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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?