Take a look around your classroom. What percentage of the walls are covered by store-bought posters or things that you have created and what percentage of the walls or wall space available is covered with student work? When teachers decorate their classrooms with pretty store-bought artifacts it says a lot about what they think about their classroom, about their classroom theme, and a lot about what they like, but it doesn’t really say anything about the students.
In recent years classroom bulletin boards have become less and less about sharing student work and more an expression of the teacher. Inspirational words, angel wings, quotes and cricut designs all look very pretty. Teachers do this for excellent reasons – they want their classrooms to look warm and inviting and these kinds of bulletin boards are a one and done deal. Once put up they can stay up all year.
But a classroom bulletin board should reflect the efforts of every student in the class. That means every student’s work is put up on the bulletin board no matter whether it’s correct or beautiful, whether or not it looks good or suits your theme.
The work you display should be related to what the students are all learning. Take down old student work. It looks old. It looks tired. It doesn’t inspire motivation. Students don’t care about work they did a few months ago, and if you don’t value their work enough to update what is on show, they won’t see the point in doing their best either.
When we display student work, it sends out an important message to our students. It tells students we value them, that we value how hard they work and we want to share their work with others. This is their classroom and as such their work will be displayed here.
And when we tell out students that a particular project, craft or writing piece is for a display board it motivates them to do better. This is work that you want the world to see.
So before you set up your room this year, really think about what you want your bulletin board to reflect about your teaching. If your classroom is a place where all students are valued and learn (and I know it is), make sure that your new student or parent immediately sees that even before you have spoken.
This post is about making letters for your bulletin board headings for free if you have PowerPoint! For essential items that you need to make your bulletin boards pop, check out this blog post. And if you are looking for ideas for your bulletin boards, join our Facebook group to share and be inspired!