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October 15, 2015

Hands-On Bulletin Boards: Focus on Literacy

By Beth Newingham
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    While teachers are using technology to enhance classroom learning and change the way material is presented to students, our physical classrooms remain the same. We have blank walls and cupboards that need to be decorated in creative and stimulating ways, and we still have bulletin boards that are not digital — at least not yet!  

    When decorating the walls and bulletin boards in my classroom, I try to make them as purposeful as possible. While it’s tempting to purchase colorful posters with inspirational sayings, writing tips, or math concepts that could stay up the entire school year, I know that most students will rarely look at those types of displays after the first week of school. The most powerful bulletin boards speak directly to students, give them a voice, or encourage them to interact with each other in some purposeful way.  

    In part one of this two-part post, you will find examples of hands-on literacy bulletin boards I’ve used in my classroom, as well as some literacy bulletin boards from the classrooms of my teaching colleagues. Next month I will share examples of hands-on vocabulary, research, math, geography, and character education bulletin boards.

    Book Recommendation Boards

    While book recommendations can now easily be shared electronically, I still find that a board near the class library where students can post public recommendations for their classmates is helpful when students are selecting new books.

    Download recommendation cards

    A peer-to-peer recommendation board allows students to recommend books for specific classmates based on their special interests. It’s fun for students to see a new recommendation card in their labeled pocket, and it’s a great way to motivate students to read new books!

     

     

    Book Recommendation Board With QR Codes

    Third grade teacher Alan Gieleghem created an interactive board with QR codes for different reading websites. One of the QR codes on the board also links to an iMovie trailer of a book recommendation for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Throughout the school year, Alan’s students will be creating their own iMovie book recommendations. They will create a web link for the movie, create the QR code, and the codes will then be posted on this board. New QR codes will be added to the board throughout the school year! Follow Alan on Twitter: @AGieleghem

     

    Reader’s Choice Boards

    A simple thumbs up or thumbs down is an easy option for lower elementary students. Choose a picture book at a level that would be independent for the majority of your students. Collect multiple copies of the book, and allow students to move their magnetic picture to show their feelings about the book once they’ve read it.

     

    Another option is to choose two or three picture books by the same author. Get multiple copies of the books for your classroom and have students vote on which book they liked best by moving their magnetic photo. Students love to see their classmates’ choices and enjoy reading the same books as their peers.

     

     

     

     

    Literature Theme Boards

    As you read books aloud to the class, have students think closely about the theme (or lesson learned) in the book. Use Google Images to print color copies of the book covers, and have students help you add books under the appropriate theme. To learn more about theme boards and print out my theme posters, click HERE!

     

    “Conflict in Fiction Texts” Boards

    When my students are immersed in a fiction genre study, we discuss the different types of conflicts that readers can expect in the stories they read (character vs. self, character vs. character, character vs. society, and character vs. nature). While students keep track in their reader’s notebooks of the types of conflicts they come across in their own books, we keep track on our conflict boards using Google Images to print the covers of the books I read aloud.

     

    Thick Question Boards

    Teaching students to ask meaningful questions is hugely important when preparing them for book clubs. When teaching my students the difference between thin questions (answer is easily found in text) and thick questions (no “right” answer and lead to more discussion), I create this bulletin board in my classroom. While one purpose is to remind students of the difference between thick and thin questions, there is also a holder with blank cards on which students can write “thick” questions about the novel I am reading to the class. We discuss a couple of the student-written questions each day before I read a new chapter. Learn more about thick questions!

     

    Class Book Awards Nomination Boards

    Each month, students vote on their favorite books in a variety of categories and genres. They add their nominations to charts on a wall of our classroom throughout the month as they read new books. At the end of the month, students vote for their favorite book in each category, and we have a book award ceremony to announce the winners. Read more about my class book awards!

    Be sure to check back next month for examples of student-interacting vocabulary, research, math, geography, and character education bulletin boards!

    While teachers are using technology to enhance classroom learning and change the way material is presented to students, our physical classrooms remain the same. We have blank walls and cupboards that need to be decorated in creative and stimulating ways, and we still have bulletin boards that are not digital — at least not yet!  

    When decorating the walls and bulletin boards in my classroom, I try to make them as purposeful as possible. While it’s tempting to purchase colorful posters with inspirational sayings, writing tips, or math concepts that could stay up the entire school year, I know that most students will rarely look at those types of displays after the first week of school. The most powerful bulletin boards speak directly to students, give them a voice, or encourage them to interact with each other in some purposeful way.  

    In part one of this two-part post, you will find examples of hands-on literacy bulletin boards I’ve used in my classroom, as well as some literacy bulletin boards from the classrooms of my teaching colleagues. Next month I will share examples of hands-on vocabulary, research, math, geography, and character education bulletin boards.

    Book Recommendation Boards

    While book recommendations can now easily be shared electronically, I still find that a board near the class library where students can post public recommendations for their classmates is helpful when students are selecting new books.

    Download recommendation cards

    A peer-to-peer recommendation board allows students to recommend books for specific classmates based on their special interests. It’s fun for students to see a new recommendation card in their labeled pocket, and it’s a great way to motivate students to read new books!

     

     

    Book Recommendation Board With QR Codes

    Third grade teacher Alan Gieleghem created an interactive board with QR codes for different reading websites. One of the QR codes on the board also links to an iMovie trailer of a book recommendation for The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Throughout the school year, Alan’s students will be creating their own iMovie book recommendations. They will create a web link for the movie, create the QR code, and the codes will then be posted on this board. New QR codes will be added to the board throughout the school year! Follow Alan on Twitter: @AGieleghem

     

    Reader’s Choice Boards

    A simple thumbs up or thumbs down is an easy option for lower elementary students. Choose a picture book at a level that would be independent for the majority of your students. Collect multiple copies of the book, and allow students to move their magnetic picture to show their feelings about the book once they’ve read it.

     

    Another option is to choose two or three picture books by the same author. Get multiple copies of the books for your classroom and have students vote on which book they liked best by moving their magnetic photo. Students love to see their classmates’ choices and enjoy reading the same books as their peers.

     

     

     

     

    Literature Theme Boards

    As you read books aloud to the class, have students think closely about the theme (or lesson learned) in the book. Use Google Images to print color copies of the book covers, and have students help you add books under the appropriate theme. To learn more about theme boards and print out my theme posters, click HERE!

     

    “Conflict in Fiction Texts” Boards

    When my students are immersed in a fiction genre study, we discuss the different types of conflicts that readers can expect in the stories they read (character vs. self, character vs. character, character vs. society, and character vs. nature). While students keep track in their reader’s notebooks of the types of conflicts they come across in their own books, we keep track on our conflict boards using Google Images to print the covers of the books I read aloud.

     

    Thick Question Boards

    Teaching students to ask meaningful questions is hugely important when preparing them for book clubs. When teaching my students the difference between thin questions (answer is easily found in text) and thick questions (no “right” answer and lead to more discussion), I create this bulletin board in my classroom. While one purpose is to remind students of the difference between thick and thin questions, there is also a holder with blank cards on which students can write “thick” questions about the novel I am reading to the class. We discuss a couple of the student-written questions each day before I read a new chapter. Learn more about thick questions!

     

    Class Book Awards Nomination Boards

    Each month, students vote on their favorite books in a variety of categories and genres. They add their nominations to charts on a wall of our classroom throughout the month as they read new books. At the end of the month, students vote for their favorite book in each category, and we have a book award ceremony to announce the winners. Read more about my class book awards!

    Be sure to check back next month for examples of student-interacting vocabulary, research, math, geography, and character education bulletin boards!

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