Setting the tone.

Your classroom is an extension of you.  It reflects who you are as a teacher.  It tells the students how much you care about the job you do and the work they produce.  It shows off your personality.  It is the first thing the students see when they come in in September and it will be the basis of the first judgements that are made about you, as a teacher.  Rooms are so important. 

 

This summer I inherited a new room – a more central room.  It was a complete blank canvas.
Before classroom 1<before classroom 2before classroom 3before classroom 4

So here are my top tips:

1) Choose fab backing paper
At my last school everyone had to have the same blue / orange backing paper. It limited how creative you could be so I was really keen to experiment this time round. The key is to consider your topics and what might be a suitable backing paper. Backing paper does not have to be traditional display paper, however. This time round I order foliage backing paper available from the internet / Consortium; a party scene setter from an online party provider for my western / Of Mice and Men theme and wrapping paper from Waterstones for my Language Acquisition display.

After 6After 4After 3back of wall

2) Have your books on display
I was browsing Twitter one night when I saw a classroom which had a series of book posters in it. I thought this was a fab idea! However, it struck me that it would be a lovely touch to have on display all of the books that our students will be exposed to throughout their five years with us. I now have every book we are studying on my classroom wall which, I think, is a nice personalised touch.

After 7After 1

3) A connective wall
This, for me, is a fundamental wall. It is a fantastic learning aid for supporting students with the development of their writing skills. As literacy co-ordinator at my last school, it was part of my role to get the connectives in every classroom. Staff really bought into this and the connective display became an active tool during lessons that involved the students writing.

After 2

4) Have all of your learning aids at the front.
If a display is useful to students it must be within their view. Therefore, my learning aids are at the front of the classroom. When I arrived at my new school I found that the staff were somewhat overwhelmed by different learning aids, many of which you could not see. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider what will most benefit your students and go from there. For me this was ISPACED, punctuation, GCSE key concepts and terminology. These can all be easily referred to throughout lessons or act as prompts to jog your students’ memory.

front 1front 2front 3front 4

5) It’s ok to nick stuff.
Rooms and displays take a long time together. If you find something that someone else has produced and offered, take it! This is what happened to me and my new bunting. @Lauralolder produced some fantastic AF bunting. She very kindly shared this on TES and I very graciously nicked the idea. I love this bunting!!

After 9front 4

6) Make sure you have students’ work up on the wall.
No picture here because I have included a picture of my students BUT the students must also have some ownership of the room. Their work should be displayed with their name and, if possible, their picture. However, in order for it to be a learning aid, you can also identify what level / band it received. You can then highlight sections or create arrows that highlight sections with an explanation as to why it achieved the level / band it did. If you complete student voice activities, you can also include key quotes from the students about what they particularly liked about the unit.

7) A literature wall
Why do you love English so much? Demonstrate this to the students with posters, postcards, pictures, newspaper articles and other materials you find that are English / Literature related. Put these all up on a wall and add to as you go through the year. Let the kids see why literature is important and how literature has inspired many people.

Finally, a wall of fame
Pictures of students completing activities in your classroom. If possible, capture them looking happy 🙂

And, of course, you must try to make your corridor a little different…
My new corridorcorridor 4corridor 1corridor 3corridor 2

If you would like a copy of any of the resources, please DM me 🙂

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40 thoughts on “Setting the tone.

  1. Hello! Love some of your ideas here and totally agree about classrooms being personal. I like the bunting and think I can adapt it, but also I am really trying to develop the use of connectives in my lessons also. Do you have a document with the connectives laid out like shown in your display? If so could I ‘borrow’ it? 🙂 I will gladly trade anything you might want Art wise 🙂

      1. Hi,
        would it be possible to have a copy of your Connectives document, please?

        many thanks,
        Gosia Bates

  2. Great ideas and great advice that is easily possible for someone just starting out. Like you say, making a mark on your classroom demarcates the space as *yours* but it also gives out a message to the kids that you care, that you’re sticking around, and also that you want to work in a nice environment too – just like them.

