Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Classroom Displays

I was motivated by this post by Craig Kemp to take another look at the displays in our classroom as we head into Term 4.  We have a 1:1 digital learning environment in Class 20, and I do see differences in our wall displays than in other classes.  Having said that, we also have the ability to make our displays 'interactive' through the use of QR codes and by providing visual 'how to' instructions that our learners can use as a reference point.

Every term we create a topic wall display - this display includes rich vocabulary that we aim to unpack over the term as well as a pictures which relate directly to our topic.  In Term 4 this topic is 'Art Attack', which we are combining with a trip to the river.  Following the success of QR codes last term, we are again using these to assist the learners in exploring our topic.

Some aspects of the remaining walls in our classroom are driven by the needs of our learners.  For example, they need to have high frequency words on the wall which they can easily locate and use in their writing.  They also benefit by having numbers 1 - 20 displayed to assist with their maths.  But there is also room to include information that will assist them with their digital device.  While we haven't added to this display too much after Term 1, it is still available as a reference point for learners if they forget how to access Explain Everything projects or file the projects in the relevant folders.

I also believe its important for learners to see their completed work on the walls - sharing it with other learners and visitors to the classroom.  These work samples were created using KidPix and usually shared via the class blog.  They have been printed and displayed on the wall enabling learners to share with others.

Wall space for displays in any classroom is limited, particularly when you have a whole wall of windows as we do.  However making use of hanging displays (particularly when working with five year olds so height is not an issue) is one way of creating more display room.  We have numerous examples of stories that we have created as a whole class on display around the classroom.  As referred to in a recent Jannie van Hees professional development session, this enables learners to revisit the stories they had a part in creating.  

As with anything, there is always room for improvement or things that could be tried to see if they are more effective.  Currently our rotation board space is not being well used as we generally have done away with a reading rotation and tend to base our reading lessons around a limited set of options in combination with Explain Everything projects and time on KidsPix.  Over the holidays I've changed how this display space is being used and incorporated some ownership of activities for learners around their Explain Everything reading activities.  Often learners do not finish their activities in one session and these carry over to the next day.  By utilising some of this board learners that have not completed their activity can add their picture to this display at the end of the session giving us a visual reference of who has work to complete the next day.

I've also redesigned the space to allow the display of more topic specific words which will assist learners with their writing.  The before and after of this space appear below - time to see how it works with the commencement of Term 4.

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