The AOMDA Belgium Art & Remembrance contest template provides a handy, tried and proven example that can be rolled out anywhere!
For older students, the prospect of memorizing dates, listening to fact-heavy lectures or writing another essay can easily cloud enthusiasm for learning about history. For younger students, war and remembrance are sensitive issues to address. The Art & Remembrance contest template provides teachers with an age-appropriate way to help youth, aged 8 to 18, learn to value the sacrifice paid by American servicemen during the two world wars in a creative, interactive way. Here is how it works:
Before beginning the project, a teacher or school should:
- Clearly specifiy who is eligible to participate in the contest and who is not. Eligibility requirements should be age appropriate. For example, a contest can be organized for elementary school students, middle school students, or high school students. However, elementary school students should not be competing against middle school or high school students. The key is to ensure that each participating student feels included and that the competition is fair.
- Find a sponsor who is willing to donate prizes for the winning entries. The prizes do not have to be expensive, but they should provide an incentive for the youth to devote time to the project. For example, gift certificates or free admission to a local attraction work fine.
- Assemble an Evaluation Panel of three to seven individuals who will decide the “winners” of the contest. In an ideal world, this panel would include at least one serving member of the US Armed Forces. If that is not possible, then the panel should include at least one veteran. Other suggested members of the panel would be: a representative of the local city government, a university professor or a history teacher from a school that is not participating in the project, a representative or representatives of patriotic or civic organizations that are active in your community such as the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Lions Club.
- Participating teachers should ask their students to create a drawing, painting, sketch or collage that answers the question: “Why Should We Remember Them?”
- Each artwork should be captioned with an answer to this question. The caption may be worked into the design or included on the back of the design.
- All participating students should use the same size paper for creating their artwork. For example, the teacher or school could require that the art be submitted on A4 or Letter-sized paper.
Support Materials for Teachers:
- Materials available on this website provide teachers throughout the world with tools that can assist when teaching young people about the meaning of Memorial Day and the Price of Freedom. Please consider combining an art contest with the AOMDA Price of Freedom Award patch program. The contest is easy to run in conjunction with other classroom studies about America’s role in the two world wars.
- The teacher or school should collect the artwork submissions and send it to the Evaluation Panel. Before doing so, the teacher or school should ensure that no personal information about the student is included with the submission. We recommend assigning each artwork a unique identification number and that the Evaluation Panel is only able to see that unique identification number.
- The Evaluation Panel should meet in person to review the artwork and determine which of the submissions best answers the question: “Why should we remember them?”
- Depending upon the number of prizes avaiable, we recommend that the Evaluation Panel select a first, second, and third place winner, as well as honorable mentions as appropriate. If the number of prizes permit, additional awards can certainly be made.
- The results of the Evaluation Panel’s awards should be reported to the teacher or school according to the unique identification number of the submissions. It is the teacher or school who should identify and announce the names of the winning students, not the Evaluation Panel.
Recognition of the winners
- The First, Second or Third place winners, plus any honorable mentions, should be recognized at an appropriate ceremony in which the sponsors can hand the prizes they have donated to the winners.
- We highly recommend that the school, or the local city hall, display ALL of the submissions in a public place so that everyone can see and reflect upon the lessons that the children have learned.
The Art and Remembrance Contest in Practice: A Case Study from Belgium