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Grade 6 Students Inventively Define Oxymoron

1 March 2013 admin 12,463 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

1st Place Jenny Li Oxymoron Holy WarBy Todd Clarke, Middle School English Teacher

Holy War, Tiger Shark, Sweet Tart, sad clown, dragon fruit, happy hunger games, silent scream, Diet Coke and Smart Phone….what are these? The answer is the winning oxymora (plural of oxymoron) entries in St. Margaret’s 12th Annual Sixth Grade Oxymoron Contest held at the onset of the second semester.

As part of our quest to get to know seven of the most commonly used figures of speech in the English language (a.k.a. S.H.A.M.P.O.O.: Simile Hyperbole Alliteration Metaphor Personification Onomatopoeia and Oxymoron), each grade 6 student choses an oxymoron and designs an original illustration to go with it. Each oxymoron is anonymously submitted as a homework assignment and randomly given a number for judging purposes. Submissions are viewed and judged by all of the sixth graders using a 10-point scale, with one being not so good and ten being best of the best. Students may score their own oxymoron however they feel is fair. Each oxymoron is passed around the classroom in a method similar to musical chairs with music playing and stopping to indicate when to pass or when to judge. Once each oxymoron has been scored by each student we move to the “Final Cut” round.

During the “Final Cut” round, all of the oxymora are spread out amongst the classroom tables. Each student walks around the room with a ballot that has five empty lines. Students are instructed to pick five different oxymora that they feel deserve the grand prize distinction, according to their own opinions. The ballots are placed in a box so that the final tally can be determined. The winners are dramatically announced and enthusiastically received during grade 6 Convocation.

After the contest is over, each oxymoron is displayed on the wall so students can glance up and remember the experience, as well as view each of their peers work with admiration. I make a color copy of the winning oxymoron and place it on the Wall Space of Honor. It remains there, on top of other past winners, until next year’s contest winner is determined.

For posterity’s sake, here is a list of the past first place winners whose oxymora are forever enshrined on the Wall Space of Honor in my classroom:

Zach Watkins, Class of 2008 for “Industrial Park”

Brand See, Class of 2009 for “Civil War”

Kasey Jong, Class or 2010 for “Good Grief”

Doug Davis, Class or 2011 for “Old News”

Ted Ko, Class of 2012 for “Talking Trash”

Emily Chin, Class of 2013 for “Mud Bath”

Takeru Inui, Class of 2014 for “Monopoly”

Zoey Hart, Class of 2015 for “Flying Fish”

Shelby Nicholas, Class of 2016 for “Alone in a Crowd”

Greer Jacobs, Class of 2017 for “Tall Mouse”

Roger Penske, Class of 2018 for “Air Ball”

And, this year’s winners are:

1st Jenny Li for “Holy War”

2nd Scotty Choi for “Tiger Shark”

3rd Julia Martin for “Sweet Tart”

4th Ishani Patel for “Sad Clown” and Jack Clarey for “Dragon Fruit”

5th Lauren Haller for “Happy Hunger Games”

6th Hannah Olsen for “Silent Scream”

7th Kelli Hines for “Diet Coke”

8th Natalie Yee for “Smart Phone”

Congratulations to all the winners, but also to the entire sixth grade for their enthusiastic participation and creative spirits.




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