Roald Dahl The BFG



Roald Dahl’s The BFG is a firm favourite in schools. In case you don’t know the story the BFG is a big, friendly giant who befriends a little girl called Sophie. They have some interesting, hilarious and slightly scary adventures together. Children respond well to Dahl’s darker vision of childhood and his understanding of the more frightening aspects of growing up. His child heroes and heroines are always resourceful and independent and usually far more competent than the adults around them.

Engage The Learners

Getting Dahl displays right though can be a bit tricky. It is too easy to get carried away making a ‘wow!’ display and forget the need for learners to engage with the display. (more…)

Ideas for Phonics Displays

Today’s Ideas for Phonics Displays are brought to you by the pure ‘i’ sound.

A couple of people have posted on the Classroom Displays Facebook  Page recently looking for ideas for phonics displays and I’ve been really pleased and impressed with the willingness of people to help.


Kyle asked for help:
“Hello all, any ideas on a display whilst we are teaching the i-i-i pure sound?? thankyou 🙂 For nursery age “
Here are just a few of the ideas the page likers came up with to help Kyle with the pure “i” sound. (more…)

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…)

Emotional Literacy Displays 2

Today’s guest post comes from Debbie who has a new site about Emotional Literacy Support. I am always on the look out for good resources to support Emotional Literacy displays (it was a Facebook conversation with Debbie that sparked the Warm Fuzzies post the other week!) and Debbie’s new site promises to have some excellent ones!

Our emotional literacy displays & learning environment

Emotional literacy display - Busy bees

Emotional literacy display – Busy bees

We are very lucky to have our own classroom to carry out our emotional literacy activities. It is in the process of being changed from an old intervention/guided reading room to ‘The Hive’ our new name for the room. As our groups are called ‘Busy Bees’ we decided to carry that theme throughout the room. All our displays are backed in bright yellow with black borders. It is very eye catching.

We also purchased some Bee cushions which the children sit on for circle time activities. I have a cooling down area which consists of a table with aManaging Feelings Resources,  and a (yellow)timer and have plans for a covered ‘hive’ where children can read books etc. When the room is finished I will happily send in some photos for you to see.

The photo I have included in this post is of the Busy Bees display in the corridor leading up from Reception. All visitors must go past the display when they come into our school. We used our yellow and black theme here too. Everyone knows this is Busy Bees. The display is very eye catching and eyes are drawn to it when walking down the corridor. We decided to put the bright yellow sunflowers to enhance the display. Yellow makes me think of happy things; of the sun, warmth and friendship. That is what we wanted to achieve.

The display consists of photographs of the children taking part in different activities, feelings fans, lots of speech bubbles which the children wrote saying what they had learnt in their Busy Bee group. We also cut out bees and flowers out of clipart to dot around. We included some friendship quotes which I made on the computer. I love positive quotes and sometimes we discuss them in circle time.  I also wanted something that visitors could look at and also most importantly the children. We made our ‘Look at what we do in Busy Bees’ book. This is updated regularly with photographs of our sessions. We often see parents looking through the book as well as children.
A little more about our ELSA work
Many people may wonder what an ELSA is so I will explain. An ELSA is an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant, a teaching assistant or in my case an HLTA who has undergone training by Educational Psychologists. It is quite a new initiative which aims to address the problem of children’s social and emotional needs enabling them to access the curriculum.

I have been trained for a year now and the value of the ELSA role has been recognised in our school to such an extent that the Head has invested in training for three more ELSAs. I am now the Lead ELSA and line manage the three other ELSAs. We work both reactively and proactively with behaviour, social and emotional needs.

Every day is different and the children actually self refer themselves to us now. It might be that their dog has died or they had a conflict in the playground or they feel angry about something. I knew I had made a difference when one little boy in year 2 asked his teacher if he could come and see me because he felt so angry. This little boy would, in the past have lashed out at others but now he recognises his anger, walks away and seeks adult help. I was so proud of him that day when he knocked on my door. We also work closely with parents to foster good relationships and to help the parent to help their child.
Proactive work
Our proactive work involves running our ‘Busy Bee’ groups. These are hand-picked children who have problems managing their feelings, self esteem problems, friendship problems or just need a little nurturing. We always include ‘LAC’ (looked after children). This is a 12 week intervention where we work on lots of things including feelings, team work, friendship, social skills, calming down and relaxation strategies. The biggest strength of Busy Bees is the fact that children feel they belong to a group. Belonging is very powerful! We also work on a one to one basis with children where we can teach ways to manage their feelings, change their negative behaviour or perhaps support them after bereavement.
Reactive work
Our reactive work involves sorting out problems which occur on a daily basis. For example if a teacher is struggling with a child’s behaviour and has gone through all the sanctions then she/he will call for us and we will remove the child, calm them and have the ‘talk’ about expectations in class. They usually go back in a much better mood and get on with their work. We also sort out playtime issues using a restorative approach to conflict.
ELSA Support website
Earlier on in the year I realised that there was no central area on the internet for emotional literacy resources and resources are difficult for some people to make. In my past life before having my children I was an ICT technician with a very large multinational company so had the skills to make resources for my work and I thought it would be good to share with others. I started ELSA support. There are many resources on there and links to resources I have found. Also some people have started to send in resources they have made which is fantastic and just what I want to happen. I have also started a Facebook page where people can ‘like’ the page and they will get regular updates to the website. It is growing slowly but surely. Although the original intention was to support ELSAs, everyone who works with children is very welcome.  Children’s emotional literacy is a key element of their success in life so we are all equally responsible; whether a parent, Head teacher, teacher, teaching assistant, volunteer or ELSA.

