Calling All Kid Reporters!

Some students are natural journalists: curious, quick with a turn of phrase, and fascinated by current events. Encourage them to apply to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps for the 2012–13 school year. For more than 11 years, the Kid Reporters have been covering “news for kids, by kids.” Their well-researched news stories appear online at the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps website and in issues of Scholastic classroom magazines. Last year, Kid Reporters interviewed newsmakers such as author Brian Selznick, director Steven Spielberg, and both President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Student reporters must be between the ages of 10 and 14. They are chosen based on their writing abilities and enthusiasm for reporting. Applications are due October 19. Visit scholastic.com/kidspress.


SEE THIS: Won't Back Down

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis star in Won’t Back Down as a parent and a teacher who care deeply about education. Up against apathetic teachers, administrators, and parents, they invoke a state trigger law in an attempt to take over and fix the school themselves. (In reality, there hasn’t yet been such a takeover.) Rather than having been “inspired by actual events,” Won’t Back Down—and its producers, also of Waiting for Superman—seems to want to inspire them. The film is sure to get people in the education community talking. (Opens Sept. 28)


DO THIS: Pinwheels for Peace

In 2005, when two art teachers in Florida, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, wanted to commemorate the International Day of Peace, they settled upon the pinwheel. They saw it as a childhood symbol that “reminds us of a time when things were simple, joyful, peaceful.” Thus was born Pinwheels for Peace, and it’s struck a chord with people of all ages. Last year, more than 4 million pinwheels were displayed on Peace Day, in more than 3,500 locations around the world.

Ayers and McMillan encourage participants to write their thoughts about peace and tolerance on one side of the pinwheel paper, and make a drawing or collage on the other. Then, on Sept. 21 (this year marks the 30th anniversary of Peace Day), teachers and kids can plant pinwheels in front of their school or some other public spot.

To register your group, to find a printable pinwheel template, or get more information, visit pinwheelsforpeace.com.


A Monumental Campaign

Every hour of every school day, 857 kids drop out of school. That’s more than 1.2 million kids each year. To bring those figures to life, the College Board placed 857 empty school desks on the National Mall. The installation kicked off the organization’s Don’t Forget Ed campaign. The group plans to present a petition to the candidates at the Democratic and Republican conventions. Want to sign it? Go to dontforgeted.org.


Happy 90th, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards!

As a high school senior, Robert Redford won a Scholastic award for painting, which prompted him to move to New York—and the rest is history. Scholastic founder Maurice R. Robinson launched the awards in 1923, and over the years, the roster has also included Joyce Carol Oates, Zac Posen, and Andy Warhol.
This year, Scholastic will award more than $250,000 in 28 categories—including poetry, fashion, and graphic design. Get students involved at artandwriting.org.


Is the Next Tim Burton in YOUR Class?

We asked movie director Tim Burton about the teachers who most inspired him.

Q:  How did you become interested in making art?
A: I liked drawing but I didn’t think I was very good at it. I had one or two art teachers who supported me. Drawing helped me to communicate and explore ideas.

Q:  Tell us more about who inspired you.
A: I had one teacher in junior high and one in high school who tried to recognize each individual for who they were. Even though I wasn’t the best at drawing, they saw I liked doing it and encouraged me.

Q:  Have you always drawn in the same sketchy style?
A: No, I tried everything. I was frustrated because I wasn’t a great draftsperson. One day, in college, we went to sketch at a farmers market. I was thinking, I can’t draw. Then I remembered one of those great teachers saying, “Don’t worry about how you should draw it. Just draw it the way you see it.” And I realized that I don’t care how good or bad I am. I like doing it.