Hanging on to your every word....

Post date: Oct 30, 2013 11:05:41 PM

As any teacher knows, displays related to the teaching and learning focus are vital in any classroom.

In short, educational displays:

    • Should be as relevant and current as possible

    • Should include 3D elements, if possible (eg concrete materials)

    • Should include real-life examples, where possible (eg real-life examples of 3D shapes, large numbers etc)

    • Should include relevant facts & vocabulary

    • Should be interactive if possible (eg children can manipulate it) or include samples/images of children's work, to give them some ownership

But while this is all well and good, the biggest challenge for most teachers is getting the time to assemble and hang up a display, only to have to take it all down later on and do it all over again, but with a different display to suit the next topic. Or, if you have the pleasure of teaching in a damp classroom/prefab, as I have in the past, the biggest challenge can be getting the display to actually stay up on the wall for the required time!

Here's some quick, nifty and cheap ideas to make assembling and hanging displays a bit easier on us time-stretched teachers.

Use Hangers!The cheap type of plastic hangers used for trousers and skirts in shops are great for hanging up all types of posters, charts and displays. I use them to hang up displays from high window cills, shelves, the top edge of boards; in short, any where they will hang! It is also very quick and simple to move a poster, map etc., to a focal point e.g. the top of the room, when you want the children to focus on it, and then move it somewhere else in the classroom later.

These hangers are also great for any two-sided charts you might have (eg a map with political features on one side and physical on the other) as you can quickly turn them over to view the other side. And these larger charts can often be the hardest ones to keep hung up ; but this is usually not an issue if you're using the hangers.

For many of our classrooms, one of the main issues can be that space is at a premium. Another advantage of the hangers is that they allow you to overlap your displays and bring to the front whichever is most relevant for certain classes, eg hang English displays over maths/Irish and bring each to the front when required. If actual wall space is not an issue, but rather your classroom has very few nooks and crannies from which to suspend the hangers, another relatively inexpensive option would be to affix a number of thin pieces of wood to the wall (see opposite).

The rest of this display is made out of 7 A4 plastic pockets cut in half, parallel to the longest sides, and then glued onto an A1 piece of card. This could be used as a word wall, pockets for flashcards etc. I'm using this one to display terminology from a recent geography unit; the term is on one piece of paper and the definition on another. The children have to match these correctly and place them in the display. Because it is so easy to take down and hang up again, I can get different groups of children to match up the terms periodically as a type of revision exercise.

Finally, this is another inexpensive and teacher-friendly display option (opposite). To make this I used half of a large plastic tablecloth (€1.49 in Dealz), and affixed 12 A4 sized plastic pockets using double-sided sticky tape. I trimmed the plastic pockets first to remove most of the edge where the punch holes are, just to improve the overall look. I would also recommend sticking the pockets on so that all the openings face the same direction - that way you have the choice of using the display in either an landscape or portrait format, depending on what the planned content is. Again, using the hangers to hang this up allows you to rotate the layout of the display quickly, if needs be. This is my parts of speech display; I downloaded the eight main pages for free from Teacher's Pet, and then on the other four pages I get the pupils to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs from our current text.

Further reading...

Check out one of Jan Pringle's most recent posts on Maths Working Walls.

Or have a look on Pinterest for more display ideas