Aspiring authors in Danielle Haber’s second-grade class at William Floyd Elementary School recently took second place in the 9th Annual “Be a Famous Writer” contest sponsored by the literacy website, Mrs.P.com. For the contest, students were tasked with writing a 250-1,000 word short story focused on the contest theme, “dragon.” Working collaboratively, the imaginative students wrote, The Cursed Dragon, a tale about a prince named Leo who is cursed for being selfish and turned into a dragon; a burden he bears until he learns a valuable life lesson about putting others before himself in this heartwarming and humorous short story.
“My students spent time researching dragons, which they thoroughly enjoyed as it provided them the opportunity to delve into different genres of literature including fairy tales, fiction, non-fiction and myths,” said Ms. Haber. “They worked collaboratively to create a story that incorporated the unique ideas of each student in the class.”
Each entry was judged on originality, creativity, compelling narrative, humor, sense of adventure and the development of a theme or point of view. Contest judges included Josh Funk, best-selling author of Dear Dragon and It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk; Matthew Winner, elementary library media specialist and co-founder of the literacy podcast “All The Wonders;” and Mrs. P played by television actress Kathy Kinney. One judge commented, “I kept wanting to read and read to find out what would happen next and whether or not Leo would make the right choices.”
“This contest helped to instill a love of writing and sparked creativity in all of my students,” added Ms. Haber. “They are so proud of their story and truly feel accomplished as authors – even though they are only in the second grade! They are ready for the next contest!”
William Floyd Elementary School competed against other schools from 16 states across the nation including California, Texas, Virginia, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota and others, to earn this honor. For their efforts, the class received a copy of Our Story Begins by Elissa Brent Weissman, a book about the “fun, inspiring and occasionally ridiculous things” authors and illustrators wrote and drew as kids, as well as several boxes of beautifully illustrated books with music CDs from Cantata Learning.