January is a challenging month for teachers. Students start the month off unfocused as they come back from a holiday and cold winter days can make for pent up energy and wiggles. Instead of fighting the inevitable challenges of getting back into the swing of school, use your January bulletin boards to help you create focus. Try the ideas below to turn your students from distracted to engaged in no time flat.
Bulletin Boards for January
What better time to talk about diversity than when the snow is piled high outside? If you do not live in a cold climate, do not worry – this bulletin board will still work! Begin by covering a bulletin board with light blue paper or fabric. Hand each student a sheet of white copier paper and ask them to describe how their paper is similar to their neighbor’s. Next, ask students to fold their paper in half. Some will fold it horizontally and others will fold it vertically. Again, ask students to point out similarities. Instruct them to fold it in half again and cut out a snowflake. After their snowflakes are completed, discuss the similarities and differences. Point out that each snowflake began the same way and that while they may all be different, they are more similar than they are different. Hang the snowflakes on the bulletin board and title it, “Beautiful Diversity.”
Create a bulletin board that is specifically designed to track students’ physical activity during the month of January. Cut out a large thermometer where students can color in their physical activity in increments of 30 minutes. To determine how many bars you will need to draw on the thermometer, multiply the number of students in class by 31 (or the number of days in the month, if you are using the activity for a month other than January). Each child should be getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Place information blurbs about physical fitness around the bulletin board. Encourage students to track their activity each day and color the thermometer in. By tracking the activity as a class and making it a class goal, you take away any negative comparisons between the students who are very athletic and those who are not. It is a great way to draw the class together as a community while also encouraging students to get the physical activity that they need to stay healthy.
Variation: Instead of a thermometer, create a track around the bulletin board and have students add footsteps to the board for each 30 minutes of exercise.
What Is Your Dream?
With Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday in the middle of January, it is the perfect time to encourage students to think about what they would do to change the world. This student-created bulletin board is simple to create. Cover the board with white or tan butcher paper. Label the board at the top with “Tell Us Your Dream.” Students then write and draw their dreams on the bulletin board during center or free time. Encourage them to be appropriate, but also to be honest in their expression. This graffiti style bulletin board can then be discussed at the end of the month as you read students’ dreams aloud. It is a great way to gain insight into the thoughts and ideas of your students.
What are some of your favorite January bulletin boards?