The bulletin board wars are about to begin. It began in the first grade hallway. Legend has it that those over achieving first grade teachers stayed late into the night perfecting their bulletin artwork. The next morning everyone arrived to a visual extravaganza that set the jealousy of other grade levels aflame.
At our school each classroom teacher has a bulletin board in the hallway and it is the expectation of our administration that we have these boards covered. It used to be enough to put up a mono-color board with a title like, “Welcome to fifth grade.” These simple boards could be changed to “Look at our great work!” in September and that was all that was needed for the remainder of the year. Not anymore.
As you walk down the first grade hall you see three dimensional boards leaping off the wall with catchy phrases and pictures that would rival any advertising billboard around. For the longest time we had a pact in the intermediate hallway to keep it simple, but then a fourth grade teacher snapped and put together a block buster board that stopped all passers-by in their tracks. Since my board is right by hers, it just wouldn’t do to slap up some paper and go simple. I had to step up my efforts. The resulting work of art had a winding road going off into the sunset. Along the way were billboards that told my fifth grade students what they could expect on their journey through fifth grade. It took over an hour of my precious time, but at least I would be able to save face in our hallway.
Over the course of the year, as one person would change their boards, the rest of us would follow suit. At the battles peek one teacher brought in a toaster and hot glued toast to her board with a title, “The 5th graders are the toast of the town.” The students complained about hunger every time they went into the hallway and smelled the toast. That is until the bugs began to find the petrified morsels of food hanging on the wall.
As I begin school next week, one of my first activities will be to unroll some fresh, brightly covered paper and cover my boards. When done I’ll have a place to display discipline, word walls, calendar math and student work. I’ll also have one board left that I’ll reserve for the board of the century. However, I haven’t quite figured out what the board of the century looks like just yet. I have one more week for inspiration to hit.
(In the comments below, please tell me or show me some of your great bulletin board ideas. Also, let me know if your school has similar board wars.)