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Hi everyone, am thinking about my room for next year and thinking how I am going to ensure i have everything on display the powers that be reqire whilst still ensuring the environment is not too formal. We need to have a display with letters and sounds stuff on and one with current numeracy stuff on it. I am thinking this will help the parents to support their children at home and will also be hopefully interactive so the children gain something from it too!! However I also dont want two displays in my room to be just resources downloaded from websites and laminated - i want the children to have some input in these walls too. Am I asking too much do you think - my brain is befuddled and I cant think of any inspiration at the moment!

Does anyone have any ideas they already use or are planning to use that I can "borrow" please?

Thanks ems

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ITS A tough one ems making them interactive and to include children's input. I'm doing 'under the sea' next term, and was wondering if children could paint/draw on something to represent that many fish (sea creatures) or maybe add sequens up to ten on their sea creature and then write the number to match the quantity. Something along those lnes. Letters and sounds i still need to put thought into.

 

hope that helps

 

xxx

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Hi Ems

 

You are not asking too much at all! In the school I am supporting in September I have put an embargo on anything downloaded from any well known websites. That includes days of the week, birthdays, drawer labels etc. We are not going to have anything on the walls that has not been created by an adult or a child in the setting.

 

Children very quickly become word and image 'blind' when looking at the same fonts and the same colours on the same design style of images. They need a print rich environment, where the print is up there for a reason and not just becasue it fills a space!

 

In September your room SHOULD look pretty bare. You will be spending the first few weeks assessing your children and showing them how to use your space. You should not have planned a 'topic' as you have no idea what their learning preferences/interests are going to be.

 

During this period of initial assessment you work with them to create all of your 'bog standard' classroom signage.

 

Make a photographic number line with groups of children. I am MUCH more likely to remember number 4 if my face is on it!

 

Make your alphabet chart based around their interests - if they are all buzzing about Toy Story then get THEM to draw/paint etc and you mount/laminate their B for Buzz and W for Woody!

 

In terms of engagement you couldn't be doing more.

 

What Ofsted are really looking for these days in display is 'difference' and 'relevance'. They do NOT want to see 30 versions of the same thing: hungry caterpillars, butterflies, Percy the park keeper - and my own personal favourite - scrunched up tissue paper pink blossom trees!!

 

If the children's interests have prompted you to look at mini beasts then you might tell them that if they make a mini beast - of their choice - in a method - of their choice - using the skills you have taught them then you will display it.

 

No more should we see 30 ladybirds made out of paper plates and pipe cleaners where the practitioner has selected all of the resources and called the children from a list. What if I don't want to make a lady bird? What if I have seen an orange one and you have just chosen red ready mix?

 

Ems - go with your gut. Ask yourself 'WHY'? all of the time. Why is that on my wall? Why is that relevant/interesting to my new class and how do I know?

 

Empty walls have often been seen as a sign of a 'lazy' teacher. But an empty wall with a cunning plan, based on child initiated learning is a sign of an outstanding teacher who understands how children learn best.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Alistair

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What Ofsted are really looking for these days in display is 'difference' and 'relevance'. They do NOT want to see 30 versions of the same thing: hungry caterpillars, butterflies, Percy the park keeper - and my own personal favourite - scrunched up tissue paper pink blossom trees!!

That's a shame - we could have made you some nice fluffy ducks to sit in your trees!

 

Thanks for this, what a fantastic post. It is so easy to lose sight of your beliefs and of what is important when you're facing the onslaught!

 

Maz

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Hi Ems

 

 

Children very quickly become word and image 'blind' when looking at the same fonts and the same colours on the same design style of images. They need a print rich environment, where the print is up there for a reason and not just becasue it fills a space!

 

In September your room SHOULD look pretty bare. You will be spending the first few weeks assessing your children and showing them how to use your space. You should not have planned a 'topic' as you have no idea what their learning preferences/interests are going to be.

 

During this period of initial assessment you work with them to create all of your 'bog standard' classroom signage.

 

Make a photographic number line with groups of children. I am MUCH more likely to remember number 4 if my face is on it!

 

Make your alphabet chart based around their interests - if they are all buzzing about Toy Story then get THEM to draw/paint etc and you mount/laminate their B for Buzz and W for Woody!

