You know it’s that Back-To-School time of year when your favorite teacher stores offer extended hours (presumably so you can hunt down perfect bulletin board cut-outs at any odd hour of the day). Yep. We teachers are back in the classrooms, planning, strategizing, and decorating.
One of the funner (and yes, “funner” IS a word) things I get to do is design decorative bulletin boards for my classroom for the year. Let me just say that this is something that I take SERIOUSLY. (It’s okay, you can laugh.) I’ve been raiding Pinterest and Google for weeks, checking out teacher stores, and then revising my ideas.
If you’re not a teacher, it might be hard to understand how important bulletin boards are. While these decorations may seem peripheral, they can actually boost classroom morale. This can be done by using inspiring quotes, celebrating the changing seasons, or creating interactive bulletin boards that highlight student work. To a teacher, bulletin boards can also be prime real estate for supplementary learning. We teachers call these “educational” bulletin boards which reinforce concepts from a unit your class is studying.
The trick for great bulletin boards is creating designs (1) that don’t take hours to make or install, (2) that are inspirational or educational, (3) and that are visually pleasing.
Number three, there, is kind of tricky because the art of the bulletin board is its own genre, artistically, with its own conventions. For example, you have very specific spaces and proportions to work with (most bulletin boards are pre-cut squares or rectangles, 4’ x 4’ or 4’ x 8’, respectively). Also, while myriads of pre-designed background paper and pre-decorated borders exist, these supplies sometimes leave a bit to be desired. Frankly, “pre-designed” cramps my style; I like to think outside the box. For another thing, my classroom serves middle school and high school students, so I like to go with a more age-appropriate look; therefore, a lot of my bulletin boards don’t utilize the traditional scallop-y edged borders or elementary-looking animated die-cuts.
These cheerful bugs are not exactly the look I am going for.
ANYWAY! Enough with bulletin board philosophy!
Here are some bulletin boards I made last year! I change my two class bulletin boards every* quarter.
1. Maps to Good Writing: an educational bulletin board that reinforces research writing concepts.
2. I Lift My Eyes to the Mountains: an inspirational bulletin board using text from Psalm 121. I designed this board for use on dreary Indiana winter days.
I borrowed the mountain design from Apartmenttherapy’s mountain mural design on Pinterest.
3. Do Something Beautiful for God: a fun inspirational spring bulletin board using a Mother Theresa quote. (Can you tell I hate cutting out letters? #lazyprinting) I washed out the photographs using Microsoft Word. I pasted the pictures in Word then used the Washout color mode in Format Picture. The photographs suggest areas of Christian service.
4. Bulwer Lytton Contest: a silly bulletin board announcing my annual fall writing contest, seeking the worst possible first lines for novels. (Inspired by the exceptionally dramatic first line of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830s novel Paul Clifford: “It was a dark and stormy night,” which is forever ensconced in the memories of Peanuts’ lovers.) Students submit horrendous puns and wretched metaphors, submissions which we later tack up on the bulletin board. Last year’s winning first line from a resident 8th grader: “The rainbow was breathtaking. Like trying to breathe when somebody with really bad breath is standing an inch away from you and talking nonstop.”
Happy Decorating, fellow teachers! May all the creative energies be yours!
*Except when I don’t.
8 thoughts on “Some Mediocre Bulletin Boards That Took Way Too Long to Make”
The mountains board wins a prize for sheer beauty but my favorite is your writing board. Love it!
Thanks, Anna! 🙂
Those definitely aren’t mediocre! And I agree: I love your writing board. I may steal the idea!
Thank you! And steal away! (The best teachers always do.) 🙂
Very nice bulletin boards, from a life-long bulletin board maker. My mother always pressed us into service to help do her back to school bulletin boards when we were growing up. She taught 3rd grade, mostly. So they did not have to be real sophisticated.
As a librarian in our church/school library I do monthly bulletin boards in the main church hall promoting various themes or the summer reading club, seasons of the year.
The reading club themed board decor June-Aug is different every year, but some of the other ones I have used many times, saving them in the store room. I have a smaller board outside the library door. Also, 4 windows in the hall, so they become somewhat like bulletin boards too at times.
I, personally, am a fan of the scalloped edge border and I will admit they I have it for most seasons, like snowflakes and falling leaves and hearts.
That’s so great that your church has a summer reading club. What a great idea!
So artsy, you are! I’m especially taken by the inspiration for your mountain scene.