Bulletin Boards

Teacher Magazine has a piece on bulletin boards. I admit I resemble this remark a bit too much:

I love walking into a primary classroom and seeing all of the students’ work related to learning objectives. They are artistic, personalized, and appealing. On the other hand, when I go to middle and high schools, I am disappointed to see random posters stapled on the walls. Is that a reality or an unfair, broad generalization? I think the walls are an extension of teaching and learning, but there has to be an explicit connection made for students. They have to be a part of the product or the instruction. How much do kids get from posters hung by the teacher and left hanging?

My bulletin board has a Harry Potter poster, an old National Poetry Month poster I got free last year from English Journal, and some Beowulf résumés my students created probably back in October. In fact, they aren’t even my students anymore, as they have been transferred to another English teacher. It’s pretty sad.

I actually have had some good ideas for bulletin boards in the past. My two favorite ideas were both student-centered. Once I had students contribute a typed version of their favorite poem, and we had a poetry wall for National Poetry Month. Another time, students had book recommendations on the wall. I think both of these suggestions were mentioned in the article. One of the teachers in the article also mentions using cloth instead of paper, which is something I also do.

Bulletin boards are tough for secondary teachers. What suggestions do you have for bulletin boards in high school? What is the expectation regarding use of bulletin boards in your school/district?

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