At Nelson Mandela Elementary School, bulletin boards are essential. January's theme is The Articulate Snowflake, because it is winter, and our focus this season is to build literacy. But make no mistake, bulletin boards at NMES are not just about throwing student work up on a wall, or trying to show off a teacher's craft skills. Bulletin boards serve several educational purposes.
First and foremost, they are visual representations of data. They put on display the students' work to either show mastery or growth in skills and content. Each of our bulletin boards will include the task that the students' were required to do, the learning intention, a rubric for how their work was graded, and personalized feedback from the teacher on what the student did well, and what they can do to get better.
Secondly, bulletin boards are teaching tools. Teachers can take students into the hallway to remind them of a skill that they have mastered before, which may be of use in the current lesson. And some bulletin boards can be used to teach directly, such as practicing word families with our youngest students while they transition in the hallways.
Lastly, bulletin boards beautify our school. This is important, because good schools almost always look good. And we believe, as teachers, that if we take pride in our work, our students will take pride in their education. So we have a standard for what an acceptable bulletin board looks like. It has to have all the elements listed above, it has to relate to our monthly theme, and it has to be neat and beautiful.