Writing Contests

6 Apr

The Kate Herzog Scholarship is currently accepting submissions! The contest is open to high school seniors writing in any genre: memoir, fiction, essay, poetry, etc. This is a great opportunity to practice submitting work and potentially win a cash prize, as well as gain entry at the Willamette Writers’ Conference. Check out the Willamette Writers’ website for more information.

Writing Scholarship Opportunity

10 Feb

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility announced their 7th annual Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship. Any 11th or 12th grade Oregon high school student may submit an original essay, poem, or narrative work (max 600 words). The deadline is Monday, Mar 16th. The first prize winner will receive a scholarship award of $1,000, the second $750 and the third $500. Oregon PSR will host an awards ceremony on Friday, Apr 24th at 6:00 PM at the Ecotrust Building.

Students are asked to respond to the following prompt:

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.” –Malala Yousafzai, age 17, recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

What do you see as the role of education in creating a more just and peaceful world?

For more details go to http://www.psr.org/chapters/oregon/events/2015-greenfield-peace-writing.html

Finals are here!

28 Jan

It’s true: finals have begun! Everyone is hard at work studying their note cards, polishing essays, and perfecting outlines for in class essays and presentations. A little stressed? That’s understandable; finals are hard!

Here are some last minute tips to help you prepare:

–>Many students have been stopping by to work on outlines for in class essays. If you are allowed to prepare an outline, super! Take advantage of this opportunity to completely plan out your essay. Most important: thesis statement and quotations/pieces of evidence. You don’t want to be stuck during your final trying to brainstorm an argument, nor do you want to be floundering to line up examples for your well-thought out thesis. If you have time: do a practice essay at home with your outline. Give yourself an hour to see how much you can write out. Then you can revise your outline based on where you got stuck, or what you found to be the weakest part.

Even if you are not allowed to bring in an outline, generating some thesis ideas and supporting evidence for the works you’ve read in class can go a long way to helping you when test-time comes around. Better yet, stop by the Writing Center for a last minute chat and help brainstorming thesis ideas!

–>Other classes are focused on a final essay instead of an in-class writing assignment. If you’ve already had to turn in a rough draft to your teacher, my number one suggestion is revise, revise, revise! If you understand the difference between revising and editing your paper, you’ll probably be in better shape when it is time to turn in your paper.

Remember: revising means making significant changes to the overall clarity and effectiveness of your argument. Editing instead focuses on smoothing over grammar and conventions, but does not address larger issues. Make sure you are revising your rough drafts to arrive at a final draft that is effectively argued, organized, and clearly communicated.

Good luck, everyone!

Winter Break is Coming . . .

18 Dec

We’re just a day away from Winter Break, when all the essays will be turned in and all the tests taken. If you are looking to get some good reading done over the holidays (that’s not for school, of course), consider checking out these titles:

Want something . . .

–>quirky and mysterious? Then try Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore or Girl Factory.

–>light-hearted and lyrical? Check out Glaciers.

–> fantastical and thrilling? Grab The City and The City or The Martian.

–>new, notable and award-worthy from 2014? Pick up All the Light We Cannot See, The Bone Clocksor Lila.

You can always just head out to your favorite bookstore (mine is Mother Foucault’s on SE Morrison) and browse the shelves for whatever catches your eye!

Have a great break, and happy reading everyone!

Big Changes Happening

17 Dec

If you’ve been in the library lately, you might have noticed some big changes happening. The Writing Center has officially moved into a new home, in the old technology office next to the library computer lab! We are so happy to have a quiet new space filled with writing resources. Please come by and visit!

WITS Anthology Reading Tonight!

9 Dec

Writers in the Schools is a wonderful creative writing program run by local non-profit Literary Arts. Every year they published an anthology of work from all the students who take part in the program from Portland Public Schools across the district. Check out this show case of student work from the 2013-2014 WITS classes, including student fiction, poetry, drama, and comics! It happens tonight, at Powell’s City of Books on E Burnside, at 7:30.

Tips for staying on top of papers

4 Dec

As the final weeks of school wind down before Holiday break, papers are starting to build up. Here are some easy tips for staying on top of the last push of work before vacation:

–>Stay organized: write down all due dates for each assignment when you get them (including outlines, first drafts, etc.). Don’t have an outline due? Set your own deadline well before the final draft is due! Setting goals will help ensure you start working early enough.

–>Brainstorm brainstorm brainstorm! You’ll be better prepared to write if you jot down some ideas when you get your assignment. All it takes is 5-10 minutes to get some notes down.

–>Figured out what you are writing about? Put an outline together! This can take many forms: it can be a detailed dissection of topic sentences, evidence, and analysis; or, it can be a more simple framework of your thesis and pieces of evidence. Outlines come in many forms, so make sure you are creating one that works for you.

–>Start writing! I find it easiest to not start with your introduction. Usually it takes writing out your body paragraphs to really understand what you are writing about. So don’t stress about that pesky introduction, get to the meat of things

–>Still finding it hard to get started still? Back away from the computer and talk it out. If you can explain to yourself why you’ve chosen a specific evidence, write down those words! Don’t worry about making everything perfect; the first draft is about getting the rough ideas and words on the paper.

–>If possible, get a draft finished with enough time to let it sit a day or two before looking it over. Getting some distance from your own writing will help you be a more effective and productive editor.

–>Last, but not least, swing by the Writing Center and get another pair of eyes on your paper. You’ll want to make sure your final draft is clean and polished.

Oh, and make sure to relax after you’ve turned it in. Writing papers is tough work, you deserve a break!

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