Extra Credit

February 01, 1995 30 min read


  • Open. Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps seeks teachers of all grade levels and subject areas who are willing to serve as volunteers in countries around the world. Volunteers teach math, English as a second language, special education, teacher training, or a variety of other subjects. Individuals must be willing to commit two years, which includes a three-month training period; all expenses are paid during the period of service. A readjustment allowance of $5,400, academic credit, deferment of federal loans, and job-hunting assistance following the service are also offered. Volunteers must be U.S. citizens in excellent health. For more information, contact: The Peace Corps; (800) 424-8580.

February 1. Science.

The Wright Center for Science Education at Tufts University invites high school science teachers to apply for its yearlong fellowship-in-residency program. The fellowship, which extends from Sept. 1, 1995, to June 30, 1996, allows teachers to pursue science-related projects of their choice. Two to five teachers with the best proposals will be granted a travel stipend, a $35,000 salary, and benefits through Tufts University. Contact: The Wright Center for Science Education, Tufts University, 4 Colby St., Medford, MA 02155; (617) 628-5000, ext. 5394.

February 15. English/Language Arts.

The National Council of Teachers of English offers its members two grant opportunities for research: the Grant-In-Aid program and the Teacher-Researcher Program. The first awards up to $12,500 to professional researchers, including graduate students, conducting dissertations on an English or language arts topic. The second offers preK-14 teachers research grants of up to $2,500. The number of grant winners in both categories will be decided in April. Contact: NCTE, 1111 W. Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096; (217) 328-3870.

February 15. Space Camp.

NASA and the National Science Teachers Association offer the NASA Educational Workshops for Elementary Teachers and the NASA Educational Workshops for Math, Science, and Technology Teachers. The first is geared for teachers of grades K-6, the second, teachers of grades 7-12. The two-week workshops will be held at various NASA centers located across the United States during the summer of 1995. They are designed to help teachers take a multidisciplinary, “real world’’ approach to teaching about space, math, science, and technology. One hundred fifteen teachers will be selected for the elementary workshops and 100 for the secondary. Those chosen receive travel stipends, room and board for the two-week session, and graduate credit from Oklahoma State University. Applicants must be full-time teachers with at least five years’ teaching experience. For more information, contact: NSTA, NEWEST/NEWMAST Programs, 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201; (703) 243-7100.

  • March 1. Math And Science.

The National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, in conjunction with the National Education Association, invites teams of elementary and middle school teachers to apply for the Student Success Grants. Each team must create a proposal for helping students who are below grade level in math and science. Teams must be schoolwide, teacher-led, and include one administrator. Ten winning teams receive up to $15,000 each over a two-year period. Contact: NFIE, 1201 16th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 822-7840.

  • March 1. Technology.

The National Foundation for the Improvement of Education and Microsoft founder Bill Gates invite teams of educators and community workers to apply for grants through the Road Ahead Program. Teams must design innovative, technology-infused programs that link in-school and after-school learning for underserved children. The five-member teams must include a public school teacher, a public school administrator, a staff member of an after-school program, and a staff member of a community-based organization. Twenty-two teams receive grants of $30,000 each for two years. Contact: NFIE, 1201 16th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 822-7840.

  • March 1. Humanities.

The National Endowment for the Humanities offers its 1995 summer seminars for teachers. Groups of 15 teachers spend four, five, or six weeks studying a particular humanities topic with a distinguished scholar. All participating teachers receive a stipend of up to $3,200 to cover travel costs, books, and living expenses. Priority will be given to applications from full-time teachers of grades 7-12, although other K-12 school employees are also invited to apply. For information on this year’s seminar topics, contact: Summer Seminars for School Teachers, Division of Fellowships and Seminars, Room 316, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20506.

March 1. U.S. Constitution.

