I ran into a friend of mine who was headed into his classroom to do a bit of organization before school re-opens next week. He had a minimal amount of stuff with his which I found a little unusual. He’s a former student of mine and so I’ve followed his teaching career a bit and he was a regular at workshops learning to do computer stuff. He also is big on media and has visuals everywhere in his learning space.
As I chatted, the topic of bulletin boards came up. I mentioned that he wasn’t carrying much and that’s by plan and edict to keep things simpler. I’ve always found that bulletin boards can be a way to spruce up a barren classroom and, if done correctly, can also do a little active and hidden teaching.
It reminded me of a blog post by Deborah Weston from 2020. What is the purpose of a bulletin board? Gosh, that seems like so long ago but there are some great thoughts in there. Since it would appear on my Friday “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” post of that week, I took a look at my thoughts.
From my year at the Faculty of Education, it was drilled into us to have bulletin boards that looked great so that when you got inspected and evaluated, whoever was the classroom guest would be impressed. Oh, and also, make sure that they are changed before your second inspection. Why, oh why, do I remember stuff like that?
Deborah Weston gives a nice discussion about the various ways that bulletin boards can be handled. The rationale I gave above isn’t one of them!
I always used bulletin boards but they were created by students as part of their research and assessment. It kept them fresh and allowed students to do something unique and different. They absolutely did a better job than what I could have done.
There was a move a few years ago to display all kinds of achievement data there; thank goodness we’ve gone beyond that.
Deborah gives a nice list of ideas; they’re well worth reading and considering. They’re not all on the same train of thought and that can only be a good thing.
I really like this piece of advice.
For me, in the end what matters is that the students feel like the classroom belongs to them as they have designed it – like an extension of their home space.
As alluded to in the post, my bulletin boards were all created by students except for the small one at the front that I kept for myself. My students from all six classes were divided up into small groups and each group signed up for a week throughout the term for a topic about the History of Computers or the History of Programming. These were two difficult topics to teach with inspiration so I let them do the research, build the bulletin board, and then they took most of a period to explain their research and what went into the creation of their bulletin board. It really helped that the Marketing room with all kinds of material was right across the hallway.
They worked so closely together to assemble things before/after school and I let them eat their lunch up there if they needed extra time.
Aw, the good ol’ days. I can’t imagine anything like that happening these days. Well, at least for the first part of the year until we determine how it’s going to play out.
If you have a moment, please drop off a comment. What are bulletin boards going to look like in your learning space to start the school year?