As the new school year begins to dawn teachers everywhere start turning their thoughts to new students and new classrooms. Many teachers, myself included, work hard to make their classrooms a warm, welcoming and interesting environment. Research suggests that things such as classroom layout and displays have an impact on student learning, so it’s important that we get it right. (Professor Peter Barrett, Clever Classrooms, Summary of the HEAD Project, 2015)
One way we can do this is by making our walls interesting. There is a fine balance between having too much and not enough material on the walls but it is certainly true that bare walls make for sterile classrooms.
A topic focus wall is a good way of using a space, pacing a topic and giving the students a reference. In this example the Viking Timeline has been used to provide an outline of the different things that will be studied over the duration of the topic. One thing that I like particularly about this example, is that it not only gives a focus for the students but also provides plenty of space around the display to add students work as the project progresses.
Putting students work on the wall is a way of valuing what they do and so, done correctly, it can be a way of the teacher saying ‘I love what you have produced and it is good enough to go on the class wall.’ Of course, this needs to be done with sensitivity and thought. Excellent work will mean different things for different students, but when displaying work in such a way, it can give students a sense of achievement.