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How to ace your open-day displays

One English teacher has been seeking out inspiration for her school display boards ahead of open day. Here, she shares some of the treasures she has found

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One English teacher has been seeking out inspiration for her school display boards ahead of open day. Here, she shares some of the treasures she has found

Late September is open evening season: the prime time for the Hydra monster of displays to rear its ugly heads. The more displays you make, the more you realise need to be updated, and the more you start to question what the point of them is anyway.

What do we want from our displays? Are we displaying for display’s sake? So much research says that displays only distract and confuse students… so, should we rip them down and burn them all in protest? Let the flames destroy the papery monstrosities, condemning them to a fiery eternity along with learning styles and brain gym and…no?  Oh. OK, well if you can’t beat them, best join them.

I have scoured Pinterest, Twitter and the best educational blogs to find the finest displays the internet has to offer – so you don’t have to.

Displays that help the student with their work

Spelling is very much a whole-school literacy topic. So every classroom, regardless of subject, would absolutely benefit from a few spelling lists on display. These ideas from Pinterest are nice ways of presenting the different spelling rules.

Disclaimer: this was from an idea I originally shared, but other teachers on Twitter have made it into a rather useful display.

This will work for any kind of resource that you find yourself referring to constantly in your lessons. Blow it up to A4 and stick it on your wall. Make that space work for you.

The rather lovely and generous Matt Kingscote has a wonderful blog full of great display posters that he shares for free.  It is well worth a look.

Displays that showcase examples of good work

‘Working Walls’ can be dedicated to a single class, or across all of your classes, and display work being completed as you go along.

Some nice ones can be seen here and here.

Displays that tell your students about who you are, or what your subject is about

Some schools like to have a "who is who" display to explain to students who they need to see in regards to certain areas of the curriculum, or areas of learning.  There are some really entertaining ideas out there, whether you teach English or maths.

Over in humanities, meanwhile, you can create displays for explaining about how your subject links to the wider world.

Or you can also explore the different benefits of your subject through displays. These example are for music, but can be easily adapted for any subject.

And I think this department may just win the Twitter award for most gorgeous subject-specific displays.

Displays that are just that little bit wonderful

Last but not least, there are those displays that are slightly bonkers, but in a very good way. Take this one of an "exploded" computer that I found on Twitter.

And if you find yourself tasked with planning an activity for open evening, this giant Scrabble idea could kill two birds with a single heft of a dictionary.

Grainne Hallahan has been teaching English in Essex for 10 years. She is part of the #TeamEnglish Twitter group

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