Monday, 29 June 2015

What are the best kind of displays? #primaryrocks

I'm not sure what it says about me as a person and my social life but #primaryrocks is fast becoming one of the highlights of my week! Last week I posed the question, what are the best kind of displays? This question was based on my own interest in whether displays that are too "busy" are a hindrance to learning.

Following the discussion on twitter I was keen to have a look in more detail and this blog post looks at the response from the #primaryrocks community.

In favour of immersive displays.
One of the most vocal contributors to my question was @primarydrama who clearly feels that displays should be very visual and even 3D. I'm not sure I have ever produced a 3D display but have seen some fantastic ones on school visits. I do feel however that 3D displays can be annoying and can get in the way as I make my way around the classroom trying to utilise all available space
A mix of both clean and simple and big and dramatic
Perhaps then the answer lies in a compromise @mrheadcomputing tweeted that he likes to have clean and simple displays for literacy and numeracy and then have something special for his topic displays. This is an idea that I particularly like and it buys into my idea that all work in schools should be manageable. Having one awesome topic display alongside a really good topic introduction could really help generate interest in an area you are studying.

Can they be too busy?

My thoughts on whether displays can be too busy is based on a visit to a school in Rhyl that had been awarded outstanding for it's use of space after stripping down the walls and really going for a minimalist approach throughout the whole school. @rachelrossiter drew attention during the #primaryrocks conversation to the idea that busy classrooms can cause sensory overload. This idea also draws us into a separate idea on how classroom resources are managed throughout the day and how orderly a classroom is kept. 

The value of working walls


Both @leah_moo and @goodman_ang discussed the value of working walls that are regularly being updated by the learners. One good aspect of a learning wall is that it can be managed by the class itself giving it more status for the learners who have ownership of it and also taking some of the display preparation work away from school staff. 
 How often to change?
An interesting and justified statement from @primarydrama was that displays become "invisible" to children after a while, so need to make the effort to keep them fresh. I am pleased with all the displays in my classroom this year apart from one that is due to be changed after an upcoming project week but how often should we change displays and is changing displays multiple times a year manageable?
Personal to children and classroom
Ultimately it is up to the teacher themselves to plan how best to use displays. My personal favourite is a numeracy one that has pictures of all of my class displaying the numeracy statements. The children often refer to it when completing work, it has a section for work of the week and it is interactive as it has extension challenges.

 A statement from @MissSMerrill concludes my own feelings following my more indepth look at displays in the classroom. Displays are personal to the class they are being used by, an all singing and dancing display would not be sensible in a class with children unable to cope with it likewise if children are disengaged an exciting display could be one way to inspire them.

The Past Week

Star: - There have been some good comments in class recently that have helped me feel like I'm making a difference. The best of these was on Friday afternoon when a learner filled with pride and some surprise stated simply "I've made a game!"


Wish: - To have brought in the new behaviour sheet earlier in the term as behaviour has clearly improved with it's introduction. 

The Week Ahead

Last time I reflected in a blog I wanted to bring back more exciting lessons into the classroom and recently I feel that I have been achieving that. What I am looking to do now is to bring extracurricular opportunities to school and that starts with planning an exciting school trip for next term.

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