Quest – Sir Kit and Year 3

I blogged about the Quest Literacy Intervention Programme for Year 3  back in 2007 and I was surprised to discover today that it is still in use in some UK schools. Many of the materials needed to run the programme are still available if you hunt around so I decided to update the post and also to write a bit more about it here.

The Quest Books

The programme relies quite heavily on a selection of specific books. All of them are still available but you may need to check changes in page numbers.

You can find  all the Quest Books here on the Better Reading Partners Amazon Book Shop Quest page

The Dilly the Dinosaur books have new ISBNs:
Dilly the Dinosaur 978749746827
Dilly and the Goody Goody 07801405202497

The Shark book is also available but has different page numbers and some missing information.

I have also added the Volcano book which is still available as a pack of 6 or as individual books.

Babcock LDP has some good links to all the basics now that the original site is gone. The handbooks are there as PDF files but the advice to be cautious about printing them out is good. They are each over 60 full colour pages! Well worth downloading though and saving somewhere, maybe to a CD or pen drive?

Leicester still has the editable version of the parents leaflet which I found very useful to send out at the start of the scheme.


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 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?



Back to school – get organised 1

So Much Stuff So Little Space is a cry that will be heard in many classrooms over the next month or so. The first chapter of So Much Stuff, So Little Space: Creating and Managing the Learner-Centered Classroom is a good read for anyone setting up a new classroom. So before you get too despondent here’s some advice that might be helpful.

Sadly the preview ends just before the actual displays advice but the stuff on classroom organisation is sound and worth thinking about. As usual with books here is my link and I get a tiny bit of commission if you buy through me rather than google So Much Stuff, So Little Space: Creating and Managing the Learner-Centered Classroom

Classroom Displays – Autism Friendly

I’ve got a guest post this week. I hope it will help you make your classroom Autism friendly.


The author is S.B Linton who runs Autism and she’s provided us with some great tips. If you’ve questions please let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help. (If you use twitter be sure to follow her on there AutismClassroom twitter as she posts lots of useful links)

The numbers of students with autism in our schools is increasing, as is the need for classrooms that effectively educate children with autism.

The following information from the book How to Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism: A Manual for Teachers, Para-professionals and Administrators by S. B. Linton, highlights some tips in setting up an autism friendly classroom.

Set Up a Classroom for Students with Autism_ A Manual for Teachers, Para-professionals and Administrators_ S. B. Linton.jpg

Use Various Types of Visual Schedules

  • Daily class schedules to accurately tell what activities will occur that particular school day. This type of schedule should be posted, easy for students to follow and should be large enough to see from across the room.
  • Individual/personal schedules to help students organize, learn routines and possibly relieve stress for some students with autism by giving them an idea of what to expect. A personal schedule might also show sensory input activities which are specific to that student, individual speech therapy times, break times, small group areas, or toileting opportunities, which may not be the same exact time as other students.
  • Task schedules to serve as directions. They help to visually “break down” the elements of a task or an activity for a student. Task schedules show a student what will occur within the context of a structured lesson or activity, much like directions. Task schedules can also help students perform tasks without the use of a verbal prompt from the adult, thus increasing independence.
  • Visual Reinforcement schedules to give students a visual indicator of when their reinforcement or break will occur. These may be helpful for a child who is on a behavior intervention plan and needs to be reminded that their reinforcement will be coming soon.

Organize the Room to Support the Student

  • Create clear visual boundaries in the classroom.
  • Make various centers and locations for the students to move to throughout the day to avoid having them sit in one spot all day.
  • Create work areas near blank walls or facing way from peers to improve concentration.
  • Remove distracting items such as string, bright colors, loud appliances.
  • Create a safe place or quiet area in the room for the student if they need a retreat.
  • Remember you will have to teach play skills and social skills. They do not come naturally for some students with autism.
  • Seat “runners” with their back facing a wall or divider and have the adult facing the student, between the student and the door.

Be An Effective Collaborator

  • Creating a specific time for staff to meet, answer questions or create new plans is a critical.
  • View student’s objectives as a shared responsibility of the student’s team.
  • Keep a notebook or journal that is sent from school to home each day.

