high school

Science Displays in Secondary

Science Displays in secondary

Science Displays in secondary need to be eye catching and useful.

New in the Classroom Displays Flickr Group from NQT Mr Chapman comes this secondary (high school) science display .

I’ve had several high school staff on the Classroom Displays course this year asking for help with science displays in secondary schools. and there is a growing feeling that displays are becoming more important in high schools. That all set me thinking about just what’s available in the way of displays advice for teachers of older classes.

Useful Display Books for Science Displays in Secondary

Here are some links to articles I’ve written about books that might be helpful . The first one is aimed at secondary teachers:

Design for Learning
The next 2 are aimed at primary but the information about the basics of design holds true whatever the age range. These both have long extracts that are available to read here on the blog:
Interactive Projects
Bulletin Boards That Capture Them with Pizzazz
The displays they describe are mostly relevant to primary but the last one has a good chapter on basic design.
Finally there is an excellent free pdf from Dr David Smawfield’s site.Look at the  School and Classroom Display Handbook. This gives a really clear set of basic display guidelines to follow what ever the age of the learners.

Useful Sites with Free Science Displays in Secondary Resources

On my travels round the internet preparing this post I found some very useful sites with free (mostly) science related posters suitable for older students. Some were  to download, others could be ordered in the UK.

1. Secondary maths posters, postcards and more from mathscareers.org.uk.I love the Maths on the Underground series and the Origami posters

2. Chemistry Resources from the RSC -Discover Chemistry 8 free Careers Posters



3. Tomorrows Engineers site has some great stuff. My own favourite is the large What is Engineering? poster. It  is really detailed and would be great blown up into a really huge image using Blockposter. (Blockposter tutorial post)

Have you found any great books or resources for  science displays in secondary?



Classroom Displays for Learning

Displays for Learning
There aren’t many books about classroom displays for secondary and beyond. This one has just been published and looks like a super addition to the the subject. I can’t wait to read it and see if I can apply some of it to my adult teaching. Teaching assistants need an interesting learning environment just as much as any other learners!

Amazon says:

Display has long been seen as a tool for learning in primary schools but this practical and timely book shows its value in whole school improvement for secondary and post-16. Walking through an entrance hall speaks volumes about the ethos of a school. The physical environment supported by display and signs allow visitors to make a judgement about the school and this judgement, correctly or not, will be based on what the visitor first sees. In some schools this first impression exudes positivism – display celebrates achievement and success, there are images of happy learners, learning focused signs and statements, and the environment seems cared for and respected. In others, negative statements confront visitors, the environment is neglected and unloved, there are no references to learning in the entrance to the school.The current educational agenda identifies learner wellbeing as the key determinant in achievement and outcome. How the learning environment is designed can have a huge impact on wellbeing. One particular aspect that has a powerful influence on this environment is the use of display space. Managed well, it can create a climate where students feel valued and nurtured, and can achieve beyond their potential.Display should transcend simple physical appearance. Successful and meaningful display reflects the ethos of a school, and an exciting, learning-focused environment makes for excited learners. An environment that mirrors respect and care makes learners feel cared for and respected by the place in which they learn. This positively impacts on how well students learn, how happy they are as they learn and the respect and care with which they treat their school; the same applies to staff. The signs used around schools and the messages that signage and display deliver are key to a learning-focused climate and they reinforce a school’s ethos. Care for the school environment and classrooms shows care for the students, and for teachers and other staff. This impression is quickly passed to parents and visitors to the school.This book aims to address a gap in the market for secondary school leaders and teachers (with transferable lessons for primary and 16 – 19 colleges) and provide a toolkit to develop display for learning with strategies and solutions, within the context of the school improvement and transformation agenda. The book aims to inspire colleagues in schools to develop this in their classrooms and on a whole school level – with the motivation and justification for doing so.

About the Author
Kirstie Andrew-Power is Achievement Networks Coordinator for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust. Her current role is facilitating networks of schools engaged in the school improvement agenda, leading shared learning opportunities for this through events and conferences, and contributing and writing publications to support this agenda. Charlotte Gormley is Assistant Headteacher Inclusion at The Compton School in north London. She is senior leader in school involved in a variety of outreach work with other schools – specifically with behaviours for learning, inclusion, environments for learning and school improvement

Sounds good. I’ll do a proper review once I’ve read it but if you can’t wait you can buy it from the Classroom Displays Bookshop

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 🙂

Instant Homework Display 8

This display by Classroom Displays Flickr Group member quemarropa remains popular with visitors to the blog despite being four years old. I’ve just updated the post to add some more advice from the comments on her original photo.

Everyone, it seems, is searching for instant classroom displays and bulletin boards this week. This one looks like a really useful one, combining a display with a visible record of homework returns.
quemarropa says:

It’s available for free download. I attached magnetic tape along the back so it could stick to the side of my rolling shelves when students need to play. the rest of the time it hangs from my accordion wall from the book rings at the top

The original  site has long gone but you can still find the board & associated files free to download and print out with full instructions at TeacherNet – Homeworkopoly   The site suggests:

In order for a student to play the game, he or she must complete their homework from the night before and hand it in to the teacher. This is how the student moves around the game board. If the student does not have their homework finished, they don’t get their chance to shake the die and move for the day (with exceptions, of course). Throughout the year, day by day you keep the game going. By starting at the beginning of the year everyone gets into it and by the end of the year everyone is doing their homework regularly.

Recently Noreen added some more details:

i printed everything from the website onto cardstock, then laminated it. I used packing tape to stick the laminated board pieces onto cardboard so it would be sturdy enough to hold up for several years with plastic clothespins clipped around it for my students’ playing pieces. I created all the graphics/instructions in the middle myself (and no longer have the files to share since my computer crashed a few years ago). The pockets for the playing cards and brainbinders is just leftover laminate scraps stuck on with packing tape. I use “It All Adds Up” puzzles from educationworld.com for my brainbinders since there are a lot to choose from and they are half-pages.
Initially (five years ago!) I use the large rings at the top of the board to hang it out of the way during the week, and then used magnetic tape to stick it onto the rolling cart shown above on Mondays when students played. Over time, the tape wouldn’t hold up the weight and the holes where the rings were started to tear. I’m in another classroom now, so I just staple the center parts of the board onto a bulletin board, making sure NOT to staple around the edges so my students can still move their clips around the perimeter. Because it’s so big, they are allowed to stand up on a chair to move their clips on the top portion of the board. Something to keep in mind if you want your kids to be able to move their pieces themselves.

Plastic Bag Collage

Plastic bag collage

Originally uploaded by Vikellis

A collage designed and made by a Yr8 form, from used plastic bags. It was part of an environmental issues unit, and was displayed in the Hall, in an attempt to raise awareness of “the plastic bag problem”.

It can be hard to make meaningful displays in shared areas – especially in High School. There’s a tendency to go for the “Wow!” factor rather than to engage with the pupils. They are often seen as spaces for the school to showcase work to visitors rather than somewhere for classes to share learning and connect with the wider school community.

This one however, is a really good example of using the space to tackle a topical issue. The display itself may be a little messy but that suits the subject and it is obviously the work of the students rather than that of a TA. I think that’s one of it’s major strengths. This display sets out to engage and educate the school community rather than to impress visitors.

It’s good to see that there’s a regular flow of senior school work starting to appear in the Classroom Displays Group and I hope to feature it more regularly on the blog.