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What purpose does display serve in the classroom?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by SKingston1, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. I am writing an assignment n display as part of my PGCE and would be grateful for any advice.

    My question is this: do children really take any notice of the displays in their classroom or is it more of a distraction than a benefit? I wonder if 'show-casing' should be restricted to communal areas and whether the displays in the classroom should involve more working walls (with a quick turnover of unmounted work and any key vocab, ideas, references etc) and just one or two large, interactive displays that are created with the children, at the start of a new topic with the aim of inspiring and reminding the children as they explore the topic further? I have seen a lot of cluttered wall space and the feedback I have had from children is that they find it confusing. Is there an argument for more clear walls and a calmer environment, especially if children don't really refer to the walls anyway?

    What would the implications be for the teacher's and TA's workload?

    I'd love to hear about any examples of successful - or unsuccessful - practice that you could share with me. Thanks!
  2. I think some display is necessary - key vocabulary, letters, numbers and other things that the children can actively refer to and make use of. I also think some celebration of work is a good thing.
    However, I hate the expectation that every square inch of wall is covered in bright colours and laminates, and would love to just have a calmer classroom environment in neutral colous, with a few select things on display. I also hate wasting hours printing/laminating/cutting/backing to make things look pretty, when it honestly really doesnt matter to the children on the whole.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    On a course a few years ago on 'The good learning classroom', we were told not to have anything 'distracting' on the same wall as the Whiteboard/ Interactive board. So good place for essential information - which the children find 'boring'.
    Children tend to take more notice of displays if they're celebrations of their own work (rather than teacher displays) & 'Working Walls ' are really useful for children to interact with.
  4. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    I've had pupils in tests turn to the place where a poster/display on a certain thing was to remind themselves, even though the display was taken down/covered up due to exam regs - it helped them visualise what was there and remember the fact/method etc...
  5. I think it also dpends on the age of the children and the nature of the classroom you are working in. I teach mixed infants (R,Y1,Y2) in a cavernous victorian room. When when we clear the room (ag end of the summer term) and it is 'calm and uncluttered', the children are swallowed up by the space as the ceiling is so high and the windows are all abovemy head height, never mind theirs. Also, as they are very young, there are limits to the amount of impact that 'reference displays' can have. In stead, we do have a VERY bright, vibrant set of displays which are a mix of information such as phonics, number bonds etc) and children's work, and also things they have created during their own time which they put up where they want to. The result is that they really seem to feel they own the room, it brings the space into 'child size perprective' and the chidlren can share what they have been doing each morning with those who bring them to school. (we are a tiny rural primary and so have an open door policy - parents in the classroom every morning).

    I honestly believe that, in the space, my room doesn't look cluttered. However my previous job was in a school with 1960s/70s square classrooms and polystyrene ceilings and had I put up the same amount of display there, the room would have been swamped. SO I guess there is no hard and fast right and wrong, its about what works for your children in your space!
  6. I am a year 1 teacher....I am lucky enough to have 9 display boards at all different levels....

    The high ones are generally for looks, They show work we have done and the children love showing visitors, but I rarely see them refer to them in a learning/reviewing context.

    The low ones (5) are all interactive and the children use them each day...

    1) Our "Look at us go!" board is a board covered in elastic strips (criss crossed) with a photo of each child by a square. Each time the child comes to me with independent writing they can choose if it is their 'best' work and we date it and put it by their photo. The old piece either goes home or in their literacy book as independent work. The children love adding to the display and the dates let me know who is/isn't doing independent writing so I can find a way to float their boat and get them going during our independent time.

    2) A sound of the week board...we post our sound and pictures/words we think of together each week so that the children can play around/move/copy/put into alphabetical order etc. at their leisure at the literacy table.

    3) Our Science board...at the moment we are doing Living Things. We had lots of exploration and discussion and came up with 9 questions to ask to decide if something is alive, was alive or has never been alive....I put lots of different things/pictures here each week and the children can group them into 3 buckets for the above.

    4) Our Sharing board...behind a table where objects/books etc. can come and stay from home. I send a note home each week to let the parents know what we are doing and invite them to share anything they can. The children can then benefit from extra resources that the school may not have...and I link it to the ECM agenda...it helps to share the resources that some children would benefit from at home that others may not.

    5) Our role play board. This is changed (by the children)each time we change the role play area....about every 2-3 weeks.

    **We also have a notice board in our outdoor classroom where we celebrate and share our outdoor learning, and a photo holder pinned to our door with 40 current photos of the children engaged in independent activities or with visitors/on trips etc. We add these on a rolling basis...adding any good pics with captions every few days and taking old ones out to go into the children's books.

    Hope this helps. :0) Good luck!
  7. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    A good display can look attractive, but the reality is nless you change something every day and 'emcourage' children to look fo i the rarely do///// ..more often the look at work which is at thier leavel outside the door and is thier drawings and work.
    They are proud of what they achieve but so often we dont hae time to prepare, let alone mount work on display( and you have a head who wants work just so...when the demand is for all work to be in their books and not on loose paper....photocopying a page seems daft as she doesnt want displays of work with corrections and comments on!
    Mind you id sooner have a bright room than some i see which all they are composed off are exhortations to targets, levels, must, should can targets and puntuation pyramids.
    Working walls i am also unconvinced..i refered to mine today and not one kid coud even be bothered to look towards it........
    At the moment the lastest thing is environmentally friendly rooms....with all surfaces swept clear of everything, and all teachers areas tidy and minimal as well....even to hiding everyday folders. windows clear, blinds up ,etc etc.......one day they will let us teach!
  8. I think when displays of children's work first go up, they love it an enjoy looking at it. They also like displays which might help them.
    However, I think it can serve as a distraction. It would be an interesting experiment in say a Key stage 2 class to remove all displays and see what affect this as on behaviour and learning.
    I worked in a school with a unit for children with severe ASD. No displays could be put up as this was inappropriate for them.
    Once a display of their work has been put up and seen by the children, the only people who comment on it are visitors. I think a lot of what we do in schools is for that purpose - for those visit and not for those who reside there !.

  9. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I regularly see children refer to displays to find sentence openers, or if they can't remember a times table, or to see which group their in, or how many gold stars they have. I like having "useful" displays up, with things to help children in lessons. Beyond that they don't look much, but I do think they enjoy seeing their work on display, as we have two boards that have work displayed on them and they exclaim over them when the work gets changed.
  10. A big thank you to everyone who has replied to my questions. I can see that there are no hard and fast rules and that the classroom style and layout makes a huge difference to the types of display. It would seem from what you have said that the children do refer to displays of their work, if only for a limited time and that it is worthwhile including some. I really like the idea of using higher displays for the children's work, thereby freeing up lower boards for more interactive displays . I also like the advice about adding some of the more 'boring' key words to the wall alongside the whiteboard as they're more likely to be looked at. Mostly, a big thank you for all the ideas that you have given me - simple ways to make the displays more child-friendly and accessible. I understand that display is very time-consuming (and maybe I'll be cursing it in a year or so) but it does seem that if it is a part of the classroom, it makes sense that we encourage the children to use it. Thanks again!
  11. A big thank you to you, Besticanbe. You have given me so many fantastic ideas. I'll consider them for my assignment - and shall definitely use them in the future. Thanks tons.

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