interactive bulletin boards
So listen, I am no stranger to gazing upon pin after beautiful pin detailing these elaborate bulletin boards in the most Pinteresty of classrooms. THEY. ENTHRALL. ME. Have you done it too? I think maybe you have ;)
I love me a good bulletin board. I truly do. However, I wouldn’t be authentic if I didn’t admit that I often cared more about the aesthetic (fall) and complying with expectations (spring) then I did with their functionalities. I had one interactive bulletin board throughout my years of teaching – a graffiti wall for students to record the meaningful quotes they found in text. It was a great board, but it ended there. Don’t get me wrong, I was an expert at harnessing the power of the sticky note – every June we’d be taking them off of walls, windows, cupboards, the heating registers, table legs, plant pots, you name it. I just never took it to the next level. Wait, the hula hoop Venn Diagram. I can’t forget my hula hoop Venn Diagram! Nevertheless, sticky notes. SO. MANY. STICKY NOTES.
What I focused on were our book studies. I loved designing content, fresh and tailored, to the text we were reading. For me and my instructional style, my students and their learning modalities, and the printer paper reams and their need to be conserved, I often opted for book study activities that were more interactive and hands on. I loved filling our novel units with academic discussions, cooperative learning structures, choice boards, task cards, and journal writing prompts. It created less work for me, more flexibility to tailor my instruction to students’ needs, higher engagement for wiggly little learners, and greater depth in our analyses.
Why it took me two years after leaving the classroom to stay home with my daughter to make the connection that EVERYTHING I DID IN MY NOVEL STUDIES WOULD HAVE MADE AN EPIC INTERACTIVE BULLETIN BOARD…I have no idea.
Better late than never!
So it was born, without the help of Pinterest (although they’re probably all over Pinterest), my Literary Analysis Interactive Bulletin Board Bundles. They bring together all my favorite book study components and all my favorite “what if’s/wish I had’s/oh man I coulda’s/dang it Betsy’s” into one rather large, yet extremely comprehensive package tied neatly with one of Emma Wiggle’s yellow bows (toddler mom, here!).
Now, just because I envision these resources as an interactive bulletin board doesn’t mean you will (or that it will make sense for them to be with every text). That’s why I’ve broken down the two bundles (1st– 2nd grade and 3rd– 5th grade) into their 5 parts:
Additionally, I created specific tasks for both Bloom’s Taxonomy and Common Core standards. Maybe you’ll prefer one over the other, or maybe you’ll utilize both. Either way, each product contains both! Additionally, all of the tasks/prompts match, meaning the tasks you see on the posters match the tasks on the bookmarks, task cards, choice boards, and collaborative notebook labels. Everything is numbered, labeled, and color-coded to the beat of my Type A heart.
So, what I’d like to do is dive into the 5 components (products) by giving tips and quips for each. Please keep in mind that these are designed to be adaptable – they can be used alone, in combination with one another, as an interactive bulletin board, or simply for what they are.
The anchors of the bundle. I love the idea of keeping these posted year round, maybe interchanging them as the need arises, so students can apply them to various texts read. Responses can be tracked with reading notebooks, loose leaf paper, index cards, sticky notes (ha), poster board, or even right on the bulletin board if paper is used. Use the Bloom’s Taxonomy tasks to carry your students through higher order thinking and analysis and the Common Core tasks to focus on assessable skills. I also like the idea of using the editable posters, especially if you’re in a state that has opted out of Common Core, to tailor some tasks to your standards (or a specific text). The posters are an easy way to throw in impromptu cooperative learning structures (just assign posters to specific students), academic discussions, formative assessments, and journal writing – all without the need of a printer!
Remember: all of the tasks on the posters match the tasks on the other components – there are no additional tasks elsewhere!
When I was teaching 4th grade, a teacher friend had allowed me to use some task bookmarks she had quickly whipped up in an effort to sprinkle in some extra NWEA prep. I placed them in small color-coded Target dollar spot buckets in our classroom book nook and instructed students to complete a bookmark from their pre-designated colored bucket (differentiated based on student need) for each book checked out of our library. They were not to return their old book for a new one until I received a bookmark. They loved it. I loved it. It was a small, easy way to reinforce specific skills while differentiating to student needs in a way that promoted independent reading and student responsibility.