 

In terms of engagement you couldn't be doing more.

 

What Ofsted are really looking for these days in display is 'difference' and 'relevance'. They do NOT want to see 30 versions of the same thing: hungry caterpillars, butterflies, Percy the park keeper - and my own personal favourite - scrunched up tissue paper pink blossom trees!!

 

If the children's interests have prompted you to look at mini beasts then you might tell them that if they make a mini beast - of their choice - in a method - of their choice - using the skills you have taught them then you will display it.

 

No more should we see 30 ladybirds made out of paper plates and pipe cleaners where the practitioner has selected all of the resources and called the children from a list. What if I don't want to make a lady bird? What if I have seen an orange one and you have just chosen red ready mix?

 

Ems - go with your gut. Ask yourself 'WHY'? all of the time. Why is that on my wall? Why is that relevant/interesting to my new class and how do I know?

 

Empty walls have often been seen as a sign of a 'lazy' teacher. But an empty wall with a cunning plan, based on child initiated learning is a sign of an outstanding teacher who understands how children learn best.

 

Hope this helps!

 

Alistair

 

Whoop whoop, Way to go Alistair, very well said...I vote for you!! Like Maz said it's easy to lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing, particularly when you appear to going against 'the norm'. To read your post is incredibly reassuring that our thinking is indeed on the right lines and tomorrow I will reinforce the message to my team...thank you. Would you mind if I use your advice for my students in September? you have worded it far more to the point than I have been trying to do!!

 

(have enjoyed reading your other posts too - particularly the outdoor play. Completely agree that the cheapest resources provide the best play value - puddles and mud are our children's favourite at the moment!! Would you mind sharing an example of how you plan? am happy to p.m you

Edited by gingerbreadman
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Hi,

 

I so agree....

 

this was taken from an old post (sorry can't credit it!) and puts the point over really well.

 

fluffy_duck.doc

 

It's hard to stick with it - especially when others around you do 'production line' crafts and the children always have something to take home - and you have to explain to a parent why little freddie didn't make an easter card..

 

It's important to get the message over, explain and discuss with parents and I read this 'fluffy duck' article to my parents at a learning workshop - I think they understood it :o

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ems, how about a learning wall? They've been discussed on here a few times - we had a great one about cats, that didn't 'go' at all where I thought it would! We started by writing down everything we knew about cats (One of the children had brought some photos in of their new cats from the rescue centre) and then researched more info as the week went on. Children brought in pictures and facts from home and they were added and the drew some lovely pictures and found bits of faux fur and added all manner of things. (AHA, I thought, it'll be dogs next - and went and got a load of doggy things from my sister, all ready - but no!) Then one of the children commented that tigers were cats and off we went, looking at big cats and I was learning as much as they were! Painting lots of fabulous pictures again and finding out! (Surely it'll be dogs now, we've exhausted cats....) Then a child looked at one of the lion pictures brought in by another child and said its teeth were like shark teeth and before I knew it we were 'knee deep' in sharks!

 

The learning wall looked great though and was a fantastic time line to the start of it all. I hope we do one again this year - we'll have to wait and see!

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That sounds fantastic Cait!

 

Do you know if there is any more information out there about these Walls?

 

I'm at a loss of what to suggest Ems because I believe in following the children as Alastair said, however I appreciate the anxiety of presenting a welcoming environment.

Edited by gingerbreadman
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Alastair.......confetti makes really great blossom for trees!! No more scrunchy tissue for us :o

 

I think you made some excellent points......we're trying to 'eductae' our parents into realising that 'scrunched up tissue/fluffy duck' equals adult ideas, not the childrens.It's slow going ( other setting in our area IS a 'let's scrunch together' group ), but we ARE getting there!

 

I was also made to rethink how we display the children's work too. I was a fan of the 'cut out the picture and double-mount it to its best effect' method...........................but have stopped and will now be displaying it EXACTLY how the children want it to be done

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here's a previous thread about it .

 

I had forgotten a cat wandered in one day - that's what sparked the conversation about the re-homed cats! :o

 

It was great fun - they are memorable activities too, as I said, I learned a lot about big cats and sharks and the solar system etc as we went along too.

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]I have to add that the children often like scrunching tissue and playing with the glue... there might be a little place for it, if the chidlren choose to do it, and it does help their fine motor skills!

