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© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission

Bulletin Boards
& Displays

© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission

Decorative bulletin boards add extra pizzazz to the learning environment. Attractive displays are also a positive way to celebrate student success. However, I have very limited wall space within my classroom, so most student work is on display in the hallway outside my room. As a matter of fact, my READ 180 displays have even expanded to the stairwell and unused bulletin board space throughout the school as shown in the images below. Thankfully, I truly enjoy the creative challenge of making displays that feature student work.

© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
Note: Click the below images to view them full size.

READ bulletin board Wanted Readers bulletin board want ads close-up Wanted Readers bulletin board
Scholastic author posters, book jackets, and large READ letters fill up the board at the end of a long hallway. Newspaper want ads fill in the background. The wanted signs promote good work habits and reading characteristics. I made the wanted signs in Microsoft Publisher with catchy phrases. Click here for 33 want-ad statements.

Stamp of approval letters bulletin board READ 180 postage stamps wall display Students in reading activities bulletin board
My students wrote letters of advice to the up-coming READ 180 students. Their letters indicated their approval and support of the READ 180 program. Students drew detailed pictures, representing postage stamps, commemorating their approval of reading and the READ 180 program. As part of her professional growth plan, Ms. Lindsay took pictures of her 4th grade class involved in reading activities.Bottom of pageTop of page

Bet You Can't Read Just One! bulletin board Students favorite books with props wall display READ 180 posters stairwell display
Bet You Can't Read Just One! a take off of the Lay's Potato Chip ad. An empty chip bag and book jackets make a colorful display. My students chose a favorite book and gathered appropriate props. The digital photos were printed on the color printer and laminated. READ 180 posters of my fourth grade class border the stairwell. Students wrote a short "book talk" recommending their reading choice.

READ 180 student poster Metaphor for books wall display - left side Metaphor for books wall display - right side
This is a close-up of one of the READ 180 posters that are displayed in the stairwell. This student chose to read a book about dragons, which is why I selected this example. After teaching a lesson on figurative language, my students came up with the idea for a metaphor display: A collection of books is like a garden. Students wrote metaphors about reading and READ 180. My favorite, is: "In READ 180 I mind my own business and my business is reading."

Books are like gardens close-up of hands Blossom with books wall display Positive adjectives acrostic display
“Books are like gardens: both have good picks; they grow on you; both take planning and hard work.” Another view of the metaphor display, shown on the opposite wall, continues the garden/growing theme. Ms. Lindsay had her 4th grade students brainstorm positive adjectives for this acrostic display.Bottom of pageTop of page

Compare and contrast wall display Jigsaw student photo puzzle door display CUPS mnemonic device for proofreading display
Rather than filling in a worksheet, my students compare and contrast two literary characters on a construction paper Venn diagram that they created. The jig-saw puzzle door-display shows a digital picture of the students in my classes. Each student is an important part of READ 180. This "CUPS" mnemonic device is a reminder to my students to proofread their writing. I have students check once for each of the four criteria.

Character Education demonstrating respect bulletin board Language arts/Math Matters display Acrostic name poems bulletin board
One of the elements of Character Education is demonstrating respect for others. Fourth grade students combine composition and artistic skills is this display. This bulletin board, by a fifth grade teacher, crosses over from language arts to the concept of Math Matters. It combines powerful adjectives with a bar graph. The 4th-5th grade teachers collaborated on the idea of having students create acrostic name poems as the pervading theme for a beginning of the year hallway theme.

Student names using an acrostic poem format Literacy display bulletin board I Wonder Poems display
Ms. Lindsay, a fourth grade teacher, had her students write their name in an acrostic poem format for this t-shirt display. A longer view of this literacy display, includes students' thoughts, celebrating their love of reading. READ 180 received many positive comments. Students turned their authentic questions into poetry for this “I Wonder” display. Directions for this activity can be found on the Book Projects page.

The BFG Dream Jars project Dream Jar description View of Dream Jars and written description
My students collected small symbolic objects and placed them in jars. This collection of “Dream Jars” was a project for the book The BFG by Roald Dahl. Click here for the jar lid PDF file. Students then wrote an explanation of each item's significance and their reason for including the object in their “Dream Jar”. Click here for the jar outline PDF file. This photo shows both parts of the project on display in the hallway outside of my classro0m. Directions for the activity can be found on the Book Projects page.

