Building Classroom Community

Elementary teachers often spend countless hours putting together bulletin boards. I've discovered the most educational bulletin board I create each year is the one my students create. At the beginning of each year I provide a space for the students to personalize, and their work helps build the foundation for our classroom community.

The Wall of Fame is our classroom's largest board, which I divide into equal spaces using metallic ribbon and brass thumbtacks. Each student is then randomly assigned a space that will be theirs for the entire year. Before each month begins I send home a note with students telling them the monthly seasonal theme and due date. There's always one academic requirement, such as a poem or short paragraph, but the rest is up to them.

As they bring in their materials, I allow time for each student individually to customize their area. Once decorations begin going up, students cannot stay away from the board. The best thing I've noticed about the display is that it helps start conversations. Before you know it, students who may never talk to each other are exchanging compliments. By providing students with one small piece of personal property in the room, I create a group of "neighbors" who respect each other's space and realize their similarities are greater than their differences.

Themes for My Wall of Fame

August/September: Get to Know Me
October: Fall/Halloween
November: I'm Thankful for…
December: My Favorite Holiday
January: New Year, New Me
February: What I Really Love
March: March is Reading Month
April: Spring Forward
May: A Yearful of Memories