Monday, August 1, 2011

Student Work Displays - Setting Up the Classroom Series

This post is part of my Setting Up Your Classroom Series.

My Student Work Board for the 2011-2012 School Year:

I once loved creating bulletin boards.

And by loved I mean LOVED.

I would plan them in my head and tweak them until the reality matched the vision.

At the risk of being institutionalized, I will admit that I have used actual levels and tape measures to perfect them.

Each was a work of art worthy of it’s own gallery premiere. People should have worn black dresses and tuxes as they sipped wine and stared in awe as they discussed the merits of my work.

And then the desire slowly fizzled and the demands grew and time became limited and priorities changed and now bulletin boards have become something else on the to do list. Occasionally, the creative bug will bite and I’ll go all old school and whip up a masterpiece, but for the most part I try to keep it simple.

I have a lot of “interactive bulletin boards” in my classroom now. These are things like word walls, a weekly language arts focus wall and my CAFÉ board that are ongoing throughout the year. But, there are those boards that need to be changed regularly. One simple way to do that is to create a board that is maintained by your students.

Provide each student with a space on the wall that belongs to him. You could hang a background paper and label it with the child’s name. Let the student select what he wants to display and allow him to put up the work he wants to showcase in that spot.

Below are a few simple options to make changing the work quick and easy:

  • Slip a paperclip over the back of the construction paper background. The child can slip his work under the clip.
  • Attach a self-sticking plastic clip (same effect as the paper clip, but more costly)
  • Mount photo corners to the background paper. This looks very cool and artsy, but has some downfalls. The children are limited to the size of the work they can hang and some lack the fine motor skills to use the photo corners.
  • Tie a line of string, twine or fishing line and provide each student with a clothespin that has his name on it to hang the work with.
  • Staple a large Ziploc bag to the wall and let the students slip the work into the bag.

I use my friends pictures in my classroom any chance I get. These clothespins are a great way to incorporate their smiling faces. I especially like this idea for preK and K students since the name isn't always obvious on their work.

You simply must view the tutorial on how to make these darling clips. You'll be rushing out to the craft store. They can be used to hang work from a clothesline. And since they are written in chalk you can use them over and over. I feel a project coming on in my house. ;)

My love affair with Eloise's classroom continues. Check out her bright clothesline. With the black background I would imagine the students' work will pop.

Cara's board is neat and organized and oh-so-colorful.

For more ideas and pictures to help organize and manage your classroom, please check out my book: The Clutter-Free Guide to Classroom Organization and Management by clicking here.
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  1. Thanks for the ideas. I'm inspired to go create a place for kids to hang their work up.

  2. I love having a wall display dedicated to the kids! I use a long piece of construction paper and put a cute piece of border along the top, laminate it, then put a clothespin and label on it! Tada! Then it's done! :) I like the pictures you shared too!

  3. I love your confessions in the beginning of your post! These ideas are wonderful. I love the simple idea of a ziploc bag or even a page protector for the kids to display their work. This is one of my goals for this year-to display kids work on a (more) regular basis-so all of these ideas are an inspiration. Thanks so much!

  4. I have a huge white board. I give each kid their own magnet and tell them that the board is their fridge. I'm now thinking about how to get them each their own "space". Hmmmmmmmmm.

  5. @Amanda: Maybe you could use magnetic tape or sentence strips to divide the board into sections??

  6. oh, that Eloise! I wish I knew her. It is my favorite classroom I have ever seen! I've pinned each picture! ahhh! I want the room divider ever so badly and can't find where it's from!
    I LOVE, love, love your student display board. Could you post a larger picture? I am trying to see what is on the scrapbook paper. Student numbers and...?

  7. Ooooh I love the Eloise one! It looks like it is put over open shelving?! I have a HUGE shelf space in my classroom that shows all of my unsightly junk (ie math materials, my new reading materials, etc). Maybe I'll just buy some fabric to hang over it like that and make a student display since we don't get much bulletin board space. Love it!

  8. Love these ideas! Your student display board is out of this world. WOW! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Oooh! I wish I would have had pretty boards like that in class as a kid. How fun!

  10. I love all of your ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful ideas!!!

    Miss J @ smilescrayonsandendlessstories

  12. The class I subbed for today had clipboards on the bulletin board! What a genius idea!!

  13. woow... way cool. I am not a teacher but i am trying to help my mom decorate her third grade classroom...The amazing idea to post each Pupil's great work is really going to be inspiring! Love it... Thanks.

  14. Great ideas! Displaying student work is very important for motivation in a student-centered classroom. I have seen teachers using some special pocket charts called PocketPeeks. They have a window to put students' picture and name to promote ownership. Also, eliminates the hassle of putting work down; instead the teacher kept adding work samples and made ongoing student portfolios. Very creative too!


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