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GIF Contest: Oopses and Uh-Oh's

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Contest ended

Monday May 05, 2014


Grand Prize


Word Winner


Honorable Mention

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Taken aback by a ...

Word Winner

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Should I trust this?

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Definition of mis...

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Swallowed Tounge

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Chagrin: Humiliat...

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The Best Plans So...


Something's Amiss...


Amiss explained!


Fumbling Your Phone


Rachel Ritchie- T...


The Cookie Snatcher






That Moment When…….


That Moment When…….


Taken Aback (Phrase)

Everyone makes mistakes, or gets an unpleasant surprise every now and then. We all know what it feels like when best laid plans go haywire, backfire, or have unintended consequences. But that doesn’t make these cringeworthy surprises any easier to swallow in the moment, does it?

Take a look at these “oops” words to get a better idea of what we’re talking about. 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 eight words you can choose from are: falter, fumble, miscarriage, amiss, dismay, chagrin, taken aback, askance.

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 third parties
  • You must display the word, part of speech, definition, in your GIF

1. Falter (verb) – to move or speak in a way that shows a lack of confidence or strength

Thought starters: Are you someone who falters when it comes to public speaking? Or maybe you’ve been a passenger in a car that falters because it’s running out of gas? Make a GIF featuring someone or something that suddenly falters.

Pro-tip: Writers use the word falters when referring something that slows down, fails, or moves unsteadily against its will. Someone might falter if they lose their place while giving a speech, and suddenly stutter or lose concentration.

2. Fumble (verb) – to deal with something clumsily or nervously

Thought starters: Are you the clumsy type? Maybe the kind of person that fumbles the ball when it comes your way? Make a GIF that shows someone who fumbles an important catch.

Pro-tip: Writers use the word fumbles when talking about handling something clumsily, either physically or verbally. A person who fumbles might almost catch a ball, but ultimately drop it. If someone verbally fumbles, they might have said the wrong thing in a conversation, and struggle to repair the damage.

3. Miscarriage (noun) – a surprising and unsuccessful outcome of a plan

Thought starters: Have your plans ever failed you? Or have you ever had a project that didn’t work for whatever reason? If so, you could the talking about the miscarriage of your project. Make a GIF that demonstratesa miscarriage of that kind.

Pro-tip: Writers sometimes use the word miscarriage when referring to a great injustice. If someone convicted without being given a proper trial, it is often called a miscarriage of justice.

4. Amiss (adjective) – not quite right, inappropriate or out of place

Thought starters: Are you a perfectionist? If so, you probably have an eye for details that are slightly amiss, and correct them immediately. Make a GIF that shows something amiss in an otherwise normal setting.

Pro-tip: Writers use the word amiss to describe something that is slightly off, or not quite right. If you normally keep your room very organized, but return to find a few things mysteriously out of place, you might know that something’s amiss.

5. Dismay (noun) – fear and disappointment, usually caused by something unexpected

Thought starters: Ever sit in gum and not realize it? When you finally find out, a look of dismay will probably cross your face. Make a GIF that demonstrates an expression of dismay following a surprise upset.

Pro-tip: Writers use the word dismay to talk about a state of upset surprise. You might watch with dismay as your car is towed for a parking violation.

6. Chagrin (noun) - distress or embarrassment from failing or being humiliated

Thought starters: No one likes to be made a fool of. When something out of our control happens to us, we often express our chagrin, or feeling of embarrassment. Make a GIF that shows someone’s chagrin after something humiliating has occurred.

Pro-tip: Writers use the word chagrin when talking about a feeling that comes from being flustered or embarrassed. I forgot to wear a belt and, much to my chagrin, suddenly found my pants around my ankles.

7. Taken aback (phrase) – unpleasantly surprised at or by something

Thought starters: Surprise! Something terrible (or annoying) has just happened! Make a GIF that shows someone taken aback by an unpleasant surprise.

Pro-tip: Writers use the phrase taken aback to describe someone’s reaction to an unhappy or unwanted surprise. Someone might be taken aback when they discover that their bike has been stolen.

8. Askance (adverb) – with a look of suspicion or disapproval

Thought starters: Are you the kind of person who would fall for anything? Or do you often question the things in front of your nose? If you’re inclined towards skepticism, you might look askance at many things. Make a GIF about someone looking askance in the face of questionable advice.

Pro-tip: Writers often use the word askance to describe a skeptical kind of look. If you didn’t really trust the information someone was giving you, you might look askance at him.

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:

  • March 10, 2014 - Contest opens
  • April 7, 2014 - Contest closes at 11:59 p.m. ET
  • May 5, 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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