I have always wondered about these contests.
Should our students be helping commercial entities advertise? (that is
what some of the contests are about)
Are our students old enough to understand the criteria for winning/not
Are our students old enough to understand the odds of winning (usually
How are other contestents' posters produced? How much adult input?
Are the groups reliable about handling the work and about awarding the
And so on...
That being said, I have had a number of contest opportunities in my
elementary school over the years.
The local ones in that small town were the only ones I considered, as
the PR possibilities were good. Here is how we did them:
I would meet with the local group and make the following offer:
1. My students would be informed about the contest.
2. I would tell them that some artists use their talents to help their
community, etc. (think Ben Shawn posters, etc etc)
3. I would offer any interested students the opportunity to make a
poster at home or in my choice classroom.
4. They would show me a rough draft and when I had conferenced with
them about spelling and any other compositional problems, I would give
them good paper.
5. I would send the group all the properly finished posters IF they
eliminated the prize and agreed to display every finished poster around
Over the years we found this to be a win-win situation: interested
students learned about poster design, the local group got their PR done
and the children were thrilled to see their work displayed around the
town. I usually had five or six childen in each grade three and up
class who were interested in this and they worked very hard.
The only non local poster experience we did was for the Boston Flower
Show: I introduced it to the children in the same way and set up a mini
center with references and materials for those who wanted to
participate. In this case, any child who submitted a finished poster
received a free ticket to the show. Another good experience.
Otherwise, those solicitations went directly into my circular file. My
administration approved this policy in advance, by the way.
AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free
from AOL at AOL.com.