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Making your Bulletin Boards Work for YOU: 3 Ways to Get More Out of Your Bulletin Boards

You don't have to convince me - pretty bulletin boards are my JAM!

I would spend HOURS on just one bulletin board.   I obsessed over every detail - I would even get almost all the way done - have a new inspiration and pull it all down and start all over again.  When I was done I'd sit back and pat myself on the back for a job well done.  Then, I would wait for the "ooos and the ahhhs" that would follow from fellow teachers as they passed by my classroom.

::::insert mic drop here::::

But - all that fame went to my head -  And I eventually fell from cloud nine.

I remember one year, I had made a particularly beautiful display (ps - I'm not really this big-headed in real life - I'm just doing it for the effect😁) - and I made reference to something on a bulletin board that had been up in our classroom for weeks - when a students then responded with "what bulletin board?"

::::picks mic back up::::

It hurt.


But - I had that eye-opening moment about the purpose of my bulletin boards.  Up until then - I was really doing the bulletin boards for me - and not for the benefit of my students.  (Ok- be honest - what have YOU done in your classroom for the purpose of impressing yourself or other adults in your building, and not for the purpose of student learning?  We all have SOMETHING!)
using bulletin boards in the classroom

Does this all sound familiar?  If so, I want to give you some suggestions for how to get MORE out of your bulletin boards so that they aren't just some pretty display in the back corner of your classroom.

Check these out!

Tips and Tools for Successful Co-Teaching

The year I taught in an integrated classroom was, to say the least, eye-opening.  It was both my worst year teaching, AND the year I learned the most about myself as a teacher.

I was the general education teacher in a classroom of 23 students along side one special education teacher...and together we were damage control.  Academically our students were low - but behaviorally, they were lower.  On the very first day of school when one of our students caused a fight in the bus loop - I knew we were in for a very, very long year.

I paint a pretty picture, don't I?

Well, in efforts to be completely transparent about my experiences, I wanted to give you the full story.  You can read even more about this year in my teaching career, and how I survived it, HERE.

But, despite the challenges that that year in an integrated classroom brought me, I learned a lot.  I learned to be more patient with the students (sometimes), I learned to be more compassionate toward the students that were the hardest to love, and I learned that I had a LOT to learn. 

I also learned how to share my classroom with another teacher.

Whether you job-share, work along-side another teacher in your classroom, or even work closely with your grade-level team members, successful co-teaching requires you to be intentional and specific.

Here are some tips that I'd like to pass on to you:

Creating a Student Reader's Notebook (VIDEO)

I'm not sure if you know this about me - but - I love all things organization.

That's not a unique quality for teachers, I know.  We love our organizational bins and folders!

I'm always looking for ways that I can systematize just about everything in my life.  I like processes, systems, and checklists to help me stay on top of my life.  (Just check out this post on how I use google calendar to organize my life, and you'll see what I mean!)

Does my life always run smoothly - of course not (I have a three-year old daughter, after all!).  However, I know that my day will run smoother if I have an order and structure to it.

Our students need structure and systems, too.  Each year I that I taught, I was always tweaking my organization systems, looking for better ways to create better order in my classroom.  One organizational tool that I really loved was my students' reader's notebook.

Before using reader's notebooks, I was swimming in a sea of student reading logs, reading responses, post-it notes, and other reading-related activities from my students.  Once I implemented, the reader's notebook system, I had ONE place to keep all of my students' reading materials.  It was a sanity saver.

The reader's notebook put my organization-lovin' heart at peace - and it just might do the same for you!

In this post you'll learn:

  • what a reader's notebook is
  • what goes in to a reader's notebook (VIDEO TUTORIAL ALERT!)
  • how to use reader's notebooks effectively in your classroom
  • how my students benefited from having a reader's notebook
Let's get started!

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