The James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation awards fellowships to teachers or prospective teachers. Each $24,000 award supports full- or part-time graduate study leading to a master’s degree in American history, political science, or education, with a concentration on the U.S. Constitution. Eligible are grade 7-12 teachers of American history, American government, and social studies, as well as recent college graduates who plan to teach the same subjects. Fellowships will be awarded to at least one recipient from each state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and, taken together, the other U.S. territories. Contact: James Madison Memorial Fellowship Program, P.O. Box 4030, Iowa City, IA 52243-4030; (800) 525-6928.

  • March 6. Field Research.

Earthwatch, a nonprofit organization that supports scientists worldwide, offers a fellowship program for K-12 teachers interested in working on one of approximately 160 field research projects. Affiliated projects in such subject areas as zoology, art, health care, or archaeology are under way in 22 U.S. states and more than 60 countries. Most fellowship expeditions last about two weeks. More than 10 teachers receive grants that cover the entire cost of an expedition; partial fellowships are also available. For more information, contact: Earthwatch, 680 Mt. Auburn St., Box 403ED, Watertown, MA 02272; (800) 776-0188.


  • February 1. Television.

The Discovery Network invites K-12 teachers to enter its 1995 Teacher Recognition Program. Ten educators who have found the most creative way to use either Assignment Discovery or TLC Elementary School in the classroom will win a JVC video camcorder and a plaque. Winning projects will be profiled on the respective program. For more information, contact: Education Department, Discovery Communications Inc., 7700 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814-3579; (301) 986-1999.

February 1. Media Centers.

Follett Software Co. and the American Association of School Librarians invite applications for the 1995 Microcomputer in the Media Center Award. Applicants must be school media specialists and AASL members who have innovatively used MS-DOS or Macintosh desktop hardware to bring information technology to their schools’ media centers. The winner receives a $1,000 cash award, $500 for his or her media center, and an all-expenses-paid trip to the American Library Association’s 1995 annual meeting in June. Contact: AASL, 50 E. Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611; (800) 545-2433, ext. 4381.

  • March 1. Arts Education.

Heldref Publications offers two prizes for articles written about arts education. The 1995 Young Writers Award will go to the best article on any aspect of K-12 arts education written by a teacher under the age of 35; the winner receives a $500 cash award. The 1995 Reston Prize will be awarded to the best article analyzing the relationship between precollegiate and collegiate arts education; the writer receives a $1,000 cash award. Manuscripts should be previously unpublished and between 3,500 and 4,500 words in length. Contact: Arts Education Policy Review Com-petitions, Heldref Publications, 1319 18th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036-1802; (202) 296-6267; fax (202) 296-5149.

  • March 1. Hall Of Fame.

The National Teachers Hall of Fame invites applications for its fourth annual Teacher Induction Program. Designed to honor outstanding teachers, the program asks candidates to submit a completed application, personal statement, and five letters of support. Five teachers will be selected for induction into the hall of fame, which is located in Emporia, Kan. Eligible are active or retired certified K-12 teachers with at least 15 years’ classroom experience in a public or private school. For an official application form, contact: The National Teachers Hall of Fame, 1320 C of E Drive, Emporia, KS 66801; (800) 96-TEACH; fax (316) 341-5744.

  • March 1. Chemistry.

The Polymer Education Committee of the American Chemical Society invites junior high and high school science teachers to apply for the 1995 Award for Excellence in Polymer Education. Teachers will be judged on their innovative uses of classroom and laboratory activities that promote polymer chemistry and their efforts to encourage other teachers to explore polymer chemistry. One national winner and several runners-up each receive a cash award and a set of polymer chemistry materials for the classroom. Contact: Polymer Education Coordinator, Miami University--Middletown, 4200 E. University Blvd., Middletown, OH 45042; (513) 424-4444, ext. 368.

  • March 15. Biology.

The National Association of Biology Teachers invites nominations for the 1995 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award. Students, colleagues, or administrators may nominate any biology teacher of grades 7-12; teachers may also nominate themselves. One teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the overseas territories combined will be named. Each will receive a pair of precision binoculars. Contact: NABT, 11250 Roger Bacon Drive, #19, Reston, VA 22090; (703) 471-1134.