Thank you Linda for allowing me to write this article

Thank you Debbie for guest posting!

BTW If you’d like to write a guest post for Classroom Displays do get in touch!

Classroom Displays Learn The Basics 5

If you are new to making classroom displays or you are not even working in a school yet there are some basic points about classroom displays that can be a bit confusing. Once you have grasped these basic things you might want to explore a bit further and join me in the 4 week online Classroom Displays Starter Course

As with most aspects of school life the first thing to check is whether your school has a displays policy. If it does then much of how you make displays in the classroom will be laid out for you there.

Classroom Displays – Boards

Display boards are usually backed with ‘fade-less’ poster paper which is more fade resistant than ordinary papers. Occasionally sugar paper might be used but it can fade very badly.  Other materials can be used but they have to meet the fire regulations. Teachers sometimes use fabric but it should be fire retardant. There are sprays available to help with this.
The backing paper is either in rolls or sometimes A3 sheets.

Classroom displays basic supplies

See more rolls and borders in the Classroom displays Book shop

These rolls might look rather bright and that can be an issue. I go into more depth about choosing suitable colours for backing and mounting in Week 3 of the course.

Make sure you know the school etiquette before you help yourself to the displays store cupboard.  In the coming months everyone will be looking for black and dark blue for bonfire night displays. Try to be a bit more original with colours and you will find display making easier and your displays might be more interesting!

Display basics- edges of display backing paper

Display basics, showing the edges of A3 display backing paper

Some schools use A3 sheets rather than rolls. Schools vary in their paper buying policies and you just have to be adaptable. When using sheets they are placed next to each other and attached to the board with staples. You can  see it if you look closely here, from a distance the edges are not visible.
Sometimes school use rolls of plasticised paper to provide a more lasting background. These can last a whole term or even longer. Colour choices can be a bit limited but it is easy to use.

Backing paper is usually stapled into place and can often be re-used for two or three displays depending on how well it has survived.

Round the edge of the display board we usually also add a border of contrasting plain paper. It comes ready cut on a roll. Sometimes borders are scalloped or have designs on them. Plain is usually preferable as it distracts from the work less.

Mounting Work

Children’s work is usually fixed to another sheet of paper to ‘mount’ . We usually attach work by using a glue stick. If you do it carefully round the edge and a dab in the middle then it won’t wrinkle.Work can be mounted on poster paper, sugar paper or sometimes on pre-cut mounts like the ones in the photo. Mounting can be single, double or triple depending on the look of the display.

A4 Mounting Paper

A4 Mounting Paper

When the display comes down work is often given back to the children but it often remains mounted. It can be carefully removed from pre-cut mounts but it is fiddly and work can be damaged.

When mounting work it is important to note the child’s name in pencil on the back of the mounting paper before you glue it down! Best practice suggests we should unobtrusively include a small name label on each piece of work displayed but that is not always possible.
Work is usually attached to the board by stapling the mount at the corners, ideally just catching it rather than piercing the mount. This is even more important with pre-cut mounts which are too expensive not to re-use. Use the stapler at an angle to make it easy to remove staples afterwards. Drawing pins are not ideal in the classroom for health and safety reasons. Blu Tack is sometimes used but it can leave sticky marks on the backing paper and sometimes falls off after an extended period.

Occasionally double sided sticky tape can be used on displays, but I usually had to provide my own! It’s too expensive to use for displaying work. I also found stick velcro pads very useful for attaching 3d items. Spray mount isn’t often used, partly because of issues with asthmatic children. I have used it myself sometimes on display items, but only when working outside school hours.

I hope this has given you a quick insight into some classroom displays basics. If you want to know more then why not have a look at the Classroom Displays Starter Course?

If you are a seasoned display maker, thank you for reading this far! Please leave your tips and suggestions in the comments section. What do you wish someone had told you about making classroom displays when you started?