Fall-Discount
Feb 26, 2014

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Make Talking With Parents A Breeze With Table Displays

Does this ever happen to you? You’re sitting at parent teacher conferences. The parent proclaims that their kids, “just LOVE art”, and then the conversation promptly comes to a lull. Where do you go next? What do you bring up first? Do you rifle through 500+ works of art just to find those students’ pieces? I solved the answer to all of these questions by having table displays separated by grade level, showing student examples of projects we have done or would be doing throughout the year.

Although I’ve grown to know my parent and family population more in my second year of teaching, these displays, along with hallway displays, allow me to easily have meaningful conversations with everyone, regardless if they frequently stop by the art room or not. As a bonus, the families get a glimpse into the learning world of the art room without either of us having to do the awkward, “should I step away now?” shuffle.

Always evolving as I try new ideas, my most recent table displays at my elementary’s latest open house (yes, in the middle of winter) featured our current projects with the learning targets, the vocabulary we learned, and the books and/or other materials that inspired the concepts, techniques or skills taught.

OpenHouseSetup

Now, these table displays didn’t do all the work. In fact, they would sit unseen except for the parents that regularly stop by. Therefore, I had to do some advertising too! Whether it’s for conferences or open houses, below are some ideas you can use to market yourself and your program.

  1. Send home a newsletter. This could be a special mini-newsletter from the art room about conferences, a blurb in your regular art room newsletter, or a reminder in the school newsletter.
  2. Use technology and/or social media. Email parents, post a reminder on your blog or website or get really motivated and create a Facebook or twitter account for your classroom and remind parents that way! If your parents sign up for conferences online, post the times you will be available.
  3. Make art a visible part of the school. Stand by the doors in your building and direct families to the art room. Hang signs around the school, especially by your already existing hallway displays.
  4. Create a passport. At my school, each family is encouraged to fill out a mini passport, collecting stamps as they visit each area of the building.

If parents still don’t make it to the art room (because they just get so wow-ed by the art in the hallway of course), I make sure each hallway display of grade level projects is paired with eye-catching signs that feature the title, inspiration/explanation/objectives of the project, and the grade level responsible for the fantastic creations.
 

 

What do you do to encourage families to stop in and see you during conferences and open houses?Any cool school-wide initiatives?

How do you set up the art room for these events?

 

 

AleciaThis article was written by AOE Team member Alecia Eggers. Alecia is a certified K-12 Art Instructor, and currently teaches K-6 elementary art in central Iowa. She is passionate about teaching and reaching her students with an innovative and meaningful arts education.

About Alecia | Alecia’s Articles

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  • Lindsey H

    I have all my students keep personal portfolios for each unit we work on. They are not allowed to take work home until a unit is complete. Before conferences they organize their portfolios and I have each class “bin” sitting on a table for the kids to get their portfolio out of!
    They are able to have totally student led conferences and share what they are working on and anything they have completed. After I started doing this it changed my life! I am able to listen to the kids talk to their parents about the projects and it is so satisfying to hear them use our vocabulary and see them get excited about certain projects! I absolutely love conferences now!

    • Alecia Eggers

      That is awesome! I didn’t think of having their portfolios made and ready at the beginning of the year! (I store all their work in a giant class folder and then we make individual portfolios before they bring the stuff home at the end of the year) What do you use for your “bins”? Is it like a Sterilite plastic container?

      • Lindsey H

        Yes my class bins are all big plastic wash runs from the dollar store with each teachers/classes name on the front. Awesomely easy… !