 

I work with a lot of 2 and 3 year olds so they are a bit younger. In the past I have done displays based around books such as Harry and the Bucketful of dinosaurs. We did a group picture of Harry (complete with tissue trousers, and shirt) and then over teh weeks the children added to the display with their own contributions of cut out photographs, stenciled dinosaurs, collage habitats, there were no guidelines on what would be added to the gallery and some children brought in pictures they had done at home.

 

heres a picture...... the group work gave lots of time for discussions on what the children would like to add

 

I wouldn't ask the children to 'create' their own work in a particular style, that has to be truly free creative development :o

 

harry.docx

 

harry.doc

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]I have to add that the children often like scrunching tissue and playing with the glue... there might be a little place for it, if the chidlren choose to do it, and it does help their fine motor skills!

 

I agree :( I think like lots of other 'controversial' things there is indeed a place for it providing of course it is child initiated and not practitioners giving pre-cut shapes and asking children to 'scrunch and stick'

 

In general terms I can't stand fluffy duck syndrome and screwed up tissue paper is one of the first things that comes to mind on my 'dislike list' but...

 

I have to say that if anyone walked into my setting at the end of last term they would have found not only screwed up tissue but used as pink blossom on a tree :oxD The children made a huge picture over several days . It's over 7 feet long and the about 4ft or so high. The children chose the size, they rolled out rolls of paper, cut it, stuck two long pieces together and jointly decided it was going to be a garden. They used rags/hands/brushes/sponges etc etc to paint it in various shades of green and some children decided it need sky. They made a 'sun' (drawn and cut out by them) and chose to collage the sun with 'straggly bits of wool', yes there are a couple of the dreaded cotton wool clouds but again their choice. The flowers are superbly 'different' :( , the fence is nice and wonky and painted in various shades BUT guess what ... there is a huge tree.... with pink and white blossom. This idea again, was theirs, taken from the tree just outside the outdoor play area. I confess that the blossom is made of screwed up tissue paper but no one suggested this other than the children themselves - some of the 'blossom' is made of pink satin/white felt/ cotton wool/shiny paper/crepe paper/sequins etc but most is screwed up tissue paper. It was their choice from a huge range of resources on offer.

 

I think it is perhaps a case of not dismissing our 'bug bear materials' or how they are used but giving children the real freedom to explore/experiment/investigate a wide range of materials and allowing them to use as they choose - if some of their choices result in heading towards our 'fluffy ducks fear' then so be it. Tissue paper is just one of many resources available and if children choose to screw it up and stick it here there and everywhere it's fine by me.

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Tissue paper is just one of many resources available and if children choose to screw it up and stick it here there and everywhere it's fine by me.

Sounds fab to me. There's a world of difference in a child choosing to scrunch up tissue paper and sticking it on their picture and the "let's crunch up these tiny tissue squares to stick inside the lines of the shape I've drawn and cut out for you" approach. Unless of course the creative provision the child has been used to is so poor that this is always the first thing the child thinks of... :o

 

Maz

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Whoa there! This is not a campaign to ban tissue paper! Or scrunching - although I take some convincing about fine motor development!! In truth you would have to scrunch your body weight in tissue to have an impacton hand tendon and pincer grip development.

 

NOTHING...I repeat NOTHING is 'banned' it is all about choice and engagement. I speak from experience. As a Reception teacher and Deputy Head I decided that my class would do 'pirates'. I got all of the chidlren to draw around each other to make into their own 'pirate' we painted the faces (I mixed the paint) we striped the shirts (I decided on stripes, although I did give them some choice in the colours - BIG deal!) then we collaged the trousers and the boots. It took SIX WEEKS! Six weeks of my lovely NNEB and me saying every afternoon 'Who would like to come to the collage table?....Noone?...How about you?....No? It ended up with me and Carole staying behind every evening to fill in the white bits and cover the crotches just to get them done!

 

The classroom looked amazing, Ofsted came and loved it but as far as the children's levels of engagement and learning went...it was rubbish.

 

What I should have said was...'using the skills I have taught you, decorate your pirate if you made one' If they had chosen to 'scrunch' from a WIDE variety of examples I had shown them that would be brilliant. I then should have displayed them as they had done them, gaps and all as that is a true reflection of their ability, and not stayed until 6 every night scrunching like my life depended on it.

