Quick and Easy Interactive Bulletin Boards
When most people think of using bulletin boards in the classroom they think of displaying student work, hanging posters, or using that space to pin the 32 items the district say must be prominently displayed in the classroom. Me? I seriously love bulletin boards in the classroom. It’s not even an exaggeration to say that I get really pumped up about them. You don’t have to be super creative to be successful with them either. I made an Olympic themed board for the 2010 Winter Games complete with a cardboard and tissue paper torch (which my students told me looked like a hundred things besides a torch) and we got a lot of use out of it. Sometimes I think we have so much to do and display that we forget how bulletin boards can be a fun and important part of the classroom environment.
A lot of us have really good intentions for bulletin boards at the beginning of the year. We staple up all the raggedy sheet paper and feel like we’ve really accomplished something when we die-cut some letters and shapes. We may even get to the stage of hanging up that really cute border and writing each of our students’ names on a little caterpillar, ladybug, butterfly, etc. Then the school year starts and with it comes the reality that we barely have time to keep up with grading. I mean most of us usually eat our lunch standing up and spread over two hours whenever we have a minute to shove a pretzel in our mouths. So honestly, at this point, who cares about bulletin boards? Me! I do!
Students may not notice that you’ve been standing at the board ready to start the lesson for ten minutes, but they will definitely notice if you change a bulletin board in the room. When I change a bulletin board after school, guaranteed the first students through the door in the morning say, “Hey, did you change that bulletin board?” Ideally we would like the majority of our classroom space to be an interactive and exploratory environment and that’s exactly where bulletin boards fit in. If you can carve out an hour or so once a month to change a bulletin board in your room it will really add something to the classroom experience. You don’t have to create and change the whole board at once. I work on them over time by stopping on the way back from dropping the kids at P.E. to grab my sheet paper, and then another day I’ll use the fifteen minutes after they’ve gone home for the day to cut shapes out. You may be surprised to find how relaxing it is to work on something that doesn’t have you squinting into grade book.
The following are some easy and interactive bulletin board ideas to help add another “center” to your classroom.
1. "Oh the Places You’ll Go!”
- Create slips of paper that read, “I read the book _________, by __________, and it took me here.”
- When the students finish a book, they can fill out the slip and find (or create) a picture that represents that place.
- Have the students put the completed slip and picture in a designated box and when you have time you can attach the slip and picture to the bulletin board.
2. "Step Into a Good Book”
- Give each student a cut-out of a foot or shoe.
- Have the students write their name and title of a good book they think their classmates should read on the cut-out.
- Attach these cut-outs to the bulletin board and students can use them as a reference/referral for good books to read.
3. "Question of the Week”
- Cover the bulletin board with blank sheet paper.
- At the top, write a thought provoking question.
- Have the students write their responses on the sheet paper in their free time.
- At the end of the week set aside 5 minutes or so to discuss their answers as a class.
- Change the paper and questions every week or two.
4. "We Are Future . . .”
Materials: sheet paper, stapler/tacks, paper, pencil, crayons
- Have the students write/draw about their future careers.
- Include how their job will help others.
- Staple their completed papers to the bulletin board and label it “We Are Future . . .”
5. "Our Community”
- Display a map of the local community on the bulletin board.
- Highlight important places like school, the hospital, library, park, or police station.
6. "Riddles and Jokes”
- Cover the bulletin board with sheet paper.
- Label it, “Can You Make Us Laugh?”
- Have students submit appropriate jokes or riddles (including answers) to a box in the room. After reviewing them, allow the student to write the joke/riddle on the sheet paper along with their name. Other students can check their guesses to the riddle answer with the student who submitted it.
Photo Courtesy of: woodleywonderworks from Flickr's Creative Commons on flickr.com. October,18,2013.
About Hannah T
I am a 2010 graduate with a degree and certification in Elementary Ed., and I have worked with students from birth to junior high. I believe that one of the most important qualities to surviving a teaching career is a sense of humor. I also strongly feel that students are most successful when they are active and hands-on learners. My Mom was a Special Ed. teacher for almost 30 years, and my Dad was an English major, so I enjoy bouncing blog ideas off the two of them. This usually results in an exchange of great stories with my Mom, and a correction in my writing from my Dad. When they're not available, the job falls to my rescue dog, Coozie.