This past Wednesday, we had our Fall Open House evening at my school. I had the pleasure of meeting moms, dads, uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, brothers, sisters, and even friends of the students I work with each day. Though open house night makes for a seriously long 13 hour school day, it is so worth it to have a chance, however brief, to interface with families. I love passing on art room triumphs and notable character traits about each girl and boy. I remember how when I was a little girl I absolutely hung on every word my teachers had to say about me and recorded their exact words in my diary! My teachers had a really special way of building me up so I could feel/be successful.
I learned the hard way my first year as a long term substitute teacher that I simply can not handle getting out each piece of art work-- for each project --for each student. That year, I got out work at each students' request and by the end of the night when the room was finally quiet and everyone went home, I was left in a room that was a jumbled mess with art work from different classes all mixed together. Luckily, some thoughtful janitors came in and helped me reorganize. I think I remember driving home that night around 11:30 pm. Unfortunately, working with nearly 700 students makes this kind of intimate dialogue about individual pieces of artwork impossible. I did make sure every student had a piece up in the main lobby from our first masterpiece project and tried to get a group display together by each grade level in the school hallway.
In addition to touching base with loved ones, it was important for me to
communicate to parents exactly what we we do in the art room. In an act of true fate, I was visiting Art Project Girl's blog and found her 1,2,3 Easy Open House Ideas post. I saw that she made a brochure for parents to take home so they could see how art class was supporting not only their artistic needs, but also their social and emotional development. I was inspired! I created my own art brochure using a simple template in Microsoft Word. Like Art Project Girl, I included my bio, my art room rules, auxiliary skills I focus on in my curriculum. I added a brief plug for my blog and a short list of materials we use. One mom who visited the art room with her daughter told me that she has
visited C vs. S and is glad I am at her daughter's school. I can not tell you how
good that small act of kindness made me feel.