This is Part 2 of a four-part series about creating exciting exhibitions of student PBL work that excite parents, engage students, and make YOUR job of setting up an open house much more interesting! Missed Part 1? No problem, just go here.


Part 2: Plan for Exhibition as “the end in mind”

Good teaching theory tells us that planning with our end in mind is critical. In this case, consider exhibition as your “end” and work backward from there. As you are brainstorming your project plans think about a culminating experience and final product that will showcase well. Below are a few resources to help with the project planning process. Remember, exhibition isn’t a new or additional project plan, but rather it is showcasing the student work in a public forum.


Will My Project Showcase Well? A CHECKLIST:

  • Am I building off of ideas that are grounded in authenticity-real community issues (global or local)
  • Am I building off ideas that connect with real community audiences?
  • Will my project appeal to people beyond the walls of the school, for example REAL people in the community? (Note:  inviting community isn’t a MUSt for exhibitions it’s more like a “nice to have”. If you are just getting started with your first exhibition consider inviting community members as a level 2.0 😉


Identifying your audience

Once you have “the bones” for a quality project planned, you can dive further into identifying your audience. When you can answer “Who would benefit from hearing about our learning in this project?”,’ then you are ready to think about  how you can get your work in front of that audience.

Creative Student Exhibition Venues:

A few of my favorites: 

  • Curate student work at a local community agency (BBB, city council, local library, airport, district office, etc.)
  • Rent out a local historic theater to do a screening night of student videos…they will likely offer it up for free if you are a school 😉
  • Collaborate with a local coffee shop for an open mic night as a venue for students? Or use it to host a book signing/reading party-showcasing published students books from Shutterfly or Blurb.
  • Or maybe your whole staff is ready for a school-wide exhibition, rather than individual Open Houses at the end of the year?
    • If you have created digital student recordings you can set up Listening station with ipad set-ups like those in the picture below.  
    • Or QR codes with garden stake signs lining a path or garden
    • Or an interactive art installation in your multi-purpose room
  • Can you make a traveling exhibit that visits other schools?
  • Can you host a booth at a Farmer’s Market or festival?
  • What about an online shop that sells student work, like this one:
  • Reach out to your local parks and rec, beach, zoo, museum or lagoon to make informational placards?
  • Or maybe a published coffee book for sale on your class website?
  • Host a “tribute night” where you honor the subjects of study from your project in a meaningful way-perhaps photo essays, student author reading, etc.

I’d love to see what you come up with for your Exhibition location. Tag me on social media @craftEDcm or crafted_jennypieratt  and show me how it goes!