Make the most of displays

Sue Cowley

Sue Cowley offers practical advice on managing your class and delivering your lessons.

Properly managed displays can be a valuable resource for learning. On the other hand, they can be little more than wallpaper, adding nothing to the teaching and learning that goes on in your classroom.

* Get the whole class involved: Give your pupils a sense of ownership of the display work. Ask them to help you choose which pieces to include; you could get them involved in designing and mounting displays. Allocate a portion of each wall to a different group of pupils, and give them total control of what goes in this space.

* Work in progress: We often think of displays as a way of showing work that has been achieved during a topic or subject area. Use some of your displays as works in progress, finding ways to add to or use them during lessons. For example, when studying a book, you might create a map of the settings used in the story as you read it with your class.

* Make them interactive: For instance, using lift-up flaps or posing questions that you want the class to answer. You could also get the children to write their ideas on Post-it notes to add to a display.

* Use different dimensions: Make sure that your displays include different sizes, rather than simply being flat pieces of paper. You could hang a line across the ceiling and peg up work so that it hangs down. You might use cardboard boxes to make a 3-D model to go on the wall.

* Play around with colour: Colour can have a powerful influence on your pupils' mood, emotions and behaviour. Stand back from your walls to look at the overall effect of the colour schemes you have used. Bright colours will create a bold, exciting feeling; pastels lend themselves to a calmer, restful mood. Black and white can also be effective.

* Include objects and props: If there is space, put a table in front of your displays with regularly changing items for the pupils to handle. For example, in a geography topic on India, the items might be foods and spices; another week it could be clothing and decorative objects.

* Consider all the senses: Inspire your children to make a sensory response to displays by incorporating materials that appeal to the different senses.

Create a touchy-feely display by adding a variety of textures, or a scratch-and-sniff display using different scents.

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Sue Cowley

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