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Bulletin Board Ideas for Teachers:
They’re More Than Decoration

Bulletin boards are a timeless staple in any K-12 classroom. Whether it’s to display student work, show a visual representation of a curricular unit, countdown to an upcoming event, or celebrate class accomplishments, bulletin boards bring color, whimsy, information and cheer to classrooms.

In most classrooms these bulletin board ideas are more than decoration.

School bulletin board in a hallway titled Reading is food for the brain.

Bulletin Board Ideas for Special Education

For students with complex learning needs, visual supports in the classrooms such as bulletin boards serve many important purposes. They:

  • Demonstrate visual organization. Bulletin boards display ways to organize and categorize information. Seeing abstract concepts represented in visual ways can help students form stronger mental models of what they’re learning.
  • Integrate sensory needs. For students who benefit from sensory integration experiences, bulletin boards can incorporate tactical elements such as Velcro, stickers, felt, etc. to provide an opportunity for rich sensory exploration through tactile interactions.
  • Deliver visual cues and supports. Daily schedules, incentive charts, and classroom expectations can be visually displayed to help students understand and follow routines.
  • Reinforce curricular concepts. Bulletin boards can echo curricular themes to help build skills and understanding. Interactive and visual displays can include communication boards, word walls, and materials that mirror classroom instruction.
  • Celebrate achievements and progress. Recognizing and celebrating students’ accomplishments is an important part of building their confidence as learners. Bulletin boards can reflect class milestones and showcase student work to help create a sense of camaraderie and community.
Word Wall Bulletin Board with letters of the alphabet and word "day" listed under the letter D.

Bulletin boards are also wonderful ways to communicate to visitors and other students what topics are being taught and examples of student work. 

Easy Bulletin Board Ideas Using Posters

Educators can save time when creating bulletin boards by incorporating pre-made elements such as posters that reinforce thematic units and seasonal themes. Knowledge Unlimited, part of Building Wings, creates posters for bulletin boards that cover many subject areas. These and many other educationally-related posters are available on Amazon.

  • Punctuation poster. This 18” x 25” poster features the most common punctuation marks, along with brief explanations on how each is used.
  • Ancient Civilizations poster set (top seller). This set of 10 posters features the world’s earliest civilizations in a beautifully illustrated and informative format. Each poster is 17” x 22” and combines art, a map, and historical information on Ancient China, the Roman Empire, Ancient India, the Egyptians, the Ancient Jews, the Greeks, the Incas, the Maya, the Persians, and the Sumerians.
  • Ancient Civilizations map and timeline poster. This poster perfectly pairs with the Ancient Civilizations poster set. On this poster, students can quickly and easily see the locations of the major civilizations of the ancient world, and the timeline at the bottom helps students contextualize when each of these civilizations rose, flourished, and fell. This poster measures 21” x 33”.
  • Great Native American Leaders poster set. In this six-poster set, black and white pictures or images accompany quotations and information about some of the greatest Native American leaders. Included in the set are Black Hawk, Chief Joseph, Chief Seattle, Geronimo, Red Cloud, and Sitting Bull. Each poster measures 18” x 24”.If you prefer not to purchase the full set, you can  individual Great Native American Leaders posters are available.

There are many posters available that are great compliments to Readtopia literacy instruction units such as thematic units on Ancient Egypt / Roman Empire | Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile, Ancient Mayans | The Solar System | The Secret of Old Mexico, and Westward Expansion | Sacagawea: The Trip to the West.

Provide Visual Supports and Reinforce Instruction

Bulletin boards can enhance and enliven the learning experience. Students with complex learning needs often thrive when visuals are part of instruction.

This is an example of a bulletin board, inspired by the Readtopia special education curriculum unit Ancient Egypt / Roman Empire | Cleopatra: Queen of the Nile. 

Classroom bulletin board on Cleopatra

Additionally, bulletin boards can also be a powerful tool for reinforcing instruction and providing a window into the learning occurring to classroom and school visitors such as this bulletin board displaying core words in a Readtopia unit with switches to make it interactive and share the experience of using switch technology.

Readtopia Core Words bulletin board

Though the impressive bulletin board displays on Pinterest may intimidate some teachers when it comes to designing their classroom, putting together an engaging and informative bulletin board can be simple and still be effective. Well-chosen posters, interactive activities, and colorful elements can support the curriculum as well as social and emotional growth of learners.

Bulletin boards are not merely classroom decoration. They can be powerful education tools. As we continue to use new technological advancements in the classroom, let’s not forget the enduring impact that a well-crafted bulletin board can have on student engagement, communication, and academic success.



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Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


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