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.

Electricity display – making connections 3

Electricity display – making connections, originally uploaded by LindaH.

Thisร‚ย  classroom display uses a good combination of photos of the children making circuits and experimenting, text boxes of their findings and a mock up of a circuit. On the bench underneath is a related book and at times there was a tray of parts for children to access and continue to experiment with.
It’s a good example of a fairly simple design often having more impact than something that is more cluttered. It’s important to note that the TA worked with groups to produce the texts and that the children’s own words were used. This and the use of images of the children gives a sense of ownership which helps the children to continue to engage with the display. It also makes up for the lack of student work on this display.
I don’t usually like using such bold colours in the main classroom but I think it is justified in this instance. The display is situated on the back wall of the classroom and no tables directly face it. It’s unlikely to be much of a distraction for a group using the classroom computer.
This display was in a Year 4 classroom and was popular with the children.

Jane Goodall’s Camp 1

Jane Goodall's Camp

This diorama was produced by a girl in Grade 3 in a US elementary school. It’s featured in a new blog called Re-inventing Project Based Learning
Jane Krauss, the blog’s author has some kind words about the Classroom Displays blog and group and then asks an interesting question:

What do class displays tell us about what goes on in school, and about what we value in student work?

My own feeling is that in this case some of what we are valuing here is that ‘doll’s house’ urge that many little girls go through. There’s a delight in the miniturisation of the world combined with an almost obsessive eye for detail. I have vivid memories of just such a topic that grabbed my attention as an 8 year old. I spent a whole term obsessed with yurts, gers, and all things Mongolian. I built a tiny village of gers with my own handmade felt and willow twigs, made covers, rugs, and saddle bags and generally lost myself in the creation of my own tiny world. I’m not sure how much I actually learned that term, when others were doing maths or writing poems, I remained steadfastly perfecting my village. Long after the project was over I continued my interest and even now I still love yurts.

That was the topic work of the long ago ’60 and ’70s and it was swept away in England with the introduction of the National Curriculum. But of course it was never really totally swept away. Good teachers always look for ways of introducing themes, it’s just that now they might be called ‘cross curricular integration’. They’ve always looked for ways of providing work that caught children’s interests at a particular stage of development, that channeled children’s skills and built on their existing capabilities. It’s just that now it might be called ‘personalisation of learning’.

I recently asked a teacher who does a great deal of work that could be described as themed how she felt about the latest swing of the pendulum back towards project work. She surprised me by recoiling in horror. With all their faults there was no way she wanted to abandon the Literacy and Numeracy hours and return to “the chaos of the classroom free-for-all.”

So what does this diorama say to you?

Posters for Teachers 1

This is the first in a series of displays aimed at staff rather than pupils. Let’s not forget that the school is a workplace for adults and, hopefully, a learning organisation for all. Displays that use humour can be a useful reminder and motivator for staff. Just change them often before the joke palls.

Adrian Bruce is an Australian teacher who is a great source of posters and classroom ideas. He also has a super blog (A Teacher’s Toolbox) full of good ideas. This one should be printed up A3, I think ๐Ÿ™‚

A Poster to go by the School Photocopier ๐Ÿ™‚

Worksheet pic

* In years to come will you be stopped in the street by an ex-student and they will bow down before you and thank you for all the exciting worksheets they gave? I don’t think so!
* Please challenge your students and teach them to think.
* Please give your students a 21st Century Literacy skillset.
* Please hang this poster next to your school’s photocopier.

Edublog Awards Finalist 4

This blog is a finalist in the Edublogs Awards 2006 in the Best Audio and/or Visual blog category. Voting closes midnight GMT Saturday 16 December 2006.

I feel a bit like a child whose work has been chosen to go up in the head’s office. I’m really pleased, slightly embarrased and I wonder what some of the vistors will make of it!


The children in Year 4 choose their own work to go on this board. All they have to do is ask for work they are proud of to be added. Lovely idea ๐Ÿ™‚