Monday, March 12, 2012

Involving Students in Creating and Maintaining Bulletin Boards

Over the years, I have worked hard at creating a student-centered environment where students feel that it is “our” classroom.  Part of creating this environment is using bulletin boards in a purposeful way to display student work, share strategies, and display charts for students to use.  When you walk into my classroom, you will never see any store bought posters or charts from a teacher store.  Instead, you will see bulletin boards and wall space covered with thoughtful charts, student work, and strategies we are working on in each subject area.  In my room, I have designated bulletin board space for various subject areas.  When visitors walk in, it is clear which unit of study we are currently immersed in by looking at the labeled bulletin boards and student work. 

Both class and hallway bulletin boards are clearly labeled and revolve around student work and skills/strategies being taught in units.  Students are involved in creating and maintaining the bulletin boards – this builds a sense of ownership and pride in students which causes them to refer to the charts, etc.:)  Along with charts and strategies, students’ notebook entries and responses are posted to show the strategies they are using in their notebooks.  Students write their name next to their work and also name the strategy they used.  This is a great way for students to learn from one another! 

Recently, I had a conversation with my class about our bulletin boards for our upcoming units which are Poetry in writing workshop and Social Issue Book Clubs in reading workshop.  I had students discuss at their tables how they envision using our bulletin board spaces for these upcoming units, along with still displaying their work in their reader’s notebooks.  Each table had a thoughtful conversation and impressed me with their ideas of how to use the space for their own learning and work.  The joint decision was that we would use the writing bulletin board to display their poems by posting them under the strategy heading that they used to write the poem (turning a notebook entry into a poem, observing an object, using a photo, making a list, using a mentor poem).  They decided that we would divide our reading bulletin board space into five sections, giving one section to each book club group to use to display their thinking and share strategies they are using during their book club conversations.  Last, but certainly not least, they pleasantly surprised me by deciding that they wanted each table to get their own foam board to use to create their own “mini-bulletin board” to display ways they are using their reader’s notebooks.  I was so excited to hear this and will be making a trip to a store tomorrow to purchase foam boards for each table!  I will share photos as soon as they create their mini-bulletin boards! 

Poetry Bulletin Board to display student poems according to which strategy they used
Happy Reading and Writing! :)


  1. Great reminder Mel! Guess what I'm doing tomorrow??

  2. I love the idea of dividing bulletin board space for book clubs to post their thinking and other things. I am so borrowing your idea - thanks!!