It’s 10 a.m. and your seniors will arrive in six minutes. Is there time to hang up those amazing one-pagers your ninth graders just finished?
The answer will depend on how you set up your classroom displays at the beginning of the year.
It IS possible to showcase student work in ways that are easy and quick to change up, and it IS a great idea to do this, because keeping current excellent work in front of students throughout the year is a solid way to build community and creativity.
So let’s get into this quick how-to post.
A couple of hours of prep in the summer will make all the difference. Here are four options for flexible display that you can prep now and then rinse and repeat all year long.
#1 The Frames
Next time you’re at a Garage Sale, a thrift store, or your parents’ basement, look around for largish old frames. Build up a collection, spray them all with spray paint in a color that goes with your classroom, and then hang them up together on a classroom wall.
You can start the year with inspiring work from the year before in your frames, then change it out whenever something new and bright comes in.
#2 Bulletin Boards
Bulletin boards have leveled up from the brownish crumbling rectangles of my childhood. Look around in your summer adventures for some wrapping paper or craft paper you like (again, keep classroom colors and overall balance in mind), and cover all that brown in something more fun.
Then, if you’re in the mood, keep an eye open for fun pushpins – these have gotten much cooler over the years too! You’ll have more fun changing out work with your oversized polka dot pushpins than you will with boring old thumbtacks.
#3 Lines with Clips
This is unquestionably the quickest, easiest form of display. Hang up as many as you can! They’re great for the hallway too.
Grab some plastic Command hooks and attach them to your walls on either end of an empty area. Then hang a ribbon or string from one hook to the other and add little clips all along it. You can find hooks and clips at stores like Target or Michael’s.
You can even hang them in a zig zag pattern, covering a whole wall. I first got this idea from Eileen Landay of Brown’s fabulous book, A Reason to Read (check out our interview about arts integration here, it’s one of my favorites).
By the way, once you fall in love with this super easy form of display, you may find yourself using it in your own office – as pictured below – or in your home to display photos, Christmas cards, or children’s art. (I’ve done it all).
#4 Create a Student Work Hall of Fame
This is an easy way to keep stellar models from throughout your teaching career on display. Label a bookshelf, bulletin board, display line or wall area with a header reading “Student Work Hall of Fame.” Start the year with a display of work from past students, then change things out as you get the highest quality projects from your current students throughout the year.
Trying to bring it all together? (I hear you, that’s me too).
Finally, if you’re trying to think about what colors to put on your bulletin boards, which ribbons to put between your hooks, and which type of paint to use on your frames, then you might enjoy creating a mood board for your classroom before you make all those choices. Discover more about creating a mood board (and adding a classroom library to this delightful mix of displays) in this post, Designing a Creative Post-Pandemic Classroom.