Showing posts with label classroom decorations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroom decorations. Show all posts

Classroom Decor: Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards for the secondary classroom

One way to brighten up your classroom and make it appealing for students is through bulletin boards or white-board displays. We secondary teachers often slack in this area--myself included. For several years I had the same exact board up. When I finally took it down I couldn't believe how faded and dingy the backing was. When I started to give my boards more attention, I could tell students appreciated the effort and I took more pride in what I accomplished. 

Here are some examples that I've used throughout the years that range from super-duper easy to relatively or moderately easy. ;)

BOOK SELFIES bulletin board

Level: Easy

Materials Needed: Download my FREE Book Selfies activity, paper, & printer.

Why I love this display: I can keep the book selfies up year after year and students never tire of looking at them (especially if they have older siblings!). It's also a great way to show that the act of reading for pleasure is universal and isn't just for so-called nerds. And any time you can feature students (and teachers) interacting with books, it's good.

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

"SUMMER READS" bulletin board

Level: Moderately easy depending on your cutting skills. ;)

Materials needed: Colored paper and bulletin board background (I just kept my black background paper up, but ideally blue would have been a much easier color!), images of book titles, images of sunglasses, toothpicks (for the beach umbrellas), scissors, and post-it notes. 

Why I love this display: I liked to give my students book recommendations and show them that reading is a life-long activity. I happened to read a lot of books that summer (this isn't a normal amount for me--I usually read 5-7 books max). But what I love is that I showed them that it's also great to RE-READ your favorite books.

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom
I used the toothpicks and Post-It notes to create little mini umbrellas. I also used the Post-Its to write mini reviews or recommendations for the books. 
Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom
I let my students know it's OK to be disappointed in a book. 
Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

CURRENTLY... classroom display

Level: Super-duper easy (in fact, a bulletin board is not even required)

Materials needed: Download my FREE "Currently..." activity, paper, printer, tape, and students to fill them out.

Why I love this display: Besides it being super easy, it's a GREAT way to get to know your students at the beginning of the year, it's perfect for introverts who don't want to share aloud, students learn things they didn't know about their fellow classmates, and it's another great way to share book recommendations!

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom
These "Currently" posts have prompts asking students what they are currently: reading planning, wanting, needing, wishing, thinking, and loving. The template also includes a blank page where you can come up with your own prompts for your students.

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

(THIS or THAT) interactive bulletin boards

Level: Super easy

Materials needed: Check out the bundle of all of them to pick & choose or grab them all; paper, & printer.

Why I love this display: These bulletin boards allow students to interact with them, lifting the flaps to see if they were right in guessing the answer. They are always amazed that the lines from poems aren't song lyrics. It makes them want to look up those poems and read more. I have an activity in the bundle that allows students to create their own and that forces them to read A LOT of poems looking for quotes. They have fun with it and don't even realize all the reading and learning that is taking place. 
Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

MEMES! bulletin board or classroom display

Level: Super easy

Materials needed: You can get my pre-made memes (with editable options so you can customize them) or create your own using an online meme generator; printer & paper.

Why I love this display: Students love memes and humor is always fun to bring into the classroom. The memes get the point across to students in ways that simply listing your rules don't. Students will often ignore rules written in a poster, but they definitely pay attention to memes!

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

BANNED BOOKS interactive bulletin board

Level: Relatively easy

Materials needed: You can download my pre-made banned books display that includes a caution-tape border or create your own; paper & printer.

Why I love this display: Students are blown away by the reasons some books have been challenged and/or banned. It actually makes them want to READ more! Anything that encourages reading is a win in my book.

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom


Level: Super-duper easy

Materials needed: Digital camera (or phone with camera), printer, & paper.  

Why I love this display: It's so easy and the students love to see who is in each section/class. It's also great to update it at semester AND the end of the year to see how much they have changed (plus, my sections usually get mixed up at semester, so it's nice to show the new groups). I love to give the students a copy of the pictures when they graduate. We take some silly group pictures along with a regular one and they love looking back at them.

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

What are your favorite classroom displays or bulletin boards? 
Comment below!

