Over the past six months, one primary school has been giving its fences a makeover. It’s been a trial and error process. But the results are amazing and deserve public accolade.

It started in the summer term, by using the fences for a display. This is the simplest way to get started. Every class adopts a portion of the fence and considers it as an additional display area.

One class tried making planters by using recycled milk bottles. This was a learning experience, in that some of the containers were cut too low to hold much soil. Remembering to water them was hard and one Friday night some local youths did relieve themselves in a couple of them. But the class weren’t daunted. Look at their next experiment…

The children invited a local fisherman into the school to show them how to make nets. The children made these really well. The golden fish are laminated gold foil paper. When they catch the wind, the fish sparkle in the sunlight – just like a real school of fish.

Each fish has a Doric word linked to the school grounds and local area. Because it’s a very windy location, the staff and children tried various ways of keep the displays intact as the wind rips through. Duct tape, ring hole strengtheners and use of wire over string are some of the experimenting that has gone on.

This term, the fish are being replaced with other items as they get worn out. The staff discovered lots of weaving stored in a drawer so thought this might add interest.

Another class were studying dream catchers. They made these from wire coat hangers. Beads have been attached. However a little twist has happened. This is a seashore village school, so shells have replaced the feathers at the bottom.

This fencing weaving project is still under construction. The challenge is finding enough plastic bags of the right colours. However the class and teacher deserve a lot of applause for their tenacity in working on this project. The first time they had a go, the bags were not torn into strips so it looked a little lumpy. However, the fence is beginning to look lovely now.

The nursery class have been making a coloured bottle display that you can see in the above photo. I’m not sure what the paint was mixed with to make it stick inside, though.

Back in May, I saw some of the beadwork undertaken by the infant classes. It was incredibly simple and pretty.

The beadwork has been going from strength to strength. The staff and children use wire and a selection of cheap beads.

I think it looks nicer than a jeweller’s shop! Over the months, the staff and children have learnt that it’s really important to spend time attaching the art work, thoroughly so it’s very securely tied on. This reduces the chances of the work being blown off or removed from the fence.

The butterflies and flowers are craft kits that can be bought through the fund-raising catalogue, Yellow Moon. Here’s a closer look:

The class has been studying butterflies and symmetry. Look at the detailed symmetry on these butterflies:

I like the way the art work has all flowed into each other. The butterfly symmetry has bead bracelets within the display. The weaving mats were on the Doric wordies and hung between the dream catchers.

Please do share any bright ideas and thoughts you may have about brightening up fences.The children and staff in this school should be proud of their efforts. I’m really impressed.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Debi September 29, 2010 at 03:25

I love how this space is ever-evolving & intertwined with the lessons kids are studying. Thanks for sharing!


jenny September 29, 2010 at 09:11

What Debi said 🙂 It is not only a way of covering an ugly fence but a way of making their mark on the environment and sharing their projects and adding layers of interests that change over time. Beautiful!


David Gilmour September 29, 2010 at 18:13

A great range of ideas, and good to see the pictures!
Here’s another example of a recent “boring fence” makeover I thought you’d enjoy!


Juliet Robertson September 29, 2010 at 21:27

Yes Debi – I think this is the beauty of this project.

David – thanks for the link – I hopped right over and had a look and thoroughly recommend others do the same. Really simple and the art and maths potential…sigh! I’m in teaching heaven!


Campie September 29, 2010 at 23:24

I love your fence ideas. Thanks for posting on our blog. I am going to make sure all our teachers see this as we have some pretty horrid fences too. Brilliant thinking, well done. Sheila Laing, Headteacher Campie PS.


Teacher Tom October 4, 2010 at 02:29

What a great story, Juliet.


Ginger Sands June 7, 2011 at 21:16

Thanks for sharing a creative to get your student to create and install their artwork. What a lovely problem-solving exercise!


Simon Gray January 13, 2013 at 04:07

I am working on a project with a group of students from Otari School in New Zealand, we are in the process of turning a boring fence in to a creative and exciting resource. So it is good to see others using their fences in creative ways, more information about the students work at
Thanks Simon


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