Despite the thousands of cutsie bulletin boards floating all over Pinterest, the true purpose behind bulletin boards is not to have the cutest room in the school. The true purpose behind bulletin boards – as I see it – is to increase the learning opportunities for our students. Decorations for the sake of decorations do not help learning and often provide a distraction to students with ADD or other disabilities.
1. Should provide students with information that they can reference during lessons or centers. Bulletin boards should be a part of the learning experience, not a decoration.
2. Should be built with the students OR have an element that the students can interact with. Either of these opportunities allow students to feel ownership for the board and encourages them to use the board rather than just be distracted by it.
3. Don’t have to be changed every week or month. Bulletin boards can be built slowly over the course of the school year, helping students to connect new knowledge to knowledge gained earlier in the school year.
Just because bulletin boards aren’t decorations, doesn’t mean they can’t be visually attractive. In fact, good graphic design elements make bulletin boards easier for children to read and thereby more access to the information on them. Here are a few examples of meaningful bulletin boards for your classroom:
Word Family Word Wall – These Alphabet Labels, Sight Word Cards and Word Family Word Wall Cards help your students to sound out and recognize the meanings of common words. Students refer back to this word wall during literacy centers, like read the room and journal writing.
Math Word Wall – Math Word Walls should do more than simply list the important vocabulary words. Definition cards, like those in my Math Vocabulary Packets (Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, Fractions, Geometry 1 and Geometry 2) give students the definition to refer to when they are stumped by those vocabulary words at math centers or independent problem solving
Technology Word Wall – Word walls don’t have to be listed in alphabetical order. For topics like technology, it’s better to group Vocabulary Word Wall Cards into connected words or concepts. Add connecting words or ideas to help students make those connections when they are using the word wall later.
Math Fact Reward Board – Students can track their own progress on math fact quizzes, and stay motivated to practice during math centers by having a math fact reward board with a fast fact reward system.
How do you keep your bulletin boards meaningful?