Sunday, November 9, 2014

Made it Monday - November

 First, thanks to Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for her Made It Monday Linkup!
Full disclosure.  I hate bulletin boards.  There, I said it.  I know that's blasphemous in a Link up with super creative, crafty types like yourself.  But, please, before you judge me, let me explain.

When I first started teaching I had an amazing fourth grade teaching mentor by the name of Nancy.  At the beginning of each month she would diligently pull out these cute, already prepared bulletin boards that she had created and neatly filed away to use.  Usually these were taken from ideas in Mailbox magazine and were most often used to display exceptional student work.  With all of the other things I felt I needed to do in my first year teaching, I dreaded having to change my bulletin boards at the end of every month.  It became a chore.  On top of that, not only were they not as nice as the ones by my mentor, but I felt like they weren't worth the time and effort that it took to put them together.  Too often, they were just for decoration, and it was frustrating to me that students barely even noticed when they were changed.

All that being said, I understand that teachers today now use bulletin boards for more than just window dressing.  The best bulletin boards are student-centered, interactive, and purposeful.  Still, sometimes I just can't shake that old feeling when there's a bulletin board that I need to put up.  So while its not my specialty, per se, I still think I've come up with a few decent bulletin board ideas.  Here are a few I've made in the past:

This is our "team" bulletin board right outside of my door.  Since the bulletin board is in the hallway and there's usually a table in front of it, it is not very useful for much other than as an eye catching display.

We are a team of three classes, hence the three columns of names in the middle.  I teach with Mary Dressel at 4th Works who teaches Language Arts and Mary Beth who teaches Social Studies and Science. 

My son designed our web logo himself in the game of Minecraft

We call ourselves Team Mindcrafters, playing off of the immensely popular game video game, Minecraft.  I got the idea for the team name and for the bulletin board from my son who is a real Minecraft Whiz.  He showed me this site where you can make Minecraft foldables of all kinds. So, before school started we folded and taped all of the blocks and characters. 

A little clear tape and a pin was used to put the block on the board
Then, Mary and I pinned them up on the board using some tape.  Voila!  A three dimensional bulletin board.  The only problem with this board is its almost impossible for the kids to resist touching it!
A google search helped us find a couple Minecraft fonts to use.

Mary, Mary Beth and I created characters to resemble each of us.
Mary Beth, who loves jewelry, even added a few tiny gems to her character. :)

Another simple beginning of the year bulletin board that the students seemed to like is my movie-themed board.  Included is a popcorn container overflowing with packing peanuts, a "clapboard" from Party City, tickets from Office Depot, a printed class list ("Starring actors"), pictures from previous fourth grade activities, and finally "reviews."

This is the movie marquee that I made, but you could make create your own here.  or do a google image search and modify your own!

Class Dojo has its own free "decoration pack"
of images that can be printed and used for bulletin boards
This is a bulletin board that I used to introduce Class Dojo at the start of the year.  I modified the idea from someone else on Pinterest.  I wanted the dojo to stand out a bit so I rolled black construction paper to give it a 3D effect and pinned and stapled it into place. 

I did a screen grab of the student's names and avatars for inside the dojo
My original intent was to use this board to list incentives that students could earn after collecting certain numbers of points.  As a building, we went with a whole school incentive system that has worked out pretty well.  Students can use "Generals Dollars" (We are the Anthony Wayne Generals) to buy trinkety items or special privileges like bringing a stuffed animal to school or wearing slippers for the day.  We were kind of surprised, for example, that a lot of our fourth graders really wanted to be an honorary Battleball referee.  Battleball is our end of the week reward for responsibility and good behavior.  Its basically class vs. class dodgeball and the kids REALLY look forward to it each week.  The kids enjoyed putting on a black and white striped jersey, blowing the whistle to start the games, and helping watch for people being knocked out of the game.

I got my idea for this bulletin board from another site, but put it together for a different purpose.  I developed this after I was having trouble keeping the students using apps related to skill areas we were working on.  For example, we might be working on factors and multiples, and I might find a student playing Stack the States. 
The board with some of the Place Value
apps I used to start the year

I used to give students a list of accepatble games to play, but I found that by posting the image, students had less difficulty finding the app. 

I started by finding an image of an iPad that would work to print.  It needed to be blank and high resolution so it didn't look grainy when it printed. 

Then I sent the image online to my local Office Max to print it poster sized.  Unfortunately, I had to send it to print in black and white because I'm cheap and the color cost over $20.  The black and white was only $3.38.  When I got to Office Max though, I discovered that they accidentally printed it in color.  Bonus! 
The board being put up in my Math enrichment area.
For the app icons, I did a google image search for them or if I couldn't find them there I did a screen capture of the apps in iTunes.

The icon for one of my favorite
Math games - Factor Samurai
I use this bulletin board to remind students of the choices of apps that can be used during Math time.  This prevents any confusion about what apps can be explored and helps focus students on skills that we are currently studying.  Its worked great so far!

Thank you! 
Since you made it all the way to the end of my blog, how about a little treat for your effort?  Here is one of my products on Teachers Pay Teachers that I'll make free for a few days.  Its fun and challenging for your students, and its a different style of task card than you are used to.  I hope you like it.  Enjoy!



  1. I never noticed your theater themed board before, it's awesome!

    4th Works

  2. My students would LOVE that bulletin board display! I can guarantee that in every book order someone is ordering a Minecraft book. Great idea!

    Forever in Fifth Grade