Now, I know that many of you do NOT share my love of the “Postable Proverb Panel,” the “Hanging High-flying Helper,” the “Whimsical Word-wall Wonder.” I know that many of you HATE spending time thinking up new bulletin boards, creating content to go there, and messing with the staples and borders and everything else that goes into creating a bulletin board wonder. I would respectfully say to all that bulletin boards are what you make them (pun intended). A bulletin board can be a wonderful way to share information and communicate ideas or it can be a vapid, senseless, waste of time.
With that in mind, I wanted to share with you this blog post which you could say is a sequel to a blog I wrote last year called “Bulletin Board Best Practices.” Hopefully this post can give you ideas, encouragement, and some help as you set out to create a bulletin board that will be the talk of the teacher’s lounge. I hope to answer some frequently asked questions with this post… Leave a comment if there are any questions that I miss that you absolutely want to have answered! I’ll try my best! :D
What in the world do I put up here?
Think about that for a second and let that inform what you choose to display and where. Would you want a wall that “manages” out in the hallway? Do you want a bulletin board space that displays student work in your classroom’s back corner? Bulletin boards in the classroom should be used to display content used in class, information that you refer to all the time, and necessary supports for classroom use. Managing and teaching bulletin boards are IN-CLASS display spaces. This is where you’d put your word walls and reference pictures of notes/rests/dynamics/etc. This is also where you'd put necessary "I Can Statements," Classroom Management stuff, Class Contracts, and that sort of thing. Bulletin boards outside the classroom should include promotional information (upcoming concerts, etc.), fun concepts to reinforce (ex. a frog themed bulletin board that reviews steps, leaps, and jumps… I would like to see that bulletin board, actually…), or student work.
The pirates were fun for kids to see and grabbed their attention. The administrators liked that I #1 knew the standards and #2 was being intentional to use them all and teach them all. I even added a little sign that said something to the effect of “There ARRRRRGH the National Music Standards set forth by the National Association for Music Education.” The bulletin board went over well with students and staff and it got the word out. If I had put that in my classroom it would still have been cool but only students would have seen it on a daily basis and it would have taken up wall space that I could have devoted to something else. If you want to learn more about this set of posters click HERE and then look at the poster preview.
What sort of stuff should I put up on the wall?
But not everything is important enough to find space on the wall in my classroom. For instance, I made “Calendar Sets” to show off musicians, composers, conductors, and performers who were born each month. They’re fun little bulletin board sets that include 30 profiles of musicians who are born each month with information about their life and accomplishments. I love these sets and they absolutely inspire conversations with students and faculty about the musician and their impact on their respective genres. HOWEVER, they do not find space IN my classroom. I just don’t have room there. I COULD put them up inside the room but I worry that their presence might take away a student’s focus from the important instruction time that I have with them. Instead, I print them and post them in the hallway. They’re cool and they keep kids and teachers excited about music, but they’re not good as a classroom tool.
How often do I have to change this thing?
I think that one mistake that some teachers make is that they just don’t care much about their hallway bulletin board and so they leave the same content up all year. Don’t “Set it and Forget It.” Change out your content whenever you can so that you keep things interesting and new for students and staff. You can find a TON of amazing bulletin board ideas on Pinterest that are great for music advocacy. Check out your options and CHANGE IT UP! Maybe it’s worth it to go to Teachers Pay Teachers, get some easy little “Print and Post” sets that look super professional, and change out your bulletin boards with the seasons. Or find a way to display student work on the board whether it be recent compositions, pictures from a concert, or even self-reflections or worksheets.
What now? Where can I find resources?
If this post sparked your interest or encouraged you to dig deeper into the world of bulletin boards then check out these other blog posts about Bulletin Board best practices!
Bulletin Board Best Practices #1
Back to School Bulletin Board Ideas
Bulletin Board Borders - Getting Organized
What Makes a Good Opera? - Music Advocacy
David's Pinboard with Bulletin Board Ideas
David's Pinboard with Classroom Decor Ideas