Monthly archives: September 2007

Target Board


Our Target Board, originally uploaded by Leeds Lass.

The use of classroom displays for targets is becoming more widespread but often they are quite dull and quickly become ‘wallpaper’. It’s great to see a more innovative approach like this one.
Here you can see the whole effect:

This display is just ‘targets’ the children have chose for themselves to achieve whilst they are in year 2. They range from being kind to others to learning to write in joined up handwriting. The display is only up for a short while and the rockets will be filed in class to remind the children about what they said they would like to achieve.

This idea could be extended with older classes by having a system for them to mark on the display when targets are met. It might be nice to have a visual representation and it might help to keep the display from becoming ‘wallpaper’. If you are using the display over the whole term how about the next set of targets being on different coloured paper? I think there’s a lot more you could do with this classroom display. What do you think?

Pirate Pop-Ups – moving toys in Year 3 1

Pirate Pop-Ups, originally uploaded by LindaH.

Pneumatics were used to make these pop-up toys by Year 3. You can see how they work from the back here:
Pirate Pop-up toy - how it works
The basic design used a cereal box. One side was covered in blue funky foam (neoprene) and simple shapes were cut out to make the scene. Children then made a pirate, jolly roger, shark or other monster and stuck it onto a lolly pop stick. The pnuematic system was then attached using masking tape.
This formed part of the Treasure Island themed work for the Telling into Writing project. More details about Telling into Writing on usefulwiki

Behaviour incentives – pizza party points 2

pizza party points, originally uploaded by quemarropa.

Classroom displays can be a vital part of a behaviour management strategy. Lots of teachers are trying out visual incentives to improve behaviour but it can be hard to keep them positive. This is a fun idea which can easily be adapted to suit your classroom.

each table group is assigned a color, which corresponds to a colored pizza topping. the table group that gets the most points each day (for behavior, responsibility, cooperation, respect, etc) puts their topping on the pizza. once we have 30 toppings total -with each table contributing at least 4- we have a pizza party!

The toppings etc. are stored in the pizza box. I think it’s a lot more fun than traffic lights!

I think you would need to have the criteria for points clearly set out so that pupils knew what to aim for. Sometimes we assume they know what we want and really they don’t. Concepts like respect and responsibility need to be explained. The pupils need to know what that concept looks like, what it sounds like. The ones who really need to won’t catch this stuff by osmosis.

Update: Quemarropa adds:

NOTE: the first week of school, i modeled some of the ways students can get points. sometimes, i’ll do an end-of-day “what did we learn?” quiz and award points to tables. sometimes, the first table that has followed instructions completely gets a point. sometimes, if a table member helps another student with a difficult concept, i’ll give the whole table a point. but i’m quick to point out that i’m looking for a variety of things and not every good act gets a point… because i EXPECT good acts from every table. at this point, they know i’m looking for exceptional behavior and classwork. if i notice one table is slacking, i’ll subtly add tallies to the other tables that are on task and usually the kids pick up on this and get back to work. today i had a meeting and another teacher administered a quiz. my kids were absolutely WONDERFUL… respectful and 100% on-task, so every table added a topping to the pizza for showing exemplary behavior with a guest teacher. it’s working beautifully so far!

Great description of the system in action 🙂

Book Review – Rules of Display update

Our Classroom Displays book competition winner Manisa Saujani is guest author on the blog today –

Title: Rules of Display

The essential guide to nursery and primary classroom displays

Author: Lynn Taylor

Published by: Hodder Gibson (2006)

As a Teaching Assistant, with recently added responsibility of putting up classroom displays, I have found this book a valuable resource. In particular, during this first term back at school the photocopiable templates at the back have been great time savers.

This is a comprehensive guide covering everything from arranging a display with use of titles and borders to the materials that can be used for displays.

The tips, ideas and also the colour photographs really give an in depth understanding of creating stimulating displays taking into account the size, styles and even the colours used for displaying children’s work. The displays cover not only the walls, but also the table tops, ceilings and windows.
The book would add to the teaching assistant’s professional development especially since it covers the areas of health and safety as well as questions to think about when evaluating the learning environment.

I have enjoyed going through this book and will continue to dip into it again and again in order to refresh my ideas and skills.

Manisa Saujani – teaching assistant

If you are interested our Amazon book store has a few copies left.

Maths Words 2

Maths Words, originally uploaded by angela_oxon.

Continuing the theme of quick classroom displays I noticed that quite a few people were searching for numeracy ones this week. This one is simple enough. I think if I’d been doing it I would have grouped the words ‘add’ ‘subtract’ ‘multiply’ and ‘divide’ into the centre next to the symbols. I might also have colour coded each group.
This displays is only a quick one if you already have the letters cut out or are lucky enough to have a school alphabet die cutter. I have done a similar one with the words hand written (large) in vivid marker pen colours and then cut out and laminated. This gives you the opportunity to use them as a class or group sorting activity.
Top Tip
Once you have cut out the letters, laminate them and store in a plastic envelope. Ideally each word should be held together with a paperclip. Saves ages sorting them out next time you want to use the display!