Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Night for the Arts - Reflections on an Art and Poetry Night
We had our Night for the Arts at my school and I am happy to say I am almost finished with big events for the year. It has been a wild ride and I wanted to share some things I've learned this year, starting with my poetry night.
Lesson 1: There is Strength in Numbers.
When I started planning this event, I ended up making myself a bit of a lone ranger. I have a tendency to take on huge tasks and not want to burden others with the details and jobs to be done. Having added more people to the planning team would have been a HUGE stress reliever. And of course, you'll need tons of help the day of to get everything situated. Luckily I had people to help me out when setting things up. My husband was a trooper, and we even go help from my mother-in-law and my co-worker, Diana. I couldn't have gotten everything done in time without them.
Lesson 2: Combine with Another Event.
When I began planning this event, I had initially wanted to do the poetry stations as part of a literacy night. I found out that there was not a literacy night being planned and there was no literacy team to help me. In the end we had about 100 people show up which was a good amount. Not many people are drawn to a poetry event. If you want a bigger turn out, plan a literacy night instead and have a poetry center.
Lesson 3: Advertisement is Key!
My poetry and art night had a competition component where students could enter poetry and artwork to win a prize, as well as try out to recite poetry during our Poetry Slam. With the timing of our event I could either send out permission slips the week before Spring Break and hope kids remembered over that long week, or send out the slips the week after Spring Break and only give kids a short time to prepare. Looking back, I wish I had sent out the notices before break and then reminded students once they came back. This would have given them time to work on their artwork or poetry over the break if they needed that time. You also want to promote the event and competition before you send out notices so kids get excited about it. Next time I can hopefully avoid the issue altogether by planning the timing around the breaks!
Lesson 4: Involve the Community
It is amazing how willing local companies are to help out with school events! I had several places donate gift cards for prizes and baked goods for families to snack on during the event. This went a long way to make the event better for both students and families. I had also arranged for the public library nearby to send the children's librarian to promote summer programs, but she ended up having to cancel last minute because of a scheduling issue. Never forget that the public library is a resource, too!
Lesson 5: Have Fun and Eat Something
When you are planning a big event it is easy to get stressed. Make sure you get as much done ahead of time and recruit lots of people to help so you can enjoy the event as well. And don't forget to plan on eating dinner before your event! People started showing up and I realized my dinner was still sitting in a bag. Carve out some time and have someone to force you to eat, even if it's bites between stapling signs into the wall.
I hope these tips help you, whether you are planning a poetry night or other event. Do you have any tips for planning an event? Leave them in the comments below. Until next time, happy reading!