Over the past 9-10 years, I have had a number of classroom displays. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not very artistic. I look at some of the displays I see on Twitter and think “that looks incredible”, shortly followed by “I could never do that.” If you search MFL displays on Twitter you will soon see what I mean, along with a wonderfully deadpan nativity one! Here is what I can do with my limited artistic abilities and have done. Hopefuly ahead of the new term, it inspires some ideas.
When it comes to displays, I think there two types of display:
The kind of questions we need to be asking are:
- How does this display help my students learning, or my teaching?
- Is this display doing the thinking for them or making them do some thinking?
- Is this helping to inspire a love of languages, an understanding of their value or an appreciation of culture?
I have 4 display boards in my classroom.
Display Board 1 (front) – TL phrases I want students to use in lessons
Display Board 2 (side) – Phonics board – this is an experiment from September
Display Board 3 (back) – Why study langauges
Display Board 4 back) – Map of Spain
My Current Displays
I’m aware that some people out there argue in favour of a “less is more” approach from a perspective of aiming to reduce visual stimulus in a classroom.
Display Board 1: TL Phrases
I cannot find the original online so it is entirely possible my Head of Department made this. The phrases on this board are largely similar to this one on TES: https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/spanish-classroom-language-mat-12359711 The overriding aim in any display like this is that it has to be stuff that students are actually going to use. We have quite a strict equipment policy in our school so any “I have forgotten a pen/book” phrase is out. The rationale for having this at the front of the room is that I can just tap the board if a pupil asks me something in English that could easily be done in Spanish.
Display Board 2: Phonics
This is an experiment for this year. I wanted pupils to be a bit more conscious of how words are formed in Spanish and essentially take a bit more responsibility in working out how they are said. That way if someone says “I don’t know how to say it”, they can break the word down and reconstruct it. This uses some enlarged slides from Rachel Hawkes’ phonics powerpoints here.
Display Board 3: Why study languages
This one is at the back of the room so chances are students are only going to see it when they are a) walking in and b) turning around to look at the clock (how dare they!). It could be more prominently placed if my classroom allowed for it but the material on there is large enough to read even with a cursory glance. Again, I am not the most artistic of people so my first trip was to Instant Displays for some lettering and then to use these resources from NST.
Display Board 4: Map of Spain
If I’m honest this is the one I am most proud of. It took a while to make so here is how:
You will need:
- yellow and blue display paper
- A marker pen
- a projector that projects on to a whiteboard
Here is how to do it:
- Find this map of Spain.
- Fix yellow display paper to your whiteboard.
- Project map on to the yellow paper.
- Draw around the outline map adding dots for places.
- Remove yellow paper from whiteboard.
- Cut it out.
- Cover display board in blue paper (sea).
- Fix your map of Spain in the middle.
- Write on the places.
- Don’t forget the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
This tends to be used quite regularly in lessons particularly when a place is mentioned in a text. It can be quite helpful to say: “This place is here. If you have been to … then you were not very far way from it.”
One year we also put some stars on places where students and staff in the school had been to Spain and where.
My Past Displays
The Sentence Builder
In the past I have turned a display into a giant sentence builder. The sentence builder was modelled on one in this video from Vincent Everett (the sentence builder appears at the 3min 20), which uses modal verbs and infinitives. It was extremely helpful to students, however I quickly learnt I needed to cover it up during tests! He also has an excellent blog, which you should check out. His Toblerone idea will be making it into a lesson in September.
I set up a display board as follows and then populated it with the origami houses that the students had made. I asked a few students to print off some useful vocabulary that could float in clouds in the sky, which they duly did….only with a few additions such as the house from Up! and the Dearth Star from Star Wars.
The Three Tenses Board
This was quite a simple idea from my previous Head of Department but effective. It contained 30 phrases all students had to know. His original looked something like the table below. I will let you decide what verbs should make it into the 30.
|J’ai mangé||Je mange||Je vais manger|
|J’ai bu||Je bois||Je vais boire|
Teaching Spanish at the time I simply adapted the phrases. Again, this was a “cover up during assessments” board.
Hopefully, this has inspired you with a few ideas. I have probably done others that I cannot remember but these are the ones that I feel answered the three questions best.