A bulletin board can act as a powerful teaching tool, or it can merely sit there as a pathetic contrivance. You might welcome the challenge of designing a bulletin board, and always create exciting boards that students love. Then again, you might dread the task, and procrastinate until you simply have to throw something at that blank expanse.
Love or hate the task, you will not escape the fact that your bulletin board is a bold advertisement. It tells students about you and about your lesson material. Design a bulletin board with flair, and you will more easily sell both yourself and your subject matter. Students will automatically attribute to you and your teaching the flair of the bulletin board, so you will get better results. You must follow through with quality in other areas, of course, but begin with bulletin boards that have flair.
Character education bulletin boards are especially important, since they sell traits that influence every discipline of teaching, every area of life, and every day from cradle to grave. Few other subjects could so demand a bulletin board with flair.
Well then, what do you think are “musts” for dashing bulletin boards? Let’s look at a half dozen.
1. Bulletin Board Location
You have no doubt heard the realtors’ mantra: “Location, location, location.” Realtors know that identical homes increase or decrease in value depending solely on their location. The same rule applies to bulletin boards. Place a stunning bulletin board in a great location, and it will draw students as honey draws flies. Place the same bulletin board in a poor location, and it will garner little or no attention.
You will get top results with bulletin boards in high traffic locations. Choose a place where students will find it easy to get to the board and see it. Be sure traffic is not so heavy that your display will be blotted out by crowds – or in a hallway where students’ health and safety will be compromised by hurrying crowds.
2. Bulletin Board Theme
Imagine reading a book that lacks plot. Imagine listening to music without a melody. We respond to plots and melodies – and to themes. We appreciate organization in life, whether we ourselves have learned to create it or not.
Bulletin board themes organize your message. Like plots and melodies, they make it easier to follow what you are trying to convey. If you want to generate interest in the number, variety, and solidity of character traits, your theme might be “Character Rocks”. A bulletin board theme of “Character Walls” will communicate the concept of building character into the life.
Seasonal or holiday themes can be linked to specific character traits, but exercise creativity and craft exciting stand-alone themes, too.
3. Eye-Catching Bulletin Boards
While substance must never be sacrificed, bulletin boards need to catch and hold eyes. They need to grab attention and hold it. They need to shout “Hey!” at passing students. Your bulletin boards must compete with babble, music, texting, twittering, and a host of other distractions. Use bright colors to captivate and make students pause for a longer look. Tie those colors into your theme. If you feature “Character Rocks” in a grassy setting, overlay grassy green on a shadow of brown for your border and text.
4. Three-Dimensional Bulletin Boards
Bulletin boards can take on flair and style with three-dimensional objects. Why display a flat “Character Wall” when you can construct a 3D wall on your board? A number of size-appropriate boxes can become building blocks, labeled with various character traits. Tack or staple them to the board to form a three-dimensional wall. You might consider adding figures who are “building” the wall. Invest creativity.
5. Brain-challenging Bulletin Boards
You know that bulletin boards are not “eye candy”, right? What do I mean by “eye candy”? I mean things you see that are attractive and entertaining, but make no demands on your brain. All they provide is brief entertainment. Never produce such bulletin boards. If they do not challenge students mentally, they aren’t worth the time, effort, and money you put into them.
Bulletin boards with flair challenge brains to think. Your character education bulletin board might pose a question: “What’s the difference between honesty and integrity?” Intermingled graphics might illustrate both character traits, with a challenge for students to see who can most accurately sort them appropriately between the two traits – and leave out those that apply to neither trait.
6. Life-changing Bulletin Boards
You’ve found the perfect location for your bulletin board. You’ve developed a solid theme to organize its elements. You’ve planned plenty of color to catch the eye, you’ve added a third dimension, and you’ve taken steps to be sure student brains are challenged. You’re ready to put it all together!
Before you finalize that bulletin board, ask yourself, “Will it change anything? Will it make an ongoing difference in the life of even one student? Have I created a truly life-changing bulletin board?”
You don’t want to expend precious hours, energy, and resources just to fill a wall – or make a principal think you’re fulfilling a contract. If your bulletin boards will do nothing to transform at least one student to some degree, leave them blank.
Bulletin boards with outward flair, especially character education bulletin boards, are meaningless if they accomplish nothing.
Your bulletin boards can advertise you as a teacher who believes character is vital. They can advertise character as the highly desirable commodity it is.
You can use that advertising to sell yourself as a person of character. You can sell traits that influence mathematics, science, history, language, and every other discipline. You can sell character that improves every area of life, every day from cradle to grave.
You begin by creating bulletin boards with the proper kind of flair.
Free Bulletin Board Elements