This is what I had in mind when creating these bookmarks! I love the idea of using the task posters as wall pockets to hold their corresponding bookmarks. I also love the idea of displaying one bookmark from each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy for students to work through at their own paces. They can be used during independent reading, book clubs or lit circles, centers, or as an assessment tool. Their flexibility makes my heart beat a little faster ♥︎
The task card is truly a thing of beauty (most of the time). We all know about their flexibility. These bendy little boogers can adapt to such a wide variety of instructional needs! Cooperative learning structures, academic discussions, carousel activities, write the room variations, center activities, assessment tools, book clubs/lit circles, the list just goes on and on and on. Don’t even get me started on how students can record their responses…we know the options!
These task cards are no different! Armed with various student response sheets, editable student directions, and blank cards for you to work your magic on, these bad boys are ready for whatever creative use you have for them!
Alright, so I played around with a few different options here. I thought about creating multiple choice board combinations and allowing you to just select the ones that float your boat. This idea was quickly shot down by my brain when it reminded me that teacher/student needs are far, far too vast for this to be at all successful. I love me a good choice board, but this was always my issue when I purchased them on TpT – it was so difficult finding one that fully met my students’ needs!
So, I created an image for each task, as well as images for blank choice board/tic tac toe grids and sample student directions. The images are saved in their respective folders, ready to be inserted into a blank PowerPoint slide sized to 8.5x11 (or any similar software you may prefer – Word would work fine, too). The resource comes with detailed instructions – both written and visual – for you to reference.
These require a little work on your end; however, it’s all there for you and the end result will give you greater flexibility in differentiating to your students’ needs. Plus, you can make as many choice boards as your heart desires, and there’s always the trusty text box or table in the event what I’ve provided doesn’t quite cut it.
My favorite “dang it Betsy”. I’ve taught both 2nd and 4th grade, and while I can see these working splendidly in 4th, they’re likely to require a little more ground work in 2nd. With that said, I would have LOVED to see what my 2nd graders could do with collaborative writing! Ghaaaa.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, essentially collaborative (or community) writing consists of one communal writing format (a notebook, for example) that student’s all take ownership of by writing, and sometimes responding to one another, in.
You can maintain one prompt in the notebook that students recycle through with different variables, or a broader umbrella topic that houses multiple prompts that you introduce at your own designated pace. There really is no hard and fast structure for collaborative writing – whatever gets students writing and responding to one another!
For this resource, I simply broke down the tasks and topics included in the bundle and made a label for each one. I shrunk the posters into label-sized images so they would be recognizable and consistent. I also added Bloom’s Taxonomy vocabulary, Common Core domains, and Common Core standards (letter/number code only) as topic labels. There are labels for student directions, as well as blank labels for you to create your own. They are all sized to print on Avery labels (the Avery product numbers are included on each page); however, simple printer paper and packaging tape will also do the trick!
As with most things, the more structured you are with your expectations, the greater your students’ success with these will be. I’ve always been a big lover of color-coding, especially when we were departmentalized in 4th grade. Simply having students highlight their name or write in their designated color can help you and them easily track responses. I also love the idea of modeling a sample entry on the first page so students always have a strong example to reference. The directions that you create using the editable label can also be posted on the front or inside cover, giving your students additional guidelines. You can have some single-prompt notebooks out year-round as a center, and others you can bring in especially for specific book studies. Just don’t forget your bookmarks, sticky notes, or paper flags to mark the pages!
Three more things I love about these bundles:
1. each separate resource comes with posters detailing the CCSS for the reading literature domain (one for each grade level), as well as three different student task tracking sheets.
2. The bundles come with a free bulletin board title kit containing two watercolor alphabets, suggested board titles with corresponding letter counts, and matching watercolor images.
3. The color schemes can easily match both galaxy/cosmic/outer space OR under the sea/oceanic themes, but They're also low-key enough to function nicely without a theme.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for implementing interactive bulletin boards (or any of the literature study components detailed above), share ‘em below!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go Prime more sticky notes as my daughter has recently discovered that they look really, really funny on our Goldendoodle, Schnitzl. She’s a girl after my own heart, that one.