Before you grab your stapler and scissors to design the typical August bulletin board anthem, “Welcome back to school,” take a journey with me deep into the school year.

Imagine it is April and only a couple of months or so left before summertime. When the students stroll out of the room at the end of the day, you sigh, sit down and take a long slow look around the empty classroom. Then it hits you. There it is front and center. A cute little snowman on your bulletin board staring at you as if to say, “Have you forgotten about me?”

Apparently, you have.

The entire bulletin board is smothered in winter holiday decorations, wording and images during the middle of April.

You stare in disbelief. How did you forget to change your bulletin board that you created back in October? For a busy and dedicated teacher, classroom décor may not be at the top of your priority list and can certainly pass you by. Yet, students see bulletin boards each day. There is no denying the artwork and text sets a tone for the classroom, projecting a message, feeling or vibe. Hmmm. Snowman in April. Or “Welcome back to school” in November.

The beginning of the year is a great time to grab your students’ attention. And, of course, it helps to have something awesome displayed in your classroom during open house.

Here’s an idea for a bulletin board that will jumpstart excitement for the new year. It’s useful, energizing, and sure to be noticed by students, parents, and maybe even other teachers. Not only that, but this creation has staying power!

Think of what’s in store for students. Then, show them what they have to look forward to. Graphically display the “best of” 6th grade (or whatever grade) for all to see. You may want to include new challenges as well. Students get a sense of what they will accomplish.  And as the year goes on, they can reflect on past achievements.  Parents, too, get a general sense of what the year is all about.

Below is a list of activities and events that may be part of the years’ experience. These are just ideas to get you going, but, make it your own. Make your bulletin board your students’ specific adventure trail that they will navigate through all year long. Here’s our take on it.


In our example, we used the theme, “Off and running.” If you choose to use this idea, simply draw silhouettes of runners or find artwork online. I found the runners’ image I used on, a terrific site that offers free photos and artwork.




Activities could include:

Field Trips – Photos of past field trips would be great to include in this category.

Skits – Again if you have done these in the past, photos may be included here.
Otherwise, find photos or artwork online or cut out faces and glue on fabric for clothing.

Games – Find artwork or photos, or use a game piece and glue it onto the board.

Reading – If you have a small book that can be stapled, that will work. Or show a graphic representation of reading.

Technology – Photos or artwork are probably your best bet.

Homework – Not all activities have to be super fun to make the board. You can also include challenging expectations. Chances are your students are also facing a lot of hard work and new ways of thinking this year. Set the stage for it. For homework, I simply cut out an enormous pencil and glue it on paper with scribbles on it.

Quizzes/Tests – Again, not at the top of the fun chart, but, hey, they need to know.

For a little extra punch, I often take the art or photo and put it onto folded cardboard that’s about an inch thick. It stands out more.
Whether you go with this idea or not, it’s worth considering an evergreen bulletin board.

But if you want to commit to changing your board with each season, go for it!
But don’t let little snowmen stare you down come April.

Author: Amy Flanders