Create a Successful All-School Display

TLCS County Fair Mural 2013Sometimes life can take some unexpected turns! A few months ago, I had to take a leave of absence from my teaching position to deal with a family emergency. My dad had passed away leaving no plan for my 93 year old mom. So we moved her 2500 miles to live where we can give her the help she needs. While I’m blessed to have this special time with my mom, her needs are too great for me to maintain a regular teaching schedule right now. So I made the difficult decision to not return to the classroom this fall. Now a new art teacher has taken my place, and while I miss my students so much, I’m just thankful that they will continue to have art! Here is their first project with their new art teacher…. an all-school display at our County Fair. They won 1st place – I’m so proud of them!! Well done, Mrs. Campbell!

How to Create a Successful All-School Display….

When creating an all-school display, every student should participate in a meaningful way. This can be a challenge when the numbers get big! Careful planning will give you the structure you need to make sure everyone can be included. Follow these basic steps to create your own successful all-school display:

1. Determine the amount of space you have to work with. You’ll need to work backwards from this to determine the maximum size each student’s artwork can be. The size of the bulletin board or wall space you’re allowed to use may feel limiting, but just think of it as motivation to be creative!

2. Your theme is the next thing to consider. (The theme for our County Fair this year was “Cowboy Boots and Country Roots”.) If you have the freedom to choose your own theme, consider ideas that will best represent your school’s strengths and what makes it unique.

3. Brainstorm visual images related to your theme. Consider ways to combine these elements to tell a story, communicate an idea, or create a mural. Choose the medium (or media) that will work best for each aspect of your design.

4. Assign a different part of the display to each grade level, if possible. This will not only make it easier to teach the lesson to each class, but it will also help parents narrow down where to look to find their child’s artwork. A legend showing which class did what can also be helpful. Older students will enjoy helping with backgrounds, borders, and other details that aren’t otherwise assigned to a specific class.

5. Send a note home to let parents know when you’ll be doing this project with each class, and ask them to try not to schedule any appointments during their child’s Art time, if possible.  This is also a good time to give parents the details of when and where they can see the display. Offer a make-up period for students who are absent on the day you do this project with their class – no one likes to be left out when you create a public display!

6. When the time comes to hang your display, enlist help from other teachers, parent volunteers, and older students. Remember to bring your camera and take pictures!

I followed these same steps to create our display for last year’s County Fair…. challenging because of its theme (“The Berry Best”), and also because of the small space they gave us in which to fit artwork from every student. Tom Rath’s wonderful book “How Full Is Your Bucket? for Kids” was my inspiration for this display!

Many hands make light work when you enlist the help of other teachers!

Many hands make light work when you enlist the help of other teachers!

Table space in our exhibit below allowed us to display books of student artwork that there wasn’t room for on the walls! Every year is different when it comes to the space they give us, so it helps to be flexible!

Celebrating cultural diversity through art!

Celebrating cultural diversity through art!

 I may not be in the classroom on a regular basis this year, but I’ll still have lots of great content to share here on my blog and in my Teachers Pay Teachers store, so stay tuned!


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