 

How much do children gain from sticking tissue paper onto a well known characters trousers? More importantly how much do they really want to?

 

Just keep asking 'why am I doing this?' Is it because it is a) easy :o looks good c) always have done it this way or d) assessment/intuition/professional judgement/need tells me my children need it.

 

Go for 'd' every time!

 

Bring on the debate!

 

Alistair

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Whoop whoop, Way to go Alistair, very well said...I vote for you!! Like Maz said it's easy to lose sight of why you are doing what you are doing, particularly when you appear to going against 'the norm'. To read your post is incredibly reassuring that our thinking is indeed on the right lines and tomorrow I will reinforce the message to my team...thank you. Would you mind if I use your advice for my students in September? you have worded it far more to the point than I have been trying to do!!

 

(have enjoyed reading your other posts too - particularly the outdoor play. Completely agree that the cheapest resources provide the best play value - puddles and mud are our children's favourite at the moment!! Would you mind sharing an example of how you plan? am happy to p.m you

Happy to share - I have a number of versions depending on where you are at on your 'journey' PM me and I will send you some examples.

 

Have been employed to go into a school for half a term from September to be the Nursery teacher and EY coordinator. I am going to induct the new intake, do point of entry assessment and re model the environement ( I dont plan to eat, sleep or leave the building!) Have decided to blog my progress and also share all of the formats that I use complete with photos and the occasional video!

 

I will post a link from ABC Does.com when it is up and running

 

All will be welcome to view and comment.

 

Al

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Have been employed to go into a school for half a term from September to be the Nursery teacher and EY coordinator. I am going to induct the new intake, do point of entry assessment and re model the environement ( I dont plan to eat, sleep or leave the building!) Have decided to blog my progress and also share all of the formats that I use complete with photos and the occasional video!

 

Wow what an exciting job for September, good luck and I hope you find the staff there to be positive, open minded and welcoming. Shall observe with interest. :o

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Happy to share - I have a number of versions depending on where you are at on your 'journey' PM me and I will send you some examples.

 

Have been employed to go into a school for half a term from September to be the Nursery teacher and EY coordinator. I am going to induct the new intake, do point of entry assessment and re model the environement ( I dont plan to eat, sleep or leave the building!) Have decided to blog my progress and also share all of the formats that I use complete with photos and the occasional video!

 

I will post a link from ABC Does.com when it is up and running

 

All will be welcome to view and comment.

 

Al

 

That sounds fantastic! Shall wait with baited breathe. :o

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  • 3 weeks later...
Ask yourself 'WHY'? all of the time. Why is that on my wall? Why is that relevant/interesting to my new class and how do I know?

 

Empty walls have often been seen as a sign of a 'lazy' teacher. But an empty wall with a cunning plan, based on child initiated learning is a sign of an outstanding teacher who understands how children learn best.

 

Wise words, and ones that I could do to remember myself! :o

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Since reading CFS I have completely changed the way I put up displays now. I used to back my boards so that they were a piece of art in themselves and then mount the children's work onto my masterpiece. However now, I start the year with blank hessian boards. When the children produce work it gets put up on the hessian board, so that their work stands out, not mine. There work is beautiful enough to make the boards look amazing without me getting involved and stealing the limelight! If we do want a jungle scene, or something similar the children get up on ladders with rollers, sponges and all different materials to paint their own background for their work.

I am so much happier with this arrangement, the children and their work is what stands out and that's how I want my classroom to be.

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Since reading CFS I have completely changed the way I put up displays now. I used to back my boards so that they were a piece of art in themselves and then mount the children's work onto my masterpiece. However now, I start the year with blank hessian boards. When the children produce work it gets put up on the hessian board, so that their work stands out, not mine. There work is beautiful enough to make the boards look amazing without me getting involved and stealing the limelight! If we do want a jungle scene, or something similar the children get up on ladders with rollers, sponges and all different materials to paint their own background for their work.

I am so much happier with this arrangement, the children and their work is what stands out and that's how I want my classroom to be.

 

Sounds brilliant! I might be stealing your words in the future if I ever have to justify the approach to anyone :o

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