By Teachers, For Teachers
Effective, eye-catching displays can be powerful teaching strategies. These teaching strategies in the form of bulletin boards can generate excitement about classroom content, help children learn to appreciate and value their work as well as their peers, and help foster a sense of community within the classroom. By carefully choosing what goes up on your classroom walls, you can get a lot out of the space that you have. Here are a few teaching strategies on how you can get the most out of your displays and bulletin boards in K-6 classrooms.
Teaching Strategies: Make Student Work the Main Focus
Oftentimes, a new teacher’s first instinct is to run to the nearest office supply store and purchase a bunch of pre-made displays for their bulletin boards. While this may be OK for the border of a bulletin board or to complement a display, it should not be the main focus of it. Try focusing on showcasing your students’ work. Here are a few pointers on how to do that.
Keep it Simple
Bulletin boards are meant to look appealing, not cluttered. Here are a few suggestions on how to keep them simple.
Create Interactive Displays
Bulletin boards can serve as a means to educate and can increase student learning when they are interactive. Try correlating your display with your curriculum. If you can’t do that, then try a “Student’s choice” board or a “Reader’s choice” board where students must answer a question from the board and give their opinion. This is a fun way for children to observe the board all week or month long, and read the opinions of their peers. Here are a few more ideas and tips.
Choose Your Location Wisely
Location is key if you want your students to get anything out of the bulletin boards. If you are creating an interactive display that is relevant to your science unit, then make sure that you place your bulletin board right next to where students would conduct their science experiments. Next time you are planning a board, consider these locations:
Utilize your windowsills and shelves for displaying student work, but make sure that it doesn’t look too cluttered. Never hang anything from the ceiling, because it can be distracting and make the room look too cluttered. Lastly, don’t forget to position interactive displays at students’ eye level and instead of making one big bulletin board, try and create multiple displays with various themes and content.
Allow Students to Choose What Work Goes on Display
By allowing students to choose what work should go on display, you are teaching them to reflect upon their work, which will give them a sense of competency. Students can learn a lot from the choices that they make for themselves, it is a great way for them to learn more about themselves and grow through the process. Before you let students choose their work, give them a few tips on how they can choose wisely. Here are a few suggestions.
As a busy teacher, you may choose to opt to purchase some of the materials for your bulletin boards. If you plan on doing that, then try and only purchase boarders, backgrounds, or fillers. Leave the content to the students or be sure to make that yourself.
Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to get the most out of your bulletin boards? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.