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Summer School 2017   Recently updated !

The Classroom Displays Self Paced Summer School

The course opens is open  now and you can get immediate access to all lessons.

How Does The Self Paced Displays Summer School Work?

Classroom Displays Summer school

Learn at your pace, not mine. Click the image to get your subscribers discount.

The  Classroom Displays Starter and Advanced Courses used to take either 4 weeks (Starter Course) or 21 working days (Advanced Course). I have now updated the courses so that people can access the material and study at their own pace. This means that you could whizz through either, or even both the courses, in a few days or just do the odd half hour here and there spread out over the next 6 months. The choice is totally yours.

Choose your level

You can choose from

  • The Starter Course £29.99
  • The Advanced Course  £49.99
  • Access All Areas, with two bonus 1-1 mentoring emails  just £59.99 (This is my Summer School VIP Special and has limited availability)
  •  I also provide a tailor-made version for schools wanting to do block bookings. (Please use the contact form at the bottom of the page to email me for details).

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Multiple bookings for schools click here

Please Note – You DO NOT need to be in school!
Don’t worry that you are not in school or don’t have access to a camera. All tasks are provided.

How it Works

Once you have paid I will send you an email confirmation. Then I will send you the password to your chosen level and the link to the lessons.

  • You can read all the lessons and work your way through them as quickly or as slowly as you like.
  • You retain full access until October. (Extensions are possible by arrangement)
  • I provide feedback on all completed tasks you send me, by email.
  • You get a certificate once you complete the tasks
  • If you choose the Access All Areas option not only will you be able to access both courses but you will also be entitled to two bonus 1-1 email mentoring sessions where we can talk about your specific displays issues.

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Please see my Courses for Schools Page  or leave a comment and I will get back to you


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…)

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?

 


Numeracy Working Walls

Setting Up A Numeracy Working Area

Whiteboard MathsNumeracy working walls are becoming ubiquitous in UK primary classrooms but  they run the danger of becoming just a display. Displays that the children don’t connect with and use regularly quickly become ‘wallpaper’.
I think it is important to put the emphasis on children using displays as a visual tool to help them learn. It helps to talk about how ‘real’ mathematicians use whiteboards to help them do their work and to encourage the children to see the wall area as a tool rather than a display. You can set up a numeracy work board like this on a fairly small scale and still have a really useful learning zone.
Ideally you’ll need a wipe clean surface, perfect for quick working out, jotting things down, trying out solutions, or even just some fun shape drawing! You could use blackboard paint on a board but using a whiteboard  ‘idea paint’ and colored dry wipe markers is much more interesting. Idea paint can be painted straight onto the wall and gives a wipe clean surface just like expensive whiteboards. Amazon do some self-adhesive, wipe clean Magic Whiteboard stickers that look very good. (Perhaps you saw them on Dragon’s Den?)

Limit Your Colours

Limit the number of colors you use in this area. It is tempting to make everything bright and colorful but that can be distracting. Try to stick to a neutral  (white or black), two main complementary colors and a bright accent color. Sticky putty will hold up any light items but sticky pads or small velcro squares work better for heavier things. You can also put up trimmed plastic wallets mounted on colored card to easily slide in work or pictures.

Ideas to Help You Set Up Your Numeracy Wall

Use some of these ideas to get the children thinking positively about maths. Of course what you choose to use depends on the age of your class.

  • A puzzle challenge area for quick activities. You can get as creative as you like with this area. Change the challenges frequently, get children setting the challenges. Maths cube (Unifix) art  would make an interesting challenge. If you are practicing mental maths you could record the questions on a ‘talking postcard’. These re-recordable ‘talking’ or ‘voice postcards’ are not too expensive  A child can listen to the question then record their answer on another.
  • A  maths words area – cards with math vocabulary for the topic you are currently exploring printed on one side, definition on the other that can be taken down to copy, use for games etc. Don’t forget the children can make these and will learn a great deal by doing so. Definitions they have found for themselves, either from the internet or from a book, are much more memorable than anything we tell them.
  • A working area that focuses on one area of maths that you are currently exploring – this is where children can stick up work they are pleased with, questions they are interested in, things they want to find out. One way of doing this would be to divide the area into 3 sections using paper tape. Add the headings What We Know, Our Questions, and How We Plan to Find Out. This sort of self-directed working is really useful for all learners but especially for independent learning times.
  • Take lots of photos of the class doing things that involve maths. Get the children to sort and label  the photos into groups according to the kind of maths involved. Throw in some wild cards and see if they can work out how something like driving the car or tidying the room might involve maths. Make a display of the sorted and labeled photos. You can use bright colored post-it notes to label the groups of photos, that way it is easy to take them down and re-sort them in a different grouping. (Most activities will involve more than one kind of maths.)Everyday maths is also part of putting up displays. From measuring the spaces between letters and working out proportions and ratios, to getting the angles for placing things right.

