In response to lots of requests I’m doing a series of posts to help NQTs and new teaching assistants understand the basics of classroom displays. If you are fairly new to making classroom displays there are some basic points about classroom displays that can be a bit confusing. If you want more why not join us on the 4 week online Classroom Displays Starter Course. Today we look at the tools of the trade:
Basics of Classroom Displays – A Display Maker’s Toolbox
I keep mine in a small plastic toolbox with a lockable lid. It should be locked away when not in use because it contains sharp objects.
You can find most of these items in the Display Maker’s Toolbox section of the bookshop. (Amazon link)
- An improvised plumb line – long piece of string with heavy weight on the end. If you are serious about getting everything straight then a proper chalk line kit is useful. You can get one from your local DIY store or from The Classroom Displays Bookshop (Amazon)
- A good rotary cutter and/or a craft knife. These should not be used when children are around and in some difficult classes I have removed it from the kit.
- A self healing cutting mat. It is too easy to ruin a desk or table when using a craft knife!
- A metal ruler – wooden or plastic ones are no good with the craft knife.
- Sharp scissors. Get yourself a decent medium sized pair. You could also treat yourself to some fancy edging ones, zig-zags or scallops are good.
- A staple gun and matching staples. Worth getting your own, even though school may supply them. Label it with your name, otherwise they get ‘borrowed’!
- Sticky putty or similar – for attaching laminated letters, titles etc.
- Velcro pads – these are very useful for attaching heavier items or awkward shapes.
- Drawing pins or mapping pins – especially coloured ones, can form part of the design of the display and allow items to be easily added and removed. Don’t use them in younger classrooms or where they can be easily removed by children!
- A staple remover. I use this kind as I find it far more effective than the pincer sort
You will also find you build up:
- A selection of pens and pencils of various thicknesses,
- Your own paint brushes for fine work,
- Assorted erasers including artist’s putty,
- Masking tape
- Painter’s tape,
You may want your own set of stencils for lettering but that will very much depend on your school policy and style for lettering on displays.
Top Tip: Sticky tape a 5p piece just below the stapling end of the stapler. This stops staples being pushed all the way in and makes them far easier to remove. If you can’t do this use the stapler at an angle to produce a similar effect.
I hope this has given you a quick insight into some tools you might need for making displays. 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?