  • April 17. Principals.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals invites applications for the 1996 Principal of the Year. Outstanding private and public school principals of grades 6-12 who involve their teachers, students, and communities in educational improvement are eligible. First, a principal of the year will be selected for each state; the winners of that competition will then compete for the national title. Contact: NASSP, 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091; (703) 860-0200.

  • May 1. Science.

The Mr. Wizard Foundation seeks outstanding elementary science teachers to appear on the television program Teacher to Teacher with Mr. Wizard. The series features candid, in-depth profiles of teachers who use hands-on, inquiry-based techniques to teach science in the classroom. Teachers may nominate colleagues or themselves. Each nomination must include a one- to two-page essay that describes the candidate, explains a particular science unit and the techniques the teacher used, and shows evidence of school support. Teachers who are selected will have the lessons videotaped in their classroom during the spring of 1995 or during the 1995-96 school year. Contact: Mr. Wizard Foundation, 44800 Helm St., Plymouth, MI 48170; (313) 416-1840.


  • Open. Education Journal.

The Journal for a Just and Caring Education, a new interdisciplinary publication, invites unsolicited manuscripts on any relevant educational topic. The journal’s underlying assumption is that all children deserve a safe and nurturing learning environment; it was created to provide a forum for educators and experts on school law, administration, and social issues. For writer’s guidelines, contact: Journal for a Just and Caring Education, Northern Virginia Graduate Center, College of Education, 2990 Telestar Court, Falls Church, VA 22042-1287; (703) 698-6051.

  • February 15. Tolerance.

The Southern Poverty Law Center invites teachers who work to instill the values of tolerance, fairness, and cooperation in young children to share their success stories. Selected stories will be featured in an upcoming video profiling educators who show students how to get along. Teachers should send their stories, along with their name, address, and telephone number, to: Margie McGovern Films, 1498 Dolores St., San Francisco, CA 94110; (415) 641-6100; fax (415) 641-6200.

  • March 1. Spaces For Children.

Children’s Environments, an international journal, seeks papers, book reviews, commentaries, announcements, and other relevant pieces of writing on the topic, “Environments for Play: Recreation and Informal Learning.’' For manuscript guidelines, contact: Children’s Environments Research Group, City University of New York Graduate School and University Center, 33 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036; (212) 642-2970.


Following is a list of free or inexpensive resources that teachers can order.

Foreign Exchange.

The American Institute for Foreign Study Foundation, an organization that arranges international exchange programs, has published Innocents at Home: American Students and Overseas Study, by Denis Doyle. This 41-page booklet proposes ways to increase participation in study-abroad programs. It emphasizes the importance of foreign language study in elementary and secondary schools and documents the economic advantages of studying abroad. Cost: $4.50. Contact: AIFS Foundation, Greenwich Office Park #1, 51 Weaver St., Greenwich, CT 06831-5119; (203) 625-5400.


Scholastic Inc. offers the Scholastic Atlas of Exploration, by Dinah Starkey. The 64-page, full-color hardback book is designed to teach children in grades 3-8 about explorers, from the vikings to the Apollo astronauts. The text is accompanied by maps, illustrations, diagrams, and photographs. Cost: $14.95. Contact: Scholastic Inc., 555 Broadway, New York, NY 10012.

Foreign Languages.

Global Blocks Inc., a toy and book manufacturer, has published a series of what it calls Flip

  • It Books to teach children French, Spanish, and English. Each 4-by-5-inch, spiral-bound book allows students in grades K-2 to flip up the top or bottom half of the pages to learn numbers, colors, and other objects in French, Spanish, or English. Cost: $5.95 each. Contact: Global Blocks Inc., 10121 Laurel Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347-3048; (800) 766-1669, ext. 4993.


