Display Ability

    One of the key ways to show that ART is important and that it does matter in your school is to have it be noticed. What good is an art program when the school and community can't see the results? I told my student teacher that to show people that art is important, let them see it. 
    This brings me to DISPLAYS! When I began teaching I wasn't sure how I was going to display work. I wanted the work to be noticed and plus I wanted to show the school that this new teacher did know I thing or two about what she was doing. At first I only displayed a handful of the "good" projects from each lesson for each grade. (notice photo below) This was okay.... for about a day after I put it up. Once all the students had a chance to walk by and notice that his or her artwork was not on the wall, I started getting "the questions". "Where's my fish?" "Mine wasn't good enough." "Did you lose it?" and the worst of them all.... "Only the best get to be put up." My heart was broken. But what can I say? I did it to myself. I was only putting the best up. I failed myself and my students. 
    This display antic lasted one time and one time only. After that all the work from a class was put up. I didn't care how bad it looked. The only time I ever stray from this is when work is not finished. I also explain this to the students when I announce that their work will be going up on the wall. Helps when some students are working too slow. 
   This brought me to another dilemma. How on earth would I keep track of which class's turn it was to go up on the wall? Or when to put up what grade next. The answer was clear, make a list with all grades and teacher's names. Once one was put on the wall, put a mark next to it and so on. I even put a number beside it so that when all the classes in one grade had a turn I could see which one would be next in line. So which class goes up first at the beginning of the year? That's easy, the one that is finished first, and so on. Doesn't matter which grade. After the first from each grade is up I go by the list. 
    I always put up a sign with the title and sometimes a summary of the project, should one be needed. I also have a black card with the teacher's name and grade that created the work. I create these cards at the beginning of the year. It also helps when I make my "pile" of work to grade. I simply put the class's card on top of their work pile. No need to keep work separated if there's a sign that tells me what the next group is. 
   Most of these signs were made last year. They are laminated so I can keep them from year to year. Some changes will always need to be made or added of course. They are also ready to be put with the art show displays when the time comes. 
    My project display signs are made either by hand or on the computer. I keep a "Display Sign Template" on file to alter and print when I need a new sign. The signs are kept in the filing cabinet with the lesson's folder.
   Though these tips work great for me, I have two big irritations.... Notice the silver display rails below. They are a great idea for a regular ed teacher maybe... I can't always work around them. So they tend to limit my creativity when it comes to displays. And when you put work in them it falls out when someone walks by!
    This is why I have come to love MASKING TAPE!! Simple 2" wide masking tape. Holds up nearly everything except 3D work. I will put the work into the display rail and then secure the bottom of the work with one piece of tape in the back. If the work is not put into the rail, I use two pieces on the back of the work at the top. The tape also comes off easily from most papers. I am a whiz at tape rolls. I even put up all posters in my room and art show work with masking tape. It was tedious in the beginning, but soon a tape rolling machine was born. 
How do you display your work?
Here is a wonderful site to get ideas for displays: Bulletin Boards to Remember


Ren said...

I am with you, my first year of teaching I started out by hanging the 'good ones'...and I realized that's definitely not a good idea for self esteem and just not what art is about! Since that realization- I have been hanging up a whole class except unfinished work. It's really good for kids and parents to see what a whole class looks like, a broad range of ideas and creativity.
I love the sign idea. I had the intention of always writing down which class I hang and the date... but lately it is whichever is finished first! I will try to adopt your system next year. Thanks for the ideas.

Phyl said...

I am so lucky. Every time there's an extra bulletin board, I plead my case. I think a bulletin board is my own personal "field of dreams"! So, in the hallway outside my room I have 4 nice bulletin boards, and another that is sometimes available. Downstairs by the cafeteria I have 2 more that are all MINE. One of them is a prime location, very visible. So when someone else made a case for adopting it for our character ed program last year, I put my foot down. The kids expect to see their art there. In the end, I won the battle,and they hung up another board for her that is rarely changed, pretty blah, and mostly goes unnoticed. Just what I expected! With all these boards I can pretty much rotate through work and hang everything. The big challenge is that I'm ALWAYS changing them, after school. A board stays up maybe 2 weeks. Keeps me busy! Everything is hung quickly with staples. The kids love the job of being staple-puller and taking down and sorting the artwork by teacher.

As for tape, I don't like using it. Something about our walls, the tape doesn't hold well and stuff eventually falls down. Plus I can wham up a bulletin board with staples in no time flat!

Becca Ruth said...

I leave each project up at least one week. Sometimes things get busy and it stays up for two. My room is on the main hallway that everyone must walk down so big plus right there.
Phyl, I wish I had a bulletin board in the hallway! I would be a stapling fool! But, alas, no board so I stick with the tape. That is awesome that they let you use so many. All the boards that we do have around school have their own purposes and actually do change regularly.
Ren, yeah keeping a list works so well. I don't date though. I just try to keep a rotation the best I can. I even had a teacher come up to me one day and ask when her class was gonna go up....

Cristy said...

Nice post!
Yep - you have to put up EVERYBODY's.
I keep a log too, with checkmarks to be sure all classes get hung up. Love the card lables - that's a good idea. I just got done makeing some little glazed clay disks with holes punched in them that I'm going to try to use for that - we'll see how it goes. Right now I'm blessed with lots and lots of tack strip, but one of my favorite strategies from my past is clothesline. If you can find (or place) something to hang it from (even those 3m removable hooks work) you can swag a length of rope on the wall and clothespin work to it. Cute, fast and easy!

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