Additional Math Pages & Resources

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bulletin Board Ideas for the Math Classroom

bulletin board
A simple, low-cost and attractive way to decorate your math classroom is with bulletin boards. Place one of the the bulletin boards near the door so it will catch the children's interest as they enter. If you don't actually have a bulletin board, use part of a wall. Attach trim or a 3-inch wide strip of construction paper to form the border. The hallway outside your room is also a great place for a bulletin board and can be a handy spot to post announcements and upcoming class and all-school events. If you share the hallway bulletin board with other classes, brainstorm ideas with those teachers. Some simple bulletin board ideas include:
  • Cover the bulletin board with a large sheet of poster paper, gift wrap, or cloth for a colorful background. Add a star trim border around the edges of the board to highlight your classroom tasks or math fact families. Change the trim to pumpkins in October, snowflakes in November, hearts in February, umbrellas in April, and flowers in May.
Class Favorites Bulletin Board
from Excel Math at
  • Make a colorful border by cutting construction paper strips or using corrugated trim in a contrasting color to your bulletin board background. You can be as creative as you like by cutting the border strips in fancy or decorative shapes. Add stickers or glue star cutouts (or other seasonal shapes) around the border to make it pop.
  • Adding a three-dimensional effect can give your bulletin boards added eye appeal. Make flowers out of egg carton cups. Put a layer of thick cardboard behind some of your bulletin board figures to make them stand out.
  • Attach materials to the bulletin boards using staples, as they are much more difficult for younger children to remove and swallow. Be sure that no loose staples are left on the floor after you've completed the board. Use textured materials such as sandpaper for a sandy beach, cotton balls for clouds, and green felt or fabric for grassy hills.
  • Make interactive bulletin boards: Mount a mirror on the board, covered with a piece of cloth. Place a picture of of your class beside the mirror. Guide a child to the board. Ask, Who is important in our classroom? Look and see. Create a header for the bulletin board with this question. Have the student lift the cloth to see himself. Let each student write a paragraph about his strengths and abilities. For the final sentence, have each student write, "Who am I?" Then have him fold up the bottom third of the page and print his name. Unfold the paper and fold it in half with the words inside. Let the child print a math problem on the outside, staple the paper to the board, and let the children read about each other and guess who is being described.
  • Make a bulletin board titled, “We are learning and growing together.” Mount a large green stem with paper leaves so you have one for each child. Let each child draw a self-portrait of his or her face in the center of a paper plate. Have the child color the rim of the plate on both sides. Then let the child cut 1-inch slits along the edge of the plate at about 2-inch intervals and fold the edges in to frame the self-portrait. Glue or staple a  plate on top of each stem to form a garden of flowers. Add butterflies, ladybugs, etc. Print each child's name on a leaf of his or her self-portrait. Guide younger students to the board and help them identify their classmates by name. 
Interactive Addition Bulletin Board
from Excel Math at
  • Make an interactive math fact bulletin board. Glue three clear plastic pockets to your board. Make sure each pocket can hold an index card. Place several cards with numbers on them in each pocket. For the last pocket, turn the number cards so they face the board. Add a plus, minus, multiplication, or division sign between the first two pockets and an equal sign before the last pocket. Let your students solve the equation during free time or as bell work when they enter the room. Have a child choose the correct answer (number card) from the last pocket and turn it facing forward. Change the numbers a few times each day and let the students solve the new problems.
  • Head your bulletin board "It All Adds Up." Create several sets of pockets as described in the previous paragraph. Use only addition on this board. Place 6-8 problems on the board. Leave the answer pockets blank. Prepare several (correct) answer cards for each problem so you can give one to each of your students. Place the answer cards in a box or basket face down. As they enter the room, have each child take a number card from the box or basket. At your signal, the first 6-8 students you select may each take the card and place it in the correct answer pocket on the board. After each pocket is full, remove the cards. At a later time during the class, let the next group of students have a turn to add their cards to the answer pockets. Continue until most students have had a turn. Those who didn't get a turn can go first the next day. (Variation: Give each child a blank card on which to print the answer. Let the children take turns adding an answer to the pockets until they are filled. Then remove the answer cards and let the next group of children add their cards.)
  • Copy the clock and hands page from below onto card stock and cut them out. (This clock is from the Manipulatives section of the Excel Math Teacher Edition.) Attach the hands to the clock using a paper fastener. Staple the clock to the bulletin board so the hands can be moved. Head the bulletin board "It's Time to …" Attach a clear pocket below the clock. Make several index cards with various times (such as 1:00 or one o'clock) written on each card (one time for each card). Place the index cards in the pocket so one card is showing. Have a child come to the front of the room and change the clock hands to match the time on the card. (Variation: Move the clock hands to a certain time and let each child key in the time on his iPad, computer, or student response system. Continue for 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of class.)
Clock Pattern
Clock Pattern from Excel Math Teacher Edition Manipulatives
Click here for a PDF download.

For more math bulletin board ideas plus seasonal patterns, visit our September blog post, Seasonal Bulletin Board Ideas for the Math Classroom. Feel free to share your bulletin board ideas with us. Just add a comment below with your idea and blog address. If we use it in a future post, we'll credit you and include a link to your website or blog.

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