Saturday, May 27, 2017

posters and bulletin boards in the classroom

Posters and Bulletin Boards in The Classroom by Kate Coplan

To improve the appearance of an unattractive corner of a
Fifth Grade classroom in Baltimore, the teacher mounted
some children's art papers on walls and cabinets, placing
artistic objects nearby. With the colors nicely coordinated,
the arrangement made a pleasant reading corner.
       There are two major views in so far as classroom bulletin boards are concerned. One maintains that they must be showcases for students' work, with the youngsters themselves largely responsible for both content and presentation. The use by the teacher of posters and designs suggested or originating elsewhere is frowned upon, even though this might mean a vastly improved representation.
       The second view‚ with which this writer is in hearty accord‚ argues that the teacher, because of his broad experience and training, should provide most of the ideas and leadership, democratically inviting student participation, and using student work wherever practicable.
       However, if he is by talent or temperament artistically inadequate, he may legitimately borrow ideas, materials and/or techniques from any available source, in order to make classroom bulletin boards brighter, more attractive, more potentially educative. Certainly it is not plagiarism, but justifiable resourcefulness to adopt existing tools tending to stimulate learning, or to assist more readily in the dissemination of information.
       Where would the world be today if the great scientists, inventors, explorers, historians and medical researchers had ignored earlier developments in their respective fields, or failed to take into account the findings and accomplishments of their predecessors and contemporaries? Surely in teaching, as in other areas, there is the obligation to seize upon any constructive means likely to further the desired goals.
       James B. League, an enthusiastic and capable young teacher in Baltimore's elementary schools, has created many successful classroom bulletin board displays. Out of his experience he has evolved the following philosophy:
       "In order to proceed with maximum understanding it seems necessary to outline certain objectives or goals to be desired of visual materials. Without this statement, one flounders in confusion. The statement of objectives is also necessary from the point of view of establishing sub-goals to be used as means of arriving at the final goals. All material included in this statement is developed from my own classroom teaching experience, and is stated from my personal viewpoint only.

  • To create the maximum aesthetic 'value' with the abilities and materials available to each teacher
  • To create visual displays that have mind-appeal as well as eye-appeal
  • To provide high standards of visual display to serve as a basis of experience for children to develop their own background and eventually their own skills in this area
  • To develop the teacher's outlook to a point where he is sensitive to many ideas as potential points of departure for display or visual set-ups 
  • To remember that fundamentally visual material should be, after all, an integral part of the educative processes, and therefore a primary responsibility of the teacher, himself
       "The following list of points serves to establish some reasons why it can be argued that the teacher needs to take the dominant role in planning, preparation, and execution of visual materials. (This is counter to the position that children should perform this function, and the teacher take a rather subordinate role, because schools are more interested in developing healthy personalities than beautiful art products).

   1. The preparation of quality displays requires a perception and/or appreciation of several factors, among which are:
  •  a. an intellectual awareness of the salient points of the topic or subject to be displayed . . . i.e., how to create and capitalize on clever captions and related materials such as pictures, books, mock-ups, etc.
  •  a sensitivity to certain principles of color and design as adjuncts of the message to be conveyed
  • the ability to gauge the viewers' reaction- e.g., appropriate materials for age and/or mentality groups
   2. The final display should be more than a sum of its parts (i.e., color, design, caption, etc.). Rather, it should possess an organic unity which is the end product of intelligent planning
   3. The display should have 'sales' value as well as aesthetic value. It is the teacher who understands fully the message (however subtle or bold) he wishes to have communicated by the display materials
    4. In the final analysis, it is the teacher who must grow in experience and skill in the development of effective displays. He will need to use these skills at a high level of efficiency for many years to come. The sense of design, and 'healthy personality' can be developed in children in countless other ways
   5. The teacher, himself, needs to develop a forward look to keep his displays stimulating, and at the aforementioned high level of efficiency of execution

       "Certainly I do not advocate leaving the children out of the picture. That is not my intention at all. I should like to make these additional points, and a more resourceful teacher could probably come up with many others:

       1. In order to help the children to develop good display principles, one bulletin board in the room can be turned over to them. This could be done on a monthly rotating committee basis, four or five boys and girls working together. Such a setup would give all the children experience during the year in the planning and execution of exhibits. Being responsible for a single board, and knowing what was expected of them, they would probably feel more secure
       2. Because the teacher, in a sense, takes the dominant role, does not mean that the children are excluded during the preparation and execution activities. They could be included in various ways:
  • Designing and cutting letters from folded squares of construction paper, if no commercial alphabets are available 
  • Dismantling previous displays 
  • Preparing the backgrounds for new displays, by painting or lining
  • Helping in choice of pictures in planning stage
  • Assisting with mounting of pictures, maps, charts or other items
  • Getting books from library when these are to be used
  • Putting jackets on books
  • Filing dismantled materials for future use
  • Lending material from their personal collections: shells, stamps, baseball cards, rock specimens, etc.
       3. Children, quite naturally from a maturational point of view, lack the sensitivity and intellectual awareness to prepare displays with the necessary depth of understanding to carry a teaching message effectively
       4. Finally, children themselves love to see their own creative products displayed to best advantage"

Sample Bulletin Boards from Suburban Baltimore Schools: (coming soon)
  • Bulletin Board Displays from Kindergarten Classrooms
  • American History Bulletin Boards
  • Science and Math Related Ideas for Bulletin Boards
  • Ideas for Sharing Books through Bulletin Board Displays 
  • Bulletin Board Ideas About Religion
More Articles by Kate Coplan:
  • How to Communicate Through Visual Display
  • About The Use of Color In Bulletin Boards
  • Creative Poster Ideas
  • Attention-Getting Bulletin Boards
  • Helpful Hints About Crafting Displays
  • Taking Care of Display Materials

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