Use Language Based Techniques

  • Try a set of pictures showing the steps in washing their hands or a visual task analysis for hanging up their belongings in the morning to help keep some students focused.
  • Write down directions instead of ju st using words.
  • Use hands on activities as much as possible.
  • Use a visual topic board to show the students what the lesson will be about.

Question. Discuss. Learn.

Classroom Displays – theory and practice 1

Classroom displays advice to students

I am occasionally contacted by students, teachers or TAs, who want to read about some of the theories that underpin our use of classroom displays in schools. These are books that explore the reasons behind our use of displays rather than give us ideas for making them. There isn’t a massive amount of current research available but I have some standard advice I hand out to students and I thought the start of the new academic year might be a good moment to share it.

Classroom Displays Books

First, great, but you could struggle to find it as it’s out of print:
Display in the Classroom: Principles, Practice and Learning Theory (Paperback)
by Hilary Cooper (Author), Phil Hegarty (Author), Penny Hegarty (Author), Neil Simco (Author)
Publisher: David Fulton Publishers Ltd (23 May 1996)ISBN-10: 185346404 ISBN-13: 978-1853464041
This one actually looks at the theories but be aware it’s 10 years out of date!


Primary Practicals for CPD: Rules of Display – The Essential Guide to Nursery and Primary Classroom Displays (The Completely Practical Development Series)
By Lynn Taylor

These mention displays in passing:

Chambers, A (1995). The reading environment: How adults help children enjoy books.. York: Stenhouse.

Johnstone (1994). Teaching Modern Languages at Primary School Approaches and Implications . Scotland: SCRE.
Pgs 34-6
Smith, A & Call, N (2002) The ALPS Approach, Bodmin, MPG Books LTD.
Pgs 194 -199

Anything by Reggio Emilia
but you’ll have to really root around to find some direct relevance.

Lella Gandini, just about anything she’s written – she is cited in Tarr’s paper but she’s really talking about the Reggio approach.

Tarr,P (2004). Consider the Walls. Journal of the National Association for the Education of Young Children
Theory Into Practice
2007, Vol. 46, No. 1, Pages 40-47

Children and Place: Reggio Emilia’s Environment As Third Teacher
Teresa Strong-Wilson
Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University
Julia Ellis, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta.

If these walls could speak: reading displays of primary children’s work

Pat Thomson, Christine Hall, Lisa Russell
Ethnography and Education
Vol. 2, Iss. 3, 2007

This one is pure gold & actually research based. You’ll need library access.


The first thing a visitor notices when entering Hollytree primary school is the art-work displayed on every wall. This paper, based on a three-year ethnographic study of the school, mobilizes field notes and interview and photographic data to probe the meanings of this visual ‘display’. We argue that the walls (re)produce and promote normative meanings of ‘good work’, the ‘good student’, the ‘good teacher’ and the ‘good school’, which serve both internal and external purposes. They are also a means of promoting an inclusive culture which, while true of arts activities, may not always be the case in mainstream classes. In addition, the school walls support aspects of the school timetable of collective work, and also constitute resources for children to construct narratives about their collective and individual histories in the school.

Also try:

Students’ views of environments for learning from the primary to the secondary school
Pam Pointon, ,
Homerton College, Cambridge, CB2 2PH, England, UK
International Journal of Educational Research
Volume 33, Issue 4, 2000, Pages 375–382
Research on transfer has alerted us to the anxieties that students experience as they move from a smaller school to a bigger school, and how the sudden differences in space, size, and their own position within a large organization can affect their identities as learners. Drawing on interviews with students in their first year in secondary school, this chapter examines the differences that students see as important in moving from the primary school to the secondary school. Three topics are discussed: freedom of movement, seating, and classroom display.

(There is a pdf of this one available online – google it!)

Look out for art theory and visual learning stuff too.My best advice is to join the Classroom Displays flickr group, look at other people’s displays, decide what you like and try to analyse what’s good and bad about it, post your own efforts and ask for feedback. Get involved!!!
I write a regular classroom displays column in Learning Support Magazine that will help with the basics. You might like to subscribe, aimed at TAs, it’s a really useful magazine for anyone in schools.There’s also my usefulwiki site classroom displays workshopAnd of course the Classroom Displays bookshop

Your favourite classroom displays theory books

If you know of any other good theory books please add them in the comments. Let’s see if we can put together a really comprehensive list of classroom displays books.