Bulletin board ideas for the secondary classroom

Decorating Your Secondary Classroom {18 Things to Consider}

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  My friends over at Created for Learning put together an excellent blog post with tips from several secondary teachers on decorating classrooms. You'll want to head over there to get the entire blog post, but I'll share a few here as a tease. ;)
It's weird how sometimes our decorations end up disconnected with how old our students really are. I teach 7th and 8th graders. Some of them come from fine, constant, healthy family and personal lives.

They are the 3rd and 4th sibling to come through our school and succeed. They play Flappy Bird, use Snapchat and, watch videos on Vine and play medieval phone app games before school.

However, while still maintaining privacy, I can share that just last year, I had students bullying each other, students sharing racy photos on social media to improve modeling portfolios, students cutting themselves, students attempting suicide, even students creating fake online profiles to bully themselves to gain attention.

This is the middle school world we teach in. These are the students we are decorating our rooms for. These just might not be clip-art kids. And high school is another giant leap forward (or backward), but it's a giant leap somewhere. What would our classrooms look like if we designed them to engage these minds and attentions?
As a teacher, you can use words in clever ways to ìdecorateî your classroom, not only to fill up walls but also to make your students wise. One idea is to title specific areas of your wall in a way.  Carol used an idiom over her writing wall to teach idioms and open the door to the fundamentals of figurative language. In Johnís class, he uses ìCognitive Content Dictionariesî to be placed in a prominent locations which teaches key academic vocabulary as well as ìTier 2î vocabulary to aid in understanding text for EL learners.  Inspirational or humorous posters and quotes can also be used to fill smaller spaces and give students ideas to ponder on their own.
I have several items that I have in my room from my first year of teaching in 1999. Why do I keep them around? Mostly because they are either funny, sentimental, timeless, or related to a favorite book. Here are some examples: 

• (Funny) Close to Home (by John McPherson) comic: It has hung on my classroom door for many
years. I like to show my students that no matter how strict I may seem, I'm nothing compared to Mrs. Mutner. 
Classroom Pictures from

• (Sentimental) Pictures of former students: Students love looking at pictures of past students. Plus, it helps me remember the names of my former students.
Classroom Pictures from 

• (Timeless) This quote is timeless (and a great lesson on perspective), funny, and sentimental: my brother was an assistant coach for the St. Francis baseball team at the time (April, 1996). Robert Morris threw in the towel after the fourth inning, but the fact that they persevered until then also shows
Quote on Perspective from 

• (Favorite Book): My To Kill a Mockingbird framed pictures. TKaM is still my favorite book and I love being able to share my love for it with my students. My framed pictures and book review from 1960 are probably my most prized classroom items.
TKaM prints from
As a 14 year teaching veteran, I have tried countless ways to create bulletin boards for cheap. Cost does become a factor, and something a teacher should think of- we spend enough money on our classes without adding the extra cost of bulletin board decorations.  

I have found that some of my most engaging and most talked about boards were not the ones with flawless borders and themed decorations. Actually, it was just the contrary- Black butcher paper background, with the titles and words written in chalk with borders that were hand-drawn, got quite the reaction from my students. These example pictures will help explain what I mean:
Also, don't forget to use items in your room. For example, when teaching about a topic, I hang mentor texts from my bulletin board so the kids can "see" examples of published work that supports the topic.  
Remember to keep it simple, engaging, and useful!
All praise and adoration to my teachers growing up, but I can't remember a single one that decorated their room for us guys. And I probably lean toward decorating for the boys...I tend to teach novels that will engage boys. So we deserve it to both genders to take a good long hard look at our rooms and decorations and ask if the boys and girls will be entertained and informed, tantalized and taught.

"But what if I think it's good? What do I do then?"

  Ask our students. They will be honest. Sometimes too much so. But we'll always find out what they think. If we need to, we can do a quick anonymous poll or ballot or something. But we can find out what each gender thinks, if we ask.

CLICK HERE to read ALL the tips for secondary teachers!

Again, thank you Created for Learning for putting together this great blog post with fabulous tips from our fellow secondary teachers! The contributors are listed below:

Blog Contributors Cliff's Notes

Laura Randazzo
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
The Teacher Team
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
Tracee Orman
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store 

Created by Mr. Hughes >>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
Julie Faulkner
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store
Students of History
>>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store 

Created for Learning >>> Blog ||| TeachersPayTeachers Store

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