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5 Ways to Display Student Growth and Work in Unique Ways

Student work is a valuable tool for educators to assess students' understanding and abilities. For too long, we have relied solely on tests to gauge their comprehension of concepts. However, over time, we've recognized that there are various ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge and growth. This year, I've discovered several new methods for showcasing student work and witnessing the joy on their faces as they see their accomplishments presented in different ways.

1. The Fridge

"The Fridge" Student Work Display in Classroom

When my own children bring home schoolwork, drawings, or projects they're proud of, our first instinct is to display them on our refrigerator. I've adopted this concept in the classroom as well. When students share work they're particularly proud of, I ask if they'd like it to be showcased on our classroom fridge for a week. Their response is always a resounding 'YES!' To create this display, I used a 23" by 35" bulletin board, added a plain-colored background, and some border. I employed a Mark 5 Die-Cutting Machine and the Typewriter Alphabet-3" font to spell out 'FRIDGE.' Students enjoy bringing their artwork, completed assignments, or successful quiz results throughout the day. This approach empowers students to choose what work gets displayed and reinforces their sense of ownership in the classroom.

2. Spotlight Work on Display

"Spotlight Work" Marker board with AccuCut letters cut out.

Another excellent method for highlighting student work is during lessons themselves. Our focus on partner work led me to explore more opportunities for students to share their thoughts. As a result, I created a 'Spotlight Work' board, where students are randomly selected to collaborate with their partners on a whiteboard. They're then encouraged to present their thought process to the entire class. Students radiate enthusiasm when chosen to work at the board, carrying themselves with great pride as they discuss their ideas with their partner, share, add to their work on the board, and confidently explain their work to the rest of the class. This has truly transformed our classroom this year. To maintain consistency, I used my Mark 5 Die-Cutting Machine and Typewriter Alphabet-3" font to cut out the words 'SPOTLIGHT WORK' and add them to the board, underscoring the significance of this special area in our classroom.

3. Recapping Big Concepts of Learning Throughout the Year

"Building Our Knowledge" Student learning display on classroom door.

A fun approach to showcasing student work is to create a display that evolves as new learning takes place. This year, we're emphasizing various reading topics. Each day, we add to our 'Knowledge Wall' display, allowing students to collaboratively contribute new terms, ideas, and insights gained. At the end of each topic, I capture a photograph to add to our growing display on the back of our classroom door. Students take delight in revisiting these displays, recalling what they've learned throughout the year. It's also a fantastic way to share our collective learning with visitors to our classroom. Adding the title 'BUILDING OUR KNOWLEDGE' using the Typewriter Alphabet-3" font on the Mark 5 Die-Cutting Machine provides clarity regarding the display's purpose, which is to highlight the knowledge we've diligently built throughout the school year. This concept can be adapted to other subject areas like Math or Social Emotional Learning that the class may be exploring.

4. Images of Student Work

Science display on classroom wall.

In subjects like Health, Social Studies, and Science, my district has us rotate through these areas for about 3 1/2 weeks each quarter. This can sometimes make it challenging to give each subject the attention it deserves. With limited wall space, I must be selective about what goes on the walls. This year, I chose to spotlight our work in Science intentionally. Students maintain Science Journals where they explain their observations and discoveries. To honor their hard work, I began taking pictures of their work and printing out examples for each day of our lessons. To create a wall display for these images, I used my Mark 5 Die-Cutting Machine and the Typewriter Alphabet-3" font to add 'Science' to the top of the display. I appreciate the compact size of these letters, which allows me to maximize space for actual student work.

5. Excelling Students

We Excel wall display in classroom

My favorite idea is saved for last. Every day, we encourage our students to reach their full potential, tackle challenges, build resilience, and form new connections and concepts that benefit each child in our classrooms. One of the greatest gifts we can give students is confidence and pride in their own learning. Achieving this requires significant effort on the part of teachers. We must identify small moments of success and take the time to celebrate and acknowledge a student's hard work and commitment to growth. This year, I've found a way to not only communicate students' success but also consistently display it. Upon entering our classroom, you'll notice a display that reads 'WE EXCEL' in Typewriter Alphabet-3" font. Below that, you'll see colorful owls, our school mascot, with student names and their achievements inscribed. For the owls, I used the Owls die, which includes perfectly sized owls for this project. Each time a student achieves a benchmark score, demonstrates growth from one assessment to the next, or accomplishes a task independently for the first time, they receive an owl. The owl is placed on the student's desk, signaling their permission to attach special tape to the back and then display it on our 'EXCEL' wall. At the end of each quarter, students can take their owls home, and we start anew. A piece of advice for this idea is to have plenty of owls prepared and ready for whenever a moment of growth and success occurs in your classroom.

Wrapping it up

I thoroughly enjoyed devising methods to ensure students see their own growth in the classroom. Initially, I wasn't certain if students would even notice or care about these displays. However, I can confidently affirm that the scholars cherish the opportunity to witness their thinking in various ways throughout the classroom. They are highly motivated to give their best, take great pride in their completed work, and celebrate both their own achievements and those of their peers, fostering a stronger sense of community.

Written by Amy Pinegar