Poetic Power

A Creative Communication blog

Featured Student Writer: Lasarina Hope Webster

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Top Ten Winner Lasarina Webster was an 8-year-old in second grade at Kathleen H Ryerson Elementary School when she wrote her poem, “Color Mirage.”  This poem was selected as one of the ten best submitted for her age division in our Summer 2013 national poetry contest.  Lasarina is the oldest of four kids, and everyone in her family has red hair.

“My inspiration for the poem was ‘the way colors can describe feelings.’ To be completely honest, I came up with the idea that morning when my three-year-old brother was watching a show called Timmy’s Time and I caught a glimpse of it. That episode was about a mirage and I decided that I would write a poem about a mirage of colors and feelings…a ‘Color Mirage.'”

Lasarina would love to be a professional writer when she grows up.

To learn more about our national writing contests, visit www.poeticpower.com.

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Featured Teacher: Melissa Williamson

35Melissa Williamson is a teacher at Deerstream Learning Center in North Carolina.  Her student, Skylar O’Neal, was selected as a Top Ten Winner in our Spring 2013 essay contest.  The winning essay, “My Grandmother’s Mountain”, can be viewed here.  Melissa has had over 40 students accepted for publication since she first participated in our national writing contests in 2010.

We asked Melissa her thoughts on engaging student writers and what helps her to be successful in the classroom. She responded with the following:

“Engaging young writers can be tough. My main goal as I teach is to help my students find their writing voice. I want them to progress forward from emulating authors or producing what they think I want. Finding their individual writing voice is key. Some students like sarcasm while others like flowery wording. Descriptions for some students are matter of fact with specific details and others leave the reader with more room to imagine for themselves. Academic writing suits some personalities as others blossom with imagery and word pictures. No matter the style, once they find their voice they really begin to shine.

“I like to teach my 12-14 year-old students different aspects of writing beyond mere sentence structure. Some of the lessons they enjoy most have been writing with dialect, writing the same story from two different perspectives, and adding more to the ending of novels we read. I have also found that when it comes to teaching the mechanics of writing I prefer to use their own work. My students write responses to weekly journal prompts and I use those for our grammar exercises. Helping them transfer their book-knowledge to their own work can be challenging, but it is always exciting to see enlightened faces when they finally catch on.”

You can view Melissa’s personal homeschooling blog at http://gracefilledhomeschooling.blogspot.com.

To learn more about our national writing contests, visit www.poeticpower.com.

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Featured Student Writer: Madeline Marks

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world. — Harriet Tubman

Madeline MarksMadeline is currently in seventh grade at Strath Haven Middle School in Pennsylvania, but she wrote her essay, “Nature’s Family” during her sixth grade year.  Madeline enjoys playing basketball, volleyball, and golf, as well as the trombone and the piano. She loves these activities and enjoys every moment she spends taking part in them, but out of everything in her life, writing is the highlight.

“I cherish my love for writing, and winning this contest is very motivating.” Madeline explains, “My essay is about the necessity of unity, even in the smallest forms of life. Inspiration came to me from my love of beauty that isn’t seen in man-made structures. For me, the definition of beautiful isn’t something pretty — it’s the sparkling image of love, life and happiness.”

Madeline’s plans for the future are bold. She has already completed a full-length book of her poetry and is hoping to get it published soon. She is also currently working towards the completion of two more poetry books and one novel. Her number one dream is to run a publishing company that publishes children’s work, or in many cases, a publishing company that makes dreams come true.

To learn more about our national writing contests, visit www.poeticpower.com.

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