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Organizing the flood of special gifts and homemade artwork that constantly flows into my classroom is one of those crazy delights that comes with the art teacher territory. Although it warms my heart to know that students are excited to use what they’ve learned on their own art, it can be tricky to display and store all of that art. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to handle it all…
If possible, ask the student if they would like you to make a copy and return the original to them.
Keep a box of thank you cards in your desk. I don’t give these out for the routine drawing, but for sculptures, small gifts, and pieces that obviously took time, thought, and effort.
Make a file for the best pieces. Don’t feel bad about culling your herd of gift works at the end of the year. Throw away what isn’t outstanding (even if you have to cry a little bit), and keep those from memorable students or pieces that blow your mind.
Accept everything, even the strangest stuff! This article was inspired by a piece of broken shingle gifted to me by a student this week. They enjoyed the texture and thought of me! I was talking to another teacher in my building about this topic, and she told me that one year a student gave her a card with a food stamp in it. Just keep in mind those gifts, no mater how crazy, come from a special place.
Looking for more ideas to house handmade notes/drawings from students? Check out the “Love Notes” article right here.
What is the most interesting gift you’ve accepted from a student?
My name is Sarah Dougherty, and I teach elementary art in a large urban district in central Iowa. I love working with our diverse population of K-5 students to bring art to their homes, communities, and everyday lives.