On safari – a jungle in the classroom 4

Transformational classroom displays are particularly popular in early years and key stage 1 settings. This reading area has become a jungle, complete with an elephant,lion and tiger. Most of the animals have been made and painted by the children, with some adult assistance. The result is a high interest area with lots to talk about.

Making displays like this can be a huge stimulus for speaking and listening but once the display is up staff often need to make an effort to remember to keep referring to elements in the display. Adding labels and other text can re-vitalise a display. A favourite addition is laminated speech bubbles so that asking questions like “How does the elephant feel today?” can give the children even more opportunity for expression and contribute to a text rich environment.

Once children and staff get used to the display and it loses the “wow” factor, it has to go. There is a great temptation with displays like this to forget their purpose and treat them like pretty wallpaper.

Displays like this need to be treated with a little caution. Whilst it can be great fun to transform a whole classroom too much stimulation can be very challenging for some children. Keeping some areas visually quiet and uncluttered is also a consideration.

Seaside Display – family learning 1

seaside display, originally uploaded by LindaH.

This seaside display was made by a family learning class with help from the learning mentor. The children were all under four and attend the school nursery.
I am sure that displays like this are helpful in several ways:

  • Making the display provides a shape and purpose for the family learning sessions
  • The work gives lots of opportunities for speaking and listening skills to be practised
  • Encourages a sense of pride and achievement.
  • It promotes a sense of ownership in both the parents and the children

There are more, I’m sure. Seeing this I couldn’t help but think how much better it was than having the sort of Disney cartoon murals you sometimes see in nurseries and creches.

Practical Tips

To re-create this display
The starfish – breakfast cereal or pasta

 seaside display
The crab – folded paper plate, card and googly eyes
Flickr Photo Download: seaside display
The hot air balloon- assorted collage items glued onto card then covered with cellophane, probably stapled.
Flickr Photo Download: seaside display

Matisse Display Gets an Authentic Audience

Matisse, originally uploaded by LindaH.

Displays don’t have to be just for the classroom. This one is on a notice board at the entrance to a London Overground train station next to the school.
This display is from a year 3 class who have been studying Matisse collages. There are some very good resources about Matisse’s work The Snail online. My favourites include:

the Tate Modern’s animation of the making of The Snail

the Textease resources on the Lancashire ngfl site. This one is traditionally used for the year 5 graphical modelling ICT unit but could easily be adapted for other years.

The display at the entrance to the station changes very regularly showcasing the work of different classes in the school. I think it connects the school with the surrounding community in a very powerful way and must provide the children with a real sense of authentic audience.

Ancient Greece Display Ideas – part one

Greek Vase display

Originally uploaded by Angela
This simple but effective display comes from a Year 3 class. These are just a few of the vases, the rest were placed on the walls around the classroom.

The vases for this Ancient Greece display were made from black sugar paper, the designs were painted on in orange and once dry fine details were added with black pen. Angela said they were very easy to make but tricky to cut out.

More Displays about Ancient Greece

Lots of people seem to be looking for displays about Ancient Greece at the moment so this is the first of a number that I will be highlighting over the next week or so.

Our Circle of Friendship 2

IMG_1967, originally uploaded by LMH_.

This hall display was made to represent the diverse nature of the school population.

The background was divided up with masking tape and painted with fabric paint. The hands were made by children drawing round their own hands, cutting them out of felt, and sticking them on. It was made with the help of one of our school’s learning mentors, Julie Lawrence. It’s meant to symbolise the circle of friendship in our school.

I think it looks very effective with the light coming through and it carries an important message. Many of the children who worked on this were troubled in some way and the learning mentors used the making of the display as part of an informal friendship building programme.