A multipurpose interactive bulletin board

An open-ended process that will build essential skills and maximize space in your preschool classroom

No matter how large or small a classroom is, there is always a new way to make the most out of your space.  My indoor classroom is relatively small and so it is important to use each area of our classroom to its maximum potential without it becoming cluttered or congested.  Today, I want to share with you our multipurpose interactive bulletin board…

We have lots of large wonderful windows in our classroom which I love but this also means we only have a limited amount of wall space.  I use the wall space wisely to offer as much as I can to the children while still keeping our environment attractive.  On one wall we have what I refer to as our name or snack board doubled with our directions board.

Practicing Name Recognition

At the bottom of the board, there is a line of pockets and each pocket has a child’s name on it.  We use this for the children to pull out their names throughout the day.  Each morning the children remove their name from their pocket and put it on our classroom attendance chart…

On some days, the children put their names back in the pockets after they have eaten a snack and on other days, the children put their names back into the pockets before they go home.  It all depends on the day…

Following Simple Instructions

The top of the board is called our Directions Board.  It takes exactly 4 sheets of large construction paper to cover the top half of the board. I tape four sheets of construction paper together and create different sets of “directions” for the children to follow depending on the day and the activity planned for the table directly below the board.  Currently, the board has our heart display which was shared last week on the blog…

However, when we need the top of the board for a different display, we simply staple a new display right over the top of the heart display then take the new display down when we are done. Like the classroom map below, we only needed it up for an hour of our day…

An Open-Ended Process

The reason I call the top of our board a directions board is because we have been working with the children on learning to “read” and follow simple directions by creating displays to add to the board.  The children are getting very good at following the directions on the board.  The processes that accompany the directions are open-ended but there are always steps that can be given on the directions board to help the children understand what the process is all about…

For the board above, we were working on drawing lines with a ruler.  The children made snowflakes but their snowflakes didn’t (and wasn’t expected) to turn out exactly like the one on the board. Since this was our first time using the directions board, I did choose to show the complete process so the children understood how to read the directions and what the process looked like from beginning to end. It is important to note that the focus of the board is about reading and following directions – not controlling their freedom to explore.  If the children head off into a direction that wasn’t on the board – we go with it.  The children are given all the space they need to interpret the directions in their own way or with their own creative spin during the process..

Building Literacy Skills

With each new display I made for the Directions Board, I add different elements like numbers to identify steps in the correct order or complete sentences or different objects that illustrate what the directions are.  The children learn to start from the left side of the board and follow the steps to the right side (promoting left to right reading progression) and to look for clues as to what the words might say under or over each word (or sentence) on the board (deductive reasoning or predictable print)…

During morning circle, we do a brief review of the board. I ask the children to look at the board and tell me what they think might be the first thing they are to do. For our students who are almost ready to read, we read the words aloud with them or for them. Those who are not readers, love to think they can read and always tell me what they think the words on the board say and for the most part, they get much of what the board says pretty darn close…

Why we Love the Directions Board

For me personally, I love the directions board. It helps me think through how to share a process in simple steps and yet keep the process open-ended so the children can interpret the process in their own way.  It also makes me prepare more completely for a process, think it through a bit, and make sure it is reasonable for the children to do entirely on their own…

With each new display, the children are getting better and better at following the directions entirely on their own. The older children follow it easily, the younger children took about two weeks before they even remembered to look up and see that they could follow what was on the board.  I am also getting better at recognizing what to add and what not to add to the board so that it is all about the needs and abilities of the children in my class…

Using a bulletin board for more than just one purpose can help those of you with smaller classrooms maximize your wall space and do something extra for your students.  You just have to think outside the box a bit!

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Bulletin Board Ideas on Pinterest

Taking the Word Wall Beyond the Wall by Teach Preschool

Parent Boards in the Preschool Classroom by Teach Preschool

Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Latest Blog Posts

P is for Pizza!

While learning about the letter “P” we decided to explore with pizza! Pizza is an all-time favorite food for many preschoolers, and activities involving pizza

Read More »