Susan Riley | December 2016

The 3 I’s: Effective Bulletin Board Ideas for Teachers

Scroll social media for any period of time as a teacher and you’ll find people asking about bulletin board ideas for teachers.  We’ve all done it.  And we spend a lot of time on this process. We toss around ideas for themes, posting work, and making them visually appealing.  Sometimes, I wonder if we spend TOO much time on this.  I mean, shouldn’t we be focused on curriculum, assessment, and our schedule?

Sure…but bulletin boards can actually be a way to focus on all of these things at once. I like to make my bulletin boards WORK for my students and for me. Here are some bulletin board ideas for teachers for ways you can spice up that space:


There’s no reason for your bulletin boards to be a one-way street of communication. Think about ways that your bulletin boards could invite interaction. You might highlight a piece of artwork and ask students to write “I Wonder…” statements.  Or you could create a class “tweet” board where students write their thoughts on a topic using post-its.  Easy to change and always relevant!

Bulletin board ideas for teachers, Education Closet
What’s great about interactive boards is the variety of experiences they create.  If you have multiple boards in your classroom, you can use them as a homebase for centers or stations.  Students can rotate between them and use each board as either a way to explore each concept or a way to share their learning.

Here’s a list of themes to get you started:

  • I used to think and now I think
  • If this…Then that
  • Our hero’s journey
  • Tweet Deck
  • I wonder if…
  • Wall of Thanks
  • Put the Puzzle Pieces Together
  • Collaborative Mural


These boards provide students with tools they can use to help them solve problems or remind them of strategies.  They can also be great for sharing project outlines, housing your essential questions, or even as a reference to your class expectations and student jobs.
Bulletin board ideas for teachers, Education Closet

Need some specific ideas?  Try these:

  • Classroom Expectations and Rules
  • Prove It Boards
  • Vocabulary Walls
  • Popcorn Reminders
  • What is {rotate your topic}?
  • Problem-solving strategies


Lastly, these boards “illustrate” or showcase student work.  These boards offer ways to celebrate accomplishments, engage in the reflection process, and to share the important learning happening each and every day.  Sometimes, I like to combine these with “interactive boards” and attach QR codes to learn more about the student work being displayed.
Bulletin board ideas, Education Closet

Try using any of these themes:

  • Masterpiece wall
  • Museum gallery
  • Academy awards
  • Best inventions
  • We’re “branching” out
  • Board games (Monopoly, Scrabble, Chutes, and Ladders, etc) with student work as game pieces.

20 Bulletin Board Ideas
My guess is that you already know and use each of these types of bulletin boards – there’s nothing new here, right?

Maybe.  But it’s not the boards that make the difference. The power lies is using all 3 in your classroom to create a culture of active learning, resourcefulness, and reflection.

Consider how you can incorporate each type of bulletin board in your own classroom. Get crazy creative! And don’t forget to have a little fun while you’re at it.

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan