Classroom Bulletin Boards
Classroom bulletin boards not only make the learning environment more interesting and colorful, they serve functions as well.
As well as displaying student artwork and seasonal decorations, use them to let your students make decisions about what work they want to display, to communicate with the children and encourage them to write, and to add print to your learning centers.
I once had a classroom with cork boards attached to the lower half of a wall. I put large fuzzy ABC letters on them and the students often spent part of their center times sitting on the floor, tracing the letters.
Three ways to use your classroom bulletin boards...
1. Student choice bulletin board
- A student choice classroom bulletin board is divided into equal spaces with a name in each space. I like to use a solid white or black background as it unifies a variety of work. I stapled bright red string to the board to divide the spaces and added student names.
- Each child decides what they want to display and when they want to change their picture or story.
- Let the children control what they want to display. I had to let go here as my tendency is to display the children's best work.
- Some kids will want to staple a new "Imagination Station" creation up every few days and others will have to be asked every few weeks if they would like to change their artwork.
- Teach classroom bulletin board display skills without referring to specific work - what is easier to see - a picture drawn with a yellow felt marker or a brown felt marker, a tiny drawing of your family or a larger drawing of your family?
2. Communication bulletin boards
- I call this classroom bulletin board the "Mailbox".
- Leave notes for all the students over the course of a week
- Students post notes back for their teacher or peers.
- One or two sentence comments such as, "I like your bee drawing" or " I noticed that you were kind to Susan when she hurt her knee", are sufficient.
- Add a sticker or quick picture to your notes to delight the kids.
- Keep a checklist of student names posted near the top of the board to keep track of the students you give notes to.
- The children ask the teacher, classmates, buddies and older kids to read their notes.
- A library pocket card stapled to the board makes a great message mailbox for each student. Another pocket card with papers that fit in the library cards is close by.
- Many children will make scribbles or little pictures at first, but as they gain confidence copying or sounding out words they will attempt to put words on their notes.
This mailbox activity encourages the children to write with a purpose as they ask,
"How do I spell _____ name?" Students then copy it from the name chart posted on the bulletin board. The children's peers often help them to find the correct name.
Eventually I post their buddies' names on the bulletin board also, as the kindergarten students like to give notes to their buddies. The buddies often write notes back to their little buddies and place them in their library pockets.
3. Mini-bulletin boards center dividers
Screw boards to the back of tables or desks or arrange the centers with an area for a small bulletin board on the wall to create mini-bulletin boards for specific center learning information.
Display commonly used words in the writing center: To, from, Mommy, Daddy, sister, brother, names of students. Put simple maps in the science center and labeled posters in the dramatic play center.