Using Your Space
If you are lucky enough to have bulletin board space, make sure you are using it! There are so many teachers I know that wish they had more. In this post, I’m going to show you different ways to use your boards, but also give you some hacks to create boards where none have previously existed. 🙂
Hacking Your Walls
I used to be in a portable, which we all know isn’t ideal, and I had to come up with creative ways to display student work and announcements since wall space was at a premium. At first I used inexpensive framed bulletin boards that I attached to the walls with small nails (shhhhh, don’t tell on me!), but the frames didn’t hold up very well. The good things is that you can fit the boards without the frames right up together to create a larger space. Then add some border and you can’t tell that it’s not a school-provided board!
This is made from two formerly-framed bulletin boards pushed together and nailed to the wall.
An inexpensive, framed bulletin board I use for paperwork behind my desk.
During Say Hello Week this year, the student council decide they wanted a “Take What You Need” board. It was a hit! The kids said they would take a couple every day, and some of them still have them hanging in their lockers. I love that this board was something all the students felt included in.
Highlighting Your Content
I love putting up a preview of the literature we are about to read. It gets the kids asking questions, and it gives them some background knowledge to build off of when we actually start the unit. Here are the two I have up right now:
The freshmen are reading one of five Gothic novels (student choice), and the 8th graders are reading To Kill a Mockingbird (obviously).
I am one of the student council sponsors this year, and we have started doing door decorating contests for advisories, and students can now nominate a teacher for Teacher of the Month. This is a great way to advertise and post these events so the students remember to participate. Our fundraiser was selling Boo-Grams, and we wanted to make sure the students knew about that as well. All in all, this board has been a great tool, and I love it when I see students stopped in front of it to see what’s going on at our school.
Our Winter Board
One of my favorite boards to do is my “Bricking Up Fortunato” board when we read “Cask of Amontillado”. Even better, it was up during Halloween! I got this idea on the 2ndary ELA Facebook board, and I couldn’t wait to try it. It was a resounding success! The kids had to choose one quote from the reading that did one of three things: 1) revealed character, 2) provoked a decision, 3) prompted further conversation. Then they wrote this quote on a brick.
Sending a Message
One of my favorite bulletin boards of all time asked the students to “Meet the person responsible for your grade”:
This little baby actually went viral over the summer. I got the inspiration from another post on Pinterest, and I knew it fit my snarky personality and my high expectations for my students. I had this up last year, and it was great because I had moved up with my students, so I was having them for the 2nd or 3rd year. Because of this, they already knew that I was just being sarcastic, but not mean. I changed it this year because I didn’t have that relationship already developed, and I didn’t want the sarcasm to come across in the wrong way. I decided to incorporate the Ravenclaw theme that runs through the rest of my room:
Tips for a Great Board
My secret weapon is my projector. I use it for everything from lettering to silhouettes to drawings. I’m not the best artist, but I’m great at tracing. Like I always tell my students, “Play to your strengths”. You can Google images to trace and use Word or PowerPoint to type your titles in whatever font you think is cute, then tape some butcher paper to the board, project that image on to it, and get to tracing!
Also, there are so many things you can use to cover them. Wrapping paper, plastic tablecloths, fabric, and butcher paper are the ones I usually use. The wooden slats on the To Kill a Mockingbird board are plastic tablecloth, and I think it turned out well. I had never used it before, but it worked okay, you just can’t stretch it while you’re stapling it up.
For the edges, borders are the obvious choice, but I have also used garland, boas, and lights (or a combination of these).
I’d love to see your bulletin boards, and let us know if you have any tried and true tips for making your boards amazing!