The Importance of Environment in Student Success

EFFECTIVE USE OF BULLETIN BOARDS IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOMS

Classroom environment is of prime importance to student success in primary schools. Bulletin boards and display areas play a major role in classroom environment.

As an administrator, I was in and out of school classrooms on a regular basis. On many, many occasions, I spoke to teachers about the use of bulletin boards and other display areas in their classrooms. It was always rewarding to see such spaces put to good use. On the other hand, it was appalling to see display areas unused, or misused.

To me, it was appalling to see display areas fully covered with commercially made, store-bought posters, banners, signs, etc.

One great use for bulletin board spaces is to augment instruction. They can be used to support and reinforce previous or on-going lessons. They can be used to introduce new concepts and new areas of study. Creative teachers create bulletin boards that cause their students to stop and look, to read and discuss, to think and reach out and touch.

I can never forget the bulletin board put up by a class of fifth graders and their teacher one year. In was early springtime. They made replicas of trees, plants, grass and flowers with which to cover a large display area outside of their classroom. They did a fine job. It looked very colorful and quite pretty. They got many compliments on it.

One morning, a few weeks after it had been completed, the whole school seemed to be giggling, laughing and talking about the bulletin board outside of that fifth grade classroom. They were telling one another to go and see the green things that were growing out of it.

For the remainder of that week, students of that class took turns proudly explaining to other students and teachers how they had plotted and planned together and then “planted” their “garden on the wall. They had concealed small paper cups of bird seed and beans (loosely wrapped in tissues) behind the cutouts of trees and blossoms on their bulletin board.

They had contrived to water their “garden” without anyone outside of their class learning about it. They had kept it all a secret until the sprouting seedlings started to show.
Even some of their upper grade schoolmates gathered to watch them “harvest” their bean sprouts to transplant, to take home.

The best of “instructive” bulletin boards arouse interest, and teach and inspire students. They provide opportunities for students to interact with them. They provoke thought, engage more than just the sense of sight, and permit students to add things to them, or take things away from them.

The other major category of bulletin boards includes those upon which student work is proudly displayed for everyone to see and admire. Every student in a class should experience having his/her work regularly displayed on class bulletin boards.

In exemplary situations, every student takes part in the creation and maintenance of their class’s bulletin board and display areas. Every student in the class gets to experience the feelings of pride and ownership that accrue. Every student is helped to develop and maintain positive self esteem when classroom display areas are used to their best advantage.