How to...make great displays

2nd March 2007 at 00:00
Walls, walls everywhere - but no inspiration for displays.

You need to get out more.

I'm a teacher, not a decorator.

Displays should help learning. Why not follow medieval painters and break through the rectangle: snaking and draping patterns as well as blocks, speech bubbles instead of squares. Think 3D using texture, relief, crumpled foil and lightweight fabrics. Use colour to echo the topic. Mix your media for a change. Make use of colanders and masks.

Lumpy walls, then?

Not just walls. Washing lines hanging across the room or tiled pictures on ceilings. Try free-standing items: build a mummy or a camel, spray old carpet tiles or lino and create a game or a mosaic.

But I'm not arty.

Use a computer to create large letters then use the printout as a template for cutting out colours and textures. Scan pictures and enlarge them. Take photos and experiment with software filters.

Sounds a lot of work...

It's resource preparation, a learning tool, an inspiration, too. Have a working wall where pupils can contribute as their project progresses. The medium is the message and pupils should take part. Or create a frame for projecting a slide show of images and pupils' finished work.

I'd better load the staple gun.

Think about re-using the display - for assessment or for storage. Unpicking staples and ripping glued layers is destructive. Try spray glues.

Photograph it before you destroy it. Above all, use the space - and banish the magnolia.

Duncan Grey is author of 100+ Essential Lists For Teachers and Getting The Buggers To Learn (Continuum)

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