Teacher and consultant Trina Gunzel shares ideas and easy how-tos for learning-filled boards.

1. SUMMER NEWS BEAT

Start a news beat board that will be a touchstone for your class all year. To begin, designate student reporters to select news stories from the past summer to be placed on the Classroom News Board– a bulletin board with a newspaper background. Ask students to write their own catchy headlines.

2. ACROSTIC ALPHABET BOARD

Invite students to create acrostic poems using the letters of their names.Post the poems around the border of your bulletin board. Record words students used to describe themselves on individual cards, and arrange them on the board. Students learn each other's names, and you have a handy reference for writing and language from day one.

3. OH, THE PLACES YOU'LL GO!

Post a world map on your bulletin board. Give each student a paper plate. Ask them to fold it in half and draw a line along the crease. Invite them to illustrate a place they'd like to learn about during the school year on the top half of the plate and, below, to write five questions they want to research. Post the plates around the map as a border. Connect the plates to the sites described using yarn and colored pins.

4. FLAG GLYPH

Have your students create their own glyph flags that share cool facts about themselves. First, invite kids to draw stripes on construction-paper flags to represent their age, and to place star stickers for the number of people in their immediate family. They can also glue magazine pictures of favorite hobbies, celebrities, or significant news events. Finally, ask students what they want to be when they grow up. They can draw a circle for athlete, a triangle for teacher, a square for the medical profession,etc. Post the flags on your bulletin board and salute!

5. DREAM VACATIONS

Okay, maybe you and your students didn't get o go to Australia or the north Pole this past summer. There's always the life of the imagination. Show samples of picture postcards to spark ideas, and then give each student a large blank index card. On one side, ask students to draw a picture of a place they'd like to go. On the reverse side, have them write a note to their parents as if they were on vacation at their dream spot. Tack these postcards to the bulletin board, and invite parents to read the letters on back-to-school night.