Amazing classroom displays … just wallpaper?

Children's artwork on display in Guggenheim Museum New York City May 2014
Children’s artwork on display in Guggenheim Museum New York City May 2014

For some teachers it is a joy and for others its a chore, but no matter what our feelings are about creating classroom displays, it is something that needs to be taken into consideration for the sake of our students’ learning. Our walls, ceilings, floor spaces, verandahs, hat rooms are precious areas for sharing what the students’ are learning and focussing their attention on what we want them to know.
Putting up displays of students’ work and learning aids can take hours of our time and when we are happy with them we are loathe to take them down. Our school’s Early Action for Success Instructional Leader Cathy Alfaro(@qtcswsr) tells us that we need to be constantly changing our displays. She says that after two to three weeks the students no longer refer to these teaching aids or even their own work on the walls because they have become so used to them that that hardly notice them. They have become just like wallpaper!
Cathy strongly urges us to have displays that can be altered or added to bit by bit so that the students are looking at them and noticing the changes. Words and reminders on the walls that are not being referred to, are merely decorations.
On Thursday on ‘ABC Splash’, Graeme Base, the author and illustrator, said that he observed things in more detail when he travelled. The novelty of the situation made him take greater notice of his surroundings. Graeme said that he looked closer at things when visiting shops in countries overseas than his local shops because it was all new and different.
We know this to be true for ourselves as well. When we visit other schools we are quicker to take in the details around us than our own everyday environments.
So I guess the velcro dots and pegs are in and the staple gun and thumb tacks are out. Our classroom displays will need to be less static for them to be of any value other than just wallpaper.

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