Admit it: you grumble, but you love this time of year. It's in August that we begin thinking about how we're going to set up our classrooms. Right now, you're thinking about where your shelves are going, whether your desks will be in rows or groups... and where on earth are you going to put your math center? And somewhere in all this, you're almost certainly thinking about how to display your new students' work.
Whether it's the scribbles of toddlers or the artwork of teens, I believe very much in the importance of displaying student work in ways that respects their talents and efforts. If you work in a large school, you likely have access to display cases and hallway bulletin boards, two great ways to showcase what your kids are doing. Others are not so lucky and deal with limitations on space and display methods. Regardless of your situation, here are a few ideas for making sure your students get recognized.
1. Instead of grouping work by project, give every student a specific place in the room and rotate the work that is placed there. You can staple a plastic page protector or or large Zip-loc bag to the wall and switch work in and out, or make cardboard frames. You could even buy plastic frames.
Try making a large frame for each child out of half a sheet of black posterboard. Laminate them and maybe spruce them up with silver ribbon on the edges. Then put white construction paper on the wall in rectangles the same size as the frames. The frames will go over these rectangles. Student work will go inside the frames. The background paper can be switched with the passing seasons and as it gets ratty from staples. Place a "plaque" with the child's name under each frame to add that museum authenticity.
2. String fishing line from one end of the room to the other, and use clothespins to hold up papers.
3. Use Velcro to attach clothespins to the wall. Glue a photo of a student on each clothespin. Then just slip their work into the clips.
4. Try and find a catalog rack. Ask local businesses if they have old ones they don't need. This could sit on a table and serve as a portfolio for the entire class. You could also make a "book" out of student work using plastic page protectors and a sturdy binder.
5. Get long strips of cork. You can also buy cork tiles and cut them. Attach the strips to the wall and use them to pin up papers without having to deal with a stapler. There are also metal display rails into which papers can simply be pushed.
6. At the craft store, you can buy small plastic easels. Use these to showcase special pieces.