Literacy Display – Connectives and Owl Babies 6

Owl Babies is such a lovely book and lends itself very well to displays.

Here is a delightful classroom display that uses  Owl Babies  as a starting point for literacy. It is a wonderful story that  children really relate to, especially in Year 2 but even Year 3s love to read it. There’s something about the story of those three little owls, especially Percy’s constant longing for his Mummy, that really resonates for this age group.

Originally uploaded to the Classroom Displays Flickr Group by Leeds Lass : Owl day 034

Here the display has been used to show how a story webs and ladders can be used to map out plots. The display also encourages the children to make longer sentences by using connectives and time words. The display has a well thought out mix of visual imagery taken from the book, explanations, vocabulary words (interesting connectives and time words) and children’s work.
The cuddly owls, ivy and 3d tree add a real ‘wow’ factor to the display making it likely to grab children’s attention. Close inspection of the owls suggests that they are commercially made toys. However it would be possible to make something less elaborate from fun fur to achieve a similar effect. On the tree stump and branch wood grain wall paper has been used to great effect and fake ivy round the tree stump adds another attractive 3d element.
Owl day 040
Titles and text have all been laminated and the major elements of this display could be stored and brought out again another year making it fairly quick to re-create.
The children’s work has been well integrated into the display. They have used what they’ve learnt about story webs to weave one for another Year 2 favourite, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Catastrophe.

All in all I think this is a fine classroom display 🙂

Up Dated with more details:

Following a request in the comments to this post Michelle has provided us with more details of how the display linked into her literacy activities.


Drama activities based on the Owl Babies book:
Freeze frame owlets at different stages of the story

Hot seating-Babies and Mother

Conscience Alley-child in role of Mummy Owl


Set out as





Retell story of Owl Babies as a story ladder.


Time words on the branches.

Connectives are displayed within the web

Story Web

Based on Pig in the Pond-could be any sequential story. Each child wrote part of the story/illustrated it, then displayed within the web. FIRST they had done the frame activity which involved passing a ball of wool round as they each told part of the story, in and back to the middle, thereby weaving a story web.

Update – Another lovely Owl Babies display, this one from Classroom Displays Group member SunflowerLily , find the book on Amazon, owl babies puppets to buy, and some free resources
The Owl Babies book is available via Amazon from The Classroom Displays Bookshop. It usually costs £5.99 but they often reduce children’s books so it’s worth checking. The big book version, shown here is perfect for classroom use, starts at around £18 but again they are often reduced.

You can buy puppets of owls and babies. Although these are not officially endorsed by the author they will do perfectly well and would be really useful for language work, story telling and role play. This one is from The Puppet Company and is 23 cms high. The 3 babies are also puppets which gives lots of scope for collaborative use. Hide-Away Puppets Tawny Owl with 3 Babies

Have a look at  Owl Babies Teacher Resource (Read & Respond), part of the Read and Respond series. It has some great notes and activities and also shared texts, guided reading notes, reading activities, speaking and listening activities, writing projects and assessment guidace. Over a third of the book is filled with useful photocopiables – all illustrated by the original children’s book illustrators.

There are  also some free Owl Babies resourcesto download from Scholastic and for cross curricular work. How about an activity that gets learners working out What can we learn about an owl by looking at its face?

Target Board


Our Target Board, originally uploaded by Leeds Lass.

The use of classroom displays for targets is becoming more widespread but often they are quite dull and quickly become ‘wallpaper’. It’s great to see a more innovative approach like this one.
Here you can see the whole effect:

This display is just ‘targets’ the children have chose for themselves to achieve whilst they are in year 2. They range from being kind to others to learning to write in joined up handwriting. The display is only up for a short while and the rockets will be filed in class to remind the children about what they said they would like to achieve.

This idea could be extended with older classes by having a system for them to mark on the display when targets are met. It might be nice to have a visual representation and it might help to keep the display from becoming ‘wallpaper’. If you are using the display over the whole term how about the next set of targets being on different coloured paper? I think there’s a lot more you could do with this classroom display. What do you think?

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month, originally uploaded by Girl Least Likely To.


1st (Year 2) grade students wrote what they wanted to be when they grew up and they used these great women’s stories of their own achievements as an inspiration. The teacher posted pictures and information on great women like Amelia Earhart,Toni Morrison,& Madame C.J.Walker to name a few 🙂

I like the way this display has mixed the stories of the famous women with the children’s aspirations for the future. It changes the board from being about ‘people from long ago’ to something the children can feel they are a part of .
I’d like to think the teacher had included work from both genders but I believe it was a ‘girls only’ display. How do other people feel about this? Is it justified to exclude the work of part of a class from a display?
Why shouldn’t the boys too have learned about and been inspired by these famous women?


Handa’s Surprise Display


This interesting classroom display is currently one of the most viewed photos in the Classroom Displays group on Flickr and I can see why!
Not all displays have to be for children’s work. This display was created by a Year 2 TA last year and shows how an eye-catching display can be used to carry story prompts.
This can be an effective teaching tool if the display is kept fresh by building up the prompts as the class explores story writing. The display needs to be pointed to as a classroom resource where children can be reminded to look. The same prompts can be used by the children as checklists for editing their own work.
This particular classroom display was so lovely that it transferred to the library after Year 2 had moved on.

The Great Fire of London 1

great fire of London display

The Great Fire of London display

The Great Fire of London Display

I like this The Great Fire of London display from Clare. The use of a black background with the red mounting and border emphasises the dramatic nature of the subject. I think the flame shaped ‘fast facts’ work well too. I’d like to have seen the children’s work mounted onto red too and perhaps even shaped like the facts. It might be petty of me but I’d also like the work to be either lined up straight or deliberately skewed – just off square grates on my visual senses 🙂

One of the less obvious things that helps the display is the choice of lettering font. Clare has used a serif font (perhaps Times New Roman) like those used for headlines in the broadsheet newspapers. This subtly adds authority to the heading, as does the use of white lettering on a black background. It is rather like newsprint in negative. It is tempting to use a gothic font for this Great Fire of London displays but they are hard for year 2 to read. Later on in keystage 2 they will find it easier, maybe when looking at Tudors.

The Great Fire of London is an important topic for Year 2 history. The QCA guidelines gave a good framework for dealing with what could be a difficult subject for Keystage 1 and seemed to have the level about right.

With more TAs finding themselves teaching classes like History to cover PPA time I think we’ll see lessons sticking even closer to old copies of the QCA or more local variants. It would be a shame though if they didn’t take the chance to explore some of the more interesting web based resources for the topic.

  • The Museum of London has a game which would be fun on the IWB and an image bank with downloadable images from the period. Best of all is there is a suggested activities section which is all aimed at keystage 1.
  • Samuel Pepys’London is an interesting site but it’s going to need a lot of interpreting for Year 2
  • Simon Haughton’s Infant Encyclopedia Great Fire  section is interesting and age appropriate.