It is easy to be overwhelmed by how much there can be to do when setting up your first classroom. Here are a few starting points, based on my experiences in primary classrooms:
- Back your display boards and maybe fill some that are necessary all year, e.g. an independent learning board and a notice board.
- I like to use bright colours, rather than pastel colours as I like them to stand out.
- Use clear fonts – my favourite font website is http://www.dafont.com – and make sure the font size is large enough to read from the other side of the room.
- Back all writing. I like to have a border of at least 0.5cm but that is just me! Sometimes it is beneficial to laminate work for boards, particularly if it is in an area where people will walk closely past it, e.g. a corridor.
- Laminate the letters for board titles, as you can always use them again in the future.
- If your display will be filled gradually throughout the term with pupils’ work, perhaps adding some generic information about the display work that will eventually be produced (e.g. the topic being studied) or some images can make it less empty. It also provides pupils with an initial idea of topics that they will be studying so even adding only a title to the display is a good starting point.
- Try to make your displays interactive where possible – my top tip is Velcro! I have a behaviour chart where pupils move themselves (a name or a picture of themselves) across from a smiley face, to a sad face, to a yellow card, to a red card. These fit in with my school behaviour policy and I find that pupils moving their name across means that they are fully aware of the consequences of their behaviour.
- I like to stick up a mini whiteboard on my class notice board so that I can add any important reminders (or pupils can). I do this with double-sided tape but I’m sure there are other ways. I also attach a whiteboard pen next to it using Velcro.
- I also have a folder that I attach with Velcro to my notice board where any spare letters are stored. This means that if a pupils loses a letter or didn’t receive one, there is usually one that I can get hold of easily.