Friday, May 4, 2012

Classroom Walls Tip#5 {create lasting displays}

If you are just joining us, you'll want to start here or check out my Clutter-Free Guide to Organizing and Managing Your Classroom.

This week we're focusing on your classroom walls. I'm rounding out the week with displays that are purposeful and will last the year.  Below are two reposts that you might find helpful.  I'll post the weekly link-up tomorrow.

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.


Here are a few other prior posts that may be helpful when planning your "walls" for next year:

how to set up a classroom classroom design class set up tool classroom set up tool set-up setting up an elementary school classroom kindergarten first 1st second 2nd third 3rd 4th fourth 5th fifth arrangement design organization arrange theme cleaning decluttering organized classroom preparing a classroom getting ready for the first day of school preparing a classroom first year teacher classroom organization how to organize a classroom preparing for the first day of school setting up a classroom for the new year how to set up a classroom library organizing a classroom librarystudent work displays hanging up student work displaying student work how to showcase student work easy buletin boards

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  1. I have loved your tips that you have posted so far. It has really got me thinking! Thanks so much!

    Lohren Nolan

  2. I was so inspired by your student work board I created my own this year. It isn't as pretty as yours but it's been so nice to not have to worry about what to put up. I let the kids pick each week something we've worked on to be displayed. Maybe I'll do it even prettier next year.
    Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

  3. I really like the "chalkboard" clips - might have to make some for next year! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  4. 'ello from London!!!

    I love your blog so much! Thank for the constant inspiration!


    Tales From a Traveling Teacher

  5. I'm a new teacher this year, and honestly... bulletin boards are at the bottom of the list. There are too many other things to worry about to worry about my hallway looking cute! Practical, long-lasting bulletin boards are SO the way to go :)

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  6. I am loving these!! Your tips have been great and are making their way on to my summer classroom to-do list! Thank you!


  7. I love that you are doing this Jodi!! I have to confess--I saw a post in this series in my blogroll and wanted to save it until Saturday, when I could relax in my pajamas and read all of your wisdom and inspiration at once--perfect weekend!

    I remember I first learned about the photo corners from you--I used them one year for my CAFE menu strategies and I loved how they looked!

    Thanks for this, your posts are always a delight to read :) :) :)

  8. Really- very important tips ...........................
    Wall Displays

  9. It must be nice to have storage and only 16 students. My classroom in Philadelphia is a 20' by 20' heatbox with no A/C that is packed with 29 Second Graders. I still manage to have centers, fabric-covered walls in jungle print, yellow fabric window shades (which I had to replace myself) for my word wall, and a cozy library with my books that I had to purchase. On any given day, I am housing behavior problems from other teachers, because they know my room is "cool", as the kids describe it, and that child can find refuge with us. Count your lucky stars, teach with all your heart, and pray for the teachers in Philadelphia who deal with problems that could only be found in realistic fiction.


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