When I joined the English department at my current school as Head of Faculty, whilst there were many positive elements, there was very little of students’ work displayed or much celebration of our wonderful literary world beyond some old freebie posters from teachit. I decided to try and change that, and quickly.
I got to work emailing teachers, and talking to students, establishing who the student artists were in the school that also had a fondness for Literature. I have no artistic skill, only appreciation(!) and wanted anyway to establish a strong sense of ownership from the students. I got them together and set them a challenge: we would transform the look of our department over the next year or two.
We met on several times, and they dutifully took on my projects, giving me ideas of their own too, suggesting how we could develop it further.
Myself and all the students who contributed, some who have now left, remain very proud of the results, and 4 years on from my first day, I often walk up and down the corridor with a big smile on my face at the creative collaboration of artists and literature lovers to transform our little department corridor and stairwells.
Here are the results:
We started with words that we decided represented our subject – imagination, creativity, etc. After a few after-school sessions of fun, the odd paint fight, and a constant supply of fizzy drink and biscuits from me, we produced the likes of this:
Then we moved on to important books:
before moving on to the piece de resistance -the characters. When some of these canvases arrived in the department, some teachers were almost moved to tears by the time and craft students had put in:
We didn’t hang around – I got a nice couple of backing boards to display them for all students to see -the first thing when they arrive, and the last thing when they leave –
We next turned our attention to quotes. Here are two –
Then the mind of Shakespeare –
The core skills –
We needed another welcoming wall we thought, just before the stairs –
and we followed up with lots of boards that displayed pictures of students’ achievements in our competitions like Spelling Bee, Vocabulary Millionaire, Public Speaking, and more, working to develop a powerful sense of ownership and pride in our subject area, in both students and staff.
A happy, colourful place to be I’m sure you’ll agree! Good luck to all display revitalisers out there!