Teachers opinions on displays can vary greatly – from colours to the amount of displays, position of display and, of course, their content. All teachers will have their own preferences and while I am no expert on classroom displays, I too have my opinions and my preferences.
Preparing For A Display:
My preference is to have brightly coloured displays. I have seen a few classrooms in recent years switching to natural colours and materials like hessian and while this interests me a lot, I am sticking to colour for now! I use block colours for the backing paper and borders. I generally stay away from designed borders as I find displays are busy enough without adding more ‘stuff’ to the borders.
Backing paper tip: I am very fussy when it comes to my backing paper – the OCD gets me every time! Lines or creases in backing paper wont do!
For small boards (where the roll of paper is longer than the width of the board):
Start at the top right (or left) corner. Staple your paper across the top to the other corner and let the roll fall to the bottom of the board. Staple the backing paper down both sides – always smooth the paper as you go and keep it straight and in line with the edge of your board. Using the blade of a scissors, follow the bottom line of your board and cut off the excess paper. Staple your bottom edge and put on your border.
For bigger boards (Where the roll of paper is the length of the board):
Start at the top right (or left) corner. Staple your paper across the top to the other corner. Use the blade of a scissors to cut the paper using the edge of your board as a guide. Smooth and staple down the sides and finally across the bottom! Pop on your border and you’re done.
I only ever back my display boards once a year! The trick to keeping them in good condition is do not use blu-tac! Ever! If you can, laminate everything that is going on a display. That way you can staple all of your display bits up, they pull straight off when you need to take them down with no damage to the resource or the backing paper! I always use a regular stapler too, a wall stapler is much stronger than it needs to be for display purposes and is much harder work all round!
What To Display:
This can often become a topic for debate among teachers but I have always believed that classroom displays should hold a value to children’s learning. My displays are always relevant to what we are learning in our curriculum areas and will change with our learning. I try not to overload my displays and wall space, I don’t see much benefit in sticking things on walls etc without good reason.
Your displays will of course be dictated by your classroom and the space in which you have display resources for the children. Some schools are very controlled in what (subject areas, resources/materials that can/cannot be used) and where (display boards only, nothing stuck on windows etc) teachers can display and other schools leave it completely to the teachers discretion. Inspectors also have a variety of preferences which may have an influence on what you are required to display.
I always try to have the 4 main subject areas covered by a display which is relevant to the subject topics being covered each term/half term/month. The aim is for the displays to be a learning aid for the children in their daily work in the classroom. They are displays which the children can reference for help, reminders or ideas to aid their learning.
My main focus of my English display for infants is usually focused on writing and reading skills. The 3 main topic areas are:
Here are some ideas of how some of these areas might be covered in a literacy display
My maths display tends to change once a term. There is a much broader scope of material to display for maths and it isn’t possible to display everything that the children will use over the whole year.
Gaeilge displays can sometimes be a bit harder to do in Infants as the children are not reading yet and it might appear that there isn’t much that you can display! My Gaeilge is normally just a small display of the weekly vocabulary cards which accompany Abair Liom. I also have a Cúinne Na Gaeilge which is an interactive display area that the children take ownership of. Similar to the vocabulary display, it has a weekly focus such as a colour or item of interest which the children contribute to by gathering items from the classroom or bringing items in from home.
As I teach a new topic each month, my SESE changes monthly. It is always focused around the topic being covered and includes pictures and key vocabulary cards. Where possible I try to have a topic table for my SESE display. It contains books, toys and other items related to the topic which the children can interact with and can contribute to also.
While I have a strong focus on learning displays in my classroom, they aren’t the only displays. Of course displaying children’s work has its place in the classroom also. I have a display board for a few pieces of ‘best work’ which I try to change weekly.
As well as the ‘Work To Bee Proud Of’ display, children’s art work is displayed on a display board outside my classroom and on the classroom windows. I try to change this work each fortnight.
There are various other displays that you can have in your classroom such as class birthdays, classroom jobs, visual timetable, behaviour charts, classroom rules and so on. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to displays, what works for you may not work for the teacher next door! As long as you are creating a welcoming and positive learning environment, whatever way you choose to do it, you’re doing a good job!