Heinemann, a publishing company, has released a new book for middle and high school teachers titled Connecting With the Past: History Workshops in Middle and High Schools, by Cynthia Stokes Brown. The 120-page paperback includes numerous ideas for activities designed to engage students in the study of historic events. Cost: $17. Contact: Heinemann, 361 Hanover St., Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912; (603) 431-7894; (800) 541-2086.

Science Projects.

TAB Books has published a series of paperbacks to help elementary and middle school students organize science fair projects. Each 160-page book contains 49 project ideas. The book topics are: microbiology, insect biology, earth science, botany, environmental science, space and astronomy, and computers. Each project description includes background information, a list of materials, step-by-step instructions, black-and-white illustrations, and suggestions for further research. Cost: $9.95 each. Contact: TAB Books, McGraw-Hill Inc., Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294-0850; (800) 822-8158.


Meadowbrook Press has published the 18th edition of Free Stuff For Kids, the 104-page paperback of educational and fun “stuff’’ kids can get through the mail for a dollar or less, such as bookmarks, patches, stickers, pamphlets, key chains, and more. Book categories include sports, history, cartoon characters, science, health, and disabilities, among others. Cost: $5, plus $2 shipping and handling. Contact: Meadowbrook Press, 18318 Minnetonka Blvd., Deephaven, MN 55391; (800) 338-2232.

Fire Safety.

BIC Corp. offers Play Safe! Be Safe!, a fire-safety kit for teachers of children ages 3-5. The kit includes a comprehensive 50-page teachers’ manual and resource book, a 20-minute video, 20 color flash cards for class discussion, a card game reinforcing the dangers of lighters and matches, and more. Cost: $9.95. (BIC will donate kits to schools that can’t afford to buy them.) Contact: Children’s Fire Safety Education Program, BIC Corp., 500 BIC Drive, Milford, CT 06460; (203) 783-2110.

Women’s History.

The National Women’s History Proj-ect offers teachers of grades K-12 a 48-page catalog of resources for teaching about women’s achievements in math, science, literature, the arts, and other areas. Materials available include posters, games, videos, lunch-tray liners, and more. Cost: $1. Contact: National Women’s History Project, 7738 Bell Road, Dept. P, Windsor, CA 95492; (707) 838-6000.


The Stuttering Foundation of America offers a free brochure, The Child Who Stutters at School: Notes to the Teacher. The brochure, written by speech-language pathologist Dean Williams, contains specific advice to teachers on how they can best help a child who stutters in the classroom. For the free brochure and nationwide resource list, contact: The Stuttering Foundation of America, P.O. Box 11749, Memphis, TN 38111-0749; (800) 967-7700.


The Educational Services Department of the National Air and Space Museum has published a new curriculum guide, Challenges for Space Explorers. The 115-page handbook provides activities for students in grades 4-12 about living and working in space. Topics include hydroponics, cosmic radiation, and muscle deconditioning, among others. The guide is free, but educators are limited to one a piece. Contact: National Air and Space Museum, Educational Services Department, MRC 305, Code 0024, Educational Service Center, Washington, DC 20560; (202) 786-2109.

American Heroes.

Scholastic Press has published a new book titled Famous Americans: 22 Short Plays for the Classroom. The 200-page book, suitable for students in grades 4-8, highlights a range of heroes from American history, including Ben Franklin, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Langston Hughes, Neil Armstrong, Nellie Bly, and Jackie Robinson. The volume also offers classroom lesson plans, performance ideas, and tips on how to draw out quieter students. Cost: $16.95. Contact: Scholastic Inc., 2931 E. McCarty St., Jefferson City, MO 65102; (800) 325-6149.

Schoolwide Projects.

The U.S. Department of Education is distributing free of charge a new document titled Implementing Schoolwide Projects: An Idea Book. Successful teachers and administrators describe strategies for planning projects, pooling resources, developing high standards, and boosting parental involvement. Contact: Planning and Evaluation Service, U.S. Department of Education, 600 Independence Ave., S.W., Room 4162, Washington, DC 20202.


