Friday, 23 September 2011 17:45

Classroom Display Case (Teaching Tip #42)

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This Teaching Tip is the third in my new “Starting the School Year in Style” series.

On the back wall of my classroom, I have set aside a large rectangular space for students to display their favorite pieces of work. In this area, known as the “Display Case,” the students each have their own spots that are roughly 15” by 15.” While the idea of displaying student work on a classroom wall is certainly not a new one, there are two aspects of this suggestion that I believe offer a different twist on how work is traditionally shown.

  First, the students are in charge of deciding what work is displayed in their individual areas, and they may update their displays at any time. This freedom and flexibility enables students to capture moments of personal triumph in “real-time” in a tangible way. For example, if a student tackles a difficult math problem solving activity that took three days to complete, she may post it in her spot right then and there. Pride, confidence, and self-esteem soar when students realize what they have accomplished and know they can place their work somewhere where they can look at it whenever they need a boost.

Second, because the kids are choosing the work that appears on the wall, the Display Case always features a wide variety of work at any given time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with bulletin boards that feature work samples from a single project, but there’s something especially cool about seeing many different types of samples that the students themselves chose. Giving students this opportunity to choose their Display Case items and update them at any time builds student ownership of the classroom and reinforces the point that everyone is an important, valued part of the team.

New Teaching Tips appear every Sunday of the school year.