That Extra Bulletin Board

Maybe you’ve had this problem: You’re getting your room set up for the new school year, you have hung up all the flags and posters, you’ve set up your word wall, and you’re organized. But now you have one extra bulletin board. What to do with it? Personally, I’ve never had that problem – I always end up having to trim down what I want to hang up! But this year, as I made changes throughout the year, I actually did end up with an empty bulletin board.

I wanted to do a word wall, but I still haven’t quite worked out how I want it to work. I want it to be helpful for students, I want us to be able to add to it throughout the year, and I don’t want it to have much English on it. If I could somehow manage to get no English on it at all, that would be even better! When I started thinking about it this winter, I had neither the time nor the energy to put into solving that problem, but I really didn’t want this bulletin board to remain empty all year.

I started out using it as a place to hang students’ artwork. For example, in Spanish 3 we studied Diego Rivera and drew our own murals (along with a brief written explanation of what our social/cultural/political message was). That wasn’t bad, but after a week or so, it was time for the artwork to come down, and I didn’t have anything else to hang up. But I still didn’t want to stare at an empty bulletin board.

I don’t know if you’ve discovered this or not, but Pinterest has so many great things. Last fall, I started pinning puns and comics in Spanish, and one day it occurred to me that that was what I should use my empty bulletin board for! So every day, I try to print (in color) one comic, “motivational” poster or funny sign and hang it on that board. The kids enjoy them, and it only took about two days for them to get into the routine of coming into the room and checking the bulletin board for new jokes. Sometimes they get them, sometimes they are lacking a key word, sometimes they think I’m lame for what I find funny, but regardless, they’re into it.

I haven’t had anyone offer yet, but I would love if my students offered to bring in a comic. You could definitely offer this as a homework choice option (maybe, bring in 3 comics and a description of why you find them funny), which would save you from having to find a new comic every day. My Pinterest board currently has 300 pins, which is plenty, but now I find myself searching every day for something original and that I think the kids will find funny. If they were providing them, then I wouldn’t even have to do that.

Some days I post pictures that are simply funny, but a lot of times, I try to choose things that also reinforce what we’re learning in one class or another, or a high frequency word that some of my students have trouble with (antes and después? con and sin?).

You can check out the work I’ve already done collecting comics here. I only have Spanish, but I’m sure there are some excellent boards out there for other languages!

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