My name is Tanya Moorehead. I am a second-year Ph.D. student in Exceptional Education at the University of Central Florida. Dr. Lisa Dieker is one of the faculty members at the university that I have the pleasure of working alongside.
I am a certified K-12 Special Education teacher in the state of Connecticut. I have a Bachelors of Science in Education and a Masters of Art in Special Education from the University of Connecticut. Before entering the doctoral program at UCF, I was a special education teacher for seven years in the Bloomfield Public School system, where I was named Teacher of the Year. I have had the pleasure of teaching 6th-8th grade students.
On an average day I could be found co-teaching with my colleagues in language arts, social studies, and math classes. When I wasn’t in classrooms, I spent a considerable amount of time in IEP meetings collaborating with support staff (school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and paraprofessionals).
For my first blog post, I am going to give you a gift. What do we all need more of? TIME! That is your gift. I am going to share one of the ways that I saved time as a teacher while simultaneously soliciting student participation and boosting their self esteem.
We all have bulletin boards to create. Why not allow your students to contribute to the construction? This can work at any grade level. Here are some quick and easy steps to make this idea work for you.
1. Select 10 to 12 bulletin board themes for the school year. The themes can connect with the instruction, seasons, holidays, subject areas, hobbies of students and/or teachers, student work, current events, or special school events, just to name a few.
2. Use the Kim’s Korner for Teacher Talk website for creative ideas: http://www.kimskorner4teachertalk.com/classmanagement/bulletinboards.html.
3. Create groups of two to four students. Identify roles for each student in the group, such as a group coordinator, a designer, an artist, etc.
4. Give each group an opportunity to select the themes that they want to create for their bulletin board.
5. Schedule time for students to work on the bulletin board, such as after school (with parent approval).
6. Once the bulletin boards are completed, take pictures of each group next to their board and post the picture somewhere in the classroom to acknowledge their work. This experience allows students a chance to shine and collaborate with their peers.
Feel free to alter this quick and easy plan to fit the needs of your classroom. For example, you can encourage healthy competition among the students. Toward the end of the year the class can vote on their favorite bulletin boards, such as “Most Creative,” “Most Informative,” etc. It is always a good idea to reinforce the power of voting during an election year.
This activity always helped build a sense of community in my classroom. I was surprised at the amount of talent and creativity my students displayed, which they never had a chance to express before this activity.
Enjoy the gift of time!