Coming of Age in 2020: A Special Multimedia Contest for Teenagers in the U.S.

Coming of Age in 2020: A Special Multimedia Contest for Teenagers in the U.S.

This tumultuous year has changed us all, but perhaps no generation has been more affected than yours. Teenagers are experiencing their formative years trapped inside and missing — or reinventing — milestones while a pandemic rages, an economic collapse threatens, the 2020 election looms, school as you once knew it has ceased to exist, and civics lessons in books have shifted to “civics lessons in the streets” as young people participate in what may be the largest protest movement in U.S. history.

The NYT’s want to hear about your experiences, in whatever way you want to tell them — whether in words or images, audio or video. This is their first-ever multimedia contest, essentially a challenge to document what you’re living through, and express yourself creatively on any aspect, large or small, that you think is important or interesting. For instance:

  • Maybe you already have images on your camera roll that say something meaningful or poignant or funny or profound about your life this year.

  • Maybe you’ve kept a diary or sketchbook — or texts, emails or handwritten letters — that can show what you’ve experienced.

  • Or, maybe you’d like to make something new, whether an essay, poem, song, cartoon, illustration, graph, video or podcast. We’ll accept nearly anything you can upload digitally.

No matter what format you choose, trust us: Even if you don’t think you have something to say, you do. There are stories only you can tell.

Here’s what you need to know:

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

3rd Annual New York Times Podcast Contest

3rd Annual New York Times Podcast Contest

Awesome opportunity via the NYT/The Learning Network:

“We are running our Third Annual Podcast Contest right now for middle and high school students until May 19. To enter, students should submit a five-minute podcast on any subject they want, including sports, music, politics and literature. They can work individually or as a team, and they can create their podcasts from home.

If you’re not sure how to get started with podcasting, we just published two new resources that can help: our Podcasting Unit and our Podcasting Mentor Text. Each provides a step-by-step guide for creating an original podcast, and we offer 23 winning student podcasts as models.

Sign up for our free webinar on April 29 to help you learn more about our podcast contest and podcasting in general. After all, podcasting is a great way for students to strengthen their writing, research and digital media skills.”

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

Free Digital Access to The New York Times Until July 6

Free Digital Access to The New York Times Until July 6

Starting this week, all high school students and teachers in the United States can get free digital access to The New York Times until July 6. If you want to sign up here’s how.

And…20 ways the paper can keep you entertained and informed. Hint: you can use it to explore your academic interests!

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

The One Prize That Matters Most

Life is not a contest, and the world is not an arena. Just by being here, unique among all others, offering contributions that no one else can give, you have already won the one prize that matters most.

I read an interesting Opinion piece in the Times the other day, that ended with the quote above. The title, “Let’s Hear It for the Average Child” confused me a bit, because there is nothing presented that shouts “average” to me, and I don’t see how being a student “whose talents lie outside the arena” makes one at all “average,” however average is defined (which is not clear in this piece).

But I “get it” and love the overarching message: you don’t need to be an award-winning, straight-A-getter, popular, all-subjects-enjoying, all-star athlete. Often, student’s whose gifts don’t translate to how society rewards them are the biggest “winners” of all.

It’s too bad we don’t more often—and outwardly—award students who are kind, compassionate, empathetic, self-aware, reflective and who have developed an understanding of how the world works on a deeper level. The students who get that it’s not all about their grades, or their resume, or where they go to college. In fact, it’s not even all about them.

I can’t wait for the day that colleges seek to measure and reward Margaret Renkl‘s “average” student. Until then, I’ll keep encouraging students to do the best they can in school but also to actively pursue their genuine interests, whatever they are, and engage with their communities (home, school, online, wherever they find and develop them!) in a positive and meaningful way. School is a central, significant part of your life in your teens and twenties, but it is not who you are, and it does not define you. 

