Your classroom is your showroom.. It tells a lot of exciting stories to both the pupils and their parents. Any parent bringing a child to the school for the first time will want his/her child to be in your class, just by seeing how exciting your classroom is.
Much of the requests we get for our mini-seminars have to do with classroom display. It is one of the good signs we get from an environment where most people that teach do so just to get that tiny salary at the end of the month.
Here are some tips we recommend for your classroom all year round:
1) Space: We have seen so many spaces and…..Yes……true….barely enough space for the pupils on this side of the continent (unless you are working in a high class school). Nonetheless, we have to put whatever space we have to good use. Even if that space is meant to be shared by two classroom, you can still make it exciting.
2) Theme: Let the section choose a theme and the teachers decide on how they want to interpret that theme in their classrooms. Having a theme lets you use creativity to show your parents different subjects based on that theme. A good example is the theme ‘SEASONS’. In this country, we have only two seasons: Rainy and Harmattan. But don’t restrict the pupils’ knowledge to those two, when you are done with:
a) How many students were late to school because of the rain (maths),
b) identifying the long vowel – ai- from the word rain, and getting other words that rhyme with it (Language),
c) heavy or light downpour monitoring for the week (concepts & role playing where the children become class meteorologists),
d) accessories used for rain – umbrella, rain boots and raincoats (role playing)
e) colouring activites for the accessories on white paper, e.t.c.
THEN you teach about seasons in other parts of the world (you can get the arts teacher to do a big display for the Nursery hall – as shown below), making sure you also do supporting activities to keep the pupils’ minds active. And finish each day off with putting up all these as your evidence showcasing to the outside world what has been keeping the pupils busy all day.
3)Arrangement: Avoid the zombie class syndrome. Change the structure and formation of your class once in a while (but not too often). Keep it ready for teamwork, creativity and critical thinking. Let your pupils discover their social skills by mixing with other students. This also helps with class grouping, giving opportunities to slower learners to challenge themselves with fast learners in their groups.
4) Displays: Displays are not merely decorative, they can be direct teaching aids or supplementary ones. Make sure displays have focused learning, it should send the message across with just one glance. Promote active learning and let the children know which one is their work. Watch them glow as they show off to parents and families after school. Pupil’s work should be majority here.
[These dear pictures were taken while I was working at a middle class nursery in Lagos.]