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Words of Encouragement

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Contest ended

Monday Mar 24, 2014


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A Racer in Need o...


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Excelling in School!


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Definition: Strive


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Free at Last

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Excel in Field Goals


Excel -Go USA Go-...








Turtle strives to...




Excel (verb) - To...




Spurred (Go, Go, ...

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Here’s how this contest works:

We have eight visually powerful words for you to choose from. Pick one and create an original GIF image that illustrates the definition of the word. Check out our examples of definition GIFs here.

GIFs are short moving images that loop continuously, so think carefully about your visualization. Your GIF must present both the word and part of speech graphically on-screen, like this. Get creative with looping, time manipulation, stop-motion or any other interesting film device.

The seven words you can choose from in this challenge are: strive, exhorting, liberate, spurred, elation, expectantly, excel.

Before you get started, here are the MUST-HAVEs for your GIF:

  • You can choose only one word for your GIF
  • You must use the definition provided below
  • Your GIF must be completely original, i.e. you cannot use images or clips from 3rd parties
  • You must display the word, part of speech, definition, in your GIF

1) Strive (verb) - try

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Strive is a verb that means to try, meaning to try really hard to achieve or obtain something. Often what we strive for is a goal, not simply something you can hold in your hand. We might strive for justice or we might strive for success. Humans are amazing creatures: no matter how good we are at something we continue to strive to get better. We lift weights to get stronger, we read books to get smarter, we practice and practice until we can sing as beautifully as the birds.

Thought Starter: The key to understanding this word is to think of making a great effort to get what you want. Imagine you are climbing a mountain or running up a hill. Do you give up when it starts to get steep? No! You try even harder to make to it to the top, no matter how sweaty and tired you are when you arrive. Make a GIF of a time when you had to strive to achieve something difficult.

Pro-tip: Strive comes from the old French word estriver, which means to dispute, struggle, compete, put up a fight.

2) Exhorting (verb) – encouraging

C’mon people! This is important!

Exhorting is a verb that means encouraging and is often used in the sense of urging someone on, encouraging them to try harder, or persuading them with an energetic argument. When you’re exhorting someone, you are encouraging them with more than just a pat on the back. For example, if you stand next to the trash can dressed as the earth and make fiery speeches about recycling, then you are exhorting people to recycle. Cheering and clapping on the sideline of a volleyball game is exhorting your team to do their best.

Thought Starter: Have you ever tried to encourage a friend or family member to do better? Make a GIF to show how you went about exhorting them.

Pro-Tip: Exhorting comes from the old French exhorer, and from the Latin roots ex meaning thoroughly + hortari meaning encourage or urge.

3) Liberate (verb) – free

We shall be free!

Liberate is a verb that means to free. It often refers to freeing somebody or something from a situation of imprisonment or confinement. For example, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Mahatma Gandhi were all great leaders who worked tirelessly and selflessly to liberate people from oppression and injustice.

Thought Starter:Have you ever wanted to free a bird from a cage? Make a GIF of a time you got a chance to liberate someone or something.

Pro-Tip: Liberate comes from the Latin liberatus meaning to set free.

4) Spurred (verb) – encouraged

Faster! Faster!

Spurred is a verb that means encouraged. One way to learn this word is to think of a cowboy and his boots. On his boots are spurs, which are little points that he can use to poke the sides of the horse to encourageit to go faster.

Thought starter: Have you ever spurred someone to move faster? Make a GIF that shows how you spurred someone on with actions and gestures.

Pro-tip: Spurred comes from the Old English word spyrian, which means follow the track of, track down, investigate.

5) Elation (noun) - joy

I’m over the moon!

Elation is a noun that means joy. It’s used to mean much more than everyday happiness. Think great happiness, huge happiness, happiness so big that it makes you dance and sing! If you won the big game or a trip to Hawaii, you would feel elation.

Thought starter: Have you ever received a present that made you feel so incredibly happy that you just started laughing and jumping around? Make a GIF that shows how you expressed your elation.

Pro-tip: Elation comes from the Latin word elationem which means lifting spirits.

6) Expectantly (adverb) - hopefully

I can’t wait for my birthday! It’s going to be the best!

Expectantly is an adverb that means hopefully. It is often used to describe waiting or looking forward to something with excitement. A dog who is waiting for his dinner would look at you expectantly. You might be expectantly waiting for a friend to write you an email.

Thought starter: Have you ever had a friend or a relative come to visit and you were so excited you could barely sit still? Make a GIF that shows how you were waiting expectantly for your favorite person to arrive.

Pro-tip:Expectantly comes from the Latin word expectare which means await, look out for, desire, hope.

7) Excel (verb) – to do better than most

And the gold medal goes to….

Excel is a verb that means to do better than most. Very simply, you excel at things that you are really good at doing. Some people excel in soccer, others excel in math, and still others excel at making friends. This contest will provide an outlet for people who excel at making GIFs!

Thought starter: Imagine playing ten people at checkers at the same time and winning every game! Make a GIF that shows how you wildly excel at some activity.

Pro-tip: Excel comes from theLatin word excellere which means to rise, surpass, be eminent.






Submission requirements:

In your GIF image that is less than 2 MB, you must:

  • Choose one word from the list provided.
  • Show the word, part of speech, and definition graphically on screen throughout the GIF.
  • Clearly demonstrate the meaning of the word.
  • Meet all official rules and requirements.

Key Dates:

  • January 27, 2014 - Contest opens
  • February 24, 2014 - Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • March 24, 2014 - Winners announced on the Project ED website

Finalist and Winner Judging Criteria:

GIFs are evaluated based on the following criteria, weighed equally:

  • Educational merit and accuracy: Your submission achieves the educational goals presented in the contest brief and viewers learn intended material from your video.
  • Creativity and Engagement: Your submission presents educational content in an artistic and innovative way.
  • Appropriate content: Your submission does not contain indecent, obscene, hateful, defamatory, or offensive material.
  • In the event of a tie, the tie will be broken on the basis of the tied entrants’ scores in the “Educational merit and accuracy” criteria.


Prizes per contest vary. In the case of winners under the age of 18, prizes will be awarded to a legal parent or guardian. Rules for each contest explain how and when we will notify you and the date the prizes will be announced. Prizes are awarded at Amplify’s discretion and are subject to the applicable district and school policies. Prizes for teachers may be awarded via

Official Requirements:

  • The image’s creator must be 13 or over.
  • Entrants who are minors must obtain a parent’s or guardian’s consent to enter the contest.
  • You must use appropriate language and content.
  • You must properly clear and credit any source film clips, images, or locations you use. To verify winning entries, participants will be asked to submit proof of proper clearances.
  • You can only submit one entry per contest.
  • If you are employed by a school you must ensure your entry into this contest is in compliance with your institution’s policies.
  • Please carefully read the complete rules listed in the Contest Terms.

GIF Examples





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