We immediately said "Yes!" and within days, she organized a giant drawing contest that rallied an entire elementary school and will serve as a template for other teachers around the world!
Mary's 1st grade class at James K. Polk elementary school outside of Arlington, VA became instantly excited by the contest concept. They couldn't stop talking about it. In fact, when the 5th graders got wind of the buildup to the big day, they too demanded to be involved. The project quickly blossomed from the initial 22 students in Mary's class to 120 students gleefully drawing.
What to Draw?Mary wanted to tie the activity back to the class's recent trip to the National Museum of Natural History. So for a theme, she skillfully asked the children to draw a creature they would want to see in the museum. This gave students inspiration from all of the creatures they recently visited yet also provided them the creative freedom to let their imaginations soar.
The children had a blast making their artwork. They made everything from butterflies to robots, with one student even drawing a red donut-man with arms and legs! The slight hint of competition engaged even the typically disinterested kids to pour their hearts into their crayons.
How to Pick the Winner?Mary used the winner selection process as an opportunity to show her children how a fair, democratic selection system works. She assigned each picture a number and gave each student an index card.
Each child stepped out into the hallway and wrote down their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place choices. She also ensured that the artist's name was only written on the back of each drawing. This was a great technique because it avoided any issues of popularity.
She then tallied up all the votes. A first place vote counted as 3 points, a second place vote as 2, and third place vote as 1. Winners were to be announced the following day, so the whole school was buzzing with anticipation over who would be declared winners.
Prizes for EveryoneAfter tallying the votes, the class had agreed upon 3 winners, each of whom received a prize pack with crayons and a coloring book.
The grand prize winner is also set to receive a free full-size Budsie of his rendition of the class's owl mascot:
Here'e Sam meeting his Budsie for the first time:
Mary took it upon herself to ensure every child felt like a winner. She awarded every participant a packet of flower seeds and a certificate in honor of their imaginations sprouting to life.
We are so proud of Mary and her class for organizing such a wonderful art contest and inspiring dozens of children to express their creativity.
On behalf of the children, their parents, and all the thousands of children's imaginations your work will inspire, we'd like to say THANK YOU!
Other Ideas for Your ClassMary inspired us to do more outreach and support teachers around the world to run similar contests for their schools. In addition to providing your class with a free Budsie for the winner, we're committing to providing you with:
- Storybooks that can be used to inspire themed drawings
- Blank or templated drawing paper (see our templates section for examples)
- Crayons or similar drawing instruments
- Index cards for gathering votes
Interested in hosting a drawing contest for your classroom or group? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org