The World Resources Institute, a policy research organization, offers its 1994 Teacher’s Guide to World Resources. The 160-page publication, which is best suited for high school students, includes student handouts, enrichment activities, charts, and maps on environmental topics such as the global impact of India and China and the environmental effects of automobiles. Cost: $19.95. Contact: WRI Publications, P.O. Box 4852, Hampden Station, Baltimore, MD 21211; (800) 822-0504.


Playing It Safe, a national nonprofit safety program, offers a set of 30 flash cards designed to teach children ages 3-7 safe reactions to potentially dangerous situations. Teachers read a question on the back of each card and then ask their students, “What is the safest thing to do?’' Cost: $9.95. Contact: Playing It Safe, 123 Eileen Way, Syosset, NY 11791; (800) PLAY-IT-SAFE.

Holiday Activities.

Teacher Ideas Press has published a new book titled From Pumpkin Time to Valentine for teachers of grades 1-5. This 131-page reproducible paperback offers classroom activities for Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Activities include descriptive writing exercises, math lessons, tongue twisters, and historical tidbits. Cost: $17.50. Contact: Teacher Ideas Press/Libraries Unlimited, P.O. Box 6633, Englewood, CO 80155-6633; (800) 237-6124.

Personal Finance.

MasterCard International offers high school teachers a free learning kit on financial responsibility titled “Master Your Future.’' The program includes a 15-minute video and a 10-page teachers’ guide with real-life scenarios and discussion questions on such topics as budgeting, checking and savings accounts, and credit. Additional resources for teaching high school students how to manage their money are also included. Contact: Master Your Future, P.O. Box 58412, St. Petersburg, FL 33715-9976; (800) 624-9688.

Books For Teens.

Penguin Publishers has released Comics to Classics: A Guide to Books for Teens and Preteens, by Arthea J.S. Reed. This comprehensive, 238-page guide describes how parents and teachers can find quality books and suggests ways to encourage students to read them. It also includes extensive listings, from classics to contemporary award-winners. Cost: $9.95. Contact: Penguin Books, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014; (212) 366-2272.


The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit nutrition-advocacy organization, presents The CHOW! Club Hands-On Handbook as part of its Kids Against Junk Food project. This 24-page, illustrated handbook describes 25 food-related activities and projects, including running food drives for the needy, visiting an organic farm, and forming a committee to make school lunches healthier. Cost: $3. Contact: CSPI/CHOW!, 1875 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009.


Educational Tax Publication Services offers its 1995 edition of Educator’s Tax Preparation Guide. This 150-page, step-by-step handbook provides filing tips for teachers, a listing of the forms needed, completed sample forms, a glossary of terms, and information on various tax topics such as travel, home-buying, and medical expenses. Cost: $12.95. Contact: ETPS, P.O. Box 1494, Chico, CA 95927; (916) 893-2940.


John Wiley & Sons has published Lucky Science: Accidental Discoveries From Gravity to Velcro, With Experiments!, a new book for elementary students. This 107-page, illustrated volume highlights accidental breakthroughs that have led to such everyday products as Corn Flakes, Post-It Notes, and Silly Putty. Each story is presented with a step-by-step experiment for kids. Cost: $10.95. Contact: John Wiley & Sons, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158-0012; (212) 850-6000.


The Network of Educators on the Americas presents a 48-page instructional guide titled Teaching About Haiti. The book is designed to inform students in grades 6-12 about the country’s political crisis. Included are maps, folk tales, essays, songs, and discussions about Haitian history and culture and U.S. intervention. Cost: $4. (Bulk discounts are available.) Contact: NECA, 1118 22nd St., N.W., Washington, DC 20037; (202) 429-0137.


