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Notes for First-Time Participants

(In great detail)

Suggestion: read through this material, and then come back to click on the links. The section will cover Background, Culmination, Resources, Factors to Consider in Scheduling, and Planning and Implementation.


The Creative Festivals were instituted by His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP in ___ as a way for the Church School students to express their faith. He gave it to the Fellowship of St. John the Divine to implement. His Eminence chooses the theme for each year. As noted earlier, as of this year, the Department of Christian Education is coordinating the festivals, while the Fellowship of St. John the Divine continues to implement the festivals by supplying a Diocesan Festival Chairperson, who in turn appoints Coordinators for each of the categories (such as Art), who in turn provide judges, those who display the work, and the prizes.


Provision is made to display entries at each Diocesan Parish Life Conference. They are judged beforehand, and prizes are awarded by category, and age level. Dioceses vary on how they judge, display, and award prizes. You may refer to the Administration section for information on the variations.


Several items are available to assist you as you introduce the theme.

· Lesson Plans: The plans are available for download from this site. They are for one 40-minute class, and written at four levels: Preschool and Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, 4-5, Middle School and High School. [See doc page 14]

· Theme Song: Gigi Shadid has composed a theme song for the festivals, available as an MP3 download. Consider playing it in the background as the children do their projects. [See doc page 14]

· Posters: Four posters are available for download. [See doc page 14]

· Cross Reference: If you choose to coordinate your festival project time with a lesson from an OCEC text, a listing is provided of lessons related to the theme. [See doc page 15]

· Using the Theme Throughout the Year: Suggestions for bulletin boards, activities, and other reminders of the theme are provided so the theme may be incorporated into the church school year. [See doc page 14]

Factors to Consider in Scheduling

The due date is firm. (Following the listing of considerations is a example of a schedule.)

1) Consult any correspondence from the festival coordinators. The mailing is sent to the priests.

2) If the projects are done in the church school, during class, you will need make-up sessions at the end of your planned days.

3) There are forms to fill out, which take longer than expected, especially if you have a large church school. Each entry requires a Standard Identification Form [Timm doc p 15], and each category’s submissions require a Record of Participants Form. [Timm doc p 15],. To save time, fill in the Standard Identification form with the information that will be the same on all, and copy the filled-in form for each entry. Students can fill out the rest.

4) Writing entries are required to be submitted in triplicate.

5) Packing the submissions requires more time than anticipated—allow at least two weeks before the due date as a buffer zone.

6) If the projects require more than one session, try to keep dates close together.

Example of scheduling working backwards from a due date of April 1.

1) April 1: Due Date

2) March 15-20: Mail entries.

3) March 15: Entries ready to be packaged, Record of Participants is filled out for each category

4) March 1-15: Make-up days.

· Copy writing entries in triplicate

· Check each entry for a Standard Identification Form

5) February 15-28: Double-check to see if entries comply with the rules.

6) September 1-February 15: Implement Festivals

7) August: Plan how and when to implement the festivals.

8) August: Check with your pastor for the Creative Festivals Mailing, and/or check the website, review the materials, in particular, the due date.

Planning and Implementation

Each Diocese has rules for the submissions, as well as rubrics used by the judges in evaluating the entries. Click on your diocese to view these. [Timm, see doc p 14]

· Diocese of Los Angeles and the West

& Diocese of Eagle River and the Northwest

· Diocese of Wichita and Mid-America

· Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest

· Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic

& Diocese of New York and Washington DC

· Diocese of Miami and the Southeast

· Diocese of Worcester and New England

· Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada and Upstate New York

There are several ways to implement the festivals.

1) Students can be given a copy of the rules, and work on their projects at home, noting that the work is to be done by the children.

2) With a copy of the rules, each class can work on their projects separately; the teacher can refer to the OCEC Curriculum Cross-Reference Chart to coordinate the dates with lessons of a related theme. [See document p 15]

3) The entire church school can work on projects on set dates, which may include

· several church school sessions,

· an all-day Saturday event,

· a lock-in

4) Lesson Plans. Begin with the 40-minute lesson plans [See doc p 14] that introduce the theme. It is best if this is done by the individual teachers. The four levels for which they are written are: Preschool-Kindergarten, Grades 1-3, 4-5, Middle and High School. Have students brainstorm together on the theme. Have paper ready for students to write down their ideas, for creative writing, poetry, photography and art.

5) Creative Writing and Poetry. It is best to do the writing the next session while ideas are fresh. Consider having two stations with moderators, one for creative writing, and one for poetry. Depending on the age of the students, such as haiku, available. Provide the students with the outline of a basic essay.

6) Photography. For photography, depending on the theme, objects from the church can be made available and students can bring cameras to church.

7) Artwork. Keeping in mind that mounted artwork looks best, decide what mounting will be used.

8) A single medium for the artwork, such as clay, can be used; or several media can be provided.

9) Ask an artist in the parish to teach or help the children. Ask for parents to help as well, noting that the work is to be done by the children.

10) Have the Standard Identification Forms ready to be filled out by the students, or parents. Have mounting material available so parents can assist with this.

Now go to the Church School Director/Teacher Section.