Displays create a rich environment that is welcoming and engaging. Displays can be colourful and playful or scientific and intriguing, with items such as fossils. Yet, as Mike Anderson, a responsive classroom professional development specialist suggests in his article "Classroom Displays: Keep the Focus on Student Work," displays can be over stimulating if overdone. Anderson adds that the best displays are student work. He goes on to describe the ways to showcase work and the benefits to the students in creating a community, ownership and classroom pride.
Displays encourage individual expression. First and foremost, ensure that all students are represented in the display. If a student was absent and not able to complete project or activity, he should be allowed extra time. Including only a select group or the best students divides classmates and produces competition and adversarial relationships.
Value of Learning
Showcase the value of learning. Include writing with drafts and polished pieces. Students find comfort in knowing they are improving and as they share strengths and weaknesses with peers. Students also learn that it's OK to make mistakes because it's part of the process of learning.
Classroom displays increase ownership and community by encouraging student involvement. Students learn to collaborate and compromise; they make decisions regarding how their classroom is decorated and learn to collaborate in the creation of the display.
Reflection and Critical Thinking
Students learn to reflect when they view their displayed work and compare it with the work of their classmates. They analyse developing and completed projects and note the individual strengths and weaknesses. By viewing other's work critically, the tension of competition is lifted and students gain a sense of collective pride and community in their classroom.
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