Monday, December 17, 2007

Too Many Things? Create a Contest

With Jonika's help (a very smart third grader), I've figured out how to get rid of some more things. Frames account for close to 100 items on my list. I used to frame my photographs, a lot of them. Now I'm much more selective on what I frame. Hence, I don't need so many frames. But I don't just want to donate them.

Outside my office at the elementary school, the wall is covered with photos of my kids. I could tell you the exact number, but then it might spoil the contest. I don't know if anyone there reads this blog or not. The contest involves guessing how many people are pictured on the "Wall of Faces." The person closest to the actual number (the number Jonika and I came up with), get a portrait done by me, Mr. M. Here's a sample of one I did of my niece.

The winners (one from each grade, and the teachers) can have a portrait done with 12 photos of themselves, or themselves and 11 of their friends. Plus, the fourth grade gets to guess the average number of photos per poster (there should be something educational).

I've spent the last week having this conversation with kids:
"Mr. M, how many pictures are on the wall?"
"I can't tell you; it's a contest."
"I'm gonna guess 300."
"You're exactly right."
Then another kid standing close by says,
"Well I'm guessing 1000."
"You're exactly right."

"Mr. M, what's the real number?"
"18,432, that's the real number."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, 7,891 is the real number."
"But you just said 18,000 something."
"I know what I said and 485 is the real number."
"Mr. M, you keep changing the number."
"Are you sure? I'm positive I said 913 every time."

I put post-it notes around my office with random numbers and notes like:
top secret
Tiffany, this is the real number, don't tell
photos, don't lose

I even have one that just has a number with no note.

I think the kids are having fun, and the teachers too.

Wednesday, I can tell you the real number. Well, if you're really that impatient, I'll tell you now, as long as you promise not to tell anyone at the school.

The real number is 4,867,918, but don't repeat that because I won't.
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