Often, students with special needs, such as those with learning disabilities, do not fully participate in classroom activities. Most often, it is
because of the student's fear to speak up.
Interactive bulletin boards in the classroom allow all students to have a voice without the need to be singled out or to stand before the class. The more students are able to participate fully in classroom activities, the better the opportunities for learning.
Interactive Bulletin Boards by Judy Meagher and Joan Novelli provides great ideas that will spark your creativity if you get one of these wonderful devices in your classroom.
What Can These Boards Do?
There are many ways that interactive bulletin boards can be utilized in the classroom. At the beginning of the year, they can be used to help students learn about each other. During the year, they scaffold learning on all subject matter. At the end of the year, they can be a means to say goodbye.
- Create a board where students try to match their classmates to something. For instance, on one side of the board are pictures of each student with a number beside it, on the other side is a list of favorites, such as colors or animals or movies. Students put the number of their peer beside the favorite they think matches.
- On the same vein, a "Thumbs Up/Down" board can be used to discuss various ideas during the first week of school. Each day, have a different theme. Use a picture as well as words to indicate the theme. For instance, "Who likes picnics?" would be accompanied by a picture of people picnicking. On one side of the board would be a thumbs up symbol, on the other a thumbs down symbol. Student would put their picture with their name under the side of their choice.
Through the Year
- Use the seasons to create interesting bulletin boards that can reinforce math skills. For instance: Snowflakes with various math equations can be placed on a board (5+6= or 9X5=). Envelopes or folders with the answers to the equations (11, or 45) on the front can be placed at the bottom of the board. Students take a snowflake and place it in the envelope with the correct answer. Decide on four or five answers and then create equations that will amount to one of those answers. You can have multiple ways of coming to the answer. For instance, in the answer folder for 45 you can have 9X5, 40+5, 67-22 and 90/2. Or, you can use the same mathematical means (addition, subtraction, etc.) with different equations to come to the same answer.
- Create a board that lets students tell the teacher what they feel they need in a subject. For example, A Reading/Writing Status Board would have a section of student to place their pictures if they need – a conference, are ready to publish or want to work with a partner. Under each heading, the student would put up their picture. Alternately, a teacher could use the same board to put the pictures of student that he or she wanted to conference with, desired to go to publish their work, or thought should work together.
- Create a board called "Fondest Memories." Make spaces for 3 or 4 activities the students had during the year, such as field trips or presentations. Students put their pictures under the activity they enjoyed the most.
- Have students recommend Summer Reading to their peers. This is an excellent way to encourage ALL the students to read. Design the board with two sections: Fiction and Non-Fiction. Provide sticky notes for the students to write the name of the book they are recommending, along with the author's name and why they are recommending it. Provide various adjectives on the board for students to use in their recommendation (i.e., interesting, cool, thrilling, funny, exciting, etc.) Before the end of the school year, create a list of these books to give to each student.
Interactive classroom bulletin boards are an excellent tool for encouraging all students to participate in classroom activities!