Mrs. P has been activating her voice for literacy on the web since 2008. She also activated her voice for autism, to speak up to end bullying and speak out for acceptance. But her real mission is to activate the voices of students.
We had a chat with the real Mrs. P, actress and literacy advocate, Kathy Kinney to find out about her 10th annual hero-themed Be-a-Famous Writer Contest.
First, what is the mission of MrsP.com?
Our mission is to spark the imaginations of students. Our writing contest gives them a voice to share their stories. 10 years ago, my two partners and I started our free literacy website MrsP.com. Initially, we thought it would be used by parents, but over the years we’ve learned it’s really a resource for schools and libraries.
More and more we’ve learned that teachers appreciate getting their students out of the daily routine and doing things that stretch their creativity muscles. I try and instill a simple message to students, “if you can tell a story, you can write a story”.
How do you come up with the themes for the contest each year?
I have a lot fun trying to think about what will appeal to students. The first few contests didn’t have a theme. Putting a theme out there helped teachers figure out how to build some sort of curriculum around the contest. Some of the themes about been Magic, Animals, Dragons, and Libraries. But this past year, I witnessed so many amazing students and teacher heroes making a difference in the world, that I thought it would be perfect for the 10th annual contest. So, the theme is Heroes!
Have you kept up with any of the past winners?
Indeed I have. We did a whole “where are they now” series for the 5th year of the contest. We learned that many students who won the contest went on to win other contests like the Scholastic and PBS writing contests, but ours was the first they ever entered. They said it gave them the confidence to be a writer. Parent and teachers have shared with us the impact it has had their children and students. Especially the confidence it built in the young writers.
What’s the most important message you can give a teacher for their students entering the contest?
Don’t be hindered by the grammar or punctuation. Get your ideas down first. Even drawing an image can help you get your story started.
Should schools with autistic students enter the contest?
Yes! This is a great contest for autistic students to enter. They have such great imaginations and we know that they’ll come up with some great stories about their heroes.
Here’s the important information!
The Be-a-Famous-Writer Contest opens on October 15 and close on December 15th.
The contest is free to enter! It’s for K-4 classrooms in the United States. Teachers can have their class either write it collaboratively, or have students write individually and then have their class vote on which entry to submit. There’s only 1 entry allowed per class. Teachers can find the rules on my contest page.
You’ll find some highlights about the contest in this video:
What are some of the rewards for winning classrooms?
I’ve rounded up more prizes than ever this year to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the contest! You can read about the details here.
Our sponsors, Mackin Educational Resources, Tales2GO, Powells Books, Flipgrid, and Buncee, will help fill the winning classrooms with books in every format, as well as some other technology that will help students be creative.
Past author judges are providing books and Simon and Schuster is too. There will be books from Chris Gabrenstein, Peter Reynolds, Josh Funk, Bonny Becker, and Shannon McClintock Miller. So many books for classrooms!
What are the next steps?
- Parents: Please share this post with your schools and advocate for your child’s classroom to participate.
- Teachers: I hope that you will add this to your teaching calendars and make it a part of your reading and literature arts activities.
Let’s work together to unlock the power of children’s imaginations through our Be-A-Famous-Writer contest!
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