It is best to avoid too much visual clutter in a learning area so just choose a couple of these ideas at a time. Change them  frequently so they never become just pretty wallpaper. There is lots of evidence that involving children in making choices about their learning environment improves their engagement so get them involved at every stage.

Suzanne says "I link the QR code to theme of week. Children use class ipad to link to file or game! Last week we were fractions so the link was to fraction games." (via the Classroom Displays Facebook Page)  Learn more about using QR codes on displays in the  Advanced Course

Suzanne says “I link the QR code to theme of week. Children use class ipad to link to file or game! Last week we were fractions so the link was to fraction games.” (via the Classroom Displays Facebook Page) Learn more about using QR codes on displays in the Advanced Course

Working wall

Heidi says “I’ve velcroed clipboards to my display board so I can quickly change children’s work according to the topic. I also use speech bubbles which the kids can write in to explain their work.” (via the Classroom Displays Facebook page)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources
Idea Paint (US)

Muraspec (UK stockists)

They do a Home kit which covers 6 square feet or get a 20 square feet can and make a literacy working area  too. You will also need a special base coat and the area needs to be specially prepared.  This is probably a job for the school caretaker or janitor and not a DIY idea.

UK stockists Muraspec say:

Kit options
 We can offer customers Lil’ Bit Kits that cover an area of 3 square ft (0.28m2). At just £24.67 (ex VAT)  these kits are perfect for testing ideapaint out on a small area and contain; a roller sleeve & handle, stir stick, tray and installation instructions. Each standard kit covers 4.65m2 (50ft2).

Ideapaint is available in five colours: White, Off White, Light Beige, Light Grey and White Sand.

Dry Wipe Stickers  from Amazon

Try Magic Whiteboard, or even blackboard stickers if you feel retro! Less fuss than ideapaint these are better for making temporary display whiteboard areas.

Click here to find these and other similar products in the Classroom Displays Amazon Bookshop

 

Re-recordable ‘voice postcards’ from TTS

These are excellent but be sure to get the 30 second version as the 10 second ones will be too short for your working area. Talk Time Postcards

Talk-Time Postcards


Time to Spring Clean Your Classroom?

Is your classroom looking a little bit the worse for wear?  Looking for a quick solution? Spring cleaning is not just for homes and your classroom too can benefit from a quick once over. The trouble, for most teachers, or teaching assistants, is finding the time is really challenging. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.

Have you really looked around your room recently?

Is your classroom is crammed with work in progress and things you’ve not had time to clear away?  Or is it well organised but uninspiring? A messy classroom or a boring one can soon make you, and your learners, feel overwhelmed and exhausted.

Not Just Your Display Boards

This is not about your classroom displays  but about the whole visual look of your classroom.  A working space can have a big impact not only on  efficiency but also how easy it is to concentrate. You could have the most wonderful, creative display boards in your classroom but their effectiveness may be reduced by the visual clutter surrounding them.

Not Creative Mess But Visual Noise

I’m not talking about a ‘creative mess’. Classrooms that are always tidy with nothing out of place are rather dead spaces. Learning is inherently messy!  When creative work is under way every classroom gets a bit untidy and that’s a good thing!  Creative mess can be cleared away quickly once the creative moment has passed. The trouble starts when it is left to turn into the sort of distracting mess that adds to a general ‘visual noise’. That mess that you can see out of the corner of your eye makes concentration very difficult.

Visual Distraction Is Bad for Everyone

We all know intuitively that it can be hard to think clearly in a very messy space. This applies to you,  just as much as it does to your learners.  It is even worse for any students in your class who suffer with attention issues, dyslexia or autistic spectrum disorders.

Imagine Being A Child In Your Classroom

We will start by  imagining what it is like to be a student rather than a teacher in your room.  Once you have taken a look at your classroom through fresh eyes you will find it much easier to see what needs to be done.

Introducing The Tidy Classroom Process

Update – The Tidy Classroom Process and Workbook  are now only available as part of The Advanced Displays Course

You Will  See Exactly What Needs to Be Done and How to Do it Quickly.

I’ll show you how you can use your natural visual strengths to quickly create a more effective classroom.  Once you know how to really look at your classroom you will find that there are quick and easy solutions staring you in the face.

Update - The Tidy Classroom Process and Workbook  are now only available as part of The Advanced Displays Course

Update – The Tidy Classroom Process and Workbook are now only available as part of The Advanced Displays Course

In 3 steps this process will help you to

Step 1: Identify what blocks your students and makes your classroom hard to work in.

Step 2: Create actions to instantly improve things.

Step 3: Make long term changes to your classroom to more effectively support your students’ learning.

 

The Tidy Classroom Workbook is a short, practical, e-booklet which guides you through this process. It comes as a PDF file which you print out.It is ideal for anyone who feels their classroom space is looking a little (or a lot!) unloved and wants to fix it, fast! 

The workbook takes you through a process that you can use again and again. It is not a book of specific tips.
Update – The Tidy Classroom Process and Workbook  are now only available as part of The Advanced Displays Course