Creating a Pop Up Experience in Your Classroom

By |2021-02-03T11:07:04-07:00February 9th, 2021|

Sparkchasers Episode 22 | Show Notes

Creating a Pop-Up Experience in Your Classroom

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running our free Arts Integration Bootcamp experience over on Facebook. It’s basically a pop-up group that is meant JUST for the purpose of helping people create an arts integration lesson that works for the February curriculum requirements. At the end of our 4 weeks together, all Bootcampers get a pack of the lessons created by all attendees and a PD certificate. Pretty cool, right? And at the end of our experience together, we’ll be launching our Arts Integration Certification enrollment season – which is opening next week.

As I’ve been creating and supporting this Pop Up Experience, I have thought a lot about how this could be used in the classroom. And that’s what I want to share with you today. The things that have gone well, what I would do differently, and how to use this kind of short-term, fun, and purposeful experience as a launchpad for your own lessons. Let’s dive in!

What Is a Pop Up Experience?

Before diving into the creation of a pop-up experience for your students, it’s important to understand what it is. Think of a pop-up experience like a pop-up restaurant or craft store in your area. It’s not designed to stick around forever. It’s set up for a specific amount of time, it’s got a limited menu or items, and then it closes up and heads to the next area. 

A Pop Up learning experience has the same tenets. When creating and using one of these, it’s not meant to be for a full school year. Instead it’s:

  • For a very specific purpose (like introducing a large unit, participating with a teaching artist, or sharing a performance/production)
  • Limited in time – 2 weeks at most
  • Limited in scope. When your purpose is defined, then what you’ll do to get to that purpose is narrowed. So no crazy long projects or things that need lots of steps. 

Tips for Creating a Successful Pop Up

As I stated at the beginning, there are things about our pop up experience that went really well and others that I would change. Here are some of the big golden nuggets that I’ve learned that might help you as well:

  1. Map and Plan As Much as Possible. Here’s the good and bad news about a pop-up: the majority of the work is done at the beginning. For ours, we thought about what we wanted our Bootcampers to get out of the experience. Then we back-mapped how to get there in 4 weeks. Each week needed to get participants one step closer to the end goal. We decided to provide task cards each week that built upon each other so people could visually see their progress. And, we knew they would need some training. So we decided to provide 1 task each week and 1 short video training session each week. Since we hosted it in a Facebook group, that meant I needed to create the task cards as single posts that could be downloaded, as well as weekly instructions and visuals. And, I needed to figure out a way to organize all of these pieces so people could easily find them and catch up if they needed. Finally, I needed to write out an email for each Monday to help people stay on track.

  2. Ensure you provide support. Depending on the size of your pop-up and it’s intent, you’re going to need different levels of support. For us, we have over 800 people registered for Bootcamp. That’s a LOT of support! So we have our Level 2 Certification Coaching Candidates in there each week on a specific schedule, helping to monitor the posts, offering support and coaching, and helping people to see progress.

  3. Don’t overextend.  It’s really tempting to have lots of moving pieces and keep adding “cool” experiences to the Pop-Up. I’d encourage you to reign yourself in, especially in the beginning. Trying to do to much – in terms of both the task and the support – will backfire. Keep it simple, efficient, and high energy. 

Ways to Use a Pop Up Experience for Learning

So let’s say this Pop Up Experience sounds cool and maybe even something you’d consider for your own PD. How do you use it in your classroom? 

There are so many applications and possibilities for a Pop-Up Learning Experience. Here’s a few ideas you could consider:

  • Spring Arts Pop-Up – have all of the arts teams showcase student work and performances over the course of 2 weeks in an online group or evening.
  • A Teaching Artist Pop-Up – bring in a teaching artist and use the pop up for both a teaching experience and as a showcase for what students create. Parents and other staff can pop-in, participate, and see the power of these experiences.
  • An Arts Integration or STEAM Design Challenge – Create a challenge for students to participate in during a set time using specific supplies or video-based “clues” in the Pop-Up.

Other ways to use this would be for an introduction to a larger unit, a formative assessment for a project, or as a makerspace area.

Of course, there are way more possibilities that just these. And I’d love to hear what ideas are now churning for you. Remember, you can use the ask me anything button below to share with me your ideas and what’s bubbling to the surface for you. And if you are enjoying the show and know someone who could benefit from our discussions, please share the podcast with them. Together, we can chase the spark of our ideas and make a brighter future for everyone. I’ll see you soon.

Additional Resources:

What Can We Learn from Pop-Up Museums?

Pop-Up Class Case Study

Arts Integration Certification

Have a Question?

Do you have a question about today’s episode or need help with something? Let me know using the button below and I’ll make sure to chat about it on an upcoming episode.


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