Looking for ways to make the most of the bulletin boards in your classroom? Read this post for 9 bulletin board ideas for middle school ELA worth the time and effort. Learn creative ways to get students involved as well!
Making the Most of Your Bulletin Boards
Looking for creative ways to cover that blank corkboard in your classroom? Been there. Finding meaningful bulletin board ideas can be challenging for middle school ELA teachers.
While Pinterest-worthy bulletin boards can make the physical space feel inviting and help build a positive classroom culture, your classroom décor can double as an effective learning tool! You can use bulletin boards to introduce curriculum content, convey important information, reinforce learning concepts, recommend book titles, review essential vocabulary, showcase student work, and more.
That said, I know finding bulletin board ideas that check all the boxes can be challenging. While we both know how easy it is to spend hours searching online for ideas, we know teachers don’t really have time for that. That’s why I’ve curated a list of 9 worthwhile bulletin board ideas that are visually appealing, effective, and relevant in the middle school ELA classroom.
9 Bulletin Board Ideas for Middle School ELA
Whether you use the ideas below in your classroom or they simply spark ideas of your own, here’s to creating worthwhile bulletin board displays in our classrooms!
1. Word Wall
Word walls create a visually dynamic display of content-specific vocab and other relevant words. They provide students with an accessible resource that reinforces relevant terms and language concepts beyond a more traditional vocab list. The best word walls are colorful and organized, and incorporate both visuals and examples to help students grasp new terms. If you’re looking for a new way to approach vocabulary, give the word wall bulletin board a try!
2. Word Graveyard
Tired of reading the same words again and again (and again)? It might be time for a word graveyard bulletin board display! Inspire students to expand their bank of “go-to” words, like “said” and “very” by burying the overused and outdated terms, and providing more descriptive and engaging alternatives. This is a lighthearted yet effective way to encourage students to improve their word choice.
3. This Not That
Remember the beloved “This not That” spread in magazines that helped us know what was on trend back in the day? Gather a list of common mistakes in the English Language, including misused words, phrases, and homophones. Then, create a This Not That display that showcases the correct use of language. Have one side of the board (the “this” side) display the correct usage while the other (“that”) side highlights the error. This can also work for common grammar mistakes, too!
4. Bookflix Bulletin Board
Today’s students might be more likely to binge-watch a TV show than binge-read a book series. So, why not lean into it? Create a Netflix-inspired bulletin board that features books instead of shows and movies! Divide the bulletin board into various sections, like “Trending Books,” “Popular Series,” and various genres. Under each section, display book covers with a brief synopsis, arranging them in rows to emulate the Netflix queue. If you’re feeling really creative, design a large header for your bulletin board that reads “Bookflix” in a font style similar to the Netflix logo.
Get students involved by having a “recommendation” box where students can write down suggested book titles they want to be added to the queue.
5. Books Worth Buzzing About
Who doesn’t love a little play on words now and again? (I sure do!) This creative bulletin board display allows you to get punny while giving great book recommendations. Create a beehive-themed bulletin board where you and your students can recommend must-read books. Have a pile of bee-shaped cutouts readily available that students (or you) can use to write down the titles of recommended books! Keep this board up all year long and watch as the hive of recommendations grows! At the end of the year, let students vote on a “Queen Bee” to crown as the best book of the year.
6. Five-Star Review Spotlight
This book-review bulletin board idea is perfect if you use independent reading in your classroom. Whenever students finish a book, have them rate it on a scale of 1-5 stars and provide a 2-3 sentence review, as if they were a book or movie critic! Use a red background and have students paste their reviews on a star-shaped cutout to give your display a Hollywood vibe. Instead of you always having to recommend new books, students can easily see what books their peers are recommending.
7. Literary Elements Exhibit
Move over da Vinci! Transform your bulletin board into a museum display of literary devices. Use this bulletin board as a way to showcase various literary elements, devices, and techniques. While you can choose the terms and provide the definitions, you can let students in on the fun too! Have them create illustrations and examples for each term. Place a picture frame cutout over their work to give it a museum-like feel.
8. Author’s Spotlight
Looking for a way to shine the spotlight on exemplary pieces of student writing? This bulletin board is it. Celebrate students’ written work on the Author’s Spotlight board. You can dedicate a small space on a bulletin board to feature an author of the week or dedicate a whole board to student work that you keep updating all year long. Add an extra element of fun by having students fill out brief “author biography” cards that include things like name, age, favorite author, and words of wisdom. Hang these cards up next to the student’s piece of work for the full spotlight experience.
9. Writing Process Roadmap
Help your students understand the importance of the writing journey with this creative and relevant bulletin board idea. Display the steps of the writing process like a roadmap, highlighting the various stages of the writing process. Include stops like prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing, along with tips and guidance to support student writing all year long. I love how this bulletin board emphasizes that writing is about more than just the destination—it’s about the journey too!
Creating a Meaningful Display without a Bulletin Board
No bulletin board? No problem! If your classroom doesn’t have a bulletin board or they’re already in use, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. You can still create meaningful bulletin board-inspired displays—you just might have to think a little bit outside of the box. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Utilize whiteboard space: Create a designated section of your classroom’s whiteboard or chalkboard for your display! The best part? Magnets make it easy to move your display around!
- Hang it up: Opt for hanging displays using strings or clotheslines across the wall. You can clip the elements of your display to the line using clothespins, making it easy to replace the information or hang up new displays!
- Go digital: Embrace technology and create virtual bulletin boards using tools like Padlet or Google Slides. These digital displays are perfect for getting students involved. Let them add to the board before projecting it onto the wall for all to see.
- Consider portable displays: Have a tri-fold poster? An easel? A portable whiteboard? These are all great ways to create a meaningful display that can be easily moved around the classroom!
Final Thoughts on Bulletin Boards
Bulletin boards can be so much more than just a pretty display. They present an opportunity to engage students, reinforce learning, and celebrate student success. It may take a little extra time to curate your bulletin board. However, if it’s displaying relevant and meaningful content, the benefits are well worth it. And if you’re worried about finding the time to create one of these boards yourself, have your students jump in. You can make creating the bulletin board a classroom activity. (It’s a win-win.)
Whether you want to share your success with one of the ideas above or have another idea to share, I’d love for you to join the conversation by adding a comment below!