The World Forestry Center, a nonprofit education organization, offers the 1994-1995 Forest Education Program Guide. Designed for teachers and youth group leaders of grades K-12, this free guide lists educational resources about trees, forests, wildlife, natural resources, and other related topics. It also describes field-trip opportunities, most of which take place in Oregon and Washington state. For a copy or more information on forest education, call the World Forestry Center at (503) 228-1367, ext. 108.

New Magazine.

HiP Magazine is a new, colorful periodical for deaf and hard-of-hearing students ages 8-14. Published six times a year, HiP includes profiles of deaf and hard-of-hearing people, movie reviews from a deaf perspective, advice columns, and feature articles. A teachers’ guide with follow-up activities accompanies each issue. For a free copy of the premiere issue, contact: HiP Magazine, 1563 Solano Ave., #137, Berkeley, CA 94707; (510) 527-8993.


Following is a list of contests, scholarships, and internships for students organized by application deadline. Asterisks (

  • ) denote new entries.

February 1. Technology.

Toshiba and the National Science Teachers Association announce the ExploraVision Awards for students in grades K-12. Groups of three or four students working with a teacher-adviser must create a project predicting what technology will be like in 20 years. All projects must include a descriptive paper and 10 storyboard scenes presenting the students’ ideas. Regional finalists will be chosen and asked to make a video of their team project. Each member of four first-place teams wins a $10,000 U.S. Savings Bond; each member of eight second-place teams receives $5,000 in savings bonds. In addition, the winning teams receive some money to help pay for a trip to Washington, D.C., where they will be honored at an awards ceremony. Contact: ExploraVision Awards, Toshiba/NSTA, 1840 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201; (800) EXPLOR-9.

February 3. Savings Bond.

The U.S. Treasury Department welcomes submissions for its National Student Poster Contest. Participating students in grades 4-6 should create a poster that promotes the U.S. Savings Bond programs and the importance of saving for the future. One winner will be named from each state. The top three winners from that group will receive a $5,000, $1,000, and $500 U.S. Savings Bond, respectively. The national winners will also travel free to Washington, D.C., to receive their awards. For an entry form, contact: Savings Bonds Marketing Office, Department of the Treasury, 800 K St., N.W., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20226.

February 15. Music Scholarships.

The National Federation of Music Clubs invites music students with visual or physical disabilities to apply for the Joyce Walsh Scholarship for the Handicapped. Students must send a cassette tape of their instrumental or vocal performance, a letter of recommendation from a teacher or other mentor, and a letter from a medical doctor stating the nature and duration of their disability. Scholarships will be awarded to 14 students, with the first-place winner receiving $750. Applicants must be between the ages of 12 and 18 and be active members of the NFMC. For more information, contact: Joyce Walsh, 905 Dial Drive, Kennett, MO; (314) 888-3347.

February 15. Geography.

American Express invites students in grades 6-12 to enter the sixth annual American Express Geography Competition. Students must examine an issue or problem related to one of three themes--travel and trade, cultural diversity, and the environment--and then develop a written solution. Students may enter as individuals or in teams, but they must be sponsored by a teacher and principal. Two first-place winners each receive a $7,500 cash award; second- and third-place winners also receive cash awards. The sponsoring teacher of each winner receives $1,000. For more information, contact: American Express Geography Competition, P.O. Box 672227, Marietta, GA 30067-0038; (800) 395-GLOBE.

February 24. Environmental Solutions.

The National Science Teachers Association invites teams of two to four high school students to enter the fifth annual Seiko Youth Challenge. Each team must submit a written proposal that identifies, investigates, analyzes, and proposes a solution to a specific environmental problem in its community. Twenty-five teams will be chosen as regional finalists and asked to submit a videotaped version of their proj-ect. The winning team receives a $25,000 college scholarship to be divided among its members; the school receives $5,000. Four runner-up teams receive $5,000 scholarships to divide up and $1,000 for their respective high schools. All team members must attend the same school and have an official faculty adviser. Contact: Seiko Youth Challenge, c/o The DRB Group, 20 Summer St., Stamford, CT 06901-2304; (800) 323-1550.

