Writing Competition

The class will show a range of tools to learn the nuances of controlled, purposeful writing, including figurative language, effective structuring, and specific forms. Students will work directly with both literary and media texts as they plan and write their own. This class will help students prepare for the following competitions: NY Times Opinion Editorial, Write the World: Poetry, and the Ocean Awareness Contest.

Designed For


Class Format

Class Schedule

As of February 2, 2021, the nation’s art and writing contest (Scholastic Art & Writing Awards) released their results for this academic year, and Aralia Academy students obtain a total of 38 awards, which contains 10 Gold Key Award, 8 Silver Key awards, 20 Honorable Mention Awards!

Most of the students who won the awards participated in writing projects and art programs, taught by Aralia’s writing and art teachers.

Gold Key Award

Silver Key Award

Honorable Mention Award




Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Competition Information:

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the longest-running, oldest, and most prestigious literary and art competition in the United States, aiming to find creative works and original technical skills by students in grades 7-12. Since 1923, the Academic Art and Writing Award has recognized the vision, originality, and talent of young people, and has provided opportunities and academic awards for creative young people to express their talent. The high school award is a symbol for the pursuit of excellence and will help students stand out in university applications and scholarship applications.

Every year, in about 29 art and writing categories, teenagers in grades 7-12 submit more than 330,000 art and writing works. The judges are composed of the most outstanding figures in the field, and they will evaluate and select regional and national awards, on a regional level and national level.

Competition Timeline: September 1st – December 20th, 2021

Suitable for students: American/Canadian students in grades 7-12, international students in American schools

Website: https://www.artandwriting.org/

Tutor Intro

Teacher P — Writing Competition Expert

  • Has 10 years of English teaching experience: Currently a supervisor for the English department at a top 3 public high school in Massachusetts while teaching IB Advanced English Literature and AP English Literature
  • Has extensive teaching experience in writing competitions. He has led students to participate and earn awards in well-known American writing competitions such as Scholastic Arts & Writing, New York Times Editorial Competition, and Ocean Awareness Competition.
  • He is senior IB and AP English teacher, with many years of teaching experience in AP English literature, SAT reading, and SAT writing and has helped many students get a perfect score of 5;
  • He graduated from the University of Connecticut with a master’s degree in English Education and was a visiting professor of the Early Childhood Education Program at the University of Connecticut.
Class Intro

Students will learn a variety of English writing methods, and they can choose to learn the preferred form of writing. In each class, students will write, discuss and analyze draft works together. The teacher will send reading materials before the beginning of each class.

By the end of the course, students will submit their writing work in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and will submit works in the following 3 categories:

  • Poetry: Not limited to prose poems, free poems, formal poems, song lyrics, and spoken language. (1-5 poems)
  • Critical Essay: Writing designed to help readers to understand or be informed about a particular idea or topic, such as art or media reviews, persuasive essays, opinion essays, etc. (500-3,000 words)
  • Science Fiction: Writing with themes of supernatural, magic, futurism, science, and technology.

Students will complete at least 3 writing works in this project and submit them to the Scholastic competition:

  • 2 or more poems
  • 1 short story (sci-fi genre)
  • 1 critical essay with notes
  • Author bibliography
Course Content




Course Intro

– Handing out course packet, questions

– Student introductions

– Overview of the Syllabus, contests, class expectations 

Introduction to Contemporary Poetry: Part 1

Poetry Pre-Writing Activities

– Devices in Poetry: Image (Lecture, Slides, Contest- specific Student Examples)

– Discussion: stanzas, lines, and the logic of a poem

– Prose poems

– In-Class Writing Prompt: three images (ekphrasis)

– Introduce Homework


Introduction to Contemporary Poetry: Part 2

– Sharing Student Work, presentation of Poetry Worksheet activities

– Lecture: Devices in Poetry: Sound (slides examples, reading aloud)

– In-Class editing activities (“Ask the Poem What it Wants”)

– In-Class Writing Activities: working with sound and syllable. Writing a poem in lines

– Titles—Brainstorming


Poetry Workshop

– Final Questions on Poetry

– Poetry Revision Worksheet + Small Group Workshop

Introduction to Science Fiction

– What is Sci-Fi & World Building? Lecture

– Activity: World Building + Sharing (20 mins + 5 mins)


Sci-Fi Short Stories

– Student presentations of sci-fi short stories

– Lecture/slides/discussion: The Stolen Party

– Guidelines: plot in the short story vs. novel (character as the root of plot, dramatic question, conflict, structure), Point of View

– Overview of types of conflict (Human vs. Human, Human vs. Nature, Individual vs. Self, Individual vs. Society.)


– Free write: character shortcoming + desire

– Activity: outlining your plot.

– Sharing in small groups


Science Fiction Writing Workshop

– Lecture & Revision Activities: Voice

– Importing the Lessons of Poetry into Fiction

– Revision Activities: Voice (reading aloud in pairs, editing.)

– Generative Writing Activities: Setting, Details, Perspective (Zoom in/Out)

Introduction to Critical Essays

– Reading examples

– Activity: Small group brainstorming


Critical Essay Workshop

– Overview of examples read for homework, time for questions

– Other activities TBD based on student interests

End of Class Activities:

– Reading aloud what we are proud of

– Setting Goals for the future

– Expectations for contest submissions, 1-1 meetings, etc.

– Explanation of the submission process for various competitions.

– Introduction to writing prompts for after the class


1:1 Instruction between student and teacher in a pre-arranged class. We will concentrate on 1 – 2 of the student pieces in greater detail. This class will be an hour long.


8-12 grades American, Canadian, Chinese, and overseas high school students.


After each class, the teacher will send course feedback, including course topics, homework and student progress.


Group lessons: 15 hours of classes, including 9 hours of group classes (90 minutes/class/week), and 6 hours of one-on-one classes (60 minutes/class, scheduled after the group sessions are completed) 

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