In my last post I talked about getting ready for the new school year. One step you need to not neglect is preparing your bulletin boards. Before you create decorative bulletin boards all around your classroom, consider what you want them to say to students and how you can use them as an additional teaching tool.
What do You want Your Board to Do?
- Reinforce Instructional Goals
- Communicate Essential Information
- Motivate and Showcase Students
- Make the Room a More Appealing Place
Reinforce Instructional Goals
Bulletin boards are not just an appealing attribute to the classroom. Bulletin boards can be used to communicate information that is vital to the learning process. Use the wall space around your room to highlight key vocabulary terms by using pictures of students creating the signs along with this poster of the parameters. You can also post images of famous deaf people that your class is studying (you can use these for famous poets) and allow students to work in groups to find out more about each person and post next to the photo. Or design a game show themed board like the $25,000 Pyramid by creating questions with key concepts or the rules of fingerspelling with answers placed under the papers. Lift a paper to reveal what you want students to learn. Really you can use most game shows as bulletin board ideas. Try Wheel of Fortune, Twister, Scrabble or Who’s Who.
Communicate Essential Information
Use your board space around the room to post things students need to know like classroom rules or rewards and/or consequences chart. Boards can be used to communicate learning objectives and help students know acceptable resources to use when navigating the Internet. Bulletin boards can even be used to display school-wide goals, mission statements or school priorities. In my classroom I have a board that shows a map of the US and colleges that have majors in ASL, Interpreting or Deaf Studies.
Motivate and Showcase Students
No matter how old your students are, they still like to be recognized. Reward student for their outstanding character by posting their picture and a little bio about them on the board. Pick a different character trait to observe each month then acknowledge students with a certificate of outstanding achievement (thank you @klarge for this idea years ago). I also like to give the student a candy bar or a treat to show my appreciation for their behavior.
Make the Room a More Appealing Place
OK lets face it, we love a good looking bulletin board. So if you want to use your wall space to just be pretty…go for it. Display seasonal decorations or student artwork. Create a board that says “We Love to Learn” and place student work there. Make boards interactive, colorful and creative. Let students take ownership of the boards by allowing groups to design the board to connect to the topic being taught. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. If you look, you will find something that works for you.
So if you are guilty of never changing out a bulletin board or leaving out of date material up, maybe it’s time you use some of the ideas above to engage your students. Give your boards a second look and utilize your space to be tools that work for you and your students.
Take full advantage of your wall space and have fun!