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe*

 

My Weekly Reads: Top 5

 

Awkward teens (and 20- and 30-somethings) rejoice. Study finds that it might take 63 years, but you will, eventually, shed all traces of your awkward middle-school self. (Fast Company)

Adderall usage by individuals without attention deficit is out of control. Fast Company reminds us we have the power to control our brains, sans meds. (Fast Company)

Diverse Hollywood, in NYC? Steiner Studio lot at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is surprisingly under the radar. It costs a third of most other film schools—$18,400 a year—and part of its mission is to admit women and minorities whose stories aren’t usually told. (New York Times)

And the award for the most unsatisfying industry to work in post-college goes to anything in finance (kind of). Meanwhile, in self-reported data from more than 13,000 recently graduated college students, such industries as technology, biotechnology, consulting, and arts, media, and entertainment top a list of “job satisfaction” ratings. Consulting -> we agree! (Poets & Quants)

Depression strikes today’s teen girls especially hard, and I see this firsthand in my work with high school students as they prepare and apply to college. Brains constantly “on-tech,” and in particular social media, may not be helping, but talking about it and identifying symptoms of depression early on can help teens get back on the right track. (NPR)

Michael Bloomberg on How to Succeed in Business (and Life?)

This is a fun, honest read. Particularly relevant to this blog is the first section, Choosing a College, in which he says:

Nobody remembers where you went to school. The first job they may ask, by the third job they won’t remember to. People put too much emphasis on that. It’s much more important that you go to a place where you fit in and which has decent academics. People say they can’t afford a college? My parents took out a mortgage, I had a job every summer working in a faculty parking lot. Then I got lucky, Sputnik was launched and the government created national defense loans.

Given the article’s emphasis on education, Bloomberg even goes on to comment on the MBA, and that it matters, but….:

The part that’s most important in an education is how to deal with people. There’s no job I know that you do by yourself, and I learned as much from the two guys I worked for at Salomon Brothers, Billy Salomon and John Gutfreund, as I’d learned at Harvard. In the end, it’s people skills that you need. Whether you remember that Columbus arrived in 1492 or not — a lot of the facts you memorize are immaterial.

Read the full article online!

Using the Modern Love Podcast to Teach Narrative Writing

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, but applicable all year ’round, here is an idea from Kinana Qaddour for using the popular Times podcast to encourage narrative writing.

Modern Love is a series of weekly reader-submitted essays that explore the joys and tribulations of love. Each week, an actor also reads one of the essays in a podcast. Though the stories are often about romantic love, they also take on love of family, friends, and even pets. This teacher finds their themes universal and the range of essays engaging models to help her students find their own voices.

In my work, I have found that most students have little or no experience writing personal narratives, which they need to write for the personal statement/Common Application essay requirement when applying to college. Naturally, I love this idea—so give it a read and share with a teacher who may find it useful!

The Plague of ‘Early Decision’

 

Another great article by Frank Bruni on the craziness of college admissions, specifically, early decision.

But what worries me more is how the early-application process intensifies much of what’s perverse about college admissions today: the anxiety-fueling, disappointment-seeding sense that one school above all others glimmers in the distance as the perfect prize; the assessment of the most exclusive environments as, ipso facto, the superior ones.

That’s hooey, but it’s stubborn hooey, as the early-application vogue demonstrates.

Worth a read here!

Text to Text: John Milton’s ‘When I Consider How My Light Is Spent’ and ‘Today’s Exhausted Superkids’

 

Right now, many students are entering the final college-application sprint. They’re wondering Are they enough? about their lists of accomplishments. Some may even be wondering Is it worth it? about college at all.

Centuries ago, the poet John Milton wondered how best to live his life as he went blind. In his sonnet “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent,” he contemplates his condition. While for him, the “light” he spends is literal — he was completely blind by age 42 — he uses it metaphorically to meditate on what it means to really live.

In this Text-to-Text they pair Milton’s poem with Frank Bruni’s Op-Ed “Today’s Exhausted Superkids,” which discusses the high costs of following the narrowly defined and proscribed path to an elite college.

This a thoughtful read for parents and students alike, or really, anyone working with adolescents today. Check it out here!!!

NYT Student Contest – Write a Rap About the News of 2016

For the sixth year in a row, 13 to 19 years old anywhere in the world are invited to write a rap about the news that mattered most to them this year.

So whether you choose international or national news, politics or education, sports, science or technology, the arts or fashion,  post your entry by 7 a.m. Eastern on Jan. 10, 2017. Then, the educational hip-hop experts at Flocabulary, our annual partner for this contest, will choose their favorite rhymes to publish both here and on their site.

Read more here!