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


Spanish Spring Display – La Primavera 1

La Primavera

La Primavera

La Primavera, originally uploaded by lisibo.

Here’s a lovely Key Stage 2 Spanish display for Spring based on the the QCA Spanish KS2 Unit La Primavera.
Lisa says:
The pupils were given an extract of the poem La Primavera by Antonio Machado and rewrote it, giving the daisy a different role.
The extract from the poem was adapted by the pupils, replacing the words highlighted with their own place and role for the daisy (la margarita)

La Primavera
Pupils replaced the word for place, une escuella (a school), with their own choices such as una piscina (a pool), un parque (a park) un supermarcado (a supermarket)

Then una maestra ( a teacher) was changed to la salvavidas-the lifeguard, la dependienta – the shopassistant, la recepcionista – the receptionist etc

The children’s work is really delightful and they’ve obviously taken a lot of pride in producing it.


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!

Spring Classroom Displays – Kites 1

kites in KS1

Simple instructions for ‘bagged’ backgrounds

Here’s a lovely classroom display idea for a windy March afternoon in Keystage 1:
The background was done onto sheets of A3 white paper with a technique called “bagging”. It’s messy 🙂

You need

  • Shallow containers, Plastic paint roller trays work well
  • Blue and white paint (the kind that comes in squeezy bottles) Water it down a little if it seems thick.
  • Crumpled up plastic carrier bags.
  • Lots of newspaper
  • Aprons for the kids
  • 3 helpers – or to be very fast on your feet!
  • Space to put the paper to dry flat. You don’t want drips.
  • Music – optional but fun 🙂


  • Set up 3 trays of paint.
  • Dark blue
  • Light blue (mix some white with it)
  • White
  • 3 tables with a small group of children at each and one tray.

Crumple up a carrier bag to make a ball, dip it in the dark blue paint, push it down on the flat bit of the paint tray (if you’ve used one) or onto some newspaper to remove some of the paint and then print onto the paper by dabbing it quickly. You want the bag fairly dry, not overloaded with paint.

  • Remove and replace with the next bit of paper.

I said it was messy!

  • The paper is then moved to the light blue table and the process repeated.
  • Finally it moves to the white table and repeat.
  • Paper is removed to flat surface to dry.
  • When all done and dry select best ones for background. Lettering can either be cut from spare sheets or clouds can be cut to show background through.The same technique can be used with shades of grey to make clouds.

    Cloud made with the same technique

    Or even surf 🙂

Rainforest Displays for Year 4

rainforest display

rainforest display

Every spring Year 4 at my old school would make a 3d rain forest classroom display. The classroom was transformed into a jungle of trees, creepers and interesting animals. This always involved lots of painting, cutting and sticking, and general messiness. Not to mention lots of opportunities for talking and listening, learning through conversation, and a chance for those whose skills might not be text based to really shine.

This slightly chaotic display would always be balanced with something rather more informative:

Beneath the display are a large collection of relevant library books which the class could access when they’d finished their work.