Tuesday, October 29th: El Sistema Harvest Concert, in the new ESCS auditorium!

Join El Sistema Somerville for a fall celebration at their Fall Harvest Concert featuring folk, fiddle and fun music for the whole family! Concert will be held at the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross Street) from 5:30-7:00pm.  Entrance to this event is through the Pearl Street entrance to the building.


Free Online Songwriting Class begins next month

Unleash your inner poet: Berklee College of Music is offering a songwriting course at Coursera, where you can find lots of other free college-level classes. You might also find something fun on EdX. Feel free to share in the comments section if you find a course you love to keep you learning, exploring and growing over the summer.

Writing Contests for Youth in Grade 8 or under

from Alan Ball, tireless after-school club leader and above-and-beyond volunteer encouraging kids’ creative writing:


Students through Grade 8 :  Submit Poetry for Contest and Possible Publication. Prizes Announced.  Email entries to kid <at> 12zine.com

WANTED: POEMS. New Poems, or Poems You’ve Already Written, poems you wrote because you love to write, or poems you wrote for a school assignment.

Poems should be submitted by April 30, and voting will begin! Latecomers welcome but may miss some votes! Do it now! 

All poems entered will be put on the Kid! POETRY CONTEST WALL web page http://12zine.com/poetrycontest.html for everyone to read in April, which is National Poetry Month, and readers will vote for their favorites. Enter one or more, up to 5, of your best poems.  All poems must be your own original work. 

Besides the chance to be published, there are prize awards for the voted-best entries at all grade levels!  Email entries to kid <at> 12zine.com. Go to http://12zine.com/kid  to read the great magazine that is sponsoring this contest, and which will publish the winning poems!

Prizes for Poetry Contest Announced

Winners will receive Packs of Bonus Points That Can Be Used to Choose their Own Prize from the Writers’ Arcade selection (or save points toward bigger prizes). You also get the regular 1 point for 10 words published. http://12zine.com/prizecounter.html


Poetry prizes:


Voted blue ribbon (most votes overall, grand champ): 300 points (ONE winner)

Voted red ribbon (2nd most votes overall) 200 points (ONE winner)

Voted yellow ribbon (3rd most votes overall) 100 points (ONE winner)

Best in grade: 100 points each,  to the top vote-getter in each grade in which there is no blue, red or yellow ribbon winner, but at least 3 students who get votes (Up to 6 prizes of 100 points each)

Alternate best in grade will go to the 2nd top vote getter in each of those grades in which there is a ribbon winner and at least 4 vote-getters. (up to 3 prizes of 50 points each).


Writers’ Arcade gift examples with points needed to claim:

$25 Gift Card to Store of Your Choice (300 points)

$15 Gift Card to Store of Your Choice (175 points)

$10 Gift Card to Store of Your Choice (125 points)

Movie Ticket Pack for 2 (6th – 8th graders only) (250 points)

Cub reporter bear (100 points)

World’s cutest dog (250 points)

Save points for bigger prizes: Digital cameras starting at 600 points, Kindle readers starting at 600 points. No time limit.


You always get 1 point for every 10 words published in Kid! magazine. The Writers’ Arcade offers a large variety of gifts starting at 10 points, including offbeat as well as practical things!!!!


Reminder: FICTION Contest, Deadline May 15, 2013. Awards to be announced.




Raising a Bilingual Child

A couple of weeks ago I dropped in at the annual conference of the Linguistic Society of America in Copley Square. Linguists were talking about writing more for the general public, and one book I wanted to share is a comprehensive and accessible title called: Raising a Bilingual Child or Consique que tu Hijo sea Bilingüe by Barbara Zurer Pearson. The advice is probably even more than one needs, and applies no matter which two languages your family wants to use.

Bilingualreaders is a good source for bilingual Spanish/English books. At Christmastime I was able to find bilingual Haitian Creole/English books at Schoenhof’s in Harvard Square.

Where do you like to find educational bilingual resources?

Colleges that Change Lives

I borrowed the 2000 edition of this book from my public library, but based on a peek inside the table of contents of Colleges that Change Lives, it looks like the list of forty superb yet not-so-selective colleges remains pretty much the same for the 2012 version (perhaps because after the book first came out, the colleges Loren Pope identified committed themselves to maintain the excellence). I know impressive graduates from several of these colleges, like colleagues who went to Hampshire, Clark, Wheaton, and St. Olaf; other friends who are artists who went to Hampshire, Clark, Kalamazoo and Reed; a musician from Rhodes. I love the premise that you can get a better-than-Ivy preparation at these small colleges that really want you even if you’re not an A-student. The author also spends a chapter on learning differences and suggests that you should let the college know when you apply if you have a diagnosed learning difference. I know folks who have done so and folks who have not. How did it work out? If you are still pre-collegiate with a learning difference, what do you think you of this advice?

Although you can learn a great deal from the website, I would suggest reading the book for tidbits like which two are the most “intellectual” in the U.S. or which one has produced more scientists than Princeton for about 80 years.