How to set up a classroom / Classroom arrangements Part 2

Part Two: Cover the Bulletin Boards

They don’t prepare you for this in college: the moment you see the bare-bones, institutional box that you are expected to transform into an inviting classroom…in two or three days.  It’s a daunting task for veteran and new teachers alike, and it has to be redone every year.

Most classrooms have at least one bulletin board in the room and one in the hallway.  Set up your bulletin boards before you worry about other wall decorations.  Your boards don’t need displays on them for Open House, but it helps if they are at least outfitted with butcher paper and a bulletin board border.

Get the butcher paper from the school’s supply and use it to cover your bulletin boards.  You can skip this step if the bulletin board looks good without butcher paper.  Don’t discount the nice clean effect of plain white bulletin board paper.  It doesn’t fade during the year and it looks good with a construction paper grid for displaying student work.  (see below.)

You will want to use bulletin board border.  This can be found at teaching stores, office supply stores, and sometimes at dollar stores.  If you are in a hurry, just ask a veteran teacher for bulletin board border.  Most of them have extensive collections housed in special bulletin board border storage boxes.

You can get by without bulletin board border if you do a really nice clean job of setting up the butcher paper.  In my experience, first year teachers have not yet acquired this skill.  Cover your mistakes with border.

You can put displays on the bulletin boards, but this might not be a priority if you are facing an empty room with nothing on the walls.  Many teachers put the students’ names on interesting shapes for the bulletin board in the hall, but this has to be replaced early in the year.

I like to create a grid of construction paper for displaying student work.  I arrange construction paper in a pleasing pattern on the bulletin board.  Then, during the year, I attach student work with a thumbtack.  The bulletin board can stay up all year while the display changes.  This grid is really easy to do and probably your best bet as a beginner.

You can have students create bulletin board displays on the first day or week of school.  Have the kids decorate a 4 x 6 index card, a piece of paper, a shape like a paper plate, whatever.  You can have the kids just do pictures, or you can add a writing sample or getting-to-know you aspect.  This work can become the first thing featured on your bulletin board.

Later, when you are not so overwhelmed, cover the bulletin board with fabric rather than butcher paper.  Thisbackground can last a school year or more.  I recommend dollar-a-yard fabric; don’t go much more expensive than that.  I usually find fabric at Wal-Mart, but crafts stores also have good selections.  A bulletin board fabric should be either solid color or with a really small print.  It’s nice if your solid-color fabric can have some texture to it, but it’s not necessary.  It is very important that you IRON the bulletin board fabric before you staple it to the board.  This makes all the difference in the world!  No amount of wrinkle spray or stretching will give you the nice clean look of ironing.

First year teachers: just cover the bulletin boards with butcher paper, cover mistakes with a border and move on.  You have a lot to do!

Part One: facing an empty room
Part Two: Cover the Bulletin Boards (this post)
Part Three: Decorate the Walls
Part Four: Basic Management Systems

P.S. In the photos above, I covered a bulletin board with fabric, used monkey decorations from a bulletin board kit, and stapled construction paper in a grid.  Then, as my class achieved learning goals, I had them all sign a paper relating to the goal and we used a push pin to display it on the bulletin board.

Posted in Back to School,Classroom Management,Classroom setup by Corey Green @ Aug 3, 2012

 

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