Sunday, 2 August 2015

All Things Bulletin Boards: The UK Way!

Yay! It's time to link-up with Angie and Ashley
I absolutely adore these 2 lovely ladies! Their friendship and journey has truly inspired me- if you haven't caught one of their periscopes yet then I strongly suggest you do! They have take the whole #2getherwearebetter thing to a totally new level let me tell you! 

So….this month we are coming together to talk about one of my most favourite subjects 'bulletin boards' or 'displays' as we would call them in the UK. Now, I know in the UK there are some guidelines regarding workload which suggest that teachers shouldn't do displays but if you're anything like me then displays are THEE main reasons you became a teacher in the first place!!! 
Just kidding…….no seriously! 

So….the bread and butter of a board is the backing and boarder. 
Both are equally important for pulling your classroom theme together and drawing attention to learning opportunities.

The serious stuff- laying a good foundation!
Most board resources here in the UK are a whole school resource so we don't often have a
big say in the colours and patterns available.
Our paper is stored in a central store and it goes very quickly! We mainly have sheets of display paper which is fine with me as they are easier to put up on your own. 
I get anxious if paper isn't straight, I hate when people cut strips to fit rather than arranging the paper correctly, I hate too many staples and I can't stand when people use too many sheets!! Most boards in my classroom take a combination of 2 or 3 landscape pieces on the top and 4 or 5 portrait pieces at the bottom NO MORE, NO LESS!!! This gives the crispest look to the board without waste or cutting pieces- a minimal overlap of about 2cm is more than enough!!!
Rolls of backing paper? I HATE THEM! They are so hard to put up solo and I always, always get a 'sag'- you know what I mean?
See…I'm a serious board backer!!! I think it comes from years of covering boards in my mother's classrooms. She was trained in the 1960's when they actually gave trainee teachers lessons in this stuff and I suppose it's just stuck!

Framing the master piece- Boarders
Again the boarders tend to be a whole school resource here in the UK and in our school, layering the nice ones up isn't really an option as we don't have loads available and have to be mindful of other teachers and their needs.
I love to use corrugated boarders as they handle easily and seem more hardwearing but they don't often come in fancy designs. I love boarders which add something to the display as well as framing it. I've often made a boarder up of the children's artwork for example we collaged cardboard penguins and used them on our Polar Regions display as the boarder. Once I cut long strips of card and got the children to choose shades of green and splat the card with it to frame a display on frogs. 

The 2 types of boards in my room and lots of other UK classrooms
O.K. so… not every board can be cute some just need to be practical. 
We have the more time consuming and appealing 'Display Boards' and the quick and easy 'Working Walls' in our room. Both are absolutely worth while and valuable. 
Here's the difference…

Display Boards- These are used to display the children's work or information which will be up for a while.They should be engaging and encourage the viewer to look closely. We want the children to feel a sense of pride in their work and environment so putting time and effort into the way we display it should reflect this.

Working Walls- These are the boards the children refer to constantly for their learning. They are not just a background wall paper but should be changed and adjusted to reflect the children's learning and the unit/ topic that week/ term. They don't have to be cute as they are meant to be used not just looked at. That doesn't mean to say that pride shouldn't be taken in them but that they should be user friendly. 
Some of my favourite things!
If you have read any of my previous TGIF posts then you will know that I love to use photo frames and wall paper in my classroom. School can be a daunting place for the children and parents alike so I think using 'home' items around the room brings a sense of the familiar and helps them to relax.

This is one of my all-time favourite displays to share information with parents-
Parents even bring me old rolls of wall paper into class now too! Such an easy way to connect!

I love making the backing of a board a little bit different- I know using fabric is big in the US but not so much here in the UK although I have been known to use some burlap to back a board before!

I love how splatting paint on the paper before backing the board can look-
Sure the kids look cute in their spacesuits but its the paper I'm interested in! Using white splats on black made our space display pop and this year I'm using some of Glitter Meets Glue's sparkly clip art on a colourfully splatted lilac backing paper to make my 'We're a Colourful Class' welcome board stand out!

This simple 'Finger Gym' board used for tracking grip development is simply a strip of brown paper- I'm yet to put the lettering on the burlap- oops!
Wrapping paper makes a great backing provided it doesn't distract from the display content. 

I also don't like to keep my displays to just the boards- I don't have many so I branch out wherever possible!
Washing lines and vertical blinds are brilliant places to peg work for display.

My overall goal with bulletin/display boards is to present either work or information in a creative and interesting way but I believe you have to strike a balance. If the backing or boarder is too fussy then the content of the display can become lost. Our little ones find it hard enough to focus and concentrate at the best of times!

The background and boarder should simply frame and present the work not distract from it.
All jazz and no pizzaz makes a very sad board indeed!


  1. You have some interesting ideas here! I'd love to hear more about the "guidelines regarding workload"?!? I'm totally going to start hanging some rope and covering my ugly blinds now with crafty things. Loved everything!

    The Whimsical Teacher

    1. Ah thanks Jessica! I try hard to make it look nice but often fail- I am forever falling short of the interest teacher if you know what I mean! Have fun with those washing-lines and pegs! Xx


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