UKEdMag: Branding your Classroom, by @mrlockyer

-BrandingClassroomBy Stephen Lockyer (Extract)

According to research, we are exposed to 247 brands every day, and this of course increases exponentially if we read magazines, watch TVs or go anywhere near the Yahoo homepage.

Branding has long since fascinated me. I love logos, am really taken by the way that companies pitch themselves, and love seeing an effective cross-promotion. More than this, I love the way that tribalism and loyalty can develop over time - that we can gain a protective passion for our brand, or come to expect a certain standard or quality from a company. I once rented a VW camper for a week, and while it drew admiring glances, it was the knowing smile as you passed another VW camper that fascinated me the most; that idea of ‘we think the same.’

Whenever I talk to people about branding my classroom, they immediately think that I want to cover it in corporate logos - this is not the case. I am literally talking about branding the class. Put simply - what does your class stand for? What does it represent? How could you demonstrate this? I first started doing this on a Teaching Practice in the lovely Hampton Hill Junior School, where I was placed with 6S. I loved that class name - it was a shortcut to Success (6S=success, try saying them out loud)!

It began with chants and built from there: “Who are we?” “6S” “And what do we want?” “Success!” Huge huge fun. I wonder sometimes if that teaching practice fearlessness of taking risk is what is missing in schools?

Below are some ways in which you can brand you classroom. This isn’t to make you better than other classes in the school, make you competitive or even turn your children tribal. This is more about building an identity and making a clear stand for what bring in that class represents.

Why can’t a class have a motto? This would be something you have over your door, repeat at key times, and eventually, the power of habit lets the pupils take it with them as they move to another class. Younger classes tend to have this anyway, as I’ve heard my daughter come home with phrases her teacher says a lot to ingrain positive learning and behaviour. What is sharing - sharing is caring, what works - teamworks. The easiest way to do this is to either borrow someone else’s (until you find your own) or ask the children - they are never short of ideas!

The logo can be as simple as the class name. If you have a shape, animal or bird (Primary school friends), look up with the class what qualities this has. Have the children design a logo. Make those letters and numbers mean something. Even a 4 with a smile looks better than simply a 4.

I went a bit over-the-top one year and put the class logo on every exercise book and worksheet I used that year. It used a lot of stickers (for the exercise book) and cutting and pasting (for the worksheets) but the children loved it.

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