I have a running list of center ideas and one of those ideas is “caption contest,” but it has never gone farther than just being on the list. Below, Janelle is going to share about her Caption Contest. It’s a great center for student responses. I like this one because it doesn’t have to be changed weekly. As I’ve mentioned before I have to be really careful about what I commit to as far as weekly contests. I don’t change my centers weekly or even regularly. My Question of the Week is sometimes “Question of the Week After Next.” Right now I’m managing to keep up with the Question, an Estimation Station, and Where’s Waldo (which was planned to be monthly).
Janelle is truly a dream librarian. I want to be her! She’s doing fabulous engaging lessons with students through storytelling, using her SMARTBoard, and now…. a Caption Contest!!! As you can see, she can also draw!! I asked her if I could share her Caption Contest here and she wrote this up for you. I’m now so inspired by her to try my own caption contest and get my students writing and sharing in an authentic way.
I’m always on the look out for new ideas to implement in my library. A couple of
months ago I purchased a Farmer’s Almanac; partly to see what our winter weather might be like, but also to refresh my teaching skills in regards to almanacs. As I read through the Farmer’s Almanac I was reminded how much I enjoy that particular reference source. I love seeing new topics every time I turn the page. One page really caught my attention though. The Farmer’s Almanac has caption contests. I thought, “What a great idea! That would be so easy to replicate in my library.”
The next week I pulled out a package of chart paper, grabbed my markers and crayons and got busy. I tried to think of images that would be fun and interesting for the children. I tried to put those images together in a way that would provide an opportunity for a variety of responses. I enjoy drawing and creating, so this process was cathartic for me. If you don’t feel comfortable taking on the art work I’d encourage you to find a staff member that would you help out in that department.
I invited the students to participate by simply hanging the chart by my SMARTBoard. They loved it! They couldn’t wait to enter their responses even though they weren’t quite sure what the prize would be. I had hung an image next to the chart that said, “Intrinsic Reward”. This was a good opportunity for the children to learn a new vocabulary word, and to learn that not every contest will give out a tangible reward. I also sent the image to the staff via email and invited them to participate in a staff contest. The response wasn’t as overwhelming from the teachers, but there were a few that really enjoyed submitting their responses. The very best part of the entire caption contest experience was the moment a
student walked in the library and saw that his caption had been placed on the poster, and his name was written on the bottom of the page. I wish I had a picture of the look of sheer joy and pride he had on his face at that moment. He definitely learned the true meaning of an intrinsic reward. I looked at another teacher when I saw his response and said, “That one moment built more self esteem in that young man, than a dozen compliments from me.”
Thank you Janelle!!! Isn’t she fabulous?? I can’t wait to start a caption contest in my library!