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October 1, 2014 Creative Student Work Displays By Lindsey Petlak
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Student work displays: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Whether we have tons of bulletin board space, or none at all, as teachers we’re expected to proudly display student work for all to see. Students gain a great deal of ownership from this, so it’s important to show off their work. My goal is to find a creative way to make student work displays fun, creative, and sustainable (year-round), without being overly time-consuming and complex.

    My classroom actually has quite a bit of bulletin board space, but it’s all located on narrow boards at the very top of my walls. That’s not really a good place for ANYTHING, let alone student work. For the last year, I scoured blogs and Pinterest (twist my arm . . . ) for awesome student work display ideas, and found two to implement this year! Read to see how I transformed my display areas, the inspiration behind the changes, and other favorite ideas I’m keeping tabs on for next year!



    Clothespins Work Wonders

    I use clothespins for everything — from chip bag closure to rotation choice markers, and now my student work displays. Inspired by Maribel from Learning in Wonderland, I decided to make use of my one student-level bulletin board with the help of 12" x 12” scrapbook paper and some magical clothespins. See Maribel’s in-depth tutorials for her absolutely beautiful year-round student work displays. Below, see how I translated her fabulous tutorial into my classroom. It was so super easy, looks great, and makes changing out student work such a snap that I’m letting my STUDENTS choose the work that gets displayed in this area!  


    My Student Work Display


    The Inspiration Behind My Creation


    (More instructions below in the "Start Getting Creative" section.)



    Clipboard Revival

    Sometimes the stars align perfectly when you have a creative idea, but you need some help to get started. Over the summer I stumbled upon the most fabulous yearlong student work displays utilizing clipboards from Lauren Dennis on Instagram. This seemed the perfect solution for the clothesline hanging display area outside of my classroom. There was only one problem: I needed 20 clipboards, didn’t have them, and wasn’t crazy about buying 20 new ones. Luckily, the same week, my librarian offered up a ton of old clipboards that she didn’t need anymore. Voilà! My problem solved. See how Lauren Dennis decorated and displayed her clipboards, and check out my version below!


    My Student Work Display


    The Inspiration Behind My Creation

    (More instructions below in the "Start Getting Creative" section.)



    Start Getting Creative

    See the simple, fun materials needed to start both the clothespin and clipboard student work displays above. Most of the items are things you most likely already have in your house or classroom. For what you don't have on hand, all can be found at craft and dollar stores. Maybe you can scavenge some materials like I did with the old clipboards from our library! Get creative and scrounge up some fun scrapbook paper, name tags, ribbon, and hot glue or glue dots. This is going to be a fun, quick, beautiful classroom solution!

    See Maribel's in-depth tutorial on her blog, Learning in Wonderland, that initially inspired me for both projects! She details everything you need and instructions to create your own amazing student work displays!  For a quick reference, see the simple steps below:


    Clothespin Displays:

    • Laminate 12" x 12" scrapbook paper and cut excess lamination.

    • Staple four courners of laminated paper onto your bulletin board in the arrangement of your choice (rows, etc.).

    • After assembling the clothespins for bulletin board use (see to the right), push them into the bulletin board at the top center of your 12" x 12" paper backing already stapled to the board.

    • Once work is ready, simply push on the clothespin (its mouth opens while remaining in the bulletin board) and insert student work. Let go, and the clothespin secures the work against the board.

    • The laminated scrapbook paper provides a nice, permanent matte/frame effect behind student work!


    Clipboard Displays

    • Laminate 12" x 12" scrapbook paper and cut lamination.

    • Apply hot glue or sticky glue dots (my recommendation) to the two bottom corners of the clipboard and left/right side of the upper board just below the base of the clip.

    • Attach laminated scrapbook paper to the board, adhering with the dots or hot glue.

    • Add ribbon, name plate, etc. to the clip/clamp of the board.

    • Hang using either adhesive wall hooks or hanging on a clothesline-style display.

    • Once work is ready, open the mouth of the clipboard clamp, slide student work underneath, and let go of the clamp. The clipboard secures the work and can then be hung up for all to see.

    • The laminated scrapbook paper provides a nice, permanent matte/frame effect behind student work, and you don't have to worry about it falling out when you open the clipboard clamp, because it's glued to the back of the board!


    Suggested Supplies


    Hanging Student Work



    Keep it Fresh

    I’m always looking for ways to tweak, improve, and change-up my student work displays. I tried something new this year and so far it’s working great, but in case I feel differently by the end of the year, or if I just want to freshen up the way students are showing off their work, I pin as many awesome ideas as I can on Pinterest. Below are a few of my favorite ideas that I’m keeping in my pocket for later this year or next year! Click to see details from Pinterest and other websites.


    Book Rings + Clear Page Protectors + Adhesive Hooks = BRILLIANT

    Fellow Scholastic Top Teaching blogger, Alycia Zimmerman, has one of THE BEST student work display solutions I’ve ever seen. I love her idea because it uses three of my all-time favorite teacher tools: book rings, clear page protectors, and adhesive hooks. Check out her post on how “to create colorful, ever-changing displays of the students’ work in the hallways in my school, and all without cork bulletin boards.” Her idea of a continually rotating portfolio of student work on display for others to marvel is BRILLIANT in my book!



    Fun Pinterest Finds for Future Use!


    What types of work display SPACES do you have? How do you utilize them? What creative solutions have you found to be perfect for yearlong work displays? Please share!

    Thanks for reading and see you next week!


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