February 28. Geography.

Weekly Reader magazine invites classes of K-3 students to enter its annual GeoPicture Contest. Each class must submit a GeoPicture, a collection of materials including, among other things, writing and illustrations by students that describe their community’s location, environment, uniqueness, physical and human systems, and society. The collection must fit into a 12 1/2-by-18-by-3-inch box. Two grand-prize-winning classes and eight first-prize winners receive GeoPicture T-shirts and certificates; their teachers receive $300 and $100, respectively. Eight second-prize winners receive certificates, and their teachers get $50. Contact: Weekly Reader, GeoPicture Contest, 245 Long Hill Road, P.O. Box 2791, Middletown, CT 06457-9291; (203) 638-2415.

February 28. Fiction.

Highlights for Children magazine invites children and adults to enter its 16th annual fiction writing contest. Entries should be humorous stories for children of 900 words or less that have not been published elsewhere. Three winners receive $1,000 each and will have their work published in upcoming issues of Highlights for Children. Entries must be postmarked between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28. Send manuscripts with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Highlights for Children, 803 Church St., Honesdale, PA 18431; (717) 253-1080.

March 1. Student Filmmakers.

Students ages 19 and younger are encouraged to submit original films and videos to the New York National High School Film Festival, to be held April 9, 1995. The festival is being organized entirely by students to provide a showcase for student filmmakers. Students may submit any style or genre of film or video; the judging categories will be determined by the entries. Selected filmmakers will receive certificates, promotional items, and written evaluations of their work. A $10 entry fee must accompany each submission. For more information, contact: New York National High School Film Festival, c/o Trinity School, 101 W. 91st St., New York, NY 10024.

  • March 15. Letter Writing.

The Smoke-Free Class of 2000, a joint educational campaign of the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association, invites 7th graders to enter a letter-writing contest called Use the Facts: Exercise Your Power. Students must research a tobacco-related problem that affects young people, suggest a solution, and write a 200- to 350-word letter to an elected official requesting action. Two winners from each state receive an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the Smoke-Free Class of 2000 National Youth Ambassador Forum, to be held in Washington, D.C., next June 10-14. For more information, contact: Smoke-Free Class of 2000 National Office; (800) KO-CIGGS.

  • March 15. Essay.

The Skirball Institute of the American Jewish Committee invites high school students in grades 10-12 to enter the annual Skirball Essay Contest. Each student must write a 3- to 4-page, typed, double-spaced essay that answers the question: “What does history teach us about the use and abuse of the constitutional guarantee of free speech and the implications of this guarantee in our present society?’' One grand-prize winner receives a $5,000 scholarship and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., with his or her sponsoring teacher. Up to 52 cash prizes of at least $100 each will also be awarded. The first 100 teachers who submit essays that were written as part of a class project will receive an American Heritage College Dictionary. For an application form, contact: The Skirball Institute of the American Jewish Committee, 635 S. Harvard Blvd., Suite 214, Los Angeles, CA 90005-2511.

March 15. Videos.

The Weekly Reader Corp., Read magazine, and Panasonic, a video-equipment manufacturer, invite student teams in grades 5-12 to enter the Video Voyages Contest. Each student team must submit an original video, no longer than 10 minutes, in one of the following categories: personal, local, national, historic, or future. The top three student teams in grades 5-6 and 7-12 will each win video equipment, which may include Panasonic camcorders, VCRs, and TVs, for their schools. For more information, contact: Video Voyages, The Weekly Reader Corp., 245 Long Hill Road, P.O. Box 2791, Middletown, CT 06457-9291; (203) 638-2442.

March 15. Handwriting.

