Bulletin Boards for High School Students

Can teachers make bulletin boards meaningful for high school students? Sure! Here are ways to engage secondary students.
 Making useful bulletin boards for high school students can be challenging.
High school is a different land than lower grades. Students want to be recognized as almost adults. Since we teachers want them to behave that way, we should treat them as such. Designing bulletin boards can increase classroom community and reinforce certain concepts.
Here are a few bulletin boards for high school students I’ve found successful.

Literary/ Pop Culture Allusions

A bulletin board I’ve used with success is my “literary terms bulletin board.” Schools often have newspapers/ magazines sitting around, and the comics often use allusions (a reference to a famous book, painting, event, etc.) and writers often use figurative language to illustrate their points. I will have students get extra credit for finding examples.

I’m going to add quotes from television shows and movies as examples for the board. That way, students can write a quote they heard on tv that’s an example of an allusion. I heard one the other night that I can add.

High school English bulletin board.

I’m a “Law and Order SVU” junkie. On one episode,” Munch used an allusion to describe an odd man: He’s a real Boo Radley type.

I was excited when I heard it, and figured this media is another way to encourage my students to apply what I teach them to their every day lives. I’m sure students have their own examples from their shows.

Content Facts

We ELA teachers present writing, grammar, literary, and speech terms to students. Phew. Lots of information!

The bulletin board needn’t be overwhelmed with decorations! Why not create a simple border, type straight-forward definitions, and print definitions or expectations? Students can read this information as they have time, and this will reinforce your messages.

You can also add a simple header and have students add sticky notes to the display. Simple!

Student Created

I never want to hang student work without their permission, so I sometimes clear a bulletin board and ask students to hang their products if they want. (Most students do that.)

What work? Grammar coloring sheets, media analysis sheets, or graphic organizers. This not only showcases student work, it also provides alternative ways of thinking for the rest of the class.

Another idea involves “found” grammar with a grammar hunt. Students can showcase their writing and vocabulary.

With ALL of these bulletin boards, you can include an evaluative piece. Include the decorations in station work (make the board a station!) and ask students to evaluate the use of words or media.

Creating bulletin boards in the secondary classroom can be a struggle. Don't make them babyish and involve students! Here are easy guidelines. #BulletinBoards

Unsuccessful Bulletin Boards

One time I had a high school bulletin board with a huge crossword puzzle using vocabulary words. It was fun, but I my students wanted one for each chapter’s vocabulary. Blowing up the puzzle and laminating it (for multiple use) was costly, and since I was paying for it, I only did it once.

Another time, I did a “falling for books” display. I think it was too cutesy for older students.

Like so much in teaching, not every effort will succeed. Involving students, showcasing work, and highlighting topics studied works well in my classroom.

Creating effective bulletin boards for high school students is tough. Students do not want to look at babyish images, and they don’t care about “seasons” or “months.”

What tips do you have for making an effective bulletin board for high school students?

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