Westward Movement literary display Pioneer Journal, vocabulary, and antique quilt Closeup of pioneer journal entries
This project from Ms. Cotterman's 5th grade class, combined a genre study of historical fiction and a social studies unit on the Westward Movement. First students studied various historical journals and diaries. Students then worked in cooperative groups and created a journal entry of a day in the life of a pioneer. Each student wrote and illustrated a journal entry to represent one day in the life of a pioneer. The individual journal entries were combined to highlight the hardships of travel and homesteading.

Closeup of journal illustrations in cube format Russell Freedman books, cubes, and model covered wagon Van Gogh Living Wax Museum biographical project
Students illustrated 6 important dates from their journal entries on a cube format. This display showcases two books by Russell Freedman that were studied and a model covered wagon made from tongue depressors. This example of a “Living Wax Museum” is a project from Ms. Dingman's 5th grade class. Students chose an important historical figure to research.

Closeup of Van Gogh Wax Museum background display Student made bird's nests Closeup of small science booklets
This is a close-up of the background display. Directions for creating a “Living Wax Museum” can be found on my Book Projects page. As part of a spring science unit on birds, students make a bird's nest from grasses and twigs. Students had a tough time getting started and realized that birds instinctively have nest making knowledge. Students practiced taking notes on different science topics. They made detailed illustrations, including labeling their drawings, in these small booklets.

Classroom promise display taken from “Reading with Meaning” by Debbie Diller Closeup of classroom promise display taken from “Reading with Meaning” by Debbie Diller Puzzled? Find Solutions... Read display
The idea for this display comes from the book “Reading with Meaning” by Debbie Diller for building community. Here is a closeup of the class promise surrounded by student self portraits. This is a wordsearch, hangman, and crossword puzzle display promoting reading for understanding.

Titanic display Titanic persuasive poster Story map display from the book “Wolf” by Becky Bloom
My colleague, Ginger Brown, developed an extensive multi-age display based on the Titanic disaster. One element of the display was to have students create persuasive posters to book passage on the ship. Students created story maps showing the sequence of events from the book “Wolf” by Becky Bloom.

“Wolf” vocabulary  Closeup of “Wolf” story map Native American display
Student sample that demonstrates word meaning of story vocabulary from the book “Wolf” by Becky Bloom. Closeup of story map showing a sequence of events from the book “Wolf” by Becky Bloom. A bulletin board display from the book “Dreamcatcher” by Audrey Osofsky. My colleague, Linda Cotterman, had her students create dream catchers after reading the book.

Book summarizing display  Close-up of summarizing display State of New York display
Encouraging students to take time and effort to complete quality work is the purpose behind this display. The summarizing forms can be found on the book projects page. Here is a close-up of one of the summarizing forms which are appropriate for any book. Reading about the Statue of Liberty prompted this student research project. The display reports important information about the state of New York.

Jamestown and Plymouth Colonies display Close-up Plymouth travel brochure Close-up Jamestown travel brochure
Here is a new take on travel brochures promoting the Plymouth and Jamestown colonies by Ms. Tammy Thomsen's 5th grade class. A close-up of a brochure encouraging relocation to the Plymouth Colony. Here is a close-up of a brochure encouraging relocation to the Jamestown Colony.

Comprehension strategies display Close-up note taking strategy Close-up retelling story using dioramas
One of the delights of being a staff developer is demonstrating the power of incorporating reading strategies in a balanced literacy program. I am pleased to showcase this display by Ms. Martha Lindsay's 3rd grade class. Many of the reading strategies displayed have been modeled on ideas found in books by Linda Hoyt, Stephanie Harvey, Anne Goudvis, and Janet Allen. Suggested titles can be found in my Must-Have Resource Books page. This photo displays a student's efforts to retell a story. The diorama book project includes the most important details. Also displayed is an example of Very Important Point (VIP) reading strategy.

© illustration by Tom Sollers, Baltimore County Public Library, used with permission © illustration by Tom Sollers, Baltimore County Public Library, used with permission © illustration by Tom Sollers, Baltimore County Public Library, used with permission
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Bulletin Board Web Sites

    Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators has sample bulletin board ideas for all grade levels.


    Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk has some nice ideas for a variety of bulletin boards that can be used with most grade levels. Visit her language art reading and writing sites for helpful teaching ideas.

    Many ideas, for upper-elementary grades, including downloadable material, can be found at Teacher Tools.

    Find ready-to-use ideas in all subject areas and more at I Love That Teaching Idea.

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