The Peterson Directed Handwriting Co. invites students in grades 3-8 to enter the 1995 National Cursive Handwriting Contest. Applicants must submit at least four lines of cursive handwriting to be judged based on letter forms, spacing, and line quality. One winner from each grade level will receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond and a certificate. All students who demonstrate superior handwriting skills will be named to the National Cursive Handwriting Honor Society and will receive a certificate. For entry guidelines, contact: Contest Entry, Peterson Directed Handwriting, 315 S. Maple Ave., P.O. Box 249, Greensburg, PA 15601-0249.

March 15. Editorial Cartoon.

Knowledge Unlimited Inc. invites K-12 students to submit original cartoons for the 1995 NewsCurrents Student Editorial Cartoon Contest. Students may enter as many cartoons as they like on any topic of nationwide interest. Winners will be chosen in three categories: grades K-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Each first-place winner receives a $100 U.S. Savings Bond; the second- and third-place winners receive a $75 and $50 U.S. Savings Bond, respectively. For more information, contact: Knowledge Unlimited Inc., P.O. Box 52, Madison, WI 53701; (800) 356-2303.

  • March 31. Zinc.

The U.S. Bureau of Mines and the American Zinc Association invite students in grades 7-12 to enter the William J. Gage National Student Zinc Essay Contest. Students must research the metal zinc and write a 5- to 10-page essay about its uses in everyday life. One winner from grades 7-9 and one from grades 10-12 will each win a $200 U.S. Savings Bond, a two-day trip to Washington, D.C., and a $100 contribution to their school’s science department. For more information, contact: American Zinc Association, Suite 240, 1112 16th St., N.W., Washington, DC 20036; (202) 835-0164.

  • March 31. Epilepsy Scholarship.

Parke-Davis, a national pharmaceutical company, invites applications for the 1995 Parke-Davis Epilepsy Scholarship. Nominees must be college-bound high school seniors with a record of academic and extracurricular excellence who are undergoing treatment by a physician for epilepsy. Fourteen winners will share $42,000 in tuition grants. Contact: Parke-Davis Epilepsy Scholarship Program, c/o Intramed, 1180 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036; (800) 292-7373.

  • March 31. Diplomacy In Africa.

Ingenius, a provider of cable-to-computer educational resources, invites high school students to enter its Diplomatic Resolution: It’s the Solution contest. Students--alone or as a team or class--must research and develop a diplomatic solution to one of Africa’s current conflicts. Entries may be submitted in one of a variety of formats, including essay, video, audio, CD-ROM, or floppy disk. The grand-prize winner receives a $1,000 cash award, a multimedia PC, and a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., with his or her sponsoring teacher. Ten second-prize winners receive $500 and a multimedia PC, and 25 third-place winners receive $100 and a CD-ROM drive. Contact: Diplomatic Resolution: It’s the Solution, 409 Sherman Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306; (303) 721-1062.

April 3. Drunk Driving.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in conjunction with 7-Eleven stores, announces the 1995 MADD Poster/Essay Contest. Students in grades 1-12 are asked to incorporate this year’s theme, “Take a Drive on the Safe Side--Steer Clear of Alcohol,’' into either a 250-word essay or a poster created in any medium. Entries will first be judged by local MADD affiliates; local first-place winners will then be entered in a national contest. First-place winners in that contest receive a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond and a free trip for two to the awards ceremony to be held in June of 1995 in Dallas; second- and third-place winners receive a $500 and $250 U.S. Savings Bond, respectively. Contact: Programs Department, MADD National Office, (214) 744-6233.

  • April 14. Young Playwrights.

Very Special Arts, an educational program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, invites students ages 12-18 to enter the 11th annual young playwrights contest. Entrants must submit an original script that focuses on some aspect of a disability. The winning playwrights will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the final rehearsals of their plays and to attend the premiere production at The Kennedy Center. Students with or without disabilities are eligible to enter. Contact: Young Playwrights Program, Very Special Arts, Education Office, The JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC 20566; (202) 628-2800 or (202) 737-0645 (TDD).
--Cheryl Landrith and Megan Pincus

A version of this article appeared in the February 01, 1995 edition of Teacher as Extra Credit