I have been racking my brain for the last few days on just how to make the standard school parent’s evening more interactive, more exciting. And, I must say, I have been coming up with mountain upon mountain of super dry ideas. Finally, I threw in the towel and stopped searching for ideas – realizing that all I need to do to make this the best evening I can in the short time provided is look within for some inspiration.
In my past, working as a facilitator, everything I did was about involvement, engagement, and play. Why should this be any different? I am now an educator, in a much more formal environment, but where is it written that I cannot play with this?
Some ideas i came up with for the night include:
1. Make it fun!
Play with your kids’ minds and hearts while your parents are discussing the heavy stuff. Make the art class an interactive and playful space.
One way of doing this is to take it quite literally. Play.
For my parent’s evening this week I am setting up a play-station where young artists can play pictionary, drawing to their hearts’ content, while their parents ask and analyse the big decisions to come.
2. Make it about the kids.
Allow the space for a student panel to ask and answer questions from family and potential students. This will provide both interesting insight into your subject from the students themselves, which you can use to build and develop excitement about your learning area, and a good opportunity for your seniors to take ownership of their choices while educating others.
3. Make it beautiful and welcoming.
If at all possible, make the space as interactive and exciting as you can. Play music. Have art up EVERYWHERE. Show off your kids and let their work speak for itself.
4. Make it interactive!
I am lucky enough to have a blackboard wall in my class. If you don’t have this opportunity, set up a temporary one (you can use newsprint, brown paper or whatever paper you have available).
I am going to be running an interactive activity over the next few days, in the build up to parents’ evening, that will involve students, parents and staff. The question ‘What makes art awesome?’ will be written in bold lettering across the board. I am encouraging students and staff to record their response on the wall – whether through their own drawings, through quotes or through words.
On the evening itself we will invite parents and families to interact with the wall, engaging with it and adding to it. Thus, one has an exciting, fun and interactive way to involve the whole school community.
As parents come into the venue, invite them to pose with their families in front of the art-tastic wall and print these out to give to the kids as a positive memory of a potentially dull evening.
5. Show off the creative souls in your class.
I am preparing a slide show that will run on a loop that includes some of the Grade 8 & 9 work while focusing on the seniors’ artistic excellence. Images from their sketchbooks, experimentation and final artworks will all be shown, accompanied by the music you choose, to expose the potential of the kids and inspire a passion for the subject in intrepid learners and parents.
Hold thumbs for me, these ideas are, for now, theoretical, but once they come to fruition I cannot imagine it will be a dry, dull and typical parents evening for your subject.
Have fun with it. Dream big.