Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bulletin Board Design on a Dime

It's that time again, y'all!  Time for school supply shopping, planning and prepping, and bulletin boards!

First, I should note that my good friend Jonathan Powers won the ErinCondren.com giveaway!  Check out his classroom blog, The Mathematics Adventure.  

I'll do a classroom tour post in a week or so, but for right now I'm ready to debut my 2013-14 bulletin board-- and some tips for designing a cute board on the cheap.

I'm a huge tightwad cheapskate frugalista, and being a teacher can mean a lot of added expense in school supplies.  I made this board for around $10-- here's how:

Dollar General:
2 plastic tablecloths- $2
2 crepe streamer rolls- $1

polka-dot border- $2.99
(free shipping with Amazon Prime subscription)

book- $3.99 +free shipping

I also used construction paper, scrapbook paper, and lettering I already had-- but I should note you can buy the lettering at the Dollar Tree.

I started by stapling the plastic tablecloths to the bulletin board, lining each one up in a corner so that they overlapped.  I had to trim some excess from the bottom when I was done, and the overlap created a natural division-- my board has three parts.  The border just stapled right over the tablecloths.

To hide the lines where the tablecloths overlapped, and to make the sections clear, I created a ruffly border using crepe streamers.  I just tore foot-long sections of paper, crumpled them into little crinkly balls, and stapled them to the board.  This is a bit time-consuming, but it's cheap, easy, and cute!  It's also great because if a piece gets damaged, I can just replace the damaged part.
I also cut these sweet little birdies out, using some pretty scrapbook paper, to unify the whole board and give it something pretty.

I need my bulletin board to last all year.  (I used to change it every 6-weeks, but then I got a life learned time management.)  I do like to be able to make some changes, though-- and I also want it to be interactive and functional.  So I made a board with three sections: "Nameless Papers," "Pinterest," and "What Will You Do?"

The Nameless Papers section is fairly obvious-- I have a serious problem getting kids to write their names on papers, so this is an easy solution.  I tack the no-names on the board, and remind kids to check for their work about once a week.

I'm super excited about the Pinterest section.  It's funny; I got the idea from Pinterest!  I wanted it to have the look of a Pinterest board, but have useful class information.  I am too cheap to buy color ink cartridges, so I try to get my color elsewhere-- here it came in the form of construction paper stapled behind the printed-out pieces.  I added some inspirational quotes, some resources relevant to the first few weeks of school (like a short story plot map), the school calendar, information about my class Facebook page, Pinterest account, and Remind101.  The two blank spots are for our lunch menu and master schedule, neither of which have arrived yet.  The best part of this section is that I can rotate articles and photos as needed throughout the year-- it'll stay relevant and interesting.


The third section is based on the book, 97 Things To Do Before You Finish High School.  I teach all the freshmen, so I was excited to come across this book.  I ordered a used copy, and decided to feature different "things to do" each month, all year long.  Since the book is used and I paid very little for it, I had no problem stapling it to the board for kids to peruse.  I also made this my year-long extra credit opportunity (see the card I added to the bottom).

All in all, my board is everything I need it to be. It's functional and interactive.  It can change quickly and easily to suit my classroom needs throughout the year-- and to stay interesting.  It's even in my favorite colors of the moment, red and teal.  Look familiar?  ;)

What kind of bulletin boards are you making this year?

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