    One school I worked in wouldn’t let us have *anything* on the wall where the board was. Like you, I’d always had connectives and sentence starters on the wall – so that was a real issue for me. Their argument was that it ‘distracts’ students, particularly those with special needs. Wondered if you have come across this issue before?

    1. Yes it is an interesting issue that I met in my last school. I guess that is why I have gone with my learning aids at the front of the classroom so that if they are distracted during a lesson, they are distracted by something that will help them. I thought about this a lot and decided that I would take a little distraction over a stagnant and uninspiring room 🙂

  3. Hello! I love your room. Can I be cheeky and ask if I could have your ‘spaced’ & connectives documents? Thank you!

      1. Love this!

        Would it be possible to get copies of the spaces and connectives one?

        Also where did you get/make your lovely backing images?

      2. Great photos to inspire & I agree with ‘personalising’ your space. May I also receive your connectives documents?

      3. Hi Ane – I’m in awe of your classroom. Would it be possible to also get a copy of the connectives sent to me please?

        Also do you have the first lines and front covers of the favourite books as shown above?

        Regards,

        Jo

  4. Thank-you for crediting me! I must say that it seems pointless to spend time making something unless more than one person will use it – and reading this blog post has finally given me the push to start my own blog and start with my new room! 🙂

  5. Hi,
    I was wondering whether you havehe connective wall resources to hand at all? In Geography connectives are so important. If so my email address is jmarsh@fhes.org.uk

    I’ve also got a blank canvas to deaign this year so thanks for sharing some of your fab ideas.

    Jack Marsh

  6. Hiya,
    I LOVE your blog about classroom display and was wondering if I could get a copy of the wordles you have for Language, Structure, Context and Analysis?

    Sorry if this seems a rude request!

    Lisa 🙂

  7. Really enjoyed reading your tips. Agree totally that your classroom reflects you as an individual and your teacher ways. Love the bunting. TES is updating this weekend do very eager to get my hands on them – if there is a direct link could you send it. also if you could share your connectives. should imagine you have bedn bombarded with request so quite understand if can’t. thanks for sharing and happy jolidays

  8. Any creative ideas for a trolley and teaching in 15 different rooms? Too many teachers and as Senco (on a slightly reduced timetable) no longer ‘entitled’ to a classroom of my own. Sad times ahead… *sniffs back tears at thought of it all

  9. Hi,

    I love your classroom and have pinched the af bunting already! Do you know where I would be able to get a copy of the top 100 front covers and opening lines?

    Many thanks

  10. What a brilliant classroom- I bet you can’t wait to get started with your groups. I would love to produce your corridor display- please, please could I steal it?

    Thanks very much, hope you have a great year and now I’m off to get my room spruced up.

  11. Some great ideas and it looks fantastic. Good to have some inspiration as I’m working on my new classroom this week. Could I ask for a copy of the Wordles if possible?

  12. Some great ideas here. I feel inspired to get cracking on my classroom when I head in next week. I have been gathering ideas (such as Twitter walls and such) on Pinterest already and I feel I have enough inspiration to get underway! Many thanks for sharing some excellent tips.

  13. Hi there,

    Great post and some fantastic ideas for setting the tone in your classroom. I wondered if you could send me the wordles you had for language, structure, context and analysis?

    Thanks,
    Lindsi

  14. Hiya, could you possibly clarify where you got that amazing first lines/covers poster from? I can think of a few ways I could use it for creative writing and independent reading challenges. If you could point me in the right direction, I’d be massively grateful!

  15. Hi, your room looks great. You have given me some ideas to add to my new room. Could you possibly send me a copy of your resources? What website did you use to make your context, structure, language and analysis word clouds? I like that they are shaped.
    😀

  16. The last few days before the children come back in and lots of teachers are searching for new creative displays! I love your corridor book displays, where did you find these from?

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