## Thursday, January 3, 2013

### New Year Bulletin Board Ideas for the Math Classroom

Now that school is back in session (or will be shortly), your bulletin boards can help display basic fact families or math formulas and add a touch of interest to your math classroom. You can make the bulletin boards interactive by included math problems on the boards and letting your students solve them during your math warm-ups or bell work. For more math warm-up ideas, see our previous post.

Start with a basic bulletin board so you can easily change it to reflect the changing seasons and holidays. If you're short on time, keep the border and background paper the same from month to month or season to season. You may want to place one of the the bulletin board displays on your classroom door so it will catch the students' interest as they enter. If you don't actually have a bulletin board in your classroom, use part of a wall or the back of a filing cabinet. You can even hang math problems and math vocabulary words from your ceiling.

Some simple seasonal bulletin board ideas from Excel Math are shown below. Click on the links to download patterns for each bulletin board. Use foam or small pieces of folded cardboard to give a 3-D effect to the displays. Be creative with your background paper. Leftover Christmas or Hanukkah (or birthday) wrap, foil, a large piece of fabric, burlap, or wallpaper pieces (check with your local paint store or home design center for old samples) make good backgrounds. Remember, these ideas are just starting points to help you get the creative juices flowing as you begin the new year. Feel free to expand and elaborate on these suggestions to fit your own classroom.

January:
Snowflakes with math problems can hang from your classroom ceiling and windows as well as on your bulletin board. Print out the snowflakes below. Create your math problems or use those given, and use the blank ones to let students add some of their own problems. Give students a chance to solve the problems during their warm-up or bell work time.

Give each of your students a piece of white or sparkly paper and let them fold the papers into triangles. Show the students how to cut small pieces out of the triangles and then unfold them to create snowflakes. (Provide tape for students who get too enthusiastic with the cutting.) Students can add their own math equations to the snowflakes and then trade snowflakes to take turns solving each other's math problems.

February:

March:
Create a shamrock bulletin board in March as St. Patrick's Day approaches. Use the Excel Math Basic Math Facts section of the lesson sheet or our Timed Online Math Practice or copy the sheet of shamrocks for each student.

Add your own problems to the blank shamrocks. Have students print the answers on the back and then use them as flashcards. Let students choose a buddy and practice the fact families together. Or have them work individually to improve their scores.
To engage your sports fans, have a March Madness Math competition during basketball season (pictured at the top of this post. Encourage students to learn their math facts and then beat their own score to achieve a "personal best" (getting 8 out of 10 or better in a basic math facts worksheet) or to beat their best time, completing a set of math facts as quickly and accurately as possible.

Award basketballs (cut from the sheet below) to those students who improve each week. Let the students create their own math facts using the blank basketballs, and add new problems to the bulletin board as you (or they) have time. You can even use some of the blank basketballs to highlight a "math student of the week." Let the most improved or high achieving student print his name on a basketball and post it on the bulletin board near the basket. Use netting from an orange or potato sack or an old soccer or tennis net to give your bulletin board a 3-D effect. Bring in a self-standing basketball hoop and let your students solve a math problem and then attempt a basket using a soft foam ball. Create a free-throw line for a 3-point toss.

Your students can print two- or three-digit numbers on the smaller balls, turn them face down, and then turn over two at a time to add or multiply together. Let your students play in pairs and see who can be the first to get the correct answer (or have each student write the problem and answer on a blank piece of paper and then compare answers after they've done several problems.

Feel free to share your bulletin board ideas with us. Just add a comment below with your suggestion. If we use it in a future post, we'll credit you and include a link to your website or blog. For additional bulletin board ideas, read our previous posts, "Bulletin Board Ideas for the Math Classroom and Seasonal Bulletin Boards for the Math Classroom.

Find out how Excel Math can work for your students at excelmath.com. Excel Math is fully aligned to the Common Core and to state standards. See the correlations.

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