April Bulletin Board: Sakura

Haha, at this point I can imagine people being like, “All she ever writes about is sakura and flowers, I’m not reading anymore ><” …I would totally not blame you.

This post will explain this month’s bulletin board, with some reflections.

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Guess what theme?

This board contains:

Phrase of the month: hay fever: “Do you have hay fever?” 花粉症。(あなたは)花粉症ですか?). I thought this would be practical, because there was a period between ume blossom blooming period and sakura blooming period somewhere, where it felt like everyone was asking everyone else if they had hay fever. 花粉症ですか? At first I didn’t know what word to put up, but once that came to mind it felt like there could be no more obvious thing to put on the board. Especially since it seems that nobody knew the English word for “kafunshou.”

The border. Since I knew I wanted to do a sakura theme, I was able to get everything done way ahead of time and put it up right before students started classes. The border and instructions are from here, and I printed out a copy of the folding page and put it up (above “comics”).

I printed out a page with three famous sakura-viewing places in the U.S., made another worksheet with a word search on one side and a comic on the other, and put up a free-write space and a new birthdays section. I went on Google maps and took screenshots of my middle school (since I mostly couldn’t find pictures of it online), and printed those out for the “spotlight” section.

A few thoughts:

After seeing the recent bulletin boards ideas on ALT-JTE Connect, I want to change tactics somewhat, and think really carefully about what I expect students to “do” when they see something on that board. What do I expect them to write? Do I expect them to read something I post on there? Is the information important enough to them to get them try to read it? I want to rethink my worksheet strategy, too–what kinds of worksheets would be fun without being repetitive? Is a different word search every month a little repetitive? (I think it might be.)

Students always, always seem to look at the “famous birthdays” page. There isn’t any real content there, but I always see someone checking it, haha. There are days I’m not at school, and I only teach each grade for one class each week, when students are really in there every day, so I don’t necessarily see their initial reactions to the board (I mean, since initial reactions can fade more toward the end of the month). Actually, for the February board, I was also putting it up as students were walking in, so that time, I did see their first reactions–but anyway, I think it’s good to remember that, too.

I think it’s always good to have pictures of some place outside the local area or outside Japan, especially famous places in foreign countries. Maybe that’s just traditional bulletin boards calling out to me, but even if it’s only a couple of pictures, I want to keep putting up pictures of other places. Instead of writing where the places are in smaller text, I think from now on I’ll put up BIG text that says, for example, IRELAND アイルランド in big letters so they can associate the pictures with a place right away. Haha, I feel stubborn about that. Pictures make a big difference to me in determining what places I would someday like to visit, a lot more than descriptions do.

I am still bouncing around ideas for next month, but I’m thinking about specific ways for students to interact with the board and not just “see” stuff on it. However, I also feel that every board is a chance to try something new and experiment. When I started this, I had no idea what students would be most interested in, and with each board and activity I learn more about what students like, so the next one has the chance to be my new best board yet!

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