quick display

Transition Day Hand Flowers

hand flowers display

Hand Flowers display from Nadine on the Facebook page

Hand Circles – simple, visually attractive, but what do they actually do?
Ideal for any age group, from early years to high school, this is a popular display idea. It is often used as a quick display for transition days but it can also be done as a whole school collaboration to hang in a shared area.
This idea lends itself to transition days as it is a simple activity with a visually attractive outcome. There is no need to get the paints or glue out and the result gives an impression of inclusion. After all, everyone can cut round their hand or colour in a flower…
Top Tip – use dark green or blue backing paper
As you can see from this lovely example (from Nadine on our Facebook page) it works really well done on a black background. Black is not always the easiest colour of paper to find at this time of year though, it will work just as well on a really dark green or blue.
Is it working?
At this point most people are quite happy with their pretty display. All the children have contributed, so it ticks the ‘ownership’ box, and it looks good for visitors. What more do you want?
Well, these displays can look a little tired, particularly if you repeat the same format every year. I have a few suggestions that might enhance the impact of the display and make it a little more personal to your class.
5 Ideas for Adding More Personalisation
Try one or more of these ideas to make this display unique to your class.

  •  Names on the hands. Can work but it is hard to make sure all the names are visible. Try first names only and put them on the middle finger.
  • Use Mehndi (henna) style decoration on the hands. Fun to do and looks good. Stick to one colour per hand and perhaps a limited range of hand colours. Younger children may struggle so this works best in Keystage 2 and above.
  • Children write three wishes for the coming school year on the back of their hand. (One for themselves, one for the whole class and one for their family.This one is my favourite!) Younger children can be helped or draw simple pictures. These will be hidden in the final display but the children will know they are there.
  • Use flowers created by the children rather than pre-printed ones. It is easy to find ideas for 3D flowers that are very simple to create.You will be amazed and delighted by how good they can look!
  • Instead of plain paper let the children choose to cut the hands from old gardening magazines, flower catalogues, seed catalogues, or even old floral wrapping paper. Wall paper samples can work too if you have them.


All these ideas are aimed at making the display something unique to this group of children, something that they will feel is part of them.

This first appeared as part of the monthly Classroom Displays Email. Subscribe for free here

We look at adding interactivity and ownership in more detail in  Classroom Displays Courses.


Ten Quick Interactive Display Ideas

Ten quick ideas for interactive display corners:
An interactive display corner can quickly  be set up in your classroom, where students research or explore a particular topic. They are  ideal for “what do I do now times?” but make sure all students get a chance for play as those who may benefit most might miss out if it is only used as a reward.

10 Ideas for Quick Interactive Displays

  1. Junk modelling pile – students produce relevant artefacts – eg cardboard rolls can be used as mock telescope. Tea boxes make good treasure chests or gingerbread houses. (more…)

No Said – Bulletin Board 7

no said display

No Said display board

Here’s an interesting graffiti style classroom display. At first glance this is very much a working display rather than something that’s been at all planned or designed. Look closer and you realise that the central image has been carefully chosen and executed. Giving children the ownership and freedom to contribute to the classroom displays in this way feels risky to many teachers but the results can be quite powerful.

Robert says:

Our January bulletin board was created by our class. We have kept a list of words to use instead of “said” when we write.

If I were to make suggestions for improvement it would only be to use darker pens for the words and perhaps a paler yellow background.

The words the pupils chose are interesting as well. Let’s have a look at this.

detail no said board

Use of ‘texted’ on No Said board

I wonder if the teacher would have thought of ‘typed’, ‘texted’ or ‘e-mailed’ as alternatives to ‘said’. 21stC pupils do and this is their display.

I’ve done much more managed versions of this sort of display in primary classrooms. Then we’ve usually collected a list of words from the children and either written them out on paper or typed them on the computer. These were then laminated and attached to the display with either sticky pads or putty so that they could be removed for reference. I wonder what the benefits of being just a little bit braver and handing over ownership like Robert did might have been?

No Said Bulletin Board, originally uploaded by Robert Owens.

Quick Autumn Displays – The Thinking Tree 2

66/365 – 9/26/2008, originally uploaded by snelly23.

I couldn’t resist this great quick display for Autumn! The maker says:

I was looking for real fall leaves to photograph on Monday, the first day of fall, and I failed. Our class used “glue paint” over and under tissue squares on construction paper to make these shiny fall leaves.

I love the tree with its ‘glue paint’ leaves and it’s wonderful affirmative messages. I’d love to add some photos of class members caught doing and being all of these great things, and to add some affirmations of their own, perhaps on more leaves building up at the base of the display, over this term.
People are always looking for 3d tree displays and I think this is a simple but excellent example.

Rainbow on the window – colourful collage 2

Rainbow Collage

Rainbow Collage

, originally uploaded by hello megan.

A vibrant window display is just the thing to cheer up a ‘spring’ classroom. I love the effect Megan has achieved with this one.
As you can see in this detail it’s collaged from magazines

Megan says:

Before class, I cut the rainbow shape out of a roll of white paper and marked the 7 color divisions. I had my class (2nd) mark which colors went where and gave them magazines to cut out any great examples of each color. Each table was assigned a color, and put their cutouts into a bowl. From there any class that had a free minute of two dug into those bowls and glued the pics on in their spot.

So you can see it’s pretty straight-forward. It really does count as a quick and easy classroom display!
I’ve done rainbows on windows before particularly with Key Stage 1 groups. The groups each did a colour. We painted the window with the following mixture:

Washable Window Paint

Tempera Paints (powdered or premixed)
Clear washing-up liquid (lemon ones work ok, green ones can make colours a bit off)

Mix powdered paint with the liquid till it is about as thick as house paint. With premixed paints just mix in a smallamount of washing-up liquid. Do not make it too runny or it will drip!

Mark out your colour areas with a dry wipe marker pen.

Let each colour dry before adding the next one.

Use masking tape to protect the window frame and be sure to spread newspaper around to protect the area.

To remove paint or touch up mistakes just wipe it off with a dry paper towel. Do not try using a wet towel or it will be a real mess!!

I think I like Megan’s way better anyway!