Writing Competition

Students in grade 8-12 wanting to learn how to shape their written English into effective and publishable creative pieces will find this particular Writing Competition course very exciting.
Designed for

Student who would like to participate in writing competitions


Grade 8-12

Class format

One-on-one and small group (Max. 7 students/class)

Class introduction

The class will be shown a range of tools to learn the nuances of controlled, purposeful writing, including figurative language, effective structuring, and specific forms they will apply to their pieces. Students will work directly with literary and media texts as they plan and write their own. This class will help students write to purpose and for an audience as they produce pieces for the following competitions: Write the World: Editorial, NY Times Opinion Editorial, and the Ocean Awareness contest.

The students will produce three fully-polished pieces built around the requirements of the competitions, with an end goal of submitting to three competitions. For the Write the World contest, hosted and run by Harvard University, the students will produce an opinion editorial about a topic of their choice, embedding a new voice into a current debate. They will craft 600-1000 words around this topic. Then, they will take that piece and reshape it for the NY Times Student Editorial competition. This includes cutting it back to 500 words or less and synthesizing it to its central essence by maintaining the most poignant imagery. For the Ocean Awareness contest, students will shift their voices to create a piece of positive climate change messaging dedicated to a specific theme: “Climate heroes in action.” This will enable them to develop a unique voice within a very well-known (and at times over-wrought) debate. Students can write this particular piece in whichever form seems best suited to their chosen research topic (excluding poetry).


After completing the course, students are expected to reach the following goals:
Submit one individual piece of writing (two opinion editorials (one short, one long) and a piece of prose form of the student’s choice) to each competition: NY Times Opinion Editorial, Write the World: Editorial, and Ocean Awareness. Three pieces are to be written in total.

Skills that will be developed:

  • Analysis and reading skills – students will read and analyze professionally published pieces to learn techniques to develop their voices as writers, and to uncover topics/content that is fresh, imaginative, and publishable.
  • Writing skills – students will learn to use new forms and craft language into meaningful text for audience and purpose. They will develop a multifaceted portfolio of nonfiction, fiction, and poetic writing.
  • Spoken/oral skills – students will present their ideas to the rest of the class, concisely disseminating information and providing/taking in feedback during workshops.
Course Content
  • The New York Times and other media outlets online
  • Previous winning pieces from all competitions will be reviewed
1Introduction to Competitions, finding topics and understanding debates
2Opinion Editorials – Structure and Central Arguments (Write the World)
3Opinion Editorials – Counter Arguments and Rhetorical Devices (Write the World)
4Opinion Editorial: Write the World – workshop/peer review session in the first hour of class. Learn how to write bibliographies. NY Times: reshaping piece/combining and condensing to competition requirement
5NY Times: reshaping piece/combining and condensing to competition requirement. Ocean Awareness – understanding the competition topic (Climate Heroes in Action) and discussing possibilities for topics
6Ocean Awareness – Shaping topics into appropriate forms and structure
7Ocean Awareness – Crafting effective language and Writing Reflections (A required part of the submission)
8Ocean Awareness – Workshopping lesson, content TBD based on needs of students. 1-1 sessions with Angie in break-out rooms. We may spend the whole time on reflections if necessary

Students and their parents will receive brief feedback after each class, via Teachworks, regarding the student’s general participation in class. Students will also receive feedback on graded assignments via email. Individual writing assignments will receive continual and extensive on text feedback from the teacher as well as peer feedback. At the end of the course, the student will receive a final report card, which thoroughly speaks to their overall participation in the course, including major assignments. Please note that if students do not keep up with the course schedule, producing drafts at the scheduled times for Angie’s comprehensive feedback, they will not receive feedback unless they purchase additional 1-1 classes.


8 group classes (2 hours/class), 16 hours in total

Need to prepare?

To best prepare for this program, we recommend reading:

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