Below, please find suggested activities that you can incorporate into your Arts Learning in Action elected official visit. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a sampling of ideas that you can use and adapt.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Activities should demonstrate the process of arts learning. Artwork exhibitions and performances are worthy public events and demonstrate the “product” of the learning. Actual classroom demonstrations will demonstrate the "process" of learning, and are equally compelling – or even more so! – to your visitors.
KEEP IT SIMPLE: While each of the following suggestions is a worthwhile endeavor, please keep in mind it is not necessary to create a new public event to ensure success. Some tips:
• Showcase EXISTING events and ongoing classroom activities
• Focus on the students and their learning
Classroom visits—easy and effective
Organize a tour of several classrooms when arts lessons are planned. If possible, include several grade levels. Make sure that the teachers are aware of the tour and are prepared to explain the lesson and what the learning objectives of the lesson are. Students should also practice talking about their work and what they are learning before the elected official(s)' visit.
Student artwork exhibition
If a class has been working on a specific assignment, curate an exhibition of student work. Have students create artist statements about their work and what they learned. Post a statement describing the lesson and objectives of the lesson and prepare students to talk to the elected officials about their work.
Theatre, dance or music performance
Find out what performances are already planned in March and build your visit around an existing event.
Involve Your School Paper/Newsletter
Invite your school paper or newsletter, if you have one, to assign a student journalist and photographer to cover your event and write an article about the event and the importance of the arts from a student’s perspective.
Incorporate a Statement of Belief
if you are inviting parents and community members to your event, have every visitor sign a Statement of Belief related to the importance of the arts in your school. A sample statement might include: "Our school community at [insert name of school district] believes that every student in New Hampshire should have an education in the arts -- dance, music, theatre and the visual arts...." Take a long piece of butcher paper, write your belief statement at the top and encourage visitors to sign. Send the scroll to your elected official along with a thank you letter after the event.