When you reminisce incidents of your school days, you might picture a backdrop of the long corridors; spread out, sandy playground; row of similar classrooms; unkempt blackboards; and heavily equipped science labs. While most of your memories might hover over these items/places, you may sometimes even be reminded of the cluttered office and staff rooms that you used to visit for getting some work done. And hardly would anyone have been spared from a visit to the school Principal’s office — with shelves beaming with tall trophies, majestic shields, and award-receiving pictures. And the notice boards in the school — were they not the only places you could find a variety of works displayed in? Notice boards have been the common sites for students to swarm around eagerly —to find their paintings displayed, read interesting articles, enjoy the comic strip of the week and the likes — it is one place that many of us are bound to have found colourful, not just in the literal sense. And for many, the items displayed in notice board have become inspirational, making them want to create interesting stuff. So why restrict display to notice boards? Why not showcase at other places as well, such as classrooms, library, or any other place in the school?
So what kind of items do you think will qualify for display in the classrooms of your school? Well, it should depend on the audience of each class. You can make children come up with ideas for presenting any content that is related to their lessons. However, you should not lure them with a display slot in the classroom or the school notice board. The stress should be on making them come up with presentation ideas that will benefit all of their friends to gain subject knowledge and understanding. Children need to be made to recognise the purpose of the work they are asked to do and the process of working on the piece should also be a learning process for them. Even art and craft is a subject. So when you ask children to paint a scene, ensure that they do it with a theme, a concept, and a procedure in mind. Do also make it a point to insist that the matter conveyed through the painting should be considered on par with the presentation. Creation of display items also provides an opportunity for bonding between children and helps them develop a sense of ownership and pride. Even you could create display items as if to lead your students into developing effective presentation skills. But then, there are a number of factors that you need to cover.
What do we need to display items? You could say we have them put up mainly to enable easy learning for children, celebrate their creativity, and communicate their ideas. But then, display items can also be mere decoratives. After all, such works are also samples of creativity. Display items can also include direct or supplementary teaching aids. You could refer to such displays to revise a lesson or a concept and thus keep the session contextually appealing. You could even create display items to communicate what the students in the class have been doing, such as project detail updates, and also reinforce classroom responsibilities.
Aesthetics are as important as the matter dealt with in a display item. More importantly, the items should be displayed at the eye level of the children so that it is easy for them to read/view. Ensure that your classroom has display items that are colourful, accurate, visually stimulating, packed in appropriate space, and presented in apt arrangement. Overall, every display item must be made engaging for multiple views.
Every display item in the classroom should be meaningful and not interpretative. For this, it is necessary that the item is worked on with clarity of thought on what the viewers will get from it.
Freedom of Expression
As much as you drive home the need to have a purpose for every display item, you must also let the children enjoy a sense of freedom while they create something. What you might think is best presented as a sketch on a piece of paper, some child in your class might have presented better through a working model. And when you appreciate the child for the good work, he/she will be motivated to express more out-of-the-box ideas. All you need to guide children is with the techniques that you know. Let them come up with ideas to present the prospective matter.
Where to display?
Let us say a child in your class creates an interesting 3-D model to display the class time table and hangs it on the rear wall of the classroom. Would the item then create the impact it deserves? Children might come up with exemplary display ideas, but it is important to also put them up at the appropriate places in the classroom. You could have display items stuck/hung on walls (even from the ceiling), windows, cupboards, soft boards, display stands, tables, chairs, doors, and even on the dustbin. Just ensure that the matter conveyed through each of the display items are relevant to the spots they are displayed in. That is when they will serve their purpose of being appealing and effective.
Keeping in mind all the factors listed above, children may be given opportunities to create interesting and informative display items common for the school as well. The notice board is always available as a canvas but it will not have space to take in all the variety of information children or even you and your fellow teachers and school staff have to display. So, at the time of occasions in the school, when you will have plenty to communicate, you may use up the corridor walls, doors, windows, stage, staircases, flag pole, canteen, entrance gate, library walls, and playground space to display a variety of creations. You may ask children to create posters/brochures to promote a certain event, create a replica of a structure of importance to display all the related information on it (for instance, if you are celebrating Republic Day, you may ask the children to create replicas of India Gate and Red Fort and display related information on the structures), and what else not.
To keep the motivation level of the display item creators going, ask them to write their names somewhere on their creations. And to maintain the interest of children to look out for displays, you must ensure to keep changing the display items once they lose significance. However, ensure to maintain the display items while they are on and off the canvas, as every piece of creation deserves that kind of treatment.