Ferranti, the students signed original stories and poems in front of a rapt audience of peers, parents, and teachers. We are grateful to T.H. Rogers for opening the door for WITS Performance to serve more deaf and hard of hearing students in the years to come!
“Nizhuria’s Song” by Nizhuria
I’m thankful for stars, so bright.
I’m thankful for rainbows, so colorful.
I’m thankful for flowers that smell so good.
I’m thankful for the galaxy, so huge!
I don’t like swimming, so dangerous.
I don’t like lunch detention, so boring!
I don’t like floods, so bad.
I don’t like people in front of my face when they speak, it embarrasses me.
“Friends” by Victor
Someone to eat delicious tacos with
Someone to talk with about Christmas
Someone to go trick or treating with on Halloween
Someone to play outside with me
Someone to watch movies with me and my dad
Attention parents! Creative Writing Camp registration is now open – and classes fill up fast! This year we have expanded the locations and dates for our fun, educational summer programs. Classes are taught by professional writers, providing personal encouragement to students as they explore creative writing and storytelling. Visit our Camp Page for more details or view our brochure.
It’s that time of year again! Get out your pencils and fire up the imagination.
The Houston Public Media PBS KIDS Writers Contest is accepting original entries
from children in grades K-3 until March 22, 2016. Please visit the website for
eligibility rules and additional information. Last year’s winning stories are
posted for inspiration on the Houston Public Media website.
Congratulations to poet Matthew Burgess, who read on our WITS panel at AWP in Minneapolis. His delightful children’s book Enormous Smallness chronicles the life of poet, painter, and playwright E.E. Cummings.
Brain Pickings named Burgess’s book, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, as one of the 15 best children’s books of 2015. Very exciting!
Check out all the wonderful choices at Brain Pickings and order your copy today.
You will find your way using long strides.
You will fill your cracks with gold.
Swallow darkness like lemonade
and savor its twisted flavor.
Scramble into the unknown.
You can’t help but smile.
Your heart will beat
its fractured tune and one
speck of dust will fall from
your tattered suitcase of regrets.
You are broken like the old
clock in the corner of the
home you used to love.
But that’s okay.
You will cartwheel down the sidewalk
leading away from the city.
And you will smile.
By Pearl, 6th Grade
Winter break is a great time to revise and edit your creative work. If you want a wider audience, you might consider submitting your best work for publication. New Pages has a resource guide for young authors that include journals that publish youth and contests also. Check it out!
ScatterRadio is a key supporter of the Youth Poet Laureate movement. Check out the first podcast by Houston Youth Poet Laureate, Andrew White!
The prestigious Scholastic Writing Awards are given locally and nationally across the nation. Deadlines vary by region but are approaching quickly. For students in the Houston area, click here for more information For Information on the program in all areas, click here.
Mutablis Press is celebrating a new anthology of poems about the nature of Houston. The book, edited by Sandi Stromberg, is called Untameable City. Current WITS writers Maryann Gremillion and Sara Cooper are published in it, as well as former WITSers Sarah Cortez, Robin Davidson, Dede Fox, Angélique Jamail, Rebecca Spears, and Randall Watson.
The book launch is Friday, December 11th from 6-9 p.m. at the Jung Center. Reading begins at 6:30.
Five artists have donated their artwork to WITS, and it’s up for bid on ebay for one more week. Consider a bid that will provide WITS for young students in the Houston area. Every child deserves the opportunity to become an avid reader and a powerful writer.
This week in Edutopia, Owen Griffith explains how writing about gratitude can produce a host of different positive outcomes. Griffith recommends the regular practice of listing what we’re thankful for. He says, “Gratitude seems to work like a muscle, and the physical action of writing a gratitude list helps develop ‘gratitude muscles.'”
The benefits from this kind of writing are impressive. Griffith suggests that they include:
Keeping a gratitude journal on a daily basis helps students achieve the following:
- Higher grades
- Higher goals
- More satisfaction with relationships, life, and school
- Less materialism
- More willingness to give back.
For adults, keeping a gratitude journal enables people to:
- Be more optimistic
- Experience more social satisfaction
- Exercise more often
- Have less envy and depression
- Have fewer physical complaints
- Sleep better.
Perhaps this could become a Thanksgiving family activity? If you give it a try, let us know how it goes.
During the winter break WITS will offer a SLAM Camp for students in grades 5-8. Join us in the Heights Dec. 28-30th for fun with writing and performing. Register here or learn more about it.
We are excited to announce that WITS Teacher and Special Programs Manager, Deborah “D.E.E.P.” Mouton, will perform at the We Are Girls Conference, produced by The Girls Empowerment Network.
This event is a multi-city extravaganza designed especially for girls in grades 3-8. This year’s theme is “Tell Your Story,” which fits right into the WITS mission.
We know that Deborah will serve as a powerful role model to these girls who are exploring creative self-expression and empowerment. Go, Deborah!
Free writing and performance workshops take place every second Friday of the month at Discovery Green (1500 McKinney St.) from 6:30-8pm.
Students ages 13-19 are welcome. No registration is required! No experience is necessary! Join us this Friday, the 13th for a fun and inspirational evening.
Location: 1500 McKinney St.
Meta-Four Houston will perform at this inspirational event hosted by The Houston Public Library on Friday! This is the write-up from HPL:
The Houston Public Library presents:
The Three Doctors
Hosted by Melanie Lawson with KTRK Channel 13
The Houston Public Library is pleased to present The Three Doctors to over 2,000 youth of the City of Houston.
This is an awesome opportunity for our youth to hear a compelling story about three young boys – much like themselves – who survived the tough inner city streets of Newark, New Jersey and became successful men. It is a story that will inspire and encourage our youth to win at life – no matter the odds.
We would be honored if you would support this important event through the gift of your time by attending The Three Doctors’ Presentation.
Who are The Three Doctors?
Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. Rameck Hunt, and Dr. George Jenkins, fondly known as The Three Doctors, are extraordinary role models. These three doctors began with a childhood promise to persevere and become successful, prominent men, despite facing barriers growing up in the tough inner-city of Newark, New Jersey. They used positive peer pressure to overcome the many challenges they faced, thus allowing them the opportunity to realize their dream of each becoming a successful physician. Today, The Three Doctors give their time and resources through their Foundation, which stands on the premise that “Our Children Can Not Aspire to Be What They Can Not See.” They passionately share their remarkable story of perseverance to inspire and motivate young people to achieve education and career success through the formation of positive peer and mentor relationships.
Open those big black eyes
and plop those feet on the floor
I know it’s dark outside
I know you’re tired
But it’s Monday and
here you are again
So wake up and live
like there won’t be a Tuesday.
Today is